Review: Harley-Davidson Sportster S – Riding On A Dream

Harley-Davidson is an iconic American brand. For over 100 years, they’ve transformed how people get from A to B with the wind in their hair, and their classic motorcycles are no exception. Their Sport line has been a mainstay of their lineup for decades, with both standard and custom models designed to meet the needs of any rider. The Harley-Davidson Sportster S is one of the most affordable options out there for first-time riders or weekend warriors alike. Harley-Davidson has built its reputation on creating (relatively) lightweight, easy-to-ride bikes that aren’t afraid to put country roads on notice. They didn’t invent them, but they sure make some of the best.

We had the good fortune to test the 2022 Harley-Davidson Sportster S in a brief break in what can only be considered utterly horrendous weather in Sydney in the first six months of the year.


Why Get a Harley-Davidson Sportster?

Harley-Davidson is a rolling American icon. They’ve been around since 1903 and have continuously produced their iconic Retro styles since they were introduced. The Harley-Davidson Sportster S is their most affordable bike and a great option for anyone looking to get into riding on a budget. With various styles, colours, and options, there’s a Harley-Davidson Sportster S to fit your style and budget. Whether you are a first-time rider or a weekend warrior – there are Sportsters to fit your needs. As a brand, Harley-Davidson is known for producing easy-to-operate bikes – even ones like the Sportster S, which is such an easy bike to fall in love with and ride every day.

What’s It Like to Live With?

Harley-Davidson will provide you with a long, comfortable life if you take care of your bike. Yes, the suspension travel is minuscule, and the steering is quite heavy at low speed, yet the Sportster S is – as we have said before – an everyday bike. A crystal clear 4″ round digital display provides you with all the important information you need and when paired with the H-D app, will show you navigation prompts and riding routes. With a compatible helmet, your music can be adjusted via the buttons on the handle grips – as can your cruise control when you’re on the Freeway.

With keyless go, pressing the starter button, there’s a short throaty whine followed by baritone burble that won’t wake the neighbours 4km away. Everything is warm within a few minutes, and you’re ready to go. The clutch has quite a long travel, but the bight-point is easy to find on the Sportster S after an hour or so.

The LED headlight is spectacular in the dark of night – and the high beam throws a crisp white light everywhere in front of you. The Brembo brakes do a spectacular job of stopping you, and like the clutch, they take a little while to get on “nodding terms” with – then you’re good to go.

Specs and Benefits

Harley-Davidson has been in business for over 100 years and has long been known for its lightweight, easy-to-operate bikes. The Sportster S is one of their most popular and provides the perfect blend of easy-to-ride, lightweight fun. The Sportster S is available in various styles, colours, and capacity options.

Engine: A powerful Revolution™ Max 1250T liquid-cooled Powertrain producing 125Nm of torque and 90kW of power.

Frame: A strong, lightweight frame with a rigid frame design.

Drive: Belt drive mated to a 6-speed gearbox and tricked up slip-assist clutch

Suspension: At the front, a 43 mm inverted fork set-up with compression, rebound and spring preload adjustability. Aluminium fork triple clamps. At the back, a linkage-mounted, piggyback mono-shock with compression, rebound and hydraulic spring preload adjustability – with only 2″ of travel.

Brakes: Front: radially mounted, monoblock, 4-piston calliper Rear: floating, single-piston calliper both from Brembo.

Wheels: 17” front and 16″ rear, with a 7” wide-spoke wheels and Dunlop Harley-Davidson Series radial tyres.



Harley-Davidson has long produced reliable, safe, and easy-to-operate motorcycles. The Harley-Davidson Sportster S is no exception and comes standard with several features designed to make you even safer while riding. The list of comfort and safety features on the Sportster S is impressive:

  • Bluetooth™ Connectivity and Moving Maps Navigation 
  • Cornering Rider Safety Enhancements, including ABS and Traction Control
  • 3x pre-programmed Ride Modes (Sport, Road, and Rain)
  • Cornering Enhanced Antilock Braking System (C-ABS)
  • Cornering Enhanced Traction Control System (C-TCS) settings.
  • All LED Lighting 
  • Adjustable Performance Suspension 
  • Cruise Control

Choosing a Color and Options

Harly-Davidson has many options for choosing a Sportster S. Our test bike was festooned in a lovely deep, dark red. If you want to stay with the classics, you can go with the high-gloss Black. If you want something a little more flashy, you can go with a White Sand Pearl or Mineral Green Metalic. Other options include new ways to take your Sportster S to a whole new level. Mid-control kit for comfort and style. Engine guard and quick-release windshield deflect the elements. Pillion and backrest for two-up riding, and a sleek tail bag for essentials. The Wild One™ Collection is designed to thrill, every piece tailored to the bike so it fits and works and looks just right.


Final Words: Is a Harley-Davidson Sportster for You?

Harley-Davidson is an iconic American brand. Their bikes are among the most popular and iconic in the world, and they’ve been making them since 1903. If you’re looking for a motorcycle that’s lightweight, easy to ride, and doesn’t break the bank, you’ve come to the right place. The Harley-Davidson Sportster is a great option whether you’re a first-time rider or a weekend warrior. It’s lightweight, easy to operate, and comes standard with safety features designed to keep you safe while you ride.

Get one under yourself and on the road for around $30,000 from Harley-Davidson.

About Author
Mike is the Australian editor of with a lifelong passion for cars, technology and engineering. He reviews and writes about all kinds of motoring and tech products for our readers. Follow Mike on Instagram or send him an email: