First Look At The 2020 Harley-Davidson Sportster Lineup

The Motor Co’s perennially favorite series holds just 4 models this year.

Riding the 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 883.
Riding into 2020 as the sole 883cc-engined Sportster in the lineup is the Iron 883.Harley-Davidson

The shrinkage doth continue. We’ve seen Harley’s Sportster lineup has shrunk from eight models in 2018 (though to be fair, one was a special Anniversary edition), to seven models in 2019, to just four for the 2020 model year. In a nutshell, that means we’ll see the Iron 883, Iron 1200 (which are essentially the same bike/chassis), the Forty-Eight and the Roadster, but you can cross off the Forty Eight Special (hmm), the SuperLow, and the perennial favorite 1200 Custom from the list of carryover 2019 bikes. Let’s break down the models and then muse about the future, shall we?

The 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 on white background.
It’s low, it’s spartan, it’s affordable. The Iron 883 brings you back to the basics for 2020.Harley-Davidson

The Iron 883 stands as the sole 883cc model in the line and it’s nothing but raw, stripped down and blacked out metal. With low bars, a low seat height, and slammed suspension, this model is easily one of Harley’s most accessible rides. Plus it just looks tough. Price starts at $8,999.

The 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 on white background.
High bars, a paint party on the tank, and lots of room to spare on the 2020 Harley Iron 1200.Harley-Davidson

The Iron 1200 brings a bigger engine, mini-ape handlebars, roomier ergos, and way more style to the equation. You get things like throwback tank graphics, a café-like solo saddle, and a bikini fairing, but the chassis is nearly identical to the Iron 883’s. Pricing starts at $9,999.

The 2020 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight on white background.
You can’t miss the Forty-Eight with its fat tires, low bars, solo seat, and—the dead giveaway—a peanut tank.Harley-Davidson

One of our favorite-looking bikes is back for 2020 with the same 1,200cc air-cooled Evolution engine as its other two stablemates, a chunky 48mm fork, brawny tires, and that signature (read: small) peanut tank—the Forty-Eight definitely sells the sex appeal in its own distinctive way. Forward controls, solo seat, and low bars further add to the aggressive vibe. The price tag starts at $11,299.

The 2020 Harley-Davidson Roadster on white background.
Upside-down fork, dual discs, and mid-mount controls mean you’ll be spending more time in the twisties on the H-D Roadster.Harley-Davidson

The most aggressive of the Sportys is the Roadster, again packing the 1,200cc V-twin torque monster but outfitted with lower bars, mid-mount controls, and more serious components (like an upside-down fork and dual disc brakes). Your canyon-carving sessions just got a whole lot more fun. Pick one up for $11,499.

The 2020 Harley-Davidson Evolution V-twin on white background.
Although the air-cooled Evolution V-twin’s done solid duty in the Sportster lineup since forever, we suspect some changes may be afoot in the next year or so.Harley-Davidson

So, yeah, four Sportys this year. We’re not saying that’s a trend or anything—nameplates shuffle in and out of Harley’s lineups constantly—but the elephant(s) in the room this time are the looming emissions restrictions the Sportster’s up against, mainly in Europe. As of 2020, all new motorcycles sold in Europe have to meet the Euro 5 emissions standard, which could be a challenge for the air-cooled Evolution engines used in Sportsters. Air-cooled designs with little extra real estate to hide chunky emissions plumbing—are particularly vulnerable whenever new pollution rules come down the pike. But it’s Europe, you might say. Who cares? Well, plenty of manufacturers do, and that includes Harley; Europe (Europe, Middle East, and Asia) is H-D’s second biggest market worldwide and even huge international markets like India and China mold their legislation on Europe’s emissions limits.

It makes sense to expect to see some decisive moves around the hugely popular Sportster, and soon. But will we see subtle work-arounds, a complete revamp, or a whole new mill? There’s plenty of speculation out there, and we know Harley has filed design paperwork for a new liquid-cooled 60-degree V-twin (ranging in size from 500cc to 1,250cc) with the European Union, so time will tell if the new application will carry a Sportster badge. H-D’s fond of releasing new bikes at odd times throughout the year, but there’s always a chance nothing happens until much later: existing models aren’t required to comply until January 2021. Which may be why Harley has eight models in the 2020 lineup for Europe, Middle East, and Asia—including a couple of models that didn’t make the US cut.