Following a five-year hiatus, the legendary Low Rider returned to Harley-Davidson’s lineup for 2014.This modern Low Rider rightly lived up to the FX status, providing serious V-twin performance through its Twin Cam 103, laid-back no-BS cruiser handling through its Dyna chassis, and pure in-your-face FX styling through its minimalist design.
The bike was a breath of late 1970s air, and paid homage to the original Low Rider that arrived in 1977 as an FSX built on the Super Glide Chassis – a bike that outsold all other Harleys during its first year of production.Satisfaction was there, but in a world where motorcycles change upon the very fast-paced culture in which they live, things needed revision. Harley’s response is the Low Rider S, which arrives as a mid-year 2016 model.The 2016 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S joins two others in the new S range – the Fat Boy S and Softail Slim S. The bike arrives with the S models’ stripped-down styling and a blacked-out themes. The only exception to this blacked-out concept are the Magnum Gold lightweight cast-aluminum wheels, “a finish inspired by the gold-tone magnesium wheels used on race cars in the 1960s,” and the gold tank page that “pays homage to the 1977 XLCR Café Racer model.”Harley didn’t slack on power; the Low Rider S is equipped with the Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 – the same engine that arrives in the exclusive Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) models. But due to some updates, the Low Rider S’ motor produces 115 ft/lbs. of torque at 3500 rpm.Defined by styling that derives from “global custom motorcycle culture,” the Low Rider S is features upgraded suspension and brakes for a true “S” model experience.“Riders have been asking when Harley-Davidson would build another aggressive, performance-based bike like the legendary FXR models,” says Harley-Davidson Director of Styling Brad Richards. “This is our answer to that question.“The Low Rider S is informed by the current tall-bike custom trend and our own styling heritage, but also seeks to redefine Harley-Davidson performance for a new generation of riders. We wanted to really connect the rider to the road by delivering instantaneous power and agile handling with a bike that’s trimmed to the essentials.”The Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 – the largest factory-installed engine on a Harley-Davidson – gets the extra three ft/lbs of torque over the same engine found on the CVO Pro Street Breakout due to a Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather performance intake and Fat Bob-style 2-into-2 exhaust. This also equates to 13 percent more power over the standard Low Rider.The Low Rider S’ engine is mated to a 6-Speed Cruise Drive transmission that features a heavy-duty clutch. To further appeal to the minimalist style, the entire powertrain and exhaust arrive with gloss black and wrinkle-black powercoat.Suspension duties are handled by Premium Ride nitrogen gas-charged emulsion shocks out back, and a Premium Ride cartridge fork up front. Braking is handled by twin 300mm discs up front squeezed by fixed four-piston calipers, and a single 292mm disc squeezed by a fixed two-piston caliber out back.Other enhancements include a solo seat with a low height of 26.6 inches, flat drag bars with 5.5-inch risers, mid-mount controls, a unique speed screen, chopped rear fender, and side-mount license plate.“When you ride fast in this upright position, you need a little wind protection,” says Harley-Davidson Senior Stylist Dais Nagao. “Then the way we inset the headlamp deeper into the speed screen gives the Low Rider S an aggressive face. It’s a powerful way to communicate the personality of the motorcycle.”The Harley-Davidson Low Rider S is the sixth motorcycle in the 2016 Dyna family, which includes the Switchback, Wide Glide, Fat Bob, Street Bob and the base Low Rider. The Harley-Davidson Low Rider S sells for $16,699 – $2,300 over the base-model Low Rider (vivid Black, no options).
2016 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S Specs:
Engine: Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110
Displacement: 110 cu in
Engine Torque: 115 ft-lb @ 3500
Transmission: 6-speed Cruise Drive
Length: 89.9 in
Seat Height: 26.6 in (laden)
Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gal
Dry Weight: 646 lb
Front wheel/tire: Magnum Gold, Split 5-Spoke Cast Aluminum / 100/90B19 57H
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!