Get Hotcars Premium. Start your free trial today
The 2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster is a familiar motorcycle in its looks but bears some revolutionary tech for the ultimate ride.
Debuting almost 65 years ago and in continuous production since 1957, Harley-Davidson’s Sportster nameplate has been one of the longest production runs of any motorcycle. In 2007, on Sportster’s 50th anniversary, the Harley-Davidson Nightster had a sensational debut as a spruced-up Sportster model with a vintage look. Some of the distinctive features included a bobbed rear fender, front fork gaiters, a side mount license plate, and plenty of abs to boast. It became an instant hit and sold out in no time.
Despite the popularity, Harley-Davidson dropped the Nightster from the Sportster line-up in 2012. The motorcycle maker even let its trademark rights on the Nightster title expire after that. By 2020, it was the end of the road for the original Sportster models in Europe, as the successful marque turned a victim of stringent Euro5 emissions regulations.
To combat it all, in 2021, Harley-Davidson completely revamped the iconic Sportster range to gain control of the moniker, and an all-new 2021 Sportster S debuted. In just one more year, it added another chapter to the 65-year Sportster legacy by reviving the Nightster nameplate and gave the 2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster to the motorcycling world. It’s not just a revived Harley-Davidson Nightster in a modern avatar, so let’s delve more into its new features.
RELATED: Here’s Why We Think The Harley Davidson Nightster Is Awesome
Since the entire automobile world is tilting toward silent, reliable, and efficient engines so that they fall under the purview of the global emission norms and save our planet, Harley-Davidson also launched the newly-designed Revolution Max. Considered more refined, reliable, and with more power than ever, the Revolution Max made its global debut in 2021 featuring in the Harley-Davidson Pan America models. After that, the 2021 Sportster S received the Revolution Max engine becoming the first one under the Sportster nameplate to get this honor. A few months later, the 2022 Nightster joined the RevMax family.
Ready for the global markets as a low-spec Sportster, the 2022 Nightster gets a brand-new liquid-cooled engine based on the same Revolution Max series of engines. However, unlike the liquid-cooled 1,250-cc 60-degree Revolution Max V-twin engine in Pan America, the 2022 Nightster sports a liquid-cooled 975-cc 60-degree Revolution Max V-twin motor comes tuned to make tremendous torque at low RPM. Also called the 975 RevMax, this unit, coupled to a six-speed gearbox, cranks out about 90 horsepower and 70 lb-ft of torque.
Harley-Davidson has put special thought behind the Nightster’s design, putting Sportster-like elements in it. You can see this reflected in the 19-inch front wheel paired with a 16-inch rear, with the rider triangle looking very similar to that of the Sportster, even though the platform is different. The low 27.8-inch seat adds to the effect, as do the mid-mount controls (changeable to forward controls at a price) and a low-rise handlebar with adjustable hand levers.
The airbox cover looks like a peanut tank, while a round air cleaner cover looks cool on the right of the engine. The solo seat and chopped fenders are reminiscent of the Iron 883 although the smallish speed screen looks more like the Iron 1200.
The Nightster may have a smaller engine than the Sportster but it still comes equipped with Harley-Davidson’s Rider Safety Enhancements electronics suite. So you get ABS, traction control, and drag-torque slip control but no IMU or lean-angle sensors. You also get three ride modes: Road, Sport, and Rain but the good thing is that they adjust throttle response, engine braking, ABS, and TC settings.
RELATED: Here’s Why The 2022 Nightster Is The Perfect First Harley-Davidson
The Nightster’s engine has a 60-degree V-angle between the cylinder while the two crankshaft connecting rods are offset by 30 degrees. This gives the engine rather a unique firing order and an almost 90-degree V-Twin pulse, so even with a smaller engine, you get a rather visceral riding experience.
To reduce valve noise as well as the need for valve adjustments, the Harley-Davidson Nightster comes with roller-finger valve actuation and hydraulic lash adjusters. The variable valve timing helps get the maximum power and the best combustion efficiency by advancing or retarding intake camshaft timing over 40 degrees of crankshaft rotation. This also helps reduce emissions.
A pair of 50mm down-draft throttle bodies help optimize fuel. That said; the best feature of the Nightster might just be the 6.5-liter airbox that comes with tuned velocity stacks. The airbox has internal ribs that stop all unnecessary vibrations but have just enough to make you know and feel that you have a 2022 Harley-Davison Nightster between your legs.
Ultimately, it’s a familiar-looking motorcycle for Harley-Davidson fans, and fans of motorcycling on the whole and tends to get more eyeballs than its more powerful Sportster S sibling.
Arun Singh Pundir has been a longtime media crackerjack and worked most of his life in sales and marketing. In 2018, he officially flipped and switched sides to the editorial. He lives with his wife, two rascally sons and is a car and motorcycle nut in his free time. Not that he has too much free time. He currently writes news, features, and listicles for HotCars on anything that has any number or kind of wheels. He is also penning pop culture, lifestyle and all things rich for TheRichest. For now, he considers his Isuzu D-Max V-Cross, Suzuki Ciaz, and Royal Enfield Classic 500, the three current flames of his life. His dream is to drive around the world; even if it takes more than eighty days.