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Sportster Motorcycle General Discussion and Problems For discussing problems about your Sportster motorcycle that don't fit anywhere else.

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View Poll Results: (On a scale of 1-10) Should I get a Sportster??? Are they reliable??
9-10: Hell yes. I've had few/no mechanical problems, dealer's great (though I may have had to search around), fun, capable bike. It's the only one for me. 869 79.22%
7-8: Very good: I would recommend getting one, but I've had some nagging mechanical problems. Dealer's been okay to so so, like my Sporty, but one day I'll probably get another bike. 139 12.67%
5-6: Above average. Decent dealer support. Had some probs, but covered under warranty. Everybody's different. Figure out what suits you, and go from there. 66 6.02%
3-4: Below avg. I would look elsewhere before you buy. Let me tell you why. 23 2.10%
1-2: Poor. Harley's always made nothing but junk and always will make nothing but junk. Sportys are just another in a long line of poo. My dealer is crap. DO NOT BUY ONE!!! 19 1.73%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 1097. You may not vote on this poll

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  #511  
Old 3rd June 2019
jcn59 jcn59 is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 65
Sportster/Buell Model: 1200
Sportster/Buell Year: 1994
Sportster/Buell Model #2: 1200
Sportster/Buell Year #2: 1994
Other Motorcycle Model: Aspencade
Other Motorcycle Year: 1986
Reputation: 437948
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My 94 1200 supposedly had "work" done on it in the past, like all used sportsters, huh? It appears stock to me. It accelerates harder than I thought it would but I haven't run it against a clock or any other bike. If you went WFO from a rolling start, how many seconds would you be in first before you shifted?
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  #512  
Old 3rd June 2019
Toejam503's Avatar
Toejam503 Toejam503 is offline
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Dakota Territory
Posts: 2,800
Sportster/Buell Model: XL 1200 C
Sportster/Buell Year: 2006
Sportster/Buell Model #2: (Prev.Own)XLH Milw.Spec.
Sportster/Buell Year #2: 1981
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcn59 View Post
My 94 1200 supposedly had "work" done on it in the past, like all used sportsters, huh? It appears stock to me. It accelerates harder than I thought it would but I haven't run it against a clock or any other bike. If you went WFO from a rolling start, how many seconds would you be in first before you shifted?
one second? (1 mississippi)
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  #513  
Old 12th June 2019
Highly-Dangerous's Avatar
Highly-Dangerous Highly-Dangerous is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: 17130 Spain
Posts: 729
Sportster/Buell Model: XL 883
Sportster/Buell Year: 2006
Other Motorcycle Model: Big Dog K9
Other Motorcycle Year: 2006
Reputation: 1622214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toejam503 View Post
one second? (1 mississippi)


Quote:
Originally Posted by jcn59 View Post
My 94 1200 supposedly had "work" done on it in the past, like all used sportsters, huh? It appears stock to me. It accelerates harder than I thought it would but I haven't run it against a clock or any other bike. If you went WFO from a rolling start, how many seconds would you be in first before you shifted?
If you are going to run it against a clock or another bike.. take off in second gear!!

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  #514  
Old 16th June 2019
boomerguy boomerguy is offline
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Location: Rural area in SW Virginia
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Sportster/Buell Model: XL883 Standard
Sportster/Buell Year: 2005
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Only buy a Sportster if you want to have fun. It handles great, sounds great, is easy to work on if you're a DIY person, and a hundred other good reasons. In my case, I've always admired the Big Twins - especially the older ones - but I've never wanted to own one. I've always wanted to own a Sportster. It's the best of both worlds, a fun motorcycle to thrash in the twisties and a vintage motorcycle at heart because of its DNA.
I also like other bikes from all countries for various reasons but no other company makes a genuine Sportster. I think it is the Jamocha Almond Fudge of ice cream or the Sam Adams of beer. It is unique, regardless of the year or displacement.
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  #515  
Old 16th June 2019
hammer6315 hammer6315 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 459
Sportster/Buell Model: XLH883
Sportster/Buell Year: 2006
Sportster/Buell Model #2: 2005 XL1200Custom
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As the saying goes......'if I have to explain, you wouldn't understand'
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  #516  
Old 16th June 2019
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Hopalong48 Hopalong48 is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XLH
Sportster/Buell Year: 1966
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I have owned a couple of Sportsters a 66 XLH and a 70 XLCH and then moved up to big twins but there is still that old itch to ride a Sporty again, so I started looking around. I rode a pretty nice 99 883 and I hate to say it but it was like riding a bicycle to me. It run ok but what a dog it didn't have the feel that I remember and definately not the power. I weigh about 70 lbs more than I did in the 70s but my wife and I rode the XLCH 700 miles to New Orleans and that old bike run better two up than the 99 883. I looked at a 09 1200 the other day and somehow it just feels off. I understand that being used to riding a 15 RGS is an adjustment but I was expecting to see a little more sport in a sportster. Am I missing something?

