Launched in 1957, the same year as the fuel-injected Chevrolet Corvette, the Harley-Davidson Sportster established a template for V-twin cruisers that the industry has followed ever since. As the longest-running motorcycle nameplate, the 883cc Sportster is now in its 62nd consecutive model year. The formula of rebellious minimalism, powered by a lusty V-twin engine, has remained throughout—albeit with periodic upgrades in performance, ride quality, comfort, braking, electrics, emissions, and reliability.
Various features have accompanied the Sportster through the years. One is the air-cooled, pushrod, 45-degree V-twin, which began as an iron-head carbureted unit and is now a fuel-injected aluminum mill. Another is the twin shorty mufflers, which debuted in the early 1960s. And a third element is a low seat (currently 25.5 inches), an essential feature for a bike called a Superlow! In practice, this makes the Sportster 1200 a confident perch for shorter riders, reasonably easy to ride, and a fun all-around city/highway steed. Although the Superlow is low on the air-cooled H-D ladder, it is hardly a lesser machine. After all, it’s still a Sportster.
Likes: Like the Corvette is America's sports car, the Sportster is America's cruiser.
Dislikes: When compared to rival bikes with selectable ride modes or DTC gearboxes, the Sportster is old tech.
Verdict: When you have a Sportster Superlow, you have the real deal.