From its humble beginnings in the early 1900s, Harley Davidson has created a phenomenon that has rippled all around the globe. The American company has always been the benchmark in making top-notch lines of chopper and touring bikes. For the longest time, however, one model has been ingrained into the public consciousness, the Sportster.
In 1957, Harley-Davidson was in need of a serious response to the aggressive expansion of foreign motorcycle manufacturers. British motorcycles were lighter and smaller, which meant they could outrun and outlast any bike H-D made at the time. People were starting to notice the difference and, slowly, H-D sales began to dwindle.
The American company unveiled a 550-cubic inch, four stroke V-twin engine motorcycle with telescopic front forks. At that time, it was like nothing Harley has ever produced. Lighter, more compact, and most importantly, a lot faster than the other models, the new motorbike heralded another era for the industry. Sportster was born.
The Sportster has achieved a legendary status among the motorbike enthusiasts. Harley Davidson dealers in various US states like Chicago and Utah welcomed the increased attention the bike has mustered. But its appeal goes beyond that period of time. The Sportster has become so popular and iconic that the American company still manufactures it today.
Over the years, the motorbike has evolved to suit the changing rider demographics. A typical Sportster ‘look’ has a deluxe touring seat, low sissy bars, sports windshield, flush mount saddle bag, a sport bag, and an overnight rack bag. From its introduction to the general public, however, Sportster has seen three significant engine changes—the ‘Ironhead’ overhead-valve, the frame-mounted ‘Evolution,’ and the recent rubber-mounted engine. The last engine update aims to decrease vibration for the rider’s convenience.
Versatility is the Sportster’s main attribute. The motorbike manufacturer intended the Sportster for touring purposes, but it can rival top racing bikes in the market. In Chicago, for instance, riders use this Harley Davidson bike for customization, racing, and touring events. They put their own finishing touches on their bikes and zip along Interstate 290 with their fellow riders.
The Sportster has undeniably changed the motorbike industry for the better. Its long-standing reputation is a testament to its success. It could only be a matter of time before Harley Davidson introduces another innovation to the popular model that will once again change the world of riding.