Black Gold Harley-Davidson® - News & Blog

2023 Nightster, 2023 Nightster Special & 2023 Sportster S – How to Choose

If you walk into our Allen Harley-Davidson® dealership, expect to be temporarily blinded by the shiny. The 2023 Harley®s have arrived, and they keep coming as they’re shipped from the factory. The 2023 Nightster and 2023 Sportster S are especially popular, and interested buyers are starting to voice what we consider a good kind of angst.

It’s hard to decide when confronted with the throaty sound of power and the sexy curves of models just made to eat up the road. So which is better? 2023 Nightster or 2023 Sportster S? And what about 2023 Nightster Special, is it worth the upgrade?

Don’t get stuck with analysis paralysis, we’ve got you covered. Let’s talk first about changes the motorcycle maker has executed across the board then drill down on the differences and similarities between the three Sport family siblings.

The 2023 Harley-Davidson® Lineup – Past Meets Present

Harley-Davidson® is always looking for ways to innovate and improve their motorcycles, and their new models often feature new technologies and designs. One area where the company has been focusing in recent years is on improving the performance and handling of their bikes. They invested intensely in the development of new suspension systems, braking systems, and engine technologies that provide a more responsive and enjoyable riding experience.

Another area where Harley-Davidson® has been making changes is in terms of style and design. The company has been experimenting with new colors, materials, and graphics for their motorcycles to appeal to a wider range of riders. They seem to work in smaller batches to produce something unique for everyone.

Plus, Harley-Davidson® has been introducing more models that cater to specific riding styles, like touring bikes, sportbikes, and cruisers. This lets riders to choose a motorcycle that is specifically suited to their how they’re built, their personal style and how they ride. It broke the mold for all terrain bikes.

In terms of new models, Harley-Davidson® has been introducing a number of new bikes in recent years. One of the most noteworthy models includes the Harley-Davidson® Pan America, which is a dual-sport motorcycle that is designed for off-road and on-road use.

Overall, the 2023 Harley-Davidson® lineup is constantly evolving, and the company is always working to improve the performance and design of their motorcycles. In the future, we can expect to see more models that are specifically tailored to different riding styles, along with technologies and features that make the riding experience even better.

2023 Nightster vs. 2023 Sportster S

Agonizing over which should you buy, 2023 Nightster or 2023 Sportster S? If you’re thinking about one, it’s a good idea to test drive both, because they do have plenty of similarities.

The Harley-Davidson Nightster and Sportster S are both part of the Sportster family of motorcycles from Harley-Davidson®. Both bikes are designed for a classic, sporty look and offer a comfortable, easy-to-handle riding experience. They’re for riders who want a lightweight, v-twin, liquid cooled performance cruiser right out of the box. However, there are some key differences between the two.


One of the main differences between the Nightster and Sportster S is their design. The Nightster has a more aggressive, stripped-down look, with a bobbed rear fender, blacked-out engine and a solo seat. The Sportster S, on the other hand, has a more classic look, with a longer rear fender, chrome accents, and a two-up seat.


In terms of performance, both bikes have similar engine specs. Both bikes are powered by the new water cooled Revolution Max V-Twin engine, which is known for its strong low-end torque and smooth power delivery. However, the Nightster and Nightster Special have the Revolution Max 975T engine while the Sportster S has the Revolution Max 1250T. 2023 Sportster S boasts 94 ft-lb of torque and 121 HP or 90 kW @ 7500 rpm, while 2023 Nightster brings 70 and 90 HP or 67 kW @ 7500 rpm.

Everybody knows those numbers are only part of the equation. The power to weight ratio is also a huge factor. 

In terms of weight, Nightster steps off the scale at 481 pounds with Sportster S coming in at 502 pounds in running order. Plus, Nightster's design tucks the fuel tank underneath the seat, shifting that weight lower and creating a feel of lighter handling at low speeds and increased agility leaving the stop light.

Another difference between the two bikes is the suspension. The Nightster has a slightly stiffer suspension, which provides better handling and a sportier ride, while the Sportster S has a softer suspension, which is more comfortable for long rides. 

