The new 2023 Harley-Davidson Nightster Sports Cruiser is an evolution of the Sportster tradition into a ride that inspires agility and confidence in riders of all skill levels.
2023 Harley-Davidson Nightster Sports Cruiser – Features and Specs
Probe Uncharted Territory. Dismantle the Ones you Already Know.
It is a class that the legendary Sportster made up. Iconic appearance and genuine audio. These bikes can handle the challenging terrain of the mountains and the city’s pavement.
Riding a Harley-Davidson motorbike is the first step toward finding adventure. Increase the level of epicenes in your weekend. Embark on a daily adventure throughout your travel time. A Harley-Davidson motorcycle completely changes the game. True independence. Extraordinarily substantial and genuine.
Exposed Dual Rear Shocks
Inspired by an older Sportster chassis, the Nightster’s exposed twin rear shocks are an integral part of the bike’s signature profile.
Air Box Cover
The airbox lid, like the traditional Sportster model’s gasoline tank, bears a striking similarity to its forebears in the Sportster family.
The Nightster has a 19-inch front wheel and a 16-inch rear wheel, both carefully chosen for their ability to facilitate the vehicle’s agile handling and unique appearance.
Turn signals, brake lights, and front and back lights are all made of LEDs.
It is significant for Harley since it is one of the ‘new’ Harleys in the lineup, and the company is always trying to expand its market and appeal to new, younger riders. The Sportster lineage dates back at least 65 years, and this model is the most recent installment. It is the range’s entry-level vehicle.
You might think of it as a more compact version of the Sportster S. We put it through its paces a few months ago, and although I did like several features of the Sportster S, it was not without flaws. Brakes and suspension may need some improvement, but there was still enough to appreciate after you put in the time. Now that some time has passed, I have had the opportunity to see how the Nightster compares.
The smaller counterpart of the Sportster S exhibits notable characteristics such as its diminutive dimensions, decreased weight of 220 kg (about 10 kg less than the Sportster S), and enhanced maneuverability. The vehicle has thinner tires (100/90 front, 150/80 rear) designed to improve agility and cornering capabilities. The 975 cc Revolution Max engine exhibits a power output of 67 kW (about 90 hp) at 7500 rpm, highlighting its emphasis on high revolutions per minute. The engine’s maximum torque is achieved at 5000 rpm. The Nightster motorcycle incorporates the engine as a structural component, which differs from the Sportster S model, with a main shock. Additionally, the Nightster effectively centralizes its mass by including an under-seat fuel tank, while its tank, which has a classic appearance, really serves as an airbox cover.
Is the Nightster effective, then? Oh, okay. Plus, no. Confused? I was skeptical at first, too. While it does meet many of the requirements outlined in the brief, I am not confident that it will bring in many new customers for the company. The answer is that it is lighter and handles better because of it. It is a decent motorcycle, and it should sell well to those who are already familiar with and like the brand, but it has certain drawbacks with the Sportster S.
The engine in its current form is pretty great. The full-fruit 150-horsepower version of the 1250 found in the Pan Am and the larger 1250 with the Sportster S tune are available. As I said before, one of the 975’s distinguishing features is that it enjoys revving. The bike’s low-end performance is adequate, but it truly comes into its own between 3,000 and 3,500 rpm.
It is hard to get one’s mind around installing a cruiser with a reasonably high-revving engine. Is it really what the public desires? After some time in the saddle, I agreed with Harley’s assessment that the Nightster is a great motorcycle.
Control is effortless due to the throttle’s extreme suppleness and extended throw. While the road map is relatively mild, the sports map amps things up by being more responsive; yet, there were occasions when Sport seemed too abrupt and out of sync with the rest of the bike. I confess I am pretty picky about gasoline, so it was OK on the highway but a little snatchy at slow speeds around town.
The new line of engines is disappointing mainly due to its dull exhaust tone. It is not like Harley at all. It is the equivalent of switching the firing sequence from the traditional potato-potato note to the more common V-Twin note. The factory setting, with its massive black stove pipe muffler, does not provide the most uplifting sound. To be entirely forthright, I have probably farted with greater power. It does not contribute to the bike’s uniqueness or high-end appeal.
One of the main selling points of American iron is its distinctive sound. Many riders place a high value on audio quality, which is one of the reasons I find it hard to get pumped about current Formula One. But it opens up a whole other bucket of worms. If I go there, I could end up yelling at clouds in the sky. Therefore, I had better not. Most riders, I believe Harley assumes or perhaps encourages, will quickly toss the muffler in the trash and install something more accessible.
Compared to the Sportster S, it is much simpler to ride. Steering input is reduced, and the footpeg location is more conventional. It might be the ideal choice for people needing something more agile while still polite and capable of handling tight turns.
The Nightster offers more cornering ground clearance and a better feel on the corner entrance. Harley calls it “sportier,” although that is just in contrast to other cruisers. Your days of draping your elbow outside of an R1 are numbered. Unless, of course, you follow it up with a trip in an ambulance.
