Presentation: 1998 models from Harley-Davidson
Small Step Policy
The big turning point did not take place at Harley-Davidson in the 1998 model year either.
Harley-Davidson had called and journalists from all over the world came. Milwaukee in Wisconsin / USA, the cradle of the traditional brand, should, according to the will of the managers, at least for a short time advance to become a global two-wheeler Mecca.
However, the presentation caused astonishment in the auditorium. Exactly three new models basked in the spotlight, only two of which are coming to Germany. And with these two, the 1200 Sportster Sport and the Electra Glide Road King Classic, even connoisseurs had to look very carefully to see drastic changes. Harley’s top managers took this into account by highlighting every little detail.
The most important distinguishing feature of the 95th Anniversary FLHRC1 Electra Glide Road King Classic, so the full name, compared to the previous model are the spoke wheels with whitewall tires. But the 1998 model can also be identified by the three-dimensional tank emblem, which refers to 95 years of history. The bench has also been redesigned, and people proudly refer to the new leather-covered suitcases and their locking system. The leather buckles are just a dummy. Plastic clips underneath are used for easier handling of the locked item.
In contrast to its predecessor, the Road King Classic is only available worldwide with injection. A new clutch with nine plates should reduce manual force by 20 percent. In addition, the silencers are hydroformed using a new process. This should ensure a uniform wall thickness and outer contour and be more resistant to corrosion and cracks.
It is even more difficult to distinguish the new Sportster Sport, which is only available in black, from the old model. On closer inspection alone, the newly shaped seat bench and the glass-blasted motor-gearbox housing catch the eye in addition to the numerous attachments, also in black. But the Harley engineers put the main focus on inner values, because they wanted to pack more sport into the sport. The engine had to endure some far-reaching modifications. A new ignition with two plugs per cylinder made it possible to increase the compression from 9 to 10: 1 and improve the combustion process. The Sportster Sport should deliver 15 percent more torque in the range between 2000 and 5500 rpm. In addition, an oil pump with a larger delivery rate promises better lubrication.
At least the American version was able to underpin the paper form with the first driving impressions. With significantly more powerful acceleration from low engine speeds and sustained thrust up to the maximum engine speed, the Sportster Sport seemed much more agile than the German version from 1997. It remains to be seen what will be retained after the German version has been homologated. The US version of the Road King also made a far stronger impression than comparable German models, which lose performance due to stricter noise legislation. Every additional horsepower counts, because the products, which Harley itself calls heavyweight motorcycles, don’t exactly shine because of their sensational power-to-weight ratio. Maybe that can change next year, if Harley-Davidson will probably actually herald the turning point with completely new models.
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