For 65 years, Harley-Davidson’s Sportster has been a tried-and-true cruising machine. But now, the Motor Company is breathing new air into the classic lineup with the 2022 Nightster.
Although the new bike retains the instantly recognizable Sportster silhouette and styling cues, things have changed. The bike boasts an all-new engine and has received a slew of electronic rider aids to bring the riding experience to the modern day.
“The Nightster is an instrument of expression and exploration, underpinned by performance. By building on the 65-year Sportster legacy, the Nightster provides a canvas for creativity and personalization,” Jochen Zeitz, Harley-Davidson CEO and President, said in a press release.
A Brand-New Powerplant
Powering the 2022 Nightster is H-D’s new Revolution Max 975T engine. This 975cc liquid-cooled, 60-degree V-twin offer a flat torque curve, strong acceleration, and plenty of power in the mid-range.
The Motor Company has finetuned the length and shape of the intake velocity stacks and combined them with a carefully designed airbox to maximize performance. As a result, we have an engine that put out 90 ponies and a torque of 70 lb-ft at 5,000 rpm.
The motor is a relatively quiet one, thanks to hydraulic valve lash adjustment. In addition to letting you hear your thoughts, this feature also gives the bike longer service intervals.
Last but not least, the engine has internal balancers that cut engine vibration. H-D says the balancers let through just enough vibration for you to feel like you’re riding without compromising rider comfort.
A lightweight chassis gives the Nightster the agility it needs to navigate both sinuous backroads and sprawling urban jungles. A low 27.8-inch seat height, a centered rider triangle, and a narrow profile allow riders both short and tall to confidently place their feet on the ground.
The three-gallon fuel tank is located under the hinged seat, which opens up to reveal the fuel fill. By placing the tank in this location, H-D has managed to give the Nightster a lower center of gravity to further enhance handling and stability.
In the front, a 41mm Showa Deal Bending Valve forks absorb bumps on the road, giving the Nightster steady handling characteristics. In the rear, the bike features dual outboard emulsion shocks with coil springs and a threaded collar for preload adjustment.
Modern Electronic Features
In the electronics department, the 2022 Nightster comes with H-D’s Rider Safety Enhancements electronics package. Composed of ABS, Traction Control, and Drag-Torque Slip Control Systems, the rider aids are designed to enhance rider safety and make controlling the bike easier.
The Nightster also features three selectable ride modes that control the level of electronic intervention in the riding experience. Riders can switch between the modes with a single button on the right-hand controller.
The Road Mode offers a balanced daily ride, bumping up ABS and TCS intervention for less aggressive throttle response and mid-range power. The Rain Mode further increases the level of intervention, improving safety in difficult and wet conditions. The Sport Mode unlocks the Nightster’s full potential and reduces electronic aids to a minimum.
A New Classic Look
The Nightster has received an all-new look that nonetheless maintains the classic Sportster heritage. You can still easily recognize the bike as a spawn of the Sportster from the exposed rear shock absorbers and the walnut-shaped airbox, which replaces the traditional fuel tank.
Additionally, the round air intake cover, solo seat, and chopped fenders all harken back to the Sportsters of the past. However, the new engine—integrated into the chassis—is the star of the show, with textured Metallic Charcoal powder coating and Gloss Black inserts.
The bike is available in three different colorways, including Vivid Black, Gunship Gray, and Redline Red. Note, though, that the gray and red color schemes are only applied to the airbox cover—taking cues from Johnny Cash, the Nightster is the bike in black.
The 2022 Nightster is now available at Harley-Davidson dealerships at an MSRP of $13,499 for the black and $13,899 for the other color options.