Middle East gets Harley-Davidson’s new Roadster

Stripped back, slimmed down and more aggressive, the 2016 Roadster also has Harley's most intricate wheels ever.

Neil Churchill April 19, 2016

It doesn’t matter if you’re not a bike owner. When a Harley-Davidson roars past, you stop and stare without fail. That’s the magic of the world’s most famous motorcycle brand, and it’s now given the Middle East a new model to stare at.

Yes Harley-Davidson has launched its 2016 Roadster in the local market, making it the latest must-have for members of the local HOG Dubai and Abu Dhabi chapters.

Featured in the company’s current ‘Live Your Legend’ marketing campaign – watch the video above – the Roadster follows the Low Rider S into the dark custom lineup.

Its design is inspired by classic racing motorcycles and the current trend of naked custom bikes, reminiscent of Sportster bikes from the 1950s and ‘60s. 

Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson director of styling Brad Richards, describes the Roadster’s look as being “a mash-up of styling genres, but the intent was to build a rider’s motorcycle, a Sportster that’s lean and powerful and connects the rider to the road.

“We wanted to give the Roadster some DNA from the high-performance KHR models of the mid-50s, and later Sportsters tuned for the drag strip.”

It also has the most intricate cast wheels Harley has ever made, with 19-inch front and 18-inch rear offset-split five-spoke cast aluminum wheels, designed specifically for the Roadster.

Visible through its stripped back design is the air-cooled 1200cc V-Twin engine that will deliver a punchy mid-range torque, with dual floating rotors on the front wheel to slow it down. ABS brakes are optional. 

Its suspension is the highest quality yet for a Sportster model, with 4.5 inches at the front and 3.2-inches at the rear, while the rider will naturally take an aggressive posture thanks to the low-rise handlebar and mid-mount foot controls.

Everything else has been tightened up. The rear fender has been shortened, the instrument display is hidden in the triple clamp area and the rear turn signals are mounted directly to the fender struts. Even the slotted belt guard and muffler shields mimic the racing bikes of old, when riders saved weight by drilling out metal. With the fastback seat design as well, it all makes for an uncluttered look.

Interested? Middle East prices have yet to be confirmed, but in the US they are starting at $11,199 – that’s around AED 41,000. Colour choices are fourfold: vivid black with a charcoal denim pinstripe, black denim with a red pinstripe, velocity red sunglow with a red pinstripe and two-tone silver/vivid black with a burgundy pinstripe.

And of course as it's a Harley, you're going to want to customise it.