Harley-Davidson Low Rider S
27th January 2016
Twin Cam 110 | Dyna | 2016 model | 1,801cc
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This new Harley-Davidson Low Rider S variant is based upon the successful Dyna platform, which basically means that you start with a swinging arm frame (as opposed to a Softail frame), and you fit a rubber-mounted engine (as opposed to the slightly more sophisticated "B" series engines with twin chain-driven balancers).
The Low Rider S is powered by the Screamin' Eagle 110 cubic-inch (1,801cc) twin cam engine, and is the latest member of the Fat Boy S and Softail Slim S sporting family. In other words, the "S" (for Sport) gives you more power as standard. The bore is 101.6 mm. The stroke is 111.1 mm. The compression ratio is 9.2:1
Other Low Rider S features include:
A 19-inch front tyre
A 17-inch rear tyre
Magnum Gold, split 5-spoke cast aluminium wheels
A Shotgun 2-1-2 exhaust system with dual silencers
Twin 4-piston (fixed) front brakes
A single 2-piston torque-free floating rear
A fixed cockpit screen
Six-speed Cruise-Drive transmission
Throttle-based cruise control
Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather performance intake
Harley-Davidson security system fitted as standard
Speedometer and tachometer
Basic warning lights and low fuel gauge
The colour is Vivid Black which is relieved by the aforementioned mentioned gold cast wheels and a gold tank badge. Expect to see some crinkle finishes here and there. And the rider foot pegs, we're pleased to say, are in the mid-position (which is typical of the Dyna range).
Interestingly, the advance images from Harley-Davidson show the bike only from the right side/timing side, and from the top. There are no primary side images, and that makes us wonder if there are still details being reworked.
If we were in the market for a new Harley-Davidson, this Low Rider S is perhaps the one we'd pick. H-D describe these Dynas as "agile", and whilst that's a relative term, they do shift you around pretty well unless and until you try and get your knee down.
The twin-cam 110 engines, as you'd expect, are torquey and powerful, and the rubber-mounting system does exactly what it's supposed to do, but without making the bike feel emasculated (as if HD would dream of doing such a thing).
As with all big Harley's, the biggest issue is perhaps the weight. At over 670lbs wet, you've still got to factor in yourself, your pillion and your luggage. Fortunately, the weight is way down low (Harley-Davidson practically owns the word "low"). Nevertheless, there's a reason why many Harley riders straddle their bikes and look as if their biceps are bulging (and a fair number are probably just another flex away from a heart attack).
FX Shovelhead to Low Rider S
The original FXS Shovelhead-engined Low Rider (image immediately above) was introduced in 1977, and it was stunning. With its 1200cc (74 cubic inch) engine, the bike had plenty of power for most riders, but the floating caliper brakes were laughable in the extreme. The standing joke was that if you wanted an FXS Low Rider to go faster, try applying the brakes.
Build quality was whatever you got, often with bits of welding rod still stuck to the frame, persistent oil leaks, plenty of weird internal noises, and an unwillingness to fire up on the kickstarter. But fortunately, it had an electric start too that grudging spun the huge crank.
The front end came from the Sportster. The saddle was famously low at just 27 inches. Drag 'bars emphasised the low stance. But it was no dragster and became a little backward about going forward when you approached 80-90mph. As for traffic light showdowns, forget it. The low revolutions and ordinary inertia made sure that nothing even vaguely spectacular happened until you hit the mid-range, and by that time, the competition was a dust cloud way up ahead.
The FXS Low Rider was derived from the FX Super Glide and was nevertheless a pretty cool tool for the cool tool fools. Such as guys like us, for instance (some of us here at Sump ran one for a while, and we can tell you that the pillion seat was rarely vacant). That aside, the bike was lazy fun and a pose-machine exceptionnel.
The Low Rider concept has since worked itself into the hearts (literally) of the hard core Harleymen. The new Evolution-engined Low Rider S is separated from that bike by 39 years. And as you'd expect, the improvements are huge, but it's still essentially the same machine albeit built to a far higher quality. And in real terms, it's cheaper than ever.
The Low Rider S is expected to arrive at the same time as the new Harley-Davidson Breakout model which will be at your dealers in the spring of 2016. The price is just shy of £15,000.
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