Harley-Davidson’s 2022 Low Rider ST has landed down under and we were lucky enough to put the newest member of the Softail family through its paces in its first official Australian review.
Revealed as the showpiece of the 2022 model range, the Low Rider ST can be simply described as the people’s bike. Drawing inspiration from Dyna’s past and utilising the latest Softail frame technology, it’s one of the most anticipated bikes this year.
Harley-Davidson have taken all that is good about the Low Rider S and packaged it into a more practical touring bike in the ST, maintaining all the West Coast styling and FU attitude that us punters have come to love about the platform.
The aggressive ride factor remains and so does the blacked out sinister look, paired to the same beefy Milwaukee Eight 117 motor found in the Low Rider S. What’s been added is a front fairing akin to a mini shark nose and some nifty lockable hard panniers.
Like the Road Glide, the fairing of the Low Rider ST is mounted to the frame and does not influence or effect handling in any negative way. There are some moulded aerodynamic vents that assist with wind drag and rider ventilation as well.
The fairing will be polarising for some on an aesthetic front, but for us we quite dig it, and also appreciate the additional comfort it offers at highway speeds. The panniers provide good luggage and storage space as well.
These are not quiet as large as you would find on some of Harley’s bigger touring offerings though, and will require some thought if you intend on bringing a pillion.
This is because they sit a little higher on the mounting brackets than they do on say, a Sports Glide, and getting your passenger’s legs around the panniers will be more than a little tricky, even with a raised rear seat.
The experience from the solo seat remains tough, aggressive and rider focused, although the handlebar positioning and mounting still has the rider’s fists in the wind. With the mid-mount controls, the combination forms a performance oriented ergonomic triangle.
There’s no fancy infotainment system of whizz bang gadgetry either, with all the necessary rider information displayed via the same digital handlebar mounted speedo that is present on models such as the Street Bob and Breakout.
Controls are standard Harley-Davidson issue, being nice and easy to use, as well as feeling good to the touch. The Low Rider ST also gets the added benefit of having cruise control fitted standard, which makes punching out those highway kilometres a little easier.
As you might expect, the focal point of the bike is its motor, delivering 78kW of power and 168Nm of torque, which is enough grunt to be properly fun, even in stock standard trim. The thought of adding an aftermarket exhaust and cam just excites the bejesus out of us.
Tipping the scales at 327kg, the Low Rider ST handles exceptionally well. Much like its S sibling variant, it also scores a performance air cleaner as standard kit, adding to the demeanour of the bike.
Get it into the twisty stuff on roads like the Old Pacific Hwy just north of Sydney, and the handling dynamics showcase themselves, making the Low Rider ST a blast to ride. Even with the fairing and panniers, the bike flicks from corner to corner beautifully.
It remains well balanced, nimble and agile. The suspension and braking componentry is carried over from the Low Rider S, with stopping power delivered via robust dual front discs with 4-piston callipers, coupled with ABS.
The combination is especially good when riding a little more enthusiastically in the twisty stuff. The rear braking setup, not so much. It’s genuinely underdone, and lacks the performance on offer from the front. It’s probably the only genuine downside to the bike.
The 2022 Low Rider ST also benefits from the Softail’s 28-degree raked frame platform. Combined with an inverted single cartridge 43mm fork design with triple clamps, it stiffens the front end for improved steering response, delivering exceptional handling.
The suspension does a good job, offering decent road feel, while at the rear, the standard Softail setup is hidden, adjustable via the the knobby turny thing (that’s the technical term, okay). In a nutshell, the 2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST works brilliantly as a package.
The addition of the touring creature comforts take the already popular Low Rider S to the next level. Apart from the pillion issue, the Low Rider ST could have some potential Road King customers coming back to this slightly smaller, more nimble offering.
The 2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST is available in two colours; Vivid Black and Gunship Grey (as tested), with pricing start from $35,250 ride away. It’s backed by Harley-Davidson’s 2-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
Our test bike was provided by Harley-Davidson Australia. To find out more about the 2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST, contact your local Harley-Davidson dealer.