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  #517  
Old 20th June 2019
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sportyone sportyone is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Papillion, Nebraska
Posts: 306
Sportster/Buell Model: XL 883
Sportster/Buell Year: 2003
Sportster/Buell Model #2: XL 1200 (totaled)
Sportster/Buell Year #2: 1994
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopalong48 View Post
I have owned a couple of Sportsters a 66 XLH and a 70 XLCH and then moved up to big twins but there is still that old itch to ride a Sporty again, so I started looking around. I rode a pretty nice 99 883 and I hate to say it but it was like riding a bicycle to me. It run ok but what a dog... I was expecting to see a little more sport in a sportster. Am I missing something?

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Hopalong, I suspect some of what your feeling is the DOT penalty...the Sportsters of the 60's didn't have very restrictive pipes or air cleaners to protect the "sensitive" ears of those brave enough to ride a Sportster.

I think the newer bikes are also tuned leaner than optimal to stay under government mandated pollution levels...the EPA penalty

Your rock'in '66 is probably close to 25lbs lighter than the '99 and 75lbs lighter than the '09...I call that the "civilizing the beast" penalty

The good news is if you want that 'ol Sporty Sportster feel, there is an impressive array of upgrades to bring the "beast" back out to play
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  #518  
Old 22nd June 2019
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Toejam503 Toejam503 is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XL 1200 C
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Sportster/Buell Year #2: 1981
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I get E-mails from J&P Cycles, on a regular basis. They have a Magazine? column called "Countersteer". This was their feature, today:


https://www.jpcycles.com/counterstee...rley-ever-made
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  #519  
Old 22nd June 2019
boomerguy boomerguy is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XL883 Standard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toejam503 View Post
I get E-mails from J&P Cycles, on a regular basis. They have a Magazine? column called "Countersteer". This was their feature, today:


https://www.jpcycles.com/counterstee...rley-ever-made
Love the picture. I used to do this all the time in the 60's on my little metric bikes. This is another reason why the mid-controls are better than forward controls. If a bump in the road is too high or low, just stand up to take the weight off your butt and use your legs as extra shocks.
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  #520  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
farmall farmall is offline
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Not "the only one for me" because I consider no motorcycle perfect, that's just drooling fanboi-ism and Sportster like other Harleys including big twins make very little horsepower stock, but they're excellent, reliable simple machines. (I'm a multibrand mechanic.) I enjoy mine around town and on dirt roads where the agility is nice but greatly prefer my FXRs (the most Sportster-like big twin) for highway and distance work. Sportsters are good, SIMPLE, pleasant to use machines and a breeze to work on. They're cheap and parts are cheap so no worries about thrashing them. I find (Evo) Sportsters excellent utilitarian motorcycles and the best bargain in the Harley world. You can score good runners all day for a couple grand or less, and the "girls bike" image is a price benefit because IDGAF what other people think but I like scoring deals on used Sportsters. Cheap 883s can be a great bargain since their (insurance cost driven) utter gutlessness drives prices down is easily cured by a bore kit and cams. When I repaint my 89" stroker I'm gonna find the fruitiest 883 tank decal I can (suggestions welcomed) and make it a sleeper.
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