Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but you don’t have to be a Harley aficionado to admire the Roadster’s blend of stripped-down style and classical American engineering. Like most Sportsters this bike isn’t designed to be practical, but even that diminutive peanut tank is good for a respectable range of 100 miles. Although the seat is no fun for a pillion, it contributes to the Roadster’s versatility without spoiling the look. Some scruffy detailing can’t spoil a generally high standard of finish, including paint in a choice of four colours.
Harley will doubtless refine the design with a new-generation Sportster one day, as Triumph recently did with its Bonneville range. When that happens, let’s hope the designers manage to retain the simplicity that has long been a key asset and lives on here. The Roadster succeeds in recapturing some of the magic of a hotted-up Harley from the Fifties by blending traditional V-twin appeal with plenty of attitude, sound chassis performance and enough get-up-and-go to make life interesting. In many ways, it’s the best, most complete Sportster yet.
Price of our bike: £10,445 in red, £10,745 in silver/black
Photography by Lyonel Beylot & Stefano Gadda