Harley-Davidson Sportster S 1250 (RH1250S) Maintenance Schedule and Service Intervals

This is the maintenance schedule and service intervals for the Harley-Davidson Sportster S, a revolutionary new motorcycle that totally turned the Sportster paradigm back to what it used to be — a fast bike.

The Harley-Davidson Sportster S uses the Revolution Max 1250T motor, similar to the one in the Harley-Davidson Pan America, but tuned more for mid-range torque.

In the Sportster S, the Rev Max 1250T is still a DOHC liquid-cooled V-twin engine, but runs a milder 12.0:1 (vs 13.0:1 in the Pan America) compression ratio to produce a peak of 90 kW (121 hp) at 7500 rpm, with the same peak torque of 127 Nm (94 ft-lb) arriving earlier at 6000 rpm.

Similar to the Pan America, The Harley-Davidson Sportster S’s engine has self-adjusting hydraulic valves and thus does not ever need a valve service.

But in contrast with the Pan America, and more in line with most Harley-Davidson bikes, the Sportster S uses a belt final drive.

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Maintenance schedule for the Harley-Davidson Sportster S

Below is the service schedule for the Harley-Davidson Sportster S. This comes from the manual, but has been clarified for legibility.

Keep following this service interval past 50K miles (80K km) in the pattern shown.

Generally maintenance for the Harley-Davidson Sportster S can be summarised as

  • 5000 mile / 8000 km maintenance intervals where you have to change the oil and filter, and check everything.
  • Every two services, tighten everything up back to torque spec, and lubricate major bearings.
  • Every 2-4 years replace fluids, or as needed.

It has a lot of overlap with the Pan America’s maintenance schedule but has significant differences.

Legend for the maintenance schedule:

  • I = Inspect: Carefully examine component for excess wear, abnormality, contact, or leaks.
  • C = Check: Verify the component is within the owner’s manual or service manual service limits. Adjust or repair as necessary.
  • A = Adjust: Adjust until within spec
  • T = Tighten (to correct torque specs)
  • L= Lubricate: Lubricate the component as specified in the owner’s or service manual.
  • R = Replace:
  • Cl = Clean
  • Re = Rebuild: Rebuild the component according to the procedures in the service manual.
mi x 100015101520253035404550
km x 10001.68162432404856647280EveryNotes
Inspect electrical equipment and switchesIIIIIIIIIII
Check front tire pressure and treadCCCCCCCCCCC1
Tighten front wheel spoke torque (if equipped)TTTTT2,3,5
Inspect front brake fluid levelIIIIIIIIIII
Inspect rear brake fluid levelIIIIIIIIIII
Check front brake fluid moisture contentCCCCCCCCCCC1,2
Check rear brake fluid moisture contentCCCCCCCCCCC1,2
Adjust/Lubricate steering head bearingsAAAA,LAA2
Lubricate throttle controlsLLLLLLLLLLL2
Tighten hand control switch housing screw torqueTTTTTT1,2,4
Inspect air cleaner filterIIIIIIIIII3
Replace engine oil and filterRRRRRRRRRRR1,3
Adjust primary chainAAAAAAAAAAA
Replace transmission lubricantRRRRRR3
Inspect oil and brake linesIIIIIIIIIII1,2,6
Inspect fuel lines and fittingsIIIIIIIIIII1,2,6
Tighten upper front stabiliser link to engine bracket mounting screwTTTTTT1,2,4
Tighten front isolator mounting bolt and nutTTTTTT1,2,4
Replace brake systems fluid (DOT 4)2 years, or sooner if misture content greater: R2
Inspect brake pads and discsIIIIIIIIIII
Tighten front axle nutTTTTTT1,2,4
Tighten brake banjo boltTTTTTT1,2,4
Lubricate jiffy standLLLLLLLLLLL2,3
Adjust clutchAAAAAAAAAAA2,3
Lubricate brake and clutch controlsLLLLLLLLLLL
Tighten rear wheel spoke torque (if equipped)TTTTT2,3,5
Check rear tire pressure and treadCCCCCCCCCCC1
Inspect drive belt and sprocketsIIIIIIIIIII2
Check drive beltCCCCCCCCCCC2
Tighten rear axle nutTTTTTT1,2,4
Inspect exhaust system, fasteners and shieldsIIIIIIIIIII1,3
Check 12 volt battery – terminal torque, connection cleanness, lubricate terminals with contact lubricantYear: Cl/L1
Replace spark plugsR2 years
Rebuild front forks (Disassemble, inspect, rebuild, replace fork oil)Re2
Replace fuel filter100K mi (160K km)2,3
Check component and system functions (Road test)IIIIIIIIIII
Harley-Davidson Sportster S 1250 Maintenance Schedule


