The Revolution Max 1250T power-plant of the S

Photo by Jorma Kaukonen

Indeed… Vanessa’s beautiful Sportster 48 is on its way to Southern California. When those of us who have been riding almost all of our lives come to that point where we realize that two wheel riding is a foolish option, this is a personal decision to be respected. I have not yet reached that point but time is an unforgiving reality and at some point the future and I will have that conversation.

Now let’s talk about the Sportster S. It is easy to see that this bike has absolutely nothing in common with Sportsters as we knew them. Nothing. The Revolution Max 1250T seen here in my bike, puts out 121 horsepower and 125 Nm at 6000 RPM. The Pan Am with the same motor is cammed to put out more horsepower and less torque. I’ve heard it said the horsepower is for the track and torque is for the street, but we can debate that another time.

There are three riding modes. Rain, Road and Sport. You don’t have to wait for Sport Mode to realize that when you twist the throttle it becomes immediately apparent that this is indeed a very fast motorcycle. The bike comes standard with forward controls which I am not fond of. My 2016 CVO Breakout had forward controls and I could accept them on a Big Twin like that but I swapped out the forwards for mid controls on my S. With only 2.5 inches of travel on the rear suspension, when you see a bump coming, you want to be able to stand up, just sayin.’ Notice inverted forks and a giant four piston Brembo brake on the front wheel. With a bike this fast, you want to be able to stop when required.

I’ve got an Outrush R Bluetooth helmet that syncs up with my iPhone. With the Harley App on the phone the nav and trip recording system is pretty cool if you’re as anal about your rides as I am.

This is not your grandfather’s Sporty. Who would have thought that the term ‘update’ would ever be uttered in the same sentence as ‘Harley.’ Dynamically, the Sportster S isn’t nervous, and boasts of top-spec kit, including Showa suspension, IMU-based electronics, and cornering ABS and lean-sensitive traction control.

I love this stuff.

With my electric cold weather gear, I’ve gotten five rides in this winter which is pretty good considering.

3/4 rear view of my Sportster S

Photo by Jorma Kaukonen

It’s been years since I carried a pillion rider so the solo configuration is just the way I like riding today. It is true with the big tires you have to put a little muscle getting into a lean attitude but I’m OK with that. For you spec geeks out the here’s a page from the Harley site, but there are lots of great non biased reviews on YouTube.

That’s about it for now. Gotta get down to the Fur Peace Ranch to set things up for Izze’s band practice.


  1. Comment made on February 23, 2023 by carey georgas

    “One of the most important features of the great battle now being waged for conservation is the preservation of animal and plant life and the protection of it against the selfishness of its destroyers. After the most painstaking investigations by competent and impartial authorities, their testimony shows that many useful birds are fast becoming extinct, valuable wild animals are on the verge of extermination, air and water are polluted, rivers and bayous are used as sewers and dumping grounds, forests are swept away, and fishes destroyed in streams. This is not being done by savages and ignorant people but by men and women who boast of their civilization and education.” – Henry Philemon Attwater, speech to the General Session of the Farmer’s Congress, July 28, 1913

    That’s over a century ago. Things have gotten better, but the driving forces described have not, except where required by law. We’re making progress, I just hope won’t be too little too late.

  2. Comment made on February 23, 2023 by mikie

    Thanks, Eaglesteve for the remembrance. Papa John was indeed an unforgettable performer. I had the honor of being in his presence at the Taft theater in Cincy with the Tuna band. His rapport with the audience was something to experience. At the show, some chick in the audience was dressed as a doppleganger for Jack. pretty amazing stuff. m

  3. Comment made on February 22, 2023 by carey georgas

    There may be one sacrificial lamb whose head might roll, but the sad thing is that the 24 hr. newscycle information machine will be on to the next big thing and the current catastrophe will only be remembered by those affected. I agree with you, Rob. The point is, chemicals are being dumped under and onto the ground, into the air and water 24/7/365. Some legally, some wherever the profiteers think they can get away with it. Even though we may be in the minority, people who value people ahead of profits can do things if we mindfully consider our own actions and efforts. I joined around 50 other volunteers Monday for a President’s Day tree planting with the National Parks Service. We planted 1,500 longleaf pine seedlings and 5,000 plugs of native grasses as part of a habitat restoration plan. Even if it’s just recycling or composting, there are things each of us can do on a regular basis to combat the relentless assault on our environment, and hopefully one day such people will be the majority. As for now, the minority is not powerless if we each take some action.

  4. Comment made on February 22, 2023 by eaglesteve

    John Henry Creach (May 28, 1917 – February 22, 1994)
    never forgotten
    RIP Bro

  5. Comment made on February 22, 2023 by Joey Hudoklin

    Agreed 👍

  6. Comment made on February 22, 2023 by Rob

    Heads should definitely roll. The problem is that we live in a country where, generally, the majority of the people have decided that regulation of private enterprise should be minimal and that the wellbeing of the public is less important than the ability to make a profit. With this model in place, when something catastrophic happens like this derailment, a switch can’t just be flipped that instantly puts a system in place to deal with it effectively. This country either needs to value people or profit and once the majority of the population agrees on the former, we’ll be able to effectively address catastrophes like the one in East Palestine. The fact that Norfolk Southern could blow off with impunity the town hall meeting assembled to provide information to those impacted by the derailment speaks volumes about the dysfunctionality of the public safety system in this country.

