We are less than a week away from the official reveal of Harley-Davidson‘s next Sportster, but we’ve managed to confirm the new model will use a 975 version of the Revolution Max engine.
Harley-Davidson has been slowly revealing details of the new model, first with a teaser video and a number of social media posts. We’ve previously speculated that the new model will use a smaller displacement version of the Sportster S‘ Revolution Max 1250T engine, with clues such as the telescopic fork, twin rear shocks and single front disc hinting at a less performance-oriented focus. The shelved Bronx streetfighter was originally supposed to use a 975cc version of the liquid-cooled engine, so we assumed it would be a candidate for the next Sportster.
We now have evidence supporting the 975 theory, courtesy of Harley-Davidson itself. An official product listing for billet aluminum mirrors from Harley-Davidson’s Wild Ones collection makes mention of models RH975 and RH1250S, noting that both models would also require handlebar end caps. Harley-Davidson refers to its new Revolution Max Sportsters as RH models, with RH1250S being the Sportster S. The RH975 must therefore be the new model coming on April 12.
It’s worth noting the RH975 model code does not end with an “S” like the RH1250S. Harley-Davidson typically uses the “S” to denote its more performance-oriented models, such as the Sportster S and Low Rider S. The lack of an S suggests the RH975 would fit the less performance focused model hinted at in the teasers.
A new 975cc Sportster would fit a much-needed spot in Harley-Davidson’s lineup. At the moment, Harley-Davidson only has one model displacing less than a liter: the Iron 883. One of the last air-cooled Sportsters (alongside the 1200cc Forty-Eight), the Iron 883 has already been discontinued in Europe, leaving several markets without an entry-level model. A new Euro 5-compliant liquid-cooled RH975 would fill that void. For the U.S., it would be the eventual successor when the Iron 883 finally ends its production run.
When the RH975 is announced, we expect it to get a model name. Harley-Davidson filed trademark applications for the name “Nightster” in 2021, a name previously used for a 1200cc Sportster. The name is a strong candidate for the RH975, and if you perform a Google search for the term “Nightster” on Harley-Davidson.com, the landing page for the April 12 announcement is one of the top results. We wouldn’t call this definitive proof, but it wouldn’t surprise us if the new model will be called the “Nightster 975”.
We’ll find out for certain when Harley-Davidson makes its official announcement on April 12.
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