A 37-year history closes in 2022 as Harley-Davidson® announces the end of the Evolution-powered Sportster XL series. The Iron 883 and Forty-Eight models will roll off the line for the last time later this year.
Some saw the end of the Sportster XL series coming when Harley-Davidson® pulled the Iron 883, Iron 1200, and Forty-Eight models from several countries and discontinued production of the Iron 1200 in North America after the 2021 year. Others have been blindsided by the announcement. Although Harley-Davidson® never denied consumers’ suspicions about the phasing out of the Evolution-powered Sportster XL platform, they haven’t advertised it either. At last, the time has come to say goodbye.
In 2021, Harley-Davidson® introduced the Sportster® S, a reboot of their previously abandoned Sport category of motorcycles. With the release of the Revolution® Max powertrain and the Sportster® S, they intended to “put the sport back in Sportster” and begin a bold new era of Sportsters.
In 2022, the Nightster™ joined Harley-Davidson®’s new Sportster family, sharing the Sportster® S’s Revolution® Max powertrain, and the company has confirmed that the Sportster® S and Nightster™ models are only the beginning for the Sport motorcycle category.
The new Revolution® Max powertrain is an undeniable improvement on the Evolution. The Sportster® S leaves the Sportster XL models in the dust when it comes to speed, weight, and performance, and it’s clear that Harley-Davidson® plans to return the Sportster platform to its sport roots. And for those who desire the customization that Harley-Davidson® is known for, the new models will continue this tradition with a wide variety of personalization options.
For some Harley-Davidson® traditionalists, this will be an emotional blow. After nearly four decades of Evolution-powered Sportster history, it will be difficult to say goodbye to the iconic silhouettes of the Iron and Forty-Eight. Fans of these models can find some comfort in knowing that Harley-Davidson® understands legacy, and have committed to honouring the Sportster legend with every future Sport model.
As the remaining new inventory of Evolution-powered Sportsters sells out, we at Barnes expect pre-owned trade-ins and trade-ups to be opportunities for dealers and customers looking for Sportster XLs for years to come. And for those ready to move on from their Evolution-powered Sportster, the Sportster® S, Nightster™, and several options in Harley-Davidson®’s Softail family – such as the Low Rider™ S and Street Bob™ – are great choices for your next thrilling ride!
Written by Raven Egan