Harley Davidson came out the corner fighting in 2020 with a full range of BS6 compliant motorcycles in addition to one very “Special” new motorcycle. Meet the brand new Harley-Davidson Low Rider S, it’s the new addition to Harley’s Softail series and it gets the full size 114 cubic inch V-twin from the newer, smoother Milwaukee 8 series. The styling pays homage to the west coast custom scene, that’s all about uber-cool performance cruisers. Which is a classic Harley thing to do, they see a theme emerging in the aftermarket. They then distil it into a motorcycle that is custom built in a factory. In the case of the Low Rider S, the giveaways are the massive headlamp cowl and the four-inch stack riser on the handlebars, that’s a popular theme amongst Garages on the west coast of US of A.
2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S: Design & Details
2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S: With panels from the standard Low Rider a frame from the Fat Bob; and west coast custom styling the Low Rider S stands out in a crowd. (Image: Gurdeep Bhalla)
Visually, the Low Rider S may seem like an extrapolation of its standard sibling, given that they share the same rear fender, tank and the twin clocks on the tank, but the reality is quite different. Under the skin, the Low Rider S shares its frame with the Fat Boy, which means that you not only get the sharper rake but also the USDs and the massive 300mm twin discs up front. That aside, S badge also means that you get the front headlamp cowl and overhung bar with 4-inch risers, a tip of the hat to the Low Rider S’ West Coast Custom theme. S badging also means that you get a contrast of black-out and chrome on the motor and cycle parts. It’s one of those understated design elements that tie the Low Rider S’ theme together, chrome engine fins, push-rods and exhaust tips.
2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S: Engine & Performance
2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S: While the standard Low Rider uses the 107 Milwaukee 8 Series, the S gets the bigger 114, which adds 110cc and makes 161Nm of torque. (Image: Gurdeep Bhalla)
S is no badge job, and that means while the rest of the Softail family must make do with a measly 107 cubic inch block, the Low Rider S gets the mighty 114! In proper figures, the Low Rider S gets a 1868cc V-twin, a whole 110cc over its standard sibling. As a result, you get more of that famous Harley torque! 161 Nm of them to be precise, all of which come out to play at as low as 3000rpm. It’s a torque monster this thing, even something as mundane as taking off from a traffic signal needs proper contemplation to keep you from plastering yourself to the vehicle in front of you.
Out on the open highway though, man! do they come out to play. Twist that throttle and all hell breaks loose seemingly irrelevant of what gear you are in or what speed you are doing. All you see is what appears to be the Harley sucking in the Horizon through that massive cowl. The new Milwaukee 8 Series motor is a charmer, with almost no vibrations in comparison to its predecessors. All while you’re charmed to the tunes of the smooth potato blues. A 19-litre long range fuel tank is the topping on the cake, but this comes at a price. All fueled up this bagger tips the scales at a massive 302-kilograms, something you don’t feel thanks to that massive torque band. That is until you need to stop. Remember those 300mm dinner plate-sized brakes we were talking about? Well, the Low Rider S needs it and desperately so. Even with grip-ier rubber and a stable low CG chassis and a dual-channel ABS, the Low Rider struggles to overcome its inertia with most braking situations accompanied by tyres squealing for adhesion as the Low Rider drags the earth behind it trying to stop. It’s my favourite thing about the Low Rider, I will admit, but I honestly do believe that Harley has made their best efforts to control it. It stays stable throughout, so we’ll call it a win.
2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S: Ergonomics & Handling
Now onto the elephant in the room, this riding position. I’ll be honest it’s a little awkward at first, the outstretched bars are a tad too outstretched for my liking and the foot-pegs are mid-set, which is counter-intuitive to what you expect on a Harley. The good news is, if this doesn’t work for you, you can tinker with handles a little or change them altogether. The same goes for this single-seat, baggers or baggage, everything is possible with some help from Harley’s range of after-market accessories. The riding position is a little strange, I’ll admit but boy! does it feel cool! Out on the road, I had soon forgotten about my complaints about the handlebar. I was too busy bathing in the glory of all attention I was getting.
2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S: Accessories
2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S: The big 300mm twin discs with ABS add some proper stopping force to this 308kg behemoth . (Image: Gurdeep Bhalla)
A little further down the road, I found myself thinking about Harley’s range of after-market accessories, cuz my arms had begun to hurt and feeling in my posterior had suddenly left altogether thanks to firm fat-bob derived suspension, and strange saddle. That’s when it hit me, you don’t just buy a Harley, you make it your own. If you like it straight out of the box, great! If you don’t? Even better, switch out the handlebars, add another seat, add some baggers it’s all on you man! Follow your own way! This much is certain, if it’s a thumping torque monster you’re looking for in the Softail variety, look no further than the Low Rider S.
2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S: Price
2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S: Chrome accents on the tailpipes are the perfect addition to the Low Rider S’ presence. (Image: Gurdeep Bhalla)
At Rs 14.69 lakh off the showroom floor, the Low Rider S is the most inexpensive soft-tail to be had with this potent 114 motor. The combination of a potent and smooth big block V-twin, a capable chassis and more California cool than you can handle, is a symphony of emotions that only a Harley can stir up, whether you’re doing 100 clicks on the free-way or 10 around Connaught place, this is probably the motorcycle you’d want to do it with.