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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ok, Sportster owners, I got one for you!
First, a little background. Back in the early 90’s I had an associate that had a Sportster that he rode from Texas back home to Arizona and everywhere in between. I never heard him complain about it. Then in 2003 I was a hair away from buying a 1200C. It rode fine and had a nice pulse at idle. Unfortunately, the salesman was a jerk so I walked away. Since that time, I have ridden with and associated with Sportster riders and they swear by them.

But then HD shuts down KC and is in the process of relocating the production. Which I have always had a fondness for the Sportster and despise folks looking down on them, even among fellow Harley riders.

Then I recently did a review of Sportster. (Sorry, no video . . .well at least not on this forum.)

I think I got a bad couple to try, but I wanted to come to a forum that might have folks more versed in nuances of the Sportster beasts that could share with me your insight.

The first bike that really had my eye was equipped with a small sport fairing. I believe they are called bikini fairings in some parts. The bike was gorgeous with its white base paint color and late 70’s style stripes on the peanut tank. I was so excited to saddle-up and a turn of the key, push of a button and

NOTHING

The battery was dead! Now that was a shock considering the demo truck just set up a few hours earlier and I never saw one person mess with the bike.

Well, I shrugged it off as Murphy’s Law. I then get in the saddle of a Sportster 48. I do like the big wheels considering those pesky potholes that tend to grow. The neutral was near impossible to find, but it at least it started. Felt good rolling through the parking lot. I could see how this bike would be a good beginner bike or perhaps a forever bike for someone living in an urban environment where parking is tight.

We got on the road and dang I wished it had the bikini fairing. However, I think if it had drag bars with a 6” riser like my pal Lone Wolfer has on his bike Michelle, then perhaps the wind would not be as bad. We ran to the interstate and at speed, the suspension felt it was cranked too tight. Almost bouncy? I had to make sure I was in 5th at one point. No tach led me to use my calibrated seat-o-meter to judge perhaps the gearing was not quite right for the interstate?

We hit some back roads and the 48 settled down. I could feel an annoying buzzy vibe in my hands and feet but not my seat. Kudos on the seat! The airbox sticks out to far so set symmetrical you have one leg about 3-5 inches out in the air on the left and the other touching the cover. That could be better designed. Plus, the lifters got noisier as the ride went on.

Handling (other than the pogo like feel) was nimble. I inadvertently scrap on turning right from a stop. If you know my current ride, and follow my adventures online, touching metal is not uncommon.

So here are my questions –
1. Was moving to a rubber mounted powertrain a mistake? Of the Sportsters I have experienced that were before that change, they seem more sure footed.
2. Does it seem H-D is cutting too many corners on the quality of the bikes now?
3. Bikini fairings, do they really help?
I firmly believe the Sportster has potential and think if I were to pull the trigger and buy one, it would be a used one and I would have to test the heck out of it.

Let the comments begin!
 

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1. No, 2. Yes, 3. No


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Saved me some typing .. My 2001 was my favorite even got it after having the 2004 Rubbermount .. Although can go back to 1970 on my First Sportster .. Was my Ride of Choice for many years 2000-2003 is what I would get if were to buy another which I doubt at my age and choice of Rides anymore ..
 

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1 - Depends on you. A little vibration doesn't bother me. Pre-rubber mount is 50# lighter. Put in an anti-gravity battery and an aluminum swingarm, do some motor work and have fun putting serious spankage on your average Big-Twin rider.

2 - Yes. Harley's a commoditized product these days and loooong way from the over-engineered, easily rebuildable machine on which its legend was built, IMO.

3 - For me they do.
 

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Is a Sporty really for you?

Sporties aren't for everyone because everyone isn't Sporty.
Contrary to popular opinion a sporty is not a girls bike, but a real man's bike.

It is not a luxury ride, but rather a ride to experience the road and vehicle. The fact that you even mention the dead battery has me wondering if you would enjoy being a Sporty owner.

I love my Sporty and I am 66 years old 6'2" @ 240lbs. I have made my sporty a very comfortable ride which I enjoy. I bought the bike because she spoke to me. I love her and really don't want other bikes although I shop around from time to time, the smiles that she brings when riding are awesome. She is an adventure every time I mount her.

Sporty's aren't for everyone. Some are concerned more about what others think of their ride, or how much of a status symbol it is. I am thinking of the next improvement I can make to my Sporty to make her the ultimate Sportster.

 

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what he said

I love my Sporty and I am 66 years old 6'2" @ 240lbs. I have made my sporty a very comfortable ride which I enjoy. I bought the bike because she spoke to me. I love her and really don't want other bikes although I shop around from time to time, the smiles that she brings when riding are awesome. She is an adventure every time I mount her.
Sporty's aren't for everyone. Some are concerned more about what others think of their ride, or how much of a status symbol it is. I am thinking of the next improvement I can make to my Sporty to make her the ultimate Sportster.
Almost 70 and I feel the same way peace. My Softail is hiding out in the back of the garage. My Sporty is lighter, faster, more nimble, more comfortable and I think I can pick it up if I go down. LOL
 

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Sooo there a free bike tshirt giveaway on FB just pay sh and answer a quiz about what type of Harley I should have. I answered the questions, reliable and easy to get along with, like adventure, handling. Forget what the other ones were.

Anyways it said a Sporster is what I'm suited for. Just this morning I posted on another thread about what type of bike I used to ride. Y'all know what this means right.laugh.
 

