Harley-Davidson has launched the new Roadster addition to the Dark Custom lineup today in Canberra.
Loosely based on the 1200cc Sportster platform, the Roadster ditches the kicked forward foot pegs in favour of high, centrally mounted units, as well as taller suspension to aid in better ground clearance while cornering.
As a result the Roadster becomes a much more youthful and aggressive bike compared to the rest of the range.
"[Roadster] is definitely targeted at the younger market, especially those who are otherwise looking at a sports bike or enduro,” says Harley-Davidson Australia New Zealand advertising, promotions and PR manager, David Turney.
“While I haven’t looked into the sales forecast, we’ve already had major interest in the bike.”
Arriving in New Zealand next month with a price of $20,250, the Roadster is well priced for the package presented.
A stylish machine, the Roadster has been designed to evoke the spirit of garage built roadsters. With low-rise flat handlebars and a taller presence than the Sportster, it looks fantastic parked up on its side stand.
Both the front and rear fenders have been chopped for a more minimalist look, while the classic peanut tank and low-rise bars are described as the crowning jewel in the bike by Harley’s designers.
Powering the new Roadster is the same 1200cc V-Twin found in the Forty Eight and 1200 Sportster, with the the same frame as the Sportster.
Suspension and brakes have been upgraded with the rear suspension being longer, with preload adjustable twin shocks that bring the rear end of the bike higher than the Sportster.
Up front are upgraded and longer 43mm USD forks which help give the bike a strong looking front end.
The braking system gains an extra rotor and caliper, now with two, twin piston caliper setups on either side of the 19 inch front wheel, complete with ABS as standard.
On the road, the Roadster is unlike any other Harley I’ve ridden. The first thing you notice is the beautiful seat which proved to be very comfortable over a long distance. Swinging a leg over and settling into the cockpit you can feel the extra height of the Roadster.
One thing that became immediately apparent however was just how wide the pegs are. With my foot sitting firmly on the rubber peg covers, I had to consciously move my foot to be able to reach the gear shifter, which is much closer to the engine than your feet tend to be.
Once I’d adapted to shifting, the bike became supremely capable. Turning into corners the lean angle was surprisingly good, with the riding style much closer to that of a sports bike than a traditional Harley. Surprisingly those wide pegs aren’t a hindrance, though it is still possible to touch them down and scrape them in tight corners.
It is a fun bike, sure to become a strong contender as the next logical step-up from the Street 500 learner bike for Harley’s younger riders, or older riders who want a bit more sport in their Sportster.