First Ride: 2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S

DESTINED to be its next hero bike, the 2020 Low Rider S has been unveiled by Harley-Davidson Australia at a special media ride day this week, in the presence of global CEO Matt Levatich.

Exhaust Notes Australia was on hand for the celebration of the 2020 Harley-Davidson range, and had the chance to partake of the new feature model, which makes a welcome return to the fray for next year.

The 2020 Low Rider S model incorporates a number of styling cues from the coastal build scene and most recently the Low Rider S that featured the mean 110 cubic inch motor in the last of the Dyna bikes.

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An agile cruiser, the 2020 Low Rider S has been developed on a performance-first approach to customising, which emphasises power, braking and handling, responsive suspension, and enhanced rider control.

Available in Vivid Black and Barracuda Silver, with matte dark bronze cast aluminium wheels, the Low Rider S has an aggressive no nonsense stance, and is competitively priced against its competition.

It can be had for $27,995 in black, and $28,340 for silver in Australia, and $29,995 and $30,410 in New Zealand (all prices are ride away), and features the M8 114 cubic inch power plant, mid mount controls, and a new look solo seat.

If first impressions count for anything, it’s a bike that feels like it’s been designed with the rider in mind. It feels light and nimble compared to the bigger Softail models heading our way next year too.

Fire it up and straight out of the box, the 114 M8 engine feels different, loaded with torque and ready for fun, having been packed into a more lightweight bike. Away we go then, out onto the roads around Manly and Sydney’s northern beaches for our first ride.

Handlebar position is good and the controls were within easy reach and comfortable to use. Being just over 6-foot tall, the mid mount controls weren’t bad, but we feel like forward controls would have been more comfortable for longer rides.

Those controls were where the debate headed between the riders taking part in the event, as one of the main features of the 2020 Low Rider S are its lean angles and the mid mount controls.

A little more time on the bike though, would allow us to make a definitive call on whether they’re comfortable or not. From a ride perspective though, the Low Rider S was good through morning traffic.

It took a lot of restraint not to open it up and see how the bike operated as a total package on city streets. Remaining sensible, and after a quick coffee stop along the way at Church Point, we headed towards Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Finally, the Low Rider S was in its element. The 114 M8 motor was responsive and revelled being out the city. The bike handled beautifully and the front brakes in particular worked a treat.

As we made a few passes on a stretch of road that shall remain unnamed, it was a great opportunity to become accustomed to the bike’s performance, and the way it dipped almost effortlessly into corners.

It’s extremely well balanced and sure footed, and gave us supreme confidence to keep trying to push the Low Rider S further towards its limits. Onwards to Akuna Bay via some tight twisty down hill bends in the wind.

Still the 2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S handled it all with minimal fuss, proving itself a good all round ride, and a solid performer on the road in mixed conditions. We had a lot of fun thanks to greater lean angles, and the more light and agile package it offers.

Braking is solid too, and the 114 M8 motor really suits the Low Rider S. Let’s not forget that it looks great as well, in either colour.

The launch event was also an opportunity for us to find out more about some other up coming models, with news the LiveWire will arrive in Australia in late 2020, while there are still no confirmed dates for the Pan America or new StreetFighter.

Harley-Davidson Australia also showcased the new Reflex Defensive Rider System destined for CVO and touring models (apart from the Electra Glide Standard), with the system designed to aid riders in bike control in adverse conditions or urgent situations.

Our test bike was provided as part of the Australian launch of the 2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S. If you’d like to know more, contact your local Harley-Davidson dealer.

Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin is the ride editor at Exhaust Notes Australia, founding editor of Two Wheel Addicts, a contributor at Bike Review and panel judge for Harley Davidson's Breakout Boss competition. Andrew has a love for anything on two wheels whether that be sports, naked or adventure bikes, with a guilty pleasure for cruisers.


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