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Fauxsuper
1st August 2008, 23:58
The limitation that Harley is stuck with is the fact that a Sportster has to look like a Sportster. Look how much weight they had to add to the frame to make it stiff enough to not have to use the engine as a stressed part. Buell's engineering (even the bikes out before the previous generation bikes) didn't have the limitation of having to use a conventional looking double cradle frame.

The Sportster's link to tradition and the original 1957 bike is both it's strength and it's weakness. It's getting harder and harder to improve the bike's performance without turning it into something altogether different. The XR1200 probably represents a high water mark for something that uses a poweplant derived from the original EVO motor.

Or spending a huge amount of money to re-engineer the bike from the ground up. As long as Harley can sell spin-offs of the current bike at a profit, they have no incentive to do just that. The fact that they can take what is essentially the Evolution XL bike (with fuel injection and rubber mount frame) and get a fairly remarkable level of performance out of it is quite an accomplishment in itself.

.

bigjnsa
2nd August 2008, 00:01
Why mess with a good thing? The Sporty to me is KISS.. Keep It Simple Stupid

Moved On / My Own Choice
2nd August 2008, 00:03
My prediction - as long as it can - I suspect that the EU or EPA will likely force a change before the market will.

That said, I THINK the weight thing is largely a cost driven issue - i.e. they could go to an aluminum frame and save a serious chunk, plus go with lighter materials for bodywork etc, but it would all cost and these are really entry level machines.

Kev

shmoo
2nd August 2008, 00:12
Harley may begin to think about liquid cooling when global warming makes air cooling impractical and civilisation collapses.

Fauxsuper
2nd August 2008, 00:13
My prediction - as long as it can - I suspect that the EU or EPA will likely force a change before the market will.

Kev

I agree. If you couldn't make them louder (IE: if only stock bikes could be registered) with aftermarket exhausts, Harley would sell a lot fewer motorcycles today. Some people won't buy a bike if they can't make racket with it.

Moved On / My Own Choice
2nd August 2008, 00:19
I agree. If you couldn't make them louder (IE: if only stock bikes could be registered) with aftermarket exhausts, Harley would sell a lot fewer motorcycles today. Some people won't buy a bike if they can't make racket with it.

I was talking tailpipe emissions, not noise, but the same principle applies.

And though I think a LOT of people buy Harleys on this juvinile noise making image - you're also talking to a 4 time owner who has run stock pipes or close to stock pipes for over 100k miