Harley-Davidson Announces End Of EVO Sportster Production

Credit: Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson has announced the end of EVO Sportster production, with the last machine running off its production line earlier this fall.

The Sportster line has been part of Harley-Davidson’s lineup since the 1950s, and the MoCo will continue to build Sportsters. The new Sportster S, built around the Revoution Max engine, offers Harley-Davidson fans a muscular roadster for the 2020s. But the air-cooled EVO line is dead now, after a production run since 1986.

In the mid-’80s, the EVO V-twin succeeded the Ironhead engine in the Sportster series. The Ironhead Sportster had a spotty reputation; some users had great luck, but others disliked the engine’s quirks and found them unreliable.

That wasn’t the case with the Evolution Sportsters. The air-cooled engine was easy to live with, and easy to upgrade. For most of its run, Harley-Davidson offered the engine in 883 and 1200 variants; riders could upgrade the smaller engine to the larger capacity with inexpensive stock parts, and aftermarket suppliers like S&S let riders to go even farther.

The Sportster was easy to adapt to new roles. In early years, Harley-Davidson offered low-slung versions of the Sportster, and then branched out to other variants. We had the sporty XR1200 roadster (and a CSBK roadracing series based around that). More recently, we had the fat-tired 48 Special and the Iron 1200, with groovy ’70s styling. See those reviews below:

First ride: 2018 Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 1200 and 48 Special

You might still be able to buy an EVO Sportster new, if you look around, but not for long. The air-cooled EVO will soon go the way of the XLH Sportster that starred in Along Came Bronson, with the new liquid-cooled Sportster S, which is a lot more expensive. The next low-priced Harley-Davidson models won’t be V-twins, and they won’t be made in the US. They’ll be Chinese-built parallel twins, if indeed that project ever actually makes it into production.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I think the Nightster is meant to be the new Sportster in the HD lineup. Not my cup of tea.
    I’m just glad there are 65 years of used Sportsters out there to choose from.

    • It indeed was “Then Came Bronson” Burt !!… Luved that show, & therefore, due to it & My T-Bucket Hot Rods’ Infatuation, I was ‘Tagged’ with “Tbbronson as My Email & Numerous Screen Names!!… lol….

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