More power, packaged in one of Harley-Davidson’s best handling and customisable Softail offerings, surely equals success. For the record, it does, and that’s exactly what’s been delivered with the 2022 Low Rider S.
There was legitimate worry when this bike was missing from Harley-Davidson’s model line-up, teased earlier this year, but that concern quickly turned to joy when it was announced that this crowd favourite would benefit from a beefy upgrade.
With a 117 cube Milwaukee Eight strapped in (and the parallel launch of the Low Rider ST), things were looking good. Uncompromising styling and sinister blacked out components matched to Dark Bronze alloy wheels made that even better.
The 2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S also nabbed a performance air cleaner as standard, with a nicely embossed 117 etched into the side of the motor, just in case passers-by were wondering what it’s packing.
The old gauges and speedo are gone from the tank too, with a new analogue unit filling that gap that had been so annoying on the front headlight nacelle. For us this was a stroke of genius, with the new unit located in a much more user friendly spot.
Standard Harley-Davidson controls not only feel good to the touch, but work well too. It’s a comfortable setup that’s clearly been designed for ease of use and remains one of the most user friendly configurations in this market segment.
All that was good about the Low Rider S remains too, Harley-Davidson have just found a way to make it better. There’s more power, the same great handling characteristics, front twin disc brakes and of course, the same bad ass riding position from the solo seat.
The new 117 power train produces 78kW of power and 168Nm of torque, which moves the bike’s 308kg mass nicely. Power delivery is smooth and on tap, however the addition of an aftermarket exhaust or Screamin’ Eagle kit would take it to yet another level again.
The relative nimbleness of the Low Rider S also means that for us, it is one of the better Harley-Davidson Softail models to ride in the city. Lane filtering ability is good and with ground clearance of 120mm and a 690mm seat height, it feels agile.
On the back roads, the Harley-Davidson Low Rider S can be described in no other way than being shit loads of fun. The 2022 offering has to be one of the best corner eaters in their entire model line-up.
Plant your bum in the seat, grab a hold of the handlebars, put your feet on the mid mount control pegs, and flick the go button, and you’ll be taken away to pure motorcycling nirvana.
Braking is delivered by dual front discs with 4-piston callipers that provide strong performance, coupled with ABS. We found them especially good when riding a little more enthusiastically in the twisty stuff. The rear braking setup is a little weaker though.
It’s genuinely not quite up to the same spec and performance as those on the front, and probably represents the only genuine downer about this bike. Chassis wise, the 2022 Low Rider S also benefits from the Softail’s 28-degree raked frame platform.
Combined with an inverted single cartridge 43mm fork design with triple clamps, which stiffens the front end for improved steering response, the result is exceptional handling. The suspension does a good job, offering decent road feel.
At the rear is hidden the standard Softail setup, which is adjustable via the the knobby turny thing (that’s the technical term, okay).
Lean angles of 30 degrees left and right are only numbers on a spec sheet too, and a little more can be had if you’re prepared to push the foot pegs into the bitumen, or at least damn close to it.
Aggression is key in every aspect of the 2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S and in part is why we love it so much. We have ridden each new version of this model over the last few years and every time we find more of our heart attached to this bad ass cruiser.
The experience is raw, and steeped with f$*k you attitude, with the Low Rider S personifying a two-wheeled incarnation of not giving a rat’s arse, and being proud of it. Add in the fact that it’s now better than ever, and it’s hard to go past.
The 2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S can be had in Vivid Black (as tested) for $30,750 ride away, or Gunship Grey for $31,105 ride away.
Our test bike was provided by Harley-Davidson Australia. To find out more about the 2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S, contact your local Harley-Davidson dealer.