Featuring twin discs, upside-down forks, Milwaukee Eight 114 motor and a Softail frame, the Low Rider S will make a welcome return to the Harley-Davidson range next year and is set to make a massive impression on the street – potentially bigger than the ultimate Twin Cam Dyna Low Rider, thanks to improved dynamics and power, and despite some significant changes to the overall package.
And no, I’m not talking about the lack of twin shocks … even if I do happen to think that it would look better with them.
From the top: exhausts, the tank including its badges and console, handlebars and risers, seat, rear mudguard, wheels.
The exhausts are straight out of the regular Low Riders’ parts bin and lends truth to the idea that black is a slimming colour. Granted, it could hardly take the Fat Bob’s offering as it did last time, but in black … could it?
The tank owes more to the FXR than the original FXS: more bulbous with a taller tandem dash, even if it does have the two-line logo ‘straight out of 1917′ in place of the last Low Rider S’ 3D bar and shield.
Losing the flat drag bars on top of its risers will take a lot of the aggression out of its riding position and undermines its stance a little: time will tell how much difference it makes to the ride.
The seat looks like it has been styled to lock the rider in place, atop a rear mudguard that is no longer bobbed and has a lay-down taillight rather than the multi-function indicators, as before, matched to a classic upright licence plate that isn’t matched to the angle of the rear lens. US models apparently differ only in the colour of the rear reflector.
And the new skinnier cast spoked ‘Radiate’ wheels wrapped in sensible-sized their Michelin Scorcher tyres have traded “Magnum Gold” for a matt dark bronze that has been picked up in the accents of the Ventilator air cleaner and derby cover.
Oh, and it comes in Barracuda Silver as well as Vivid Black.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: your call.
What isn’t up for dispute is that it has retained its competitive price tag at the top end of what would have been the Dyna bracket: at just £15,825 it will be a very attractive proposition for traditionalists who love Harley’s original tin, style and stance, and who have yet to be wooed by digital dashboards and small tanks.
Nor are the improved dynamics.
It hasn’t got the trick preload wheel in the right hand side-panel – it won’t fit with that rear exhaust – but those 43mm USD cartridge forks, the new stiff chassis and a 28-degree rake will make this as nimble as it will be quick, and it should be plenty quick enough with 119ftlbs of torque of torque on tap, and much more just beneath the surface.
Vice-President of Styling and Design – and FXS Low Rider owner – Brad Richards, says: “The look of the new Low Rider S is really rooted in the legacy of the Low Rider models of the 1980s, that has a devoted following which has spread worldwide from origins in Southern California. We’ve applied that coastal style and performance-first attitude to the Softail chassis to create a Low Rider S that’s more powerful and agile than ever, with a heavy dose of tough-as-nails attitude.”
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