Harley-Davidson will be unveiling even more new 2023 models on 18th January and we’ve already got some big clues as to what to expect thanks to the firm’s type-approval applications around the globe.
The unveiling is expected to focus on the fact that 2023 marks 120 years since Harley was founded, and as such there will be a whole array of one-year-only ‘120th Anniversary’ edition machines added to the range. These will include the FLHTK-ANV Ultra Limited Anniversary, the FLHXS-ANV Street Glide Anniversary, the FLHTRXSE-ANV CVO Road Glide Limited Anniversary and the FLTRXS-ANV Road Glide Anniversary in the ‘touring’ range, plus the FLFBS-ANV Fat Boy Anniversary and FLHCS-ANV Heritage Classic Anniversary in the ‘cruiser’ part of the line-up.
The limited specifications we’ve been able to glean from the type approvals – filed so far in Europe and Australia – don’t show any substantial changes to the weights, dimensions or performance of the ‘Anniversary’ models compared to the standard production versions, suggesting that the main alterations will be in the form of paintwork and bolt-on parts.
However, the type approvals also point to some more substantial new machines arriving for 2023, including two bikes that have yet to be seen in Harley’s range – the RH975S Nightster S and the FLHFB Electra Glide Highway King.
The RH975S might gain an ‘S’ in its name but it clearly doesn’t get any additional performance, sharing the same 975cc version of Harley’s DOHC, water-cooled V-twin with the standard Nightster rather than gaining the 1252cc version used in the Sportster S. Pictures accompanying the type-approval application show a bike that looks much the same as the standard Nightster but with new X-spoked wheels, a retro Harley-Davidson logo on the tank reminiscent of the company’s ‘AMF’ years, and the addition of a pillion seat pad.
The FLHFB Electra Glide Highway King is more intriguing still. There’s no picture of the bike yet, but it’s an addition to the ‘touring’ range, sharing the same 92.5hp version of Harley’s 1868cc ‘Milwaukee-Eight 114’ V-twin used in the Road King Special, Street Glide Special and Road Glide Special. The dimensions revealed in the Highway King’s European approval documents show it’s taller than the rest of the touring range, with the screen reaching a peak of 1470mm, 30mm higher than the Ultra Limited, but in length it’s the shortest and narrowest bike in the touring range at only 2395mm long and 925mm wide. That indicates it doesn’t have a top-box.
The Highway King also sits apart from other models in the touring range by using a 16-inch front wheel – all the rest use 17, 18 or 19-inch rims – while its 385kg weight reflects the lack of a top case. Overall, the specs come very close to those of the FLH Electra Glide Revival that was offered in 2021 as a limited-edition tribute to the 1969 Electra Glide and as the launch model of the firm’s ‘Icons Collection’. Given the Highway King’s launch timing, coinciding with the 120th anniversary, and the fact that the FLHFB name was last used on 1960s versions of the Electra Glide it would be no surprise if it is closely related to the 2021 Electra Glide Revival model.