In this case, the transmission holds up well. I missed a couple of shifts, but other than that, everything is going well—very excellent feel and fluid motion. The clutch action is perfect and light, so the frequency with which I had to use it was not a problem.
Beyond that, the egos were initially the most challenging part of the exercise for me. To be more particular, think about how the contours of the seat connect to the handlebars. I am not exactly the tallest guy around. I was always just a hair shy of 6 feet, which is aggravating, but I am just a bee’s dick. But the Nightster’s reach to the bars seemed too tremendous and vast for me to feel entirely at ease.
The rear dual shocks, in particular, are a massive improvement over the Sportster’s suspension and handling. It is not quite good enough to be called “excellent,” but it does the job well enough. Lucky for me (at 85 kegs plus gear), the front was already set up perfectly for my weight. The low and centrally located fuel tank contributes to the excellent ride and performance.
But remember that motorcycles with little travel cannot expect to handle the large bumps and potholes seen on our less-than-ideal roads. The low scoot riding posture is fun, but it comes at the expense of comfort. Again, for the uninitiated, these creatures just do not like rough terrain.
You cannot have a very comfortable ride with such a little amount of travel in the brakes. Aesthetics have no sway on physics. It means that most of the force exerted on typical road surfaces is dissipated rather than absorbed. With limited time and money for travel, you can only do so much.
I was also concerned about the Sportster’s lack of stopping power, but the brakes are slightly improved. While they are an improvement, I still think it is unbelievable to put only one disc on a bike that weighs 220 kg. Better brakes are more important to me than an aesthetically pleasing wheel. Unfortunately, it still is not a success.
What do you think? The fuel capacity is 11 and a half liters. After setting aside a little reserve of a couple of liters, you should have around 9 liters of useable gasoline. That will not even get you halfway to the nearest tank. That certainly is not a lot of money. I could make that trip in less than a day.
2023 Harley-Davidson Nightster Sports Cruiser – Price
The new 2023 Harley-Davidson Nightster Sports Cruiser is available at $13,499 to $13,949 only.
2023 Harley-Davidson Nightster Sports Cruiser – Technical Specifications
|Seat Height, Laden||27.1 in.|
|Ground Clearance||4.5 in.|
|Tires, Front Specification||100/90-19 57H|
|Tires, Rear Specification||150/80B16 77H|
|Tire, Type||Dunlop Harley-Davidson Series Bias Blackwall|
|Fuel Capacity||3.1 gal.|
|Oil Capacity (W/Filter)||4.75 qt.|
|Weight, As Shipped||462 lb.|
|Weight, In Running Order||481 lb.|
|Engine||Revolution Max 975T|
|Displacement||59.5 cu in|
|Fuel System||Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)|
|Exhaust||2-into-1; catalyst in header|
|Engine torque testing method||J1349|
|Engine Torque (RPM)||5000|
|Horsepower||90HP / 67kW at 7500 rpm|
|Lean Angle, Right (DEG.)||32|
|Lean Angle, Left (DEG.)||32|
|Fuel Economy Testing Method||Estimated City/Hwy|
|Primary drive||Gear, 49/89 ratio|
|Front fork||41 mm of SHOWA Dual Bending Valve conventional forks. Aluminum fork triple clamps.|
|Rear Shocks||The new rear suspension is dual outboard, direct-acting (no linkage) emulsion technology shock absorbers with coil springs and a threaded collar for pre-load adjustment.|
|Wheels, Front Type||Aluminum cast, satin black|
|Wheels, Rear Type||Aluminum cast, satin black|
|Brakes, Type||Front: single rotor, floating, hub–mounted; Rear: solid uniform expansion rotor|
|Brakes, Caliper Type||Front: axially mounted, 4-piston caliper; Rear: floating, single-piston caliper|
|Lights (as per country regulation), headlamp, tail/stop/front signal lights||All LED headlamps, low and high beams with signature position lighting; All LED rear lighting; LED bullet turn signals|
|Gauges||4-inch viewable round gauge area analog display with Speedometer, L/R turn Indication, Traction Control Indication, Coolant Temperature Alert, ABS alert, Fog Lamp Indication, Battery Voltage Alert, High Beam Indicator, Low Fuel Indication, Rear-ABS Disabled Indication, Failure-Indication Alert, Neutral Position Indication, Low Tire Pressure indication, Check Engine Light indication, Oil Pressure Alert, Service Indication.|
|Screen Size||4″ Analog Instrument with Segmented LCD (4 in.)|
|Vehicle Information Screen (Air Temperature, Oil Pressure, & Eitms)||Total Odometer (Selectable Miles/km), Fuel Range, Trip A/B, Gear Position Indication, 12/24 Hr Clock, Segmented Fuel Level, Digital Tachometer, Ride Mode Indication|
Rider Safety Enhancements
|Anti-lock brake system (ABS)||Included|
|Traction Control System (TCS)||Included|
|Drag-Torque Slip Control System (DSCS)||Included|