The Harley-Davidson Sportster is the longest continuously produced motorcycle in the H-D lineup. The first Harley Sportster XL, with a 55 cubic inch, 4-stroke engine and four-speed transmission, was introduced in 1957. It replaced the Harley K flathead motorcycle and was built in response to the Japanese and British bikes that were flooding the US market at the time.
The following year, the H-D Sportster XLH was introduced with higher compression and larger valves. This started the evolution of the Sportster that has seen plenty of performance upgrades over the years while maintain the same, signature Sporty styling. Until 2007, the Sportster was easily recognized by its signature peanut fuel tank. That same year, the Harley Davidson ride received H-D’s Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection, the last of the Harley line to switch over from being outfitted with a carburetor.
The Harley-Davidson Sportster is available with two different engines sizes, the Sportster 883 or the Sportster 1200, and each model has three variations, Low, Custom, or with the blacked-out treatment of the Iron 883 or the Nightster 1200. The Motor Company’s Sportster is powered by a rubber-mounted 883cc or 1200cc Evolution V-Twin engine mounted in a narrow, nimble frame. With its low sticker price and easy-handling nature, the Sportster is often used by entry level motorcycle riders and is a gateway bike to Harley-Davidson motorcycle ownership.