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Old 11-11-2008, 06:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Which year and style is best to buy

I know this is a broad question so let me first answer your question. I am a motorhead and have rebuilt several cars in my life to my enjoyment. A relative sent me his 1970 Triumph which is am rebuilding for him and I am really enjoying this. I made the mistake of going by our local HD store and while there I drank the Kool-Aid. I am hooked. Never being a bike owner I am unfamiliar with the territory but know it will be a Harley and I am leaning toward a Sportster 1200. Again I am a motorhead so being brand new doesn't appeal to me. But that being said I don't want to purchase problems either. From what I can read it appears that changes were made to the year 2003 Sportster that were good changes and so I am lending toward that year or younger. I am not going to be taking any long trips on the bike. Just jonts of a 100 or so miles around the area I live and some around the town stuff or local HD events. Would appreciate and respect any veteran thoughts you could share with me. I am not stuck on just a Sportster if you have better ideas. Respectfully, Sam
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Old 11-11-2008, 06:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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IMO, the best Sportster made was the 1200S (sport model). It came stock with mult-adjustable front/rear shocks (probably the best shocks Harley has ever made), dual plug cylinders with high compression, and hot cam. I believe the last production year was 2002. Here's a couple pics of my 2000 1200S.


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Current bikes in the stable:
2009 Street Glide
- 107ci, stage III heads, D&D Fatcat exhaust, Andrews 54 cam, TTS, 108hp 122tq
2003 Heritage Softail Classic
- 95ci, stage III heads, RB LSR exhaust, S&S 510 cams, 100hp 102tq
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Old 11-11-2008, 07:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samr View Post
I know this is a broad question so let me first answer your question. I am a motorhead and have rebuilt several cars in my life to my enjoyment. A relative sent me his 1970 Triumph which is am rebuilding for him and I am really enjoying this. I made the mistake of going by our local HD store and while there I drank the Kool-Aid. I am hooked. Never being a bike owner I am unfamiliar with the territory but know it will be a Harley and I am leaning toward a Sportster 1200. Again I am a motorhead so being brand new doesn't appeal to me. But that being said I don't want to purchase problems either. From what I can read it appears that changes were made to the year 2003 Sportster that were good changes and so I am lending toward that year or younger. I am not going to be taking any long trips on the bike. Just jonts of a 100 or so miles around the area I live and some around the town stuff or local HD events. Would appreciate and respect any veteran thoughts you could share with me. I am not stuck on just a Sportster if you have better ideas. Respectfully, Sam
After re-reading your post i have a few more comments. Harley, as you know offers a great line of bikes, from touring to sports models. The type of bike you select should lend toward your type of riding. As you can see, i own 3 different bikes - no single bike can do it all for me. I will say you can't go wrong with the Evo engine, whether it's an older touring bike or a new Sporty, as it is a tried and true platform. The Evo engine can alos make some big HP should you decide to go that route. Used Sporters can be had for cheap these days and would be great place for you start.
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Current bikes in the stable:
2009 Street Glide
- 107ci, stage III heads, D&D Fatcat exhaust, Andrews 54 cam, TTS, 108hp 122tq
2003 Heritage Softail Classic
- 95ci, stage III heads, RB LSR exhaust, S&S 510 cams, 100hp 102tq
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Man that is one gorgeous bike. You hit the nail on the head. I like this one and I love the look. Clearly you have done plenty of mod's paint ect.. How about the front disc breaks and wheels - is that original to a 2000. Also I have read about vibration on Harleys - which I like and is part of the Harley - but I have heard rubber engine mounts really help. Is that something I could add to this bike if it doesn't have it? Sam
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I for some reason like the Pre fuel injection models with a cut off of around 2002 or so.

Without the fuel injection there seems to be a lot less hassle changing exhaust, air box ect.

The slightly older 1998-2002 just seem to have cleaner lines to me but that is just me.

This is my 1998 883/1200 Buell/Thunderstorm conversion putting out 80 plus HP and I hear you can get more HP these days.



I am currently looking for a totaled 2000-2002 FXDL to rebuild if I every get lucky in the bidding.

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Old 11-11-2008, 09:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Karsten
I for some reason like the Pre fuel injection models with a cut off of around 2002 or so.
Actually, fuel injection on the Sportster line happened in 2007.
Quote:
Originally posted by samr
From what I can read it appears that changes were made to the year 2003 Sportster that were good changes and so I am lending toward that year or younger. ... Also I have read about vibration on Harleys - which I like and is part of the Harley - but I have heard rubber engine mounts really help. Is that something I could add to this bike if it doesn't have it?
The changes you refer to occurred with the 2004 model year. The Sportster was completely redesigned for the 2004 model year. There were a number of changes made to the motor, but the biggest change was that the motor was rubber mounted to the frame. That required a redesign of the frame, which stiffened the frame and made it about 50 pounds heavier than the 2003 and prior Sportsters. That design change did reduce vibration, but there is no way you can add rubber mounts to a pre-2004 Sportster. The frame won't allow it. Nothing will fit. Another design change to keep in mind between 2003 and 2004 is that the trap door transmission feature was dropped for 2004, meaning you can't work on a 2004 and later transmission without removing the engine.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MadCity View Post
Actually, fuel injection on the Sportster line happened in 2007.The changes you refer to occurred with the 2004 model year. The Sportster was completely redesigned for the 2004 model year. There were a number of changes made to the motor, but the biggest change was that the motor was rubber mounted to the frame. That required a redesign of the frame, which stiffened the frame and made it about 50 pounds heavier than the 2003 and prior Sportsters. That design change did reduce vibration, but there is no way you can add rubber mounts to a pre-2004 Sportster. The frame won't allow it. Nothing will fit. Another design change to keep in mind between 2003 and 2004 is that the trap door transmission feature was dropped for 2004, meaning you can't work on a 2004 and later transmission without removing the engine.
Thanks for the clarification and additional info. I knew the rubber mounted motor and all and for some reason was thinking that FI was about the same time.

Karsten
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samr View Post
Man that is one gorgeous bike. You hit the nail on the head. I like this one and I love the look. Clearly you have done plenty of mod's paint ect.. How about the front disc breaks and wheels - is that original to a 2000. Also I have read about vibration on Harleys - which I like and is part of the Harley - but I have heard rubber engine mounts really help. Is that something I could add to this bike if it doesn't have it? Sam
The front dual brakes and wheels are stock. The new rubber mounts do help with vibration but it's still there. My Sportster does not have rubber mounts but i have ridden both. The vibration on my bike is not really noticable until i get above 4000 rpms. How often do you ride around at those rpms? My point is i can cruise all day at 80 mph, which is around 3500 rpms, and the slight vibration doesn't bother me at all. If i'm really running it hard through the gears (to redline) then yes it puts out some serious vibes but it's only for a few seconds.
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Current bikes in the stable:
2009 Street Glide
- 107ci, stage III heads, D&D Fatcat exhaust, Andrews 54 cam, TTS, 108hp 122tq
2003 Heritage Softail Classic
- 95ci, stage III heads, RB LSR exhaust, S&S 510 cams, 100hp 102tq
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Old 11-30-2008, 07:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Opinions are like A**holes, and here's mine. You got some skills and like to tinker? Pick up a 2000-2003 883. You can find them for cheap. They're the lowest maintenence carb'd sporty. Most will already be Stage 1. For 500 bucks you can punch it out to a 1200 and save some cash on your insurance.
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