The Harley-Davidson Roadster has landed in Australia, and first impressions are that the bike is everything we’ve ever wanted the Sportster to be.
The new Roadster is built on the familiar Sportster platform - a lineage of bikes that has served Harley-Davidson well for nearly 60 years! The first in the long line was released in 1957.
The 2016 Roadster uses the same frame and 1,202cc air-cooled V-twin engine as the current model Sportster, but has really benefited from upgrades to the suspension and brakes, and some tweaking to the styling.
The most obvious change in the front end of the bike is the dual disk brakes that have brought a new level of braking performance to the Roadster.
Looking closer, the suspension has been given some serious attention and now has upside-down forks and what Harley-Davidson are calling “massive” triple clamps.
There is also more travel in the suspension that makes it more compliant.
The rear suspension now has some level of adjustability as well.
While the suspension is a big improvement, the bike still lacks ground clearance to really get into corners hard and scraping footpegs is an easy thing to do.
The handlebars have been set lower forcing the rider into a more aggressive and hunched forward riding position.
And the other significant change to the bike is the new instrumentation.
Despite its ties to the Sportster range, this bike is clearly aimed at a different, and hopefully new, market for Harley-Davidson.
But it would also appeal to traditional Harley-Davidson buyers who are wanting to be a little more adventurous than the current crop of models can deliver.
All up, it seems like a good balance between old and new, and at just $19,495 plus on roads the price is right too.