Motorcycle Types Cruiser 2012 Harley Sportster Nightster | Preview

2012 Harley Sportster Nightster | Preview

2012 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle

The Harley-Davidson Sportster has been a staple in The Motor Company’s lineup since it’s introduction in 1952, the smaller Harley always catering to the entry-level rider.

The Sportster received many upgrades throughout the years, from the introduction of the Evolution engine in 1986 to the rubber-mounted motor mounts in 2004. But in 2007, Harley developed an all-new Sportster model, the XL1200N Nightster.

The Nightster was designed to be low, dark and aggressive, with the typical power of the Evolution V-Twin powertrain with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI). Harley continues to offer the Nightster for 2012, with minimal upgrades over the previous-year’s model.

New for the 2012 XL1200N black side covers to match bodywork finish, Michelin Scorcher “31” front and rear tires and new paint options.

Everything else is typical of the Nighster – chopped front and rear fenders. Side-mounted license plate. Combined stop/turn/tail lights. Low 25.3-inch seat height. Old-school front fork gaiters. Raw-boned graphics and a unique finish on its V-Twin Evolution engine. And just for good measure, black throughout.

Harley says: “With its gritty, no-nonsense look, the Nightster model is the motorcycle for those who want Sportster performance coupled with an attitude you don’t normally find on such a nimble machine.”

Following are the highlights, specs, color options and MSRP for the 2012 Harley-Davidson Nightster.

2012 Harley Sportster Nightster XL1200N Highlights:

  • NEW Black side covers to match bodywork finish
  • NEW Michelin Scorcher “31” front and
  • rear tires
  • NEW Paint color options
  • Evolution V-Twin powertrain with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
  • Rubber-mounted powertrain to reduce vibration
  • 5-speed transmission
  • Dual staggered exhaust
  • Handlebar-mounted electronic speedometer
  • Disc brakes
  • Mid-mounted foot controls
  • Optional Harley-Davidson Smart Security System with hands-free security fob
  • Optional Original Equipment Custom Color paint program
  • Medium-gray powder-coated engine with polished covers
  • Chrome exhaust with slash-cut mufflers
  • Low front and rear suspension
  • Classic 3.3-gallon fuel tank
  • Black, Laced Steel wheels with chrome spokes and black hubs
  • Chopped front fender with black brackets and lightening holes
  • Chopped rear fender with black supports
  • Belt guard with lightening holes
  • Black fork sliders and black fork gaiters
  • Sportster Classic solo seat
  • Black hand and foot controls
  • Side-mounted license plate
  • Combination stop/turn/tail lights
  • Black headlamp body with black visor and satin trim ring
  • Black low-rise handlebar and black riser

2012 Harley-Davidson Sportster Nightster XL1200N Specs:


  • Air-cooled, Evolution
  • Displacement (in./cc): 73.3/1200
  • Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
  • Transmission: 5-speed
  • Miles Per Gallon: 48 MPG combined City/Hwy
  • Fuel Capacity (U.S. gals/liters): 3.3/12.5
  • Power: 79 ft. lbs. torque @ 4000 RPM


  • Length (in./mm): 85.8/2179
  • Seat Height (laden) (in./mm): 25.7/653
  • Wheelbase (in./mm): 59.8/1519


  • Michelin Scorcher “31” front and rear
  • Front: Scorcher “31” 100/90B19 57H
  • Rear: Scorcher “31” 150/80B16 77H


  • Front: Black Laced Steel 19 in. x 2.5 in. (482.6 mm x 63.5 mm)
  • Rear: Black Laced Steel 16 in. x 3 in. (406.4 mm x 76.2 mm)

Weight as Shipped (lbs./kg):

  • 545/247.2

2012 Harley-Davidson Sportster Nightster XL1200N Color Options/MSRP:

  • Vivid Black / $9,999
  • Black Denim, $10,299
  • Midnight Pearl/ Cool Blue Pearl / $10,509
  • Midnight Pearl/ Brilliant Silver Pearl / $10,509

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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