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Y'all know what this means right.laugh.
Your trading the King for an FXR?😀

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Oh no I haven't ridden this king enough to merit an opinion of its capabilities. So far so good. This RK feels perfectly balanced and for the little I ride it will suffice. If I was 10 yrs younger I would buy a FXR in a heartbeat, but that won't happen.
 

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Bought a 1200C new in 2007. Still have it but it's been nothing but trouble. Next bike will be a Triumph.
 

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My 04 XL 1200 Roadster is my first Harley after 40 years of riding all kinds of other motorcycles . And I'll say it right now , I worship the thing ! I did a lot of research before I moved to Harley Davidson . Originally I was committed to getting a Dyna but then I came upon the Roadster . Twin discs , rubber mount , beautiful styling and above all a good old fashioned carburettor . What's not to like ? It took me two years to find an unmolested one in red . 7,000 miles and seven months later I haven't regretted my choice for an instant . I honestly don't think that there is any point in writing critical reviews of Sportsters because you're either hooked or you're not . I'm hooked . I've had 43 bikes but I've never had one where I get the urge to pull over to the roadside just so I can get off and walk round it repeating to myself " I've got a Harley " and giggling like a fool .
263835
 

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My 04 XL 1200 Roadster is my first Harley after 40 years of riding all kinds of other motorcycles . And I'll say it right now , I worship the thing ! I did a lot of research before I moved to Harley Davidson . Originally I was committed to getting a Dyna but then I came upon the Roadster . Twin discs , rubber mount , beautiful styling and above all a good old fashioned carburettor . What's not to like ? It took me two years to find an unmolested one in red . 7,000 miles and seven months later I haven't regretted my choice for an instant . I honestly don't think that there is any point in writing critical reviews of Sportsters because you're either hooked or you're not . I'm hooked . I've had 43 bikes but I've never had one where I get the urge to pull over to the roadside just so I can get off and walk round it repeating to myself " I've got a Harley " and giggling like a fool . View attachment 263835
I feel the exact same way. Picked my 98 Sportster up last year and absolutely love it!


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This is how it looked when I got it, can’t find any with the updates which aren’t much anyhow. I changed the seat for a more comfortable ride for the wife, added a taller sissy bar, removed the little windscreen, and put on 10” apes(love them by the way)



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Is a Sporty really for you?

Sporties aren't for everyone because everyone isn't Sporty.
Contrary to popular opinion a sporty is not a girls bike, but a real man's bike.

It is not a luxury ride, but rather a ride to experience the road and vehicle. The fact that you even mention the dead battery has me wondering if you would enjoy being a Sporty owner.

I love my Sporty and I am 66 years old 6'2" @ 240lbs. I have made my sporty a very comfortable ride which I enjoy. I bought the bike because she spoke to me. I love her and really don't want other bikes although I shop around from time to time, the smiles that she brings when riding are awesome. She is an adventure every time I mount her.

Sporty's aren't for everyone. Some are concerned more about what others think of their ride, or how much of a status symbol it is. I am thinking of the next improvement I can make to my Sporty to make her the ultimate Sportster.

Hey peace, great post. I know it is old. but just wanted to reach out. more people need to understand the sportster is just a blank canvas. as we take years to define our vision. peace out.
 

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My 04 XL 1200 Roadster is my first Harley after 40 years of riding all kinds of other motorcycles . And I'll say it right now , I worship the thing ! I did a lot of research before I moved to Harley Davidson . Originally I was committed to getting a Dyna but then I came upon the Roadster . Twin discs , rubber mount , beautiful styling and above all a good old fashioned carburettor . What's not to like ? It took me two years to find an unmolested one in red . 7,000 miles and seven months later I haven't regretted my choice for an instant . I honestly don't think that there is any point in writing critical reviews of Sportsters because you're either hooked or you're not . I'm hooked . I've had 43 bikes but I've never had one where I get the urge to pull over to the roadside just so I can get off and walk round it repeating to myself " I've got a Harley " and giggling like a fool . View attachment 263835
Slowbob. I read the post. Great story. my dad used to call it the fever. It really is. It can consume your thoughts. where the cure is only a hand full of the throttle. Enjoy it every day.......
 

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I have owned a number of Sportsters over the years starting with a 1972. I had a 1997 883 for 11 years. Great bike. I sold it 2 years ago. Last winter I bought a 94 883 with a 1200 top end. Then a 1999 1200S project came up and I had to have it. I always felt if the 1200S was the way to go for a keeper. I have never owned a rubber mount bike. If you go to the trouble of researching different models then you will find that for the "non" rubber mount bikes the 1995-2003 are the bikes to buy. You can get one for a very modest investment and they are great bikes. Good luck with you r search.
 

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I have owned a number of Sportsters over the years starting with a 1972. I had a 1997 883 for 11 years. Great bike. I sold it 2 years ago. Last winter I bought a 94 883 with a 1200 top end. Then a 1999 1200S project came up and I had to have it. I always felt if the 1200S was the way to go for a keeper. I have never owned a rubber mount bike. If you go to the trouble of researching different models then you will find that for the "non" rubber mount bikes the 1995-2003 are the bikes to buy. You can get one for a very modest investment and they are great bikes. Good luck with you r search.
Who's searching ? I've got my ideal Sportster .
 
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