Harley-Davidson Nightster (RH975) Maintenance Schedule

This is the maintenance schedule and service intervals for the Harley-Davidson Nightster (RH975), the liquid-cooled middleweight released as the smaller sibling to the Harley Davidson Sportster S, and part of Harley-Davidson’s emerging Sportster RH line.

The Harley-Davidson Nightster is one of the new “Revolution Max” powered motorcycles. It’s an upright “standard” cruiser with mid controls, basic ride gear, and a middleweight engine.

The core of the Nightster is the liquid-cooled Revolution Max 975T engine, a 975cc 60-degree V-twin. It has dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, and hydraulic self-adjusting lifters, with variable valve timing on the intake valves. It makes 67 kW / 90 hp at 7500 rpm — H-D have taken the unusual measure of releasing a claimed peak power spec.

The 2023 Nightster Special, which has different style of wheels, a headlight cowl, different tank badge, pillion seat, and a five-inch bar riser, shares the same maintenance schedule.

Final drive is via a 6-speed transmission and a belt drive.

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Harley-Davidson Nightster Service Intervals

The Nightster has 5000 mile / 8000 km service intervals. At every service, change the oil and filter, and look over the inspection checklist (below) of items to check for leaks, torque, and other changes.

The Harley-Davidson Nightster has hydraulic self-adjusting valves and thus does not have a valve service interval. However, Harley-Davidson does recommend you change the spark plugs every second service (every 10000 miles / 16000 km).

Make sure you also replace your brake fluid and your coolant regularly, per the schedule.

Maintenance Schedule

Below is the maintenance schedule for the Harley-Davidson Nightster.


  • Keep following it in the pattern shown.
mi x 1000151015202530
km x 10001.681624324048Every
Conduct standard inspection checklist (see below)Year
Engine oil – Replace (Harley-Davidson Syn-Blend 15W-50).Year
Oil filter – ReplaceYear
Spark plugs – Replace2 years
Steering head bearings – Adjust
Steering head bearings – Lubricate
Hand control switch housing screw — Tighten / TorqueYear
Master cylinder handlebar clamp screw – Tighten / TorqueYear
Coolant – Replace
Brake systems fluid – Replace (Castrol DOT 4)2 years, or sooner if misture content greater: R
Rear sprocket compensator – Inspect for wearEvery tire change
Front fork – Disassemble, inspect, and rebuild50000 mi / 80000 km
Harley-Davidson Nightster Maintenance Schedule

Service checklist

Below is the standard inspection checklist for the Nightster.

Harley-Davidson Nightster Service Checklist
Air cleaner / filter – Inspect
Fuel lines and fittings – Inspect
Electrical equipment and switches – Inspect
Tire pressure and tread (Front and rear) – Check
Coolant level, freeze point, and leaks – Check
Brake system – Inspect
Brake pads and discs – Check wear
Front minimum thickness: 0.4 mm / 0.016 in
Rear minimum thickness: 0.45 mm / 0.018 in
Brake discs – Check wear
Front minimum thickness: 5.4 mm / 0.213 in
Rear minimum thickness: 4.5 mm / 0.177 in
Brake fluid level, front and rear – Check (DOT 4)
Brake fluid moisture content, front and rear – Check
Brake and clutch controls – Lubricate
Clutch system – Adjust
Radiators and oil cooler – Clean
Jiffy stand / center stand (if fitted) – Lubricate
Drive belt and sprockets – Inspect
Drive belt – Check / Adjust tension (see below)
Exhaust system, fasteners and shields – Inspect
12V Battery – Check battery and terminal torque, and clean / lubricate lubricants (with contact lubricant)
Component and system functions – Check (Road test)
Harley-Davidson Nightster Service Checklist

Checking drive belt deflection

This is the procedure to check drive belt deflection on the Harley-Davidson Nightster.

  1. Put the motorcycle in neutral on its side stand. Harley Davidson suggests you take out the fuse and deactivate all power, to avoid somehow starting the motorcycle while working on the belt.
  2. Remove the lower belt guard (removing the screws)
  3. Use a belt tension tool to press upward. The tension tool helps you apply exactly 10 lb of force to the belt.
  4. Measure the amount of deflection. It should be between 1/4 to 5/16 inch (6.4-7.9mm). If the tension is not within spec, get a dealer to adjust it.
  5. Put the belt guard back, and tighten screws to 5.5-7.5 Nm / (4-5.5 lb-ft).

About the Harley-Davidson Nightster RH975

2023 Harley-Davidson Nightster Special RH975S RHS Static

The Harley-Davidson Nightster is a middleweight cruiser from Harley’s new liquid-cooled line, powered by the smaller Revolution Max 975T liquid-cooled V-twin engine.

The Nightster is different from the other Harley-Davidsons in many ways. It’s positioned as an entry-level motorcycle, suitable for first-time riders (in the US anyway, where first-time riders can ride bikes of any displacement and power level), with an approachable power delivery and low seat height.

But as with many middleweights, one of the secret truths about the Nightster is just how good a bike it is for many everyday riders who are thinking of downsizing, simplifying, or both.

While the Sportster S is a high-performance sport bike in the format of a cruiser (with its 120+ horsepower engine, inverted adjustable suspension, and high-end ride electronics), the Nightster is a much simpler affair. Yes, it’s down on power, but it’s also down on spec in nearly every way.

On the other hand, the Harley-Davidson Nightster is much closer to other Harley-Davidsons in style than the Sportster S is. It has a low exhaust pipe, a solo seat in base trim, and a side cover over the underseat fuel tank. It even has a 19-inch front wheel (the Sportster S has a sport bike-like 17-inch front wheel).

The “Nightster” name was last used in the XL1200N in the Sportster line, built during 2007 to 2012. But the new Nightster has nothing in common mechanically.

Let’s start with the engine. The 975cc liquid-cooled V-twin makes decent but not exhilarating amounts of power, peaking at 67 kW / 90 hp at 7500 rpm. It’s definitely enough to get the juices flowing, but it’s not the stuff of speed demons. Expect performance something like a Suzuki SV650, for example — definitely enough to have fun, and maybe to get the gump on most cars up to freeway speeds, but you’d see sport bikes and cars pulling away at that point.

Of course, comparing the Nightster with any former air-cooled Sportster model is an unfair comparison. They were never motorcycles intended to make tons of power, and they didn’t. Plus, they were heavier, and didn’t handle as well. So things have come a long way since… well, just 2020, when the last Sportster 883s shipped.

The Nightster’s RevMax motor is bolted directly to the chassis, and serves as a structural component of the chassis.

The H-D Nightster does have ABS, traction control, and three ride modes even. But it doesn’t have cornering ABS that the Sportster S touts as an advantage.

One critical difference between the Nightster — and indeed nearly every Harley-Davidson motorcycle — is the riding position. Rather than a foot-kicked-forward cruiser, the riding position on the Harley-Davidson Nightster is much more “standard”.

On the Nightster, your knees are at a right angle, and the bars are pleasantly in front of you without requiring much of a lean. It’s a very comfortable riding position, one perfect for riding for long stretches — aside from the wind blast.

Like many Harley-Davidson motorcycles, the Nightster doesn’t need valve servicing. But they do recommend you change the oil and filter every 5000 miles / 8000 km.

Reference — Manual for the Harley-Davidson Nightster

The above information came from the owner’s manual for the Harley-Davidson Nightster.

See screenshots below for reference.

You can get Harley-Davidson owner’s manuals directly from their website here, but you do need to create an account and sign up.

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