The Nightster also has a slightly lower seat height (27.1 inches laden), which makes it more accessible for shorter riders. The Sportster S, on the other hand, has a slightly higher seat height (28.9 inches laden), which may be more comfortable for taller riders.


In terms of price, the Nightster is generally more expensive than the Sportster S, but not by much. We can help you figure out what each will run you with or without a trade, and we can even help you search by payment if you're looking in a set price range. 

In summary, the Harley-Davidson Nightster and Sportster S are both great options for those looking for a classic, sporty motorcycle, but they have different design and riding characteristics. The Nightster is a more aggressive, stripped-down bike with a sportier ride, while the Sportster S has a more classic look and is more comfortable for long rides. It ultimately comes down to personal preference, riding style and budget.

2023 Nightster Special vs. Nightster Standard

Let's say you've already decided you prefer Nightster over Sportster S, but you're wondering if you should level up for just a little more. You're asking is 2023 Nightster Special worth it? Let's talk about the similarities and differences so you can decide for yourself. 

What's the Same

Both bikes have the same liquid cooled V-twin and plenty of torque, so they're both going to be a blast to ride whether you're cruising Dallas streets or twisting through the back roads. They both come from the factory with cruise control and three preset ride modes. Riders can also create their own custom modes for a truly personalized experience. They're extremely similar in weight. Seat height, ground clearance, fuel capacity and tires are exactly the same. 

Both have a forward rider position and mid-mount foot controls. For both bikes, RDRS comes standard. Fuel economy is almost exactly the same, with Nightster getting an estimated 52.4 miles per gallon and the Special delivering a flat 52 mpg.

2023 Nightster Special Looks

Nightster comes in Redline Red or Vivid Black. 2023 Nightster Special is available in Vivid Black, Black denim, Industrial Yellow and Bright Billiard Blue. The Special is a teensy bit shorter, measuring 87 inches to the standard's 89.4. There's also a slight weight difference, with the standard bike weighing 481 and the Special at 483. 

Nightster Special has H-D® Dunlop tires on silver cast aluminum wheels, while the standard model comes with aluminum cast in satin black. 

2023 Nightster Special Instrumentation and Infotainment

2023 Nightster2023 Nightster Special
Gauges4-inch viewable round gauge area analog display with, Speedometer, L/R turn Indication, Traction Control Indication, Coolant Temperature Alert, ABS alert, Fog Lamp Indication, Battery Voltage Alert, High Beam Indicator, Low Fuel Indication, Rear-ABS Disabled Indication, Failure-Indication Alert, Neutral Position Indication, Low Tire Pressure indication, Check Engine Light indication, Oil Pressure Alert, Service Indication.
4 inch viewable area TFT display with speedometer, gear, odometer, fuel level, clock, trip, ambient temp, low temp alert, side stand down alert, TIP over alert, cruise, range and tachometer indication BT capable - phone pairing to access phone calls, music, navigation (H-D App ONLY)
Infotainment4" Analog Display with Segmented LCD4" Color TFT
Vehicle Info ScreenTotal Odometer (Selectable Miles or km), Trip A/B, Gear Position Indication, Fuel Range, 12/24 Hr Clock, Digital Tachometer, Segmented Fuel Level, Ride Mode Indication
TPMS, Engine temp, Battery Voltage, Ambient Air Temp
Hands-free mobile via BluetoothN/AStandard

2023 Nightster Special Riding Experience

Nightster Special has a new handlebar that creates a more upright seating position that might be more comfortable for longer rides. It also comes with separate passenger footpegs, so you can take your favorite people along for the journey (the favorites who don't have their own motorcycle anyway). ABS, traction control and electronic braking control also come from the factory on every model.

2023 Sportster S vs. 2023 Nightster vs. 2023 Nightster Special - Where to Buy Near Me

You can read comparisons and reviews all day long and actually get farther from making the best decision, because such a huge component isn't about data. It's visceral. So you have to experience it in person with all your senses. 

At Black Gold Harley-Davidson®, we're getting new models in daily. Why not stop in and test ride all three then go from there? Schedule it here. Or, if you have questions about trade-ins or financing, use the chat feature in the bottom right of your screen, you'll make our day.