Motorbike – Driving Report: Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST 117 – One thing Thick

With the Low Rider ST, Harley-Davidson introduces its Milwaukee-Eight 117 in cruiser model for the first time Photo: Harley-Davidson

For the first time, the 117 cubic inch Milwaukee-Eight is finding its way into the Softail model. This has happy consequences.

The Harley-Davidson Softail family has now grown to nine models. The most important feature of this series is the springless rear wheel of these bikes, all of which belong to the cruiser class. So far, customers within this model family have had two engine choices, the Milwaukee-Eight 107 and the larger and more powerful 114 version. Now, for the first time, the largest engine ever built by Harley-Davidson for production motorcycles has also found its way into a cruiser model: the Milwaukee-Eight 117 with a displacement of 1,923 cc and an output of 78 kW / 106 hp. This engine mount was installed not only in the Low Rider S but also in the new Low Rider ST. It is available from 21,595 euros.

The letters ST stand for Sport-Touring. In practical terms, this meant that the popular Low Rider S received the fairing of an enlarged cockpit attached to the frame and two narrow side bags and had to endure small modifications to the chassis. This increases the seat height a little, which is why the handlebars are installed a little higher. Additional comfort gear pushes the S weight from 308 to 327 kg in the ST.

The most important feature of the Low Rider ST is undoubtedly the 117 cubic inch V2. The 45-degree twin gives you a great look, visually, acoustically and of course from a performance point of view. The angled intake duct with the exposed filter element, painted all black, extends unmistakably into the air stream on the right side of the engine. The sequence of numbers 1-1-7 indicates the superior engine. Combined with the V2’s all-black paint job and brushed ribbing on the two cylinders, this is a monument to the classic combustion engine. Because the coolant for the partially liquid-cooled Milwaukee Eight engine is discreetly hidden between the two tire tubes, the side view of the engine looks as if it was classically air-cooled.

As you’d expect, the 117 goes to work with strength. From 1200 revolutions, he takes gas, from 1500 pressure builds up, from 2000 he stretches the driver’s arms. Peak torque development was reached at 3500 rpm; High speeds are very rare, because a higher gear of the same game, the very interesting game can be completed again. So you are mostly in the range between 1500 and 3500 revolutions. Visually capturing these values ​​requires a certain amount of effort, because Harley-Davidson has deliberately kept the hardware so unobtrusive that you have to consciously search for it when you first turn it on. Of course, a small tachometer on the steering wheel is not really necessary: ​​the sound of the engine is basically enough for information input. The ST looks sturdy and robust, but isn’t annoying.

The wide fairing is visually dominant on the Low Rider ST; As a model, the designers chose the classic Sport Glide, which is especially popular among designers on the West Coast of the United States. The ST ring center lamp, equipped of course with LEDs, and the two side air vents create a visual bridge to the original. In terms of aerodynamics, however, the ST fairing is noticeably more complex than the prototype: at country road speeds, there is no turbulence on the helmet and no noise either.

In order to increase the tilt angle in the ST, Harley-Davidson raised the rear of the car slightly; In addition, the hidden spring strut under the seat has been lengthened and can be adjusted in preload using a handwheel. On winding country roads, the Low Rider ST proves to be an easily manageable motorcycle in its weight class; A seated position with the ergonomically contoured single seat and comfortably angled lower legs plus nicely shaped handlebars make precise steering a breeze. The angle of inclination required is good enough for a pleasant and smooth ride. The two fairly high and very narrow side cases don’t bother at all. Thanks to its easy-to-use and quick-release fastener, it can be easily disassembled if necessary. However, the container with a total volume of 54 liters does not accommodate much more than the necessary weekend baggage.

Overall, the Low Rider ST’s handling is pleasant: Suspension quality is good even on reasonably decent asphalt, the three-disc brakes decelerate reliably and easily with modest effort, and ABS keeps the bike on track in an emergency and regulates quickly enough. The quick reaction of the automatic pointer reset is very satisfactory; The sensor technology used by Harley-Davidson is unparalleled. Just as the feel of the saddle in the Low Rider ST is unique: the combination of the largest and most powerful production engine from the 119-year-old Motor Company with a fairly pristine chassis without much frills gear has great appeal. Power cycling with a smile guarantee.

Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST 117 specifications:

Engine: 45-degree liquid-cooled air-to-air V2, transversely mounted, displacement 1923 cc, four valves per cylinder, 78 kW / 106 hp at 5020 rpm, 169 Nm at 3500 rpm; Injection, 6 gears, timing belt

Structure: Double base tubular steel frame, upper train in spine construction; 4.3cm front US dollar forks, 13cm travel; Triangular swing arm made of tubular steel, square steel section and molded elements at the rear, center spring strut (hydraulically adjustable preload), 11.2 cm spring action; Cast aluminum wheels Front 110/90 B 19, Rear 180/70 B 16; 30cm disc brakes at the front, 29.2cm single disc brakes at the rear

Auxiliary systems: ABS, immobilizer, keyless start, cruise control, turn signal reset

Dimensions, weights and consumption: wheelbase 1.615 m, seat height 72 cm, ready-to-drive weight 327 kg, payload 199 kg. tank capacity 18.9 liters; Standard consumption 5.5 l / 100 km
Driving performance: top speed 180 km/h.

Warranty and Service: Four years unlimited mileage; The first service after 1600 km, then every 8000 km or annually.

Colors: black, gray

Price: from 21,595 euros.

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