  1. Perform annually or at specified intervals, whichever comes first.
  2. Should be performed by a dealer, unless you have the proper tools, service data and are mechanically inclined.
  3. Perform maintenance more frequently in severe riding conditions. This includes extreme temperatures, dusty environments, mountainous or rough roads, long storage, short runs, heavy stop/go traffic or poor fuel quality.
  4. See torque specs in the service manual
  5. If spoked wheels fitted — perform spoke tension check at 1,000 mi (2,000 km), 5,000 mi (8,000 km), 20,000 mi (32,000 km) services and every 15,000 mi (24,000 km) interval thereafter.
  6. Check for leaks, contact, or abrasion.

Tires sizes for the Harley-Davidson Sportster S

WheelTyre size
Front160/70ZR17 73V
Rear180/70R16 77V
Harley-Davidson Sportster S tyre size

The Sportster S runs a Dunlop tyre that’s made specifically for the Harley Davidson Sportster S.

About the Harley-Davidson Sportster S

The Harley-Davidson Sportster S was a return to roots for the Sportster line.

Back when it was first created, decades ago, the Sportster was a fast motorcycle, and frequently worked over for all kinds of racing applications.

Since then it has remained fairly constant, and the Sportster had not changed significantly (other than receiving fuel injection) since the mid 80s.

That hasn’t stopped the Sportster from being loved. It’s a gentle, ponderous motorcycle that isn’t designed to be pushed hard. That is, until Harley-Davidson decided to shake things up, and released the Harley-Davidson Sportster S.

The Harley-Davidson Sportster S is a complete redesign from the ground up, sharing only with other Sportsters a name, a brand, and an approximate style. But the new Sportster is a bike that goes, stops, and handles.

At its heart it counts on the same motor as the one in the Pan America — the Revolution Max 1250T. That “T” on the end is a differentiator, and indicates that the 1252 cc 60-degree V-twin is tuned for its torque to come on earlier, at the cost of a little peak power.

The Rev Max 1250T still revs to a healthy 9500 rpm redline — great for a street bike, and sky-high for a Harley-Davidson.

The Sportster S is a huge step forward for the Milwaukee brand. Just a few of the things that changed are

  • An all-new liquid-cooled motor that’s larger, more powerful, more reliable (presumably so due to liquid cooling), and more everything. It’s a 1252cc liquid-cooled DOHC V-twin with variable valve timing.
  • A round TFT display, retaining a degree of classic-ness (but obviously it’s not an analogue tach)
  • Ride modes
  • Cornering ABS and traction control, thanks to a six-axis IMU
  • Drag-torque slip control to prevent wheel slips after abrupt downshifts
  • Cruise control
  • A tyre pressure monitoring system

The engine has a 90-degree firing order (it’s a 60-degree V-twin but there’s a 30-degree offset in the crank).

The torque is delivered mostly in the midrange, with a wall of torque all the way from 3750 to 7500 rpm. So punting it around in the middle of the rev range can be a lot of fun.

The first reminder that the Harley-Davidson Sportster S isn’t a full-on sports bike is the riding position and fat front tyre. You plough into corners feet first, and have to push more on the handlebar to than you normally would with a small sportbike front tyre. Luckily the handlebar is quite large, giving you quite a lot of leverage.

The second reminder is that the Harley-Davidson Sportster S only has one front disc brake. Oh well, fewer pads to replace I guess… At any rate, while the Sportster S could benefit from dual discs, most riders don’t feel that it’s lacking.

On top of the ride experience is the ownership experience. The new Harley-Davidson Sportster S’ Rev Max engine retains one of the important parts of the old Sportster line — low maintenance. Thanks to hydraulic valve lifters, the new Sportster S doesn’t need to have its valves serviced. And a belt drive means that aside from retensioning, little else is needed until you replace it every 30000 miles (48000 km) or so — not in the schedule, by the way.

The Sportster S has a responsive engine that makes good power for its class, without wandering into the territory of high-performance nakeds like the Ducati Monster 1200 S.

Manual for the Harley-Davidson Sportster S

The above maintenance schedule came from the manual for the Harley-Davidson Sportster S.

You can find it online here.

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