Harley-Davidson Roadster: First test impressions

By Marc Potter
marcpotter Tested every new bike since 1994, loves anything on two wheels, runs Potski Media, ex-BikeSocial boss. Recently discovered elbow-down riding - likely to end in tears.

So tough, it even graffitis 'outlaw' on the walls

Harley-Davidson’s Roadster is a new stripped-back Harley Sportster 1200 with bags of attitude. Our man Marc Potter is at the world launch in the South of France riding it. Here’s his first riding impressions.

Take a Harley Sportster 1200, strip it to the bone with cut-down mudguards, a small tank, rake it forwards with new shocks for a sportier look, dial in upside down forks, give it low bars and bags of old school sixties racer attitude and you’ve got the new Harley-Davidson Roadster. It' s the sportiest interpretation yet of the 1200 Sportster it's based on.

We've been riding it this morning in the beautiful mountain and coast road near Marseille. Here's what our man Marc Potter said: "Talking to the Harley design team last night, they say that this is the sportiest bike in their Sportster range and while it is not a sports bike in the traditional sense, you are immediately taken by the big twin discs and upside down forks up front.

"I've been riding it on a combination of fast sweeping roads and tight switchbacks and it is obvious that the extra height in the suspension has created more ground clearance. My first impression is that it is the best handling bike in the range, but I'll be doing a few more miles this afternoon before filing a full review on Bike Social."

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