Earlier this week, Harley-Davidson teased a new Revolution Max-powered model that will be revealed on July 13. The announcement called it a new model for the “sports segment,” and included a glimpse of the bike, which bears a striking resemblance to the Custom 1250 concept first shown in 2018.
Here’s the original concept:
Harley-Davidson also showed a full view of the bike during its Q1 presentation (pictured up top, but you can see a slightly larger version here). We’ve previously written about the differences between the prototype and the earlier concept model, noting a new radiator, bash plate, front fender, mirrors, license plate holder, brake lines, and Harley-Davidson-branded Dunlop tires.
Still, there remains some questions about this new bike, and how it fits into Harley-Davidson’s lineup. Let’s try to answer some of those, based on what we currently know.
What will the new bike be called?
When the concept was first revealed in 2018, Harley-Davidson referred to it as a “1250cc Custom” model. From that, we, and everyone else, started referring to the bike as the Custom 1250, but it’s important to remember that Harley-Davidson never actually used that name itself.
From its initial reveal up until June 2020, the bike was listed on Harley-Davidson’s website as a “Future Custom Model”. Sometime that June, Harley-Davidson updated the page and began referring to it as a “High Powered Custom Model”.
From the reader comments on our previous coverage and on various Harley-Davidson forums, a lot of people are making the assumption that this new model will be replacing the Sportster family. The existing Sportster line is on it’s last legs, already discontinued in Europe and dwindling down to just three models in the U.S., so a replacement is definitely in order. With a 1250cc engine, just slightly larger than the 1200cc Sportster, it seemed to be a fit. The teaser announcement also hints at this, with the tagline “From Evolution to Revolution,” name checking the Sportster’s EVO engine and the new Revolution Max.
The biggest problem with this theory is that the new Custom model is not being positioned as an entry-level model like the current Sportsters. The new bike is described as “showcasing unmatched Harley-Davidson technology, performance and style,” but apart from the style aspect, this seems antithetical to what the Sportsters currently represent in Harley’s lineup. The liquid-cooled 1252cc Revolution Max engine in the Pan America claims 150 hp, but even if it is re-tuned for the Custom, it would still be a huge jump from the 65 hp claimed by the Forty-Eight’s air-cooled motor.
If the new Custom does replace the Sportsters, it will be part of a rebranding of the name, with a heavy emphasis on “sport” and performance (or, at least Harley-Davidson’s definition of “sport”). In the first-quarter report, Jochen Zeitz, Harley-Davidson’s chief executive officer, said that this second Revolution Max model will “redefine the premium middleweight cruiser segment.” Harley also considers the Sportsters to be middleweight cruisers, but the “premium” aspect would leave a gap in the lineup for less expensive, smaller displacement models, one that might be filled by a new air-cooled engine with variable valve timing.
What do we know about the Custom’s specs?
Apart from the engine, all we know about the Custom’s specs can be gleaned from the photos. Barring any changes from prototype to production, we can assume an inverted fork, feet-forward controls, raised handlebars and a single front disc brake. If the engine is unchanged from the Pan America’s tuning, we can expect a claimed 150 hp.
~And as always…
~Live Free Ride Hard~
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