The Evolution Sportster has been around for a minute, since 1986 in fact, a bit too late for the custom craze of the ’70s. It was born into a world of changing attitudes about motorcycling in general, and a burgeoning new market among the so-called “Rich Urban Biker” crowd. You know, the folks that ten years prior would have rolled up their windows and locked their doors when a Harley pulled up next to them at a light, and couldn’t change a needle-valve if you held a cocked 1911 to their head. Catering to this crowd was a smart move by the Company, ’cause if you want to make money, you have to make a product for people who have money.
While the Evo Big-Twins — most notably the Softails — benefited early from efforts to tie into Harley’s deep roots, Sportster design sort of stagnated, seemingly satisfied to continue the general design characteristics established by the K-model in 1952, and subsequent Ironhead Sportsters up through ’85, with minor variations. Fast-forward to 2016, and the Sportster Seventy-Two that plumbs the depths of the outlaw/custom culture of the ’70s, a look that is now once again in vogue with the New Guard, and has shed a lot of the stigma attached to the originals.
Continue reading for my review of the 2016 Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two.