Party like it's 1983: New Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST channels popular performance custom scene

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Harley-Davidson have unveiled a sportier ST range for 2022, spearheaded by the new Low Rider ST, which brings their 117 Milwaukee-Eight engine to mainstream production machines for the first time.

Joining the Low Rider in the new line-up are two new Glides, both sharing the 1917cc V-twin previously only for CVO models, while the ‘standard’ Low Rider S also gains the more powerful motor alongside a couple of tweaks.

As the model with the most newness, let’s look at the Low Rider ST first. As the name implies, it’s heavily based on the Low Rider S, sharing the same softail chassis and associated components (wheels, tyres, forks, brakes, tanks etc.). 

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2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S and ST models riding together

Where the big change comes is in the addition of a fairing and a pair of lockable panniers, or bags if we’re speaking American.

The fairing, in fact the general styling, is a really interesting nod not only to classic Harleys – the fairing is heavily inspired by the 1983 FXRT, which itself was inspired by the shelved V4 ‘Project Nova’ (video below) – but also to the custom scene that has erupted around them.

In the last few years, riders have turned to classic FXRs realising that their small, sporty fairing and small, high panniers make a great base for a fun and practical machine.

What they’ve been doing is throwing out the rubbish old stuff like the brakes, tyres and suspension and outfitting them with superbike quality components, then tuning the engines to make modern power levels. This also helped spawn the King of the Bagger racing series in the US, with Harley’s factory team bagging (see what we did there…) a few wins.

In essence this is what Harley have done with their own bike. As well as the fairing and bags, Harley have also increased the length of the rear shock, helping to jack up the back of the bike and increase the maximum lean angle.

2022 Harley-Davidson Street Glide ST

At the same time they’ve added the new 117 engine, complete with Heavy Breather air intake, which boosts torque to 125ftlbs @ 3500rpm (up from 119ftlbs in the 114 motor) to basically make a modern, Euro style sports tourer.

Also in modern style if you want to ditch the panniers, they pop off in seconds, while if you want to cruise with the best of them, there’s an optional sound system for the fairing.

The ‘standard’ Low Rider S brings across a lot of the changes including bigger engine, taller rear shock, pull bar risers and shifting of the gauges up to the bars. Both bikes will be available in dealers from March.

At the same time, Harley are also now offering the 117 engine in the Road Glide and Street Glide models as, you guessed it, the Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST.

Other than a jump in torque the bikes remain pretty much the same, which is no bad thing. Harley have also confirmed the four CVO models for 2022 will be the CVO Road Glide Limited, CVO Street Glide, CVO Road Glide and CVO Tri Glide.