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2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster RH975 First Look

New 2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster RH975

After a brief teaser campaign, Harley-Davidson officially revealed the Nightster, a new Sportster model powered by a 975cc version of the liquid-cooled Revolution Max engine. Arriving in dealerships this month, the 2022 Harley-Davidson Sportster is priced at $13,499 for Vivid Black and $13,899 for the Gunship Grey or Redline Red color options.

Visually, the Nightster hits all the traditional notes of classic air-cooled Sportsters with twin rear shocks, chopped fenders, a round air intake cover, and a walnut-shaped fuel tank. Dig a bit deeper, however, and you will notice some significant changes that modernize the newest Sportster.

The solo seat is hinged from the left side, allowing it to open and reveal the fuel filler.

The visible fuel tank, for example, is actually an airbox cover, with the actual tank located under the seat behind the side covers. Placing the 3.1-gallon plastic fuel tank in this position helps lower the center of gravity while also allowing Harley-Davidson to maximize the size of the airbox. To refuel, you will need to lift the hinged locking seat. The fuel tank is 0.2 gallons smaller than the Iron 883’s tank, and while the fuel economy has improved to a claimed 52.4 mpg, that works out to a range of 162.4 miles compared to the Iron’s range of about 168.3 miles.

The new Nightster is powered by a Revolution Max 975T engine; that’s a 975cc version of the engine of the 1252cc Sportster S. The new displacement comes from a bore of 97 mm and a 66 mm stroke, compared to the larger engine’s 105 mm x 72.3 mm.

The DOHC engine uses hydraulic lifters on all four valves per cylinder, with variable valve timing on the two intake valves. Like the Sportster S’ engine, the “T” indicates the engine is tuned for torque, which suggests that a Revolution Max 975 tuned for other purposes is in the works. Harley-Davidson claims the engine produces 90 hp at 7,500 rpm and 70 lb-ft. of torque at 5,000 rpm.

The engine is joined by an assist & slip mechanical wet clutch and a six-speed transmission.

The 2022 Nightster offers three electronic ride modes, each with a different combination of engine mapping, engine braking, ABS, and traction control. Sport Mode offers the highest level of performance, with full power delivery, quicker throttle response, increased engine braking, and traction control at its lowest setting. Road Mode is designed for everyday use, with a less aggressive throttle and lower mid-range power, plus maximum ABS and traction control intervention. Rain Mode prioritizes safety, with restrained throttle response and power output and limited engine braking, with ABS and traction control maxed out.

The Nightster is also equipped with a drag-torque slip control system which adjusts torque delivery to prevent excessive rear wheel slip during abrupt gear changes or in slippery conditions.

The engine serves as a central component of the chassis, helping contribute reduce weight to a claimed 481 pounds, wet. That’s a claimed 21 pounds lighter the Sportster S. The Nightster is also significantly lighter than the old Evolution-engined Sportsters, with the Iron 883 claiming a wet weight of 564 pounds and the 1200cc Forty-Eight tipping the scales at a claimed 556 pounds.

The front frame is a steel alloy trellis while the rear subframe is aluminum. The swingarm is formed of welded rectangular steel tubing.

The Nightster comes standard with mid-mount foot controls and a low-rise handlebar.

The dual outboard emulsion-technology rear shocks attach directly to the swingarm, offering preload adjustment and 3.0 inches of travel. Up front, the Nightster is equipped with a 41mm Showa dual bending valve telescopic fork with 4.5 inches of travel.

The 19-inch cast aluminum front wheel is equipped with a single axially-mounted four-piston caliper and a 320mm disc. The 16-inch rear wheel is matched with a single-piston caliper and 260mm disc.

The 4-inch diameter instrument cluster consists of an analog speedometer with an inset multi-function LED.

Other features include a 27.8-inch seat height, full LED lighting (market dependent), a 32-degree lean angle to either side, and a choice of three colors: Vivid Black, Gunship Grey, and Redline Red.

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