The Roadster is the newest motorcycle from the Sportster line that’s available here in India. It’s got a nice retro look influenced from the old sportsters that tasted great success in motorsport events in the US, which is how the Sportster line became popular.
Light and nimble, the Roadster is a more manageable and fun-to-handle bike than the usual Harley-Davidson motorcycles you come across. The build quality is good, but the engine is still a little old in terms of technology and design. Although it’s been around for a while now, the 1,200cc twin-cam engine is still a high torque unit with great range that doesn’t fail to put a smile on your face.
We’ve ridden the Roadster extensively, both in India and the US, and it is certainly our favourite bike in the Sportster line. It’s a fast and fun Harley-Davidson that you can actually use in the city or for your weekend getaways. But, if you’re planning long hours of highway riding, it’s not the best suited for that. The fuel tank is tiny, which means you will need to fill up after every 100-kilometres, or so, and the seating position is very aggressive without much support.
The suspension setup is stiff, but that only adds to its sporty nature. It feels well balanced and planted, and it’s got good ground clearance – with the foot pegs kept up high so that it offers a good lean angle and you can attack corners easily. On the flip side, that doesn’t exactly make it comfortable on Indian roads.
Yes, the Roadster is fun and beautiful, however when you compare it to other bikes in its segment its quality isn’t the best and the technology seems to be a little outdated. Old-fashioned enthusiasts will appreciate it, but that doesn’t make it a top contender.
Nevertheless, the Roadster would ordinarily fare a lot better in our standings, but Sarath couldn’t set a lap time on the bike because the rear tyre on our test bike was totally worn.
At the end of the day though, if you’re looking for a sporty retro bike then the Roadster can offer you plenty of fun.