Published on July 12th, 2022 | by Boris0
2022 LOW RIDER ST REVIEW – DARK CARNIVAL
IMAGES BY NICK ‘GHOST TRAIN’ EDARDS
“Sayin’ I’m no fool, mama,
I know the difference between tempting and choosing my fate”
Justin Earl Townes
Harleys speak to my Lizard Brain. Always have, and always will. Part of that I can attribute to a well-spent youth being a menace to polite and civil society.
The other part of that Lizard Brain conversation comes from that eternal Harley cachet – that “Hell to the yes, bitches! I’m the reason your daughter’s not coming home tonight.”
And of all the Harleys, two of them have the loudest voices when they address my Lizard Brain. The first is the Breakout. The second is this new Low Rider ST – which, for my money, is the very pick of the Big Twin range when it comes to thundering your bad intentions up the road.
It’s got the ground clearance, you see. It’s jacked up some at the back (and adjustable for pre-load), and it’s 43mm upside-down forks do a bit more than just nod their head at the handling paradigm.
Let’s just say that if I was to do a runner one warm and crazy night when the evil of stripper-glitter was upon me, this would be the Harley I’d be doing it on.
See? That’s the Lizard Brain thing right there. It understands Harleys and their purpose in a man’s life. Pity more men don’t listen to it. They’re gonna die never having visited the Dark Carnival.
So, apart from driving coffin nails into the beige coffin of motorcycle respectability, what’s this Low Rider ST all about?
Firstly, there’s that whole West Coast look popularised by the Sons of Anarchy a few years back, but actually invented by the Hells Angels. That’s the fairing with the tall risers and mid-mounted footpegs thing. And only Harley could pull such a thing off with any degree of elan.
Your arms are straight out in front of you at shoulder height. You’re looking over the frame-mounted, mini-Hammerhead fairing – which has three big vents in it, so it’s more a style thing than any serious weather protection. But there’s no buffeting, and it does stop you turning into a windsock over 160.
So the Low Rider ST’s touring credentials are there. Add the comfy seat, the beaut, easily-removable panniers (which are bigger than the BMW R18B’s), and you’re good to clock up meaningful miles – at quite a rate of socially reprehensible knots.
The brakes are fine for what’s expected of them, and unless you’re pushing very hard on variable road-surfaces, you won’t complain about the suspension. The gearbox shifts clean and smooth, and the throttle response is seriously lively. Especially off the lights and when you’re set for some fast overtakes from about 120.
The 117-cube motor is happily not bogged up with Screaming Eagle heads like the CVO iterations – so the motor is much happier and far more responsive around town. Sure, it might not have the top-end a CVO does, but there’s honestly not much in it. Let me put it this way, if you’ve got your Harley sitting on 180km/h for a while, there’s a lot going on. And it’s very, very exciting.
The same can be said for hammering the ST into corners. This is the Big Twin that quite enjoys that. Most Big Twins are only truly happy doing orderly speed-limit parades. Shove some corners at them, and all sorts of rider-panic ensues.
Not so the ST. Milwaukee has tried some with this model. Even the forward-facing air-filter horn doesn’t jag or interfere with your right leg like it does on the CVOs. No question in my mind – the ST is meant to be ridden hard.
Of course, all things are relative. ‘Hard’ on a Harley is not ‘hard’ on a Panigale. You know that, right? Quite frankly, hard on a Panigale is for very, very few people. But hard on an ST? Step right on up, brother. If you’ve got half an idea, you got this. I suggest you stop seeing the image that’s been so long promulgated by non-traditional Harley riders, ie. “Oh, do let’s go for a nice cruise this Sunday and ride in a formation like a parade and obey all the road rules so everyone can see the merit badges on our jackets!”
I suggest you look at the ST through the evil eyes of the old school Harley riders who went everywhere in a fast-moving metal hell-storm with knives on their belts, hot bitches riding pillion, and red mischief in their hearts.
You see, it’s really all about how you look at it, and how the ST makes you feel when you’re on it. And we’re back to the Lizard Brain, aren’t we? I liked the hell out of the ST for reasons that will only make sense to people like me. And there are more of us left than you know.
The ST looks unique as Hell. It looks like no other Big Twin thanks to that crazy fairing. It’s painted hate-black, as all righteous motorcycles should be, and the rider ergos are all big-and-fast mile friendly. They’re also very West Coast outlaw correct, which is no bad thing in the Dark Carnival I like to visit.
So my Lizard Brain listens to the ST when it speaks. It pays very close attention to the conversation that often goes like this…
“Pass him. Just pass him.”
“Hang on…in a sec…”
“No, now. Pass him now. Keep it pinned. He’s a bitch. Are you a bitch?”
“I’m not a bitch!”
“Stop riding like one then. All the hot girls will be taken if you’re late.”
“I won’t be late. And how can I even take any of the hot girls home with me? You got no pillion seat.”
“Three things are possible, pal. One: You can easily fit a pillion seat. See the covered hole there? Two: She can take a toilet roll to sit on. Three: She can follow you home in a cab and admire your glory.”
“Yes. Yes, you are.”
HOW MUCH? It starts at $32,250
WHAT COLOURS DOES IT COME IN? You can have it in black or battleship grey.