  7. Comment made on February 21, 2023 by Dan Nigro

    @Jorma Sad to hear, one of my great memories of my visit to FPR was seeing the morning frost on the field behind the cabins and thinking what a pristine paradise to grow guitar players. John Oliver explained the train derailment rather well, unfortunately another case of profits before safety (about 3 minutes in)
    Interesting story on Psychedelic Therapy too

  8. Comment made on February 21, 2023 by Ham Neggs

    Don’t worry the company said everything is alright and donated $25,000.00.
    Yikes indeed
    I look up earlier in week your place and East Palestine on map. Thank you for this information. Please keep us posted and we need to make sure the heads don’t roll to an even nicer position in their company. Peace✌🏻️❤️Love All Ways🔥🚲🌹🙏🏻🖖🏼

  9. Comment made on February 21, 2023 by john o

    Hey Jorma are you worried at all about the chemical spill in East Palestine?
    It’s some nasty stuff and you don’t want it seeping into the Ohio River.

    • Comment made on February 21, 2023 by Jorma

      Of course we are. I live right near the river and in my opinion we’re already showing damage. Heads should roll for this.

  10. Comment made on February 21, 2023 by chinaski

    Jorma earning his Woodstock rockers, Jack his sponsor standing by as witness:

  11. Comment made on February 17, 2023 by Art

    I am not a car/bike-gearhead of any kind. Cars and motorcycles just aren’t my thing (although I have enjoyed tooling around European cities on a scooter). My car in high school was really my mom’s (I used it most of the time) – a big ’69 Mercury that was in such crappy shape, my friends affectionately called it The Green Bomb. That said, I can appreciate the stuff Jorma says in the article below:

    Sure had a lot of fun in that old car.

  12. Comment made on February 17, 2023 by mikie

    Looks like some awesome shows coming up with you going back on tour. I tried to get on the Natalie’s website but my browser gave me a warning; guess I better call abt ticktes.
    Safe travels, keep on rockin. m

  13. Comment made on February 16, 2023 by Greg Webb

    yeap, am familiar w/ the Monkey, (have you ridden it?). Looks exactly like the very first bike I even rode when 12 yrs – my best-buddy’s spankin’ new 1970 Honda Z50 Minitrail. My eyeballs sproinged-out, and baby, that was IT. Flash-forward 400k miles later.. and yeah, the Grom would be my flavor. [aahhmm, says brain, do I really NEED a third motorcycle..?]

    • Comment made on February 17, 2023 by Jorma

      We own one… got the last year of the four speed a couple of years ago. I use it around the Fur Peace Ranch and well… basically just have fun with it. It’s fast for such a little bike but going 45 or more feels like you’re flying. Inverted forks, ABS breaks, FI… all the good stuff.

  14. Comment made on February 16, 2023 by carey georgas

    Damn. Misfire on the link. Here:
    I meant to say my corner of the world, not center. A Freudian slip, perhaps?

  15. Comment made on February 16, 2023 by carey georgas

    Meant to include this link for anyone interested in the ecological uniqueness of my little center of the world.

  16. Comment made on February 16, 2023 by Rob

    When i was younger, they had just passed helmet laws in most states and “Helmet Laws Suck” T-shirts and patches were pretty common.

  17. Comment made on February 16, 2023 by carey georgas

    This is totally off topic, but I believe within the purview of our host’s interests, so I’m sharing while it’s on my mind. Since I moved back to the woods in August I’ve been spending a lot of time in the protected lands we have around here. In my search for volunteer opportunities in the conservation realm I ran across an organization called the Texas Master Naturalist Program, under the umbrella of Texas Parks and Wildlife. It’s networked with all the conservation organizations in the region and offers an excellent learning program about ecological systems and their management. There’s similar programs in almost all states. In Ohio it’s called the Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist program. If anyone is so inclined as to do some hands on work helping preserve and restore Ma Nature in whatever neck of the woods you live in, I highly recommend checking out the opportunities around you. Harris County, home to the nation’s 4th largest city, has a chapter so Interested city dwellers have opportunities to preserve and protect their green spaces as well. Public service announcement, I guess. Hope it’s ok to borrow your space in such a manner, Jorma. Peace.

