2022 Harley-Davidson Sportster S

The Sportster Competition: A Spec-Chart Shootout

2022 Harley-Davidson Sportster S
Harley-Davidson’s all-new Sportster S is ready to tear up the streets, but how does it stack up to its likely competition? Read on! Photo by Brian J. Nelson

The reinvention of the Sportster in this new Sportster S makes it difficult to categorize or cross-shop with likely competitors. As a buyer’s guide of sorts, here are specifications that illustrate key distinctions between American V-Twin offerings with less than 1,300cc.

The existing Sportster Forty-Eight has the same riding position as the new S, but its performance in comparison makes it look like a tractor. The S not only has 53 additional horsepower, it also has 23 extra lb-ft of torque and weighs nearly 60 pounds less. Also, the Forty-Eight has no fancy electronics, IMU, TFT, or cornering ABS, which can be a blessing or a curse depending on the rider.

Indian Motorcycle’s Scout seems to be the nearest analog to the Sportster S, as they both have liquid-cooled 60-degree V-Twins in a long and low cruiser profile. However, the Indian is out-gunned in the motor department, down about 20 horsepower and 22 lb-ft of torque, largely because of its 119cc-smaller engine displacement. The Scout also weighs significantly more than the S. The Scout has 33% more rear-suspension travel and is priced at $3,000 less.

Indian’s FTR uses a hot-rodded version of the Scout’s motor, with a larger (1,203cc) engine pushing out the same horsepower as the Sportster S, despite being 49cc smaller. The Harley’s extra cubes and variable valve timing give it an edge in torque production. Curb weights are nearly identical. Each has an IMU to inform traction control and cornering ABS, as well as ride modes. Both have TFT instrumentation, but only the Indian’s has a touchscreen. The biggest difference is that the FTR is ergonomically a sporty standard with sharper steering geometry rather than a low, raked-out cruiser, so it’s an apples/crabapples comparison.

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S
Base Price: $14,999
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, 60-degree V-Twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,252cc (74.4 cu in.)
Bore x Stroke: 105.0 x 72.0mm
Horsepower: 121 hp @ 7,500 rpm
Torque: 94 lb-ft @ 6,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed
Final Drive: Belt
Rake/Trail: 30 degrees/5.8 in.
Wheelbase: 59.8 in.
Suspension Travel: 3.6/2.0 in. F/R
Seat Height: 29.6 in.
Wet Weight: 503 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 3.1 gal.

Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight
Base Price: $12,344 (w/ ABS)
Engine Type: Air-cooled, 45-degree Evolution V-Twin, OHV w/ 2 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,202cc (73.4 cu in.)
Bore x Stroke: 88.9 x 96.8mm
Horsepower: 68 hp @ 5,750 rpm
Torque: 71 lb-ft @ 3,750 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed
Final Drive: Belt
Rake/Trail: 30.2 degrees/5.3 in.
Wheelbase: 58.9 in.
Suspension Travel: 3.6/1.6 in. F/R
Seat Height: 28.0 in.
Wet Weight: 556 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 2.1 gal.

Indian Scout
Base Price: $11,999
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, 60-degree V-Twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,133cc (69.1 cu in.)
Bore x Stroke: 99.0 x 73.6mm
Horsepower: 100 hp @ 8,100 rpm
Torque: 72 lb-ft @ 6,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed
Final Drive: Belt
Rake/Trail: 29.0 degrees/4.7 in.
Wheelbase: 62.0 in.
Suspension Travel: 4.7/3.0 in. F/R
Seat Height: 25.6 in.
Wet Weight: 561 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gal.

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Indian FTR S
Base Price: $14,999
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, 60-degree V-Twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,203cc (73.4 cu in.)
Bore x Stroke: 102.0 x 73.6mm
Horsepower: 120 hp @ 7,750 rpm
Torque: 87 lb-ft @ 6,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed
Final Drive: Chain
Rake/Trail: 25.3 degrees/3.9 in.
Wheelbase: 60.0 in.
Suspension Travel: 4.7/4.7 in. F/R
Seat Height: 30.7 in.
Wet Weight: 508 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 3.4 gal.

One thought on “The Sportster Competition: A Spec-Chart Shootout”

  1. Now, if they can only make a touring version. I absolutely love my Street Glide, but think how nice it would be 200 pounds lighter.

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