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Harley-Davidson test

Sportster 1200 Nightster

The competition can get jealous. Instead of chrome and luxury, Harley wants to convince with purism, retro style and underground image at the Nightster ?? and does it too.

Being determines consciousness, as Karl Marx recognized. How right he was. Indeed, pressing the Harley Nightster’s electric start button changes the way you look at things. This engine doesn’t start, it sets itself in scene. The seat, footrests, handlebar ends tremble to the rhythm of the 1200 V2, comfortably massaging all contact surfaces between the driver and the machine. The urge to define motorcycling in terms of power or speed suddenly gives way to serenity.

But instead of flaunting chrome-indulgent excess like so many of its siblings from Milwaukee, the Nightster is puristic. Dares? especially in the matte, olive-black paintwork of the test machine ?? like a relic from a black and white film from the 50s. To match: the black wire-spoke wheels, levers and fork tubes with their bellows and, above all, the coarse, sand-cast, gray powder coating of the engine housing. Limiting it to the bare essentials makes this Sportster variant honest. She even excuses the poorly concealed wiring harness or the alternator regulator lying open in the spray of water on the front wheel. What should these parts hide under??

Click, first gear is sitting. You will get to this hard metallic clack ?? a side effect of the enormous crankshaft flywheel mass ?? Every time you change gears, you will simply shift to the next higher gear a little earlier. Why not? The long-stroke, which was still swinging at idle, calms down with the first throttle, pulls cultivated and high-torque through the middle speed range and only gives itself up to the top ?? when his 68 hp peak power is just before the 6000 mark? a bit jarring.

The Nighster: extremely classic look.

Typical cruiser, one might think. Except for the choice of wheels and tires. Fortunately, because the front 19-inch rim with 100 mm tire width and the 16-inch model with 150 mm tire at the rear make the bike surprisingly easy to handle. In combination with the low center of gravity, the centrally located footrests, the low seat height of 72 centimeters and the only moderately raised handlebars, the Nightster seems to leave a large part of its weight of 257 kilograms in the garage when fully fueled.

It can effortlessly be threaded through in city traffic and swing easily from curve to curve on the country road. That’s not what you’d expect from a Harley. However, the folding footrests scramble over the asphalt early in tight turns, and the lean angle is just enough for moderate turns in long curves. But we know: this motorcycle demands serenity.

The Harley also cuts a fine figure on the road.

And the occasional ability to suffer. Any change to the spring base fizzles out at the rear? Incidentally, the only way to coordinate the spring elements ?? without any positive effect. The two struts either block (soft setting), respond poorly (hard setting) or do both (medium setting). Even the thinly padded bench cannot jump in to relieve you. At least it holds? even if weakly damped ?? Fork the worst injustice away from the driver.

Nevertheless, this purism appeals and gives the Nightster its own charm. It even transforms other weaknesses such as the measly 12.5-liter tank or the front brake, which requires the strength of a whole hand, into traits and thus brings other properties to the fore. The unexpectedly quick handling, the sympathetic engine characteristics ?? and last but not least, the acceptable price of around 10,000 euros.

Data – Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Nightster

Engine Air-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 45-degree V-engine, four gear-driven camshafts below, two valves per cylinder, hydraulic valve lifters, bumpers, rocker arms, dry sump lubrication, injection ø 45 mm, uncontrolled catalytic converter , electric starter, alternator 405 W, Battery 12 V / 12 Ah, mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, toothed belt.
Bore x stroke 88.9 x 96.8 mm
Cubic capacity 1202 cm3
Compression ratio 9.7: 1
Rated output 49.0 kW (67 hp) at 5700 rpm
Max. Torque 98 Nm at 3200 rpm

Chassis Double loop frame made of steel, telescopic fork, ø 39 mm, two spring struts, adjustable spring base, forehead disc brake, ø 292 mm, double-piston floating caliper, rear disc brake, ø 292 mm, single-piston floating caliper.
Spoked wheels with steel rims 2.50 x 19; 3.0 x 16
Tires 100 / 90-19; 150 / 80-16
Dunlop D 401 tires tested
Dimensions and weights wheelbase 1510 mm, steering head angle 60 degrees, caster 117 mm, spring travel f / h 92/41 mm, seat height * 720 mm, weight with a full tank * 257 kg, payload * 197 kg, tank capacity / reserve 12.5 / 3.8 liter.
Two year guarantee
Colors: Black, Blue / Black, Olive / Black, Silver / Black, Orange / Black
Price 9995 euros
Additional costs 350 euros


Top speed performance 1190 km / h

Acceleration 0 – 100 km / h 5.3 sec 0 140 km / h 10.1 sec
Pull-through 60-100 km / h 6.1 sec. 100-140 km / h8.0 sec
Speedometer deviation Effective (display 50/100) 46/96 km / h
Consumption in the test at 130 km / h 6.3 l / 100 km country road 5.0 l / 100 km Theor. Range250 kmFuel typeSuper

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