  18. Comment made on February 16, 2023 by greg martelli

    From wheels to wheels

    Reminds me of the Chris Hillman /Burritos song “We’ve got wheels “, about his eponymous band mates I’ll fated ride on a BSA 441 (Gram Parsons ).
    Speaking of wheels -I was loading up on cheap diesel for my Rubicon ( tongue in cheek -Cheap ),last weekend .I was in line behind a Young Man towing a dragster “Canned Heat”, he had Blind owl & Bear eulogized on the red monster .
    I spoke to him for a while as that’s a band that’s not on most young peoples radar .
    Did you ever share the stage ( performing ), with Henry Vestine (Sunflower ),not just at a festival (Monterey ),but playing ?
    I met him at Armando’s in Louisville in mid nineties ,he sat for both sets .
    We spoke at length at intermission as he never stood up ,he was at that point pretty compromised (H)physically .
    His playing was as crisp as when I had seen them in the 60’s& 70’s but angrier .Great player .
    Met the Bear at the bar of some Warehouse ,at intermission again ,
    in New Haven around 76 before picking up and moving to KY .
    That was a helluva band
    Don’t forget to boogie

    Back to motorcycles ,when younger -no helmet .
    Now it’s a must

  19. Comment made on February 16, 2023 by Greg Webb

    Nice sled, Jorma! Hey, in another direction, are you familiar with the Honda GROM? I’ve had numerous large bikes (27), but now I’m getting interested in this freak bike, as an around-towner. People (even big ones like me) RAVE about this little machine, its comfort, spunk, and huge Fun Factor. (No, Honda doesn’t pay me…) but just for kicks, check it out on some of the many YooToob vids. Pax – Bandit Greg NY

    • Comment made on February 16, 2023 by Jorma

      Yo Greg

      I bout the Honda Monkey for our daughter. It’s basically the same bike in a less racey configuration. It’s a slick little machine and it’s street legal. Well, so is the Grom. Anyway… check it out.

  20. Comment made on February 15, 2023 by Dale Radeleff


    I believe you are far enough to the West of the train wreck in Palestine Ohio but be sure to ride that beauty west from FPR so you don’t accidently get a wiff of the toxic fumes eminating from there.

    On another note, you and Raquel Welch were the same age, do you have any stories you would like to tell us 🙂

    Dale 😉

  21. Comment made on February 15, 2023 by Brian Doyle

    I go Jack’s route with my human-powered bicycle…Probably draws less females than the big metal…

    • Comment made on February 16, 2023 by Jorma

      indeed…To each their own I say… I must observe that jack’s eBike is not completely human powered and when the motor kicks in it’s… really fast!

  22. Comment made on February 14, 2023 by Mitch Spector

    Beautiful bike Jorma .My dad god rest his soul had a honda goldwing 1000 back in the early 80s and that thing drove like a car ..Enjoy it hope you get to use it on many great sunny day struts ! Peace & best of luck with your new wheels ..

  23. Comment made on February 14, 2023 by john o

    Nice ride Jorma!
    Not really a bike guy, had a Honda 250 in high school, but I know about Sportsters and your brand new Sportster S looks like the ultimate motorcycle. A Pocket Rocket and I love the white trim.
    Read yesterday that they’re opening Cannabis Cafes in SF where you go have some food, have some weed and hear some music. No alcohol. Sounds good to me.

  24. Comment made on February 14, 2023 by Ben Hochberg

    This bike probably edges out my old Buell in terms of power-to-weight, which irks me no end! 😉
    I thought the Buell was the ultimate Sportster, and at the time it was, indeed. Times change!
    What a fine bike that S is!
    Shiny side up!!

    • Comment made on February 14, 2023 by Jorma

      Yes Ben, but to give credit where credit is due, Buell got all those ponies out of a ‘traditional ‘Sportster’ mill.

  25. Comment made on February 14, 2023 by Richard K

    Happy Motoring!!!

  26. Comment made on February 13, 2023 by Rob

    We have artist series guitars. Harley and other manufacturers need to come up with artist series bikes. The Jorma Kaukonen Sportster S sounds good to me. I’m sure you’re far from the only musician that also rides.

    By the way, “Jorma” shows up as a misspelling on this website. Oh, the outrage.

  27. Comment made on February 13, 2023 by BrendanC

    Very cool. Being from the Toonces school of driving, I’ve avoided motorcycles, but look out for riders when I’m driving. I mentioned to a brother, who often gets cut off, and sometimes dropped, on his Atlanta commute, that I wondered if wearing a white helmet on a white Harley would buy a second for him here and there. I noticed same on a mounted policeman a good quarter mile behind me and had the thought, but I’m an alert driver always looking to contribute to safety.
    Will there be a post-grad HS battle of the bands,featuring Izzy and the Somethings? If you’re sitting in I suggest hooking comp up with an all-star lineup from yer school, so her band is runner-up, at best.

  28. Comment made on February 13, 2023 by Greg martelli

    This will invariably launch a tirade ,however nobody designs a better looking bike then the design team at HD .

  29. Comment made on February 13, 2023 by Greg Martelli

    Looks like the V-twin heads have sufficient stature to drive you through a turn .
    Water cooled ?Your comment on the brakes being super adequate is a great idea for the power your plant can generate .
    Enjoy the ride

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