Verdict chrono

A Harley at the price of a European motorcycle, Italian for example, with the transalpine character but the North American signature. This is in summary what Harley Davidson offers by marketing the Nightster, which inaugurates the entry of the Sportster range: a medium displacement (975 cm3), a price not too high (around 15,000 euros), and full of nice sensations everywhere, in town or on the road.

The concept

The Nightster 975 is almost an incongruity at Harley Davidson. The machine is eyeing the sports car, with an engine full of drive and great ease of movement in curves, at least compared to machines that usually come out of Milwaukee factories and only flourish in a straight line. The engine, a V-twin, is from a new generation, with liquid cooling, four valves per cylinder and double overhead camshafts, in particular. It’s all housed, and well housed, in a frame that showcases it: everything seems to fit together to give the impression of raw power, like a beast ready to roar. It’s a pretty piece, no doubt, well finished, muscular and virile. We can certainly regret the somewhat invasive presence of plastic, but their quality almost makes them forget. Her playgrounds: the city, of course, the beautiful and straight road, that’s for sure, but also, oh surprise, the hairpin bends, which she swallows with passion. If you have to hold on a little, the Nightster likes to play at going from one turn to another. A sportster? Yes, but a sportster player.

life on board

It’s the concept that wants it: the American machine is kind of stripped down, even a little spartan. The saddle (single) is just comfortable, and placed very low (705 mm), the very flat handlebar requires the arms to extend, while the feet are slightly forward. The information is delivered by a round and very sober counter, which notably displays the three driving modes (road, rain, sport), delivered by an electronic accelerator. On this last setting (sport, therefore), the twin quickly becomes aggressive, without losing too much flexibility. It climbs into the towers with pleasure and tonicity, delivering a hoarse and angry sound. Obviously, the feet and arms forward position does not encourage you to drive too aggressively, but the machine bends willingly to the curves of the road. It’s unfortunate, however, that on the right side the cylinder (unless it’s the exhaust) heats up the leg a lot, and the not-so-effective mirrors cling to most of their counterparts fitted to the cars… We will also note a tank with a slightly reduced capacity (11.7 litres), a sometimes recalcitrant gearbox and suspensions that struggle to do their job when they are under too much stress… In town, on the ground favorite game of the Nightster, these few flaws are obviously not excessive.

The opinion of the Motorcycle Point

After the Pan American, the trail-surprise marketed last year by Harley Davidson, the American manufacturer completes its range, and surprises, with this rugged and stormy machine. It almost combines opposites: easy to handle, the Nightster is also a nice bike that rides firmly. It would have been “Beauty and the Beast” if the cliché weren’t so hackneyed…

Harley Davidson Nightster 975

Engine: V-twin of 975 cm3

Power: 90 hp

Torque: 95 Nm at 5750 rpm

Tank: 11.7 liters

Weight: 221 kg

Price: €15,190

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