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Reinventing an old wheel : Harley-Davidson Sportster 2017

“Cut Loose” says the Harley-Davidson advertisement for the new Roadster – the bike introduced as the 2017 Sportster. This H-D model has lasted forever from its introduction in 1957 to today.

By Ujjwal Dey

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For many of us young ones with little cash and big hearts, we started our journey in motorcycling by getting our hands on a Sportster. It was affordable for the average Joe and soon became an entry model for anyone who was going to buy a Harley-Davidson. Its distinct styling and road-rep has carried it into its legendary 60th year in 2017 edition, surviving still in production. 
The Roadster reinterprets old school Sportster models with modern styling and latest mechanics. A modern version of a familiar model. Classic laced designs of yesteryears are redone as cast aluminum wheels. "The most intricate cast wheel we’ve ever created,” says H-D Industrial Designer Ben McGinley. These are offset-split 5 spoke wheels – 19 inch front and 18 inch rear.
The Roadster’s suspension has now officially accepted the 21st century. It now has a premium adjustable rear suspension. So your suspension will actually move 4.5 inches up front and 3.2 inches at the rear. Previously it was at a bumpy 1.6 inches. The rear will have gas-charged emulsion coil-over shocks with adjustable preload making your ass softer and head less like a bobble-head. 
The 3.3 gallon fuel tank spreads out in its timeless design as a low-rise handlebar gives you comfortable seating posture with mid-mounted foot controls. For all newbies, this Sportster continues to have a low saddle while offering six-inch ground clearance. More metal and horse is added to the Roadster with an air-cooled 1200cc V-twin engine with low-end torque instead of the smaller 833cc engine. This added power suggests that the Roadster is ready for more experienced riders and bikers who wish to ride hard with style. The front wheel has dual-disc brakes to control this throttle mania. This is a Sportster that is lean, powerful and sticks to the road whether you are on highway or cornering on city streets. Roadster boasts of a bold new ride with a 43mm inverted front forks with massive triple clamps, new digital gauge instrumentation, an iconic peanut fuel tank and chopped rear fender. The two-up seat will make you the envy at every bar-stop.
“Garage-built custom” is what the masters at Milwaukee are calling it. The Dunlop radials await to eat away the roads as you maneuver with the new steering geometry allowing quick response to your instincts. 
The retro styling and the only of its line inverted front forks and a tank with racing stripes also suggests Harley-Davidson has noticed the Eastern tiger called Royal Enfield. These drastic changes to the Sportster are reactions to that Royal Enfield look and feel on the road which is catching eyeballs from American competitors. 
H-D however maintains it wanted to bring back the drag strip models of 1950s. A slotted belt guard and muffler remind us of the lightening holes of race bikes. Colour options are Vivid Black, Black Denim, Velocity Red Sunglo and two-tone Billet Silver-Black. 
Considering all the attention the new Indian Scout Sixty is getting, it was inevitable that Harley-Davidson came out with something fabulous such as Roadster 2017 in their lineup. While the Indian Motorcycle company downsizes its Scout from 1133cc to 999cc to make its bikes cheaper, H-D Roadster just launched itself into the big-boys club.
If you have seen this Roadster at automotive events or had the glorious chance to test-drive it, send us your feedback at We definitely are awaiting this classic to hit the streets as soon as possible. Enquire at your nearest Harley-Davidson Dealership and tell them Bikernet sent you. Ride On!

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Reader Comments

My first Harley was a ’69 XLCH. It’s still an amazing motorcycle for shorter riders. Hell, I wish I was short. I would have ridden Sportsters forever. They have classic lines, and all the power you need to do anything.

Ujjwal, the most powerful editor of Bikernet Trikes, did a good job with his review of the 2017 Roadster Sportster. I’m not sure anyone can put the Sportster legacy, design, lines, and riding sensation in writing. The Sportster is just plain cool. May Sportsters live forever.



Bandit Ball
Wilmington, CA
Friday, February 17, 2017
Editor Response Hell, I would still like to replace my '69 XLCH. Someday. I customized it, and I should have left it stock, but with a Le Pera seat.

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