When the Low Rider S will launch midseason in the 2020, my immediate thoughts were that Harley-Davidson had missed a big trick with this bike which many were hailing as the signature model in the Softail range.
Many of the other Softails already had 114ci options or were only being sold that way as other commentators were speculating the life limit of the 107ci, but that still keeping its head above water for now at least.
So when the company released the Low Rider S as the stand out performance bike in the Softail class, but only gave it the 114ci engine, I wondered what made it so special? Indeed it really isn’t when compared to others. It has a marginally better power to weight ratio but now we have the Street Bob with the 114ci engine as surely that is the better performance option ending 2021.
We know something big is happening with the Low Rider S and it getting some form of touring package as an option perhaps, but what it always cried out for was the power and performance to surpass all other models in its class to make it the real leader of the pack.
It seems that the American motorcycle company have listened and will be giving the 117ci engine an airing in the Softail class and the bike to get it is the Low Rider S…as an option at least. I would assume the 114ci will still be the standard configuration but the 117ci might be the performance package or perhaps coupled with the touring look, this could be the bike to make up ground where the Sport Glide failed to reach, certainly in the US market.
Giving the Low Rider S the 117ci engine now opens the door to other models in the touring class to be given 117ci engines as standard options, although the 107 and 114 are still very much part of the picture. However this also lets the 131ci engine or some other larger variant M8 engine to be given the standard option upgrade treatment.
As the company are making it more difficult to make performance upgrades within their warranty period they probably have acknowledged that rider are wanting bigger performance at the point of sale without necessarily having to go for warranty voiding stage upgrades, so this makes perfect sense especially when the Revolution Max engine in the Pan America and the Sportster S is giving so much more performance as a standard package.