It was the Brits who carved a niche for lightweight and performance-oriented cruisers. The early 1950s saw BSA, Norton and Triumph invade the US with their middleweight motorcycles, forcing Harley-Davidson to sit up and take notice. Born out of necessity to keep Americans loyal to the brand, the Harley-Davidson Sportster was a multipurpose superbike of the era. A hill climber, drag racer, land speed racer, ice racer, road racer, flat track racer and an all-around road bike rolled into one, the Sportster's spectrum stretched from racing to touring and everything in between.
Sixty years down the line, we have here the newest member in the Sportster family - the Harley-Davidson Roadster. Traditionally, the philosophy behind a Sportster involved dumping anything and everything that didn’t directly contribute to performance. And although the Roadster isn't as spartan as a flat track racer, you can notice the sport’s design influence.
The chopped fender and tail section and the lack of bodywork contribute towards its lightweight appearance. The alloy wheels, fork bottles, engine, heat shield and the rear shocks are blacked out to give it the 'dark custom' look. The chromed handlebar, fuel cap, exhaust, forks and accents on the engine contrast beautifully with the blacked-out components. It gets a round instrument console with a digital display to read out the speed, odometer, trip meter, fuel gauge and distance to empty, controlled by a button on the left switchgear.