Harley Davidson Low Rider S: low and leery
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If you want to understand the ethos of the new $29,995 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S, look back to the brand’s roots – and the bike custom culture of Southern California in the 1980s.
Harley-Davidson made a big name for itself in the So-Cal “low rider” scene of the 1970s and 1980s – what it calls “coastal style”. The look and feel of the latest Low Rider S sticks to those essentials: high handlebars (a defining aspect of those now-iconic custom bikes) and lots of power.
The raised hand controls are based around a motocross-style handlebar on 4in-high straight risers. A colour-matched mini-fairing frames the headlamp, while a high-back solo seat is shaped to provide good support under hard acceleration.
The Low Rider S is built around a Harley-Davidson Softail chassis, with a Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine and suspension components tuned for aggressive riding.
The Milwaukee-Eight 114 (1868cc) delivers the biggest displacement available in the Softail chassis from the factory. A dual internally counter-balanced system reduces engine vibration, while maintaining a traditional Harley-Davidson feel.
A 43mm inverted fork stiffens the front end. Fork rake is reduced to 28 degrees from the 30deg of the standard Low Rider model. Dual front brakes with 300mm discs deliver stronger braking performance with less lever effort than the single front disc on the standard Low Rider. The Low Rider S rolls on Michelin Scorcher 31 tyres.
The Low Rider S ditches the brightwork for black finish. The powertrain, primary cover and tank are finished in Wrinkle Black, while the intake and lower rocker covers are Gloss Black. The mufflers and exhaust shields are Jet Black. Forks, triple-clamp, riser and handlebar, and rear fender supports are Matte Black. It’s a lot of black. Even the LED tail lamp has a smoked lens.