2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S Review First Ride

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By John Burns

2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S

Editor Score: 80.0%

Engine 18.0/20
Suspension/Handling 11.5/15
Transmission/Clutch 8.5/10
Brakes 8.5/10
Instruments/Controls 3.0/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 6.0/10
Appearance/Quality 9.5/10
Desirability 7.5/10
Value 7.5/10
Overall Score 80/100

That’s “S” for Sport. The last one of these we rode was a 2016, when it was built upon the now-defunct Dyna platform, ie., twin shocks out back. This 2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S is new from the nubs up. It’s now built upon the new Softail frame that debuted in 2018, with a single shock cantilevered under the seat, and joins ten other 2020 Softail models.

2020 Harley-Davidson Models Announced

That new frame was necessitated by the new-for 2017 Milwaukee 8 engine – a 114-cubic incher here (1868 cc) – which now finds itself bolted solidly in place instead of rubber-mounted like in the old bike: Dual counterbalancers counter-rotating on each end of the crank make that possible. More information than you need about all that is here.

The end result of all that is a new Low Rider S that Harley says is 26 pounds lighter than before, at 679 pounds; 0.6-inch shorter of wheelbase, at 63.6 inches; and even lower of seat, at 26.5 inches.

Now we’re up to 3.4 inches of wheel travel out back, and 5.1 inches from the new 43mm inverted single-cartridge fork up front. Excellent brakes get standard ABS.

Well, it’s still a big motorcycle, isn’t it? But the claim is 119 lb-ft of torque at 3000 rpm, so it hardly matters. As we roar off en masse through the concrete canyons of San Diego, I’m once again struck by how quiet and great-sounding M8 Harleys are as they leave the factory. Just a nice low rumble. Even though I can see the “Ventilator” intake ahead of my right knee, I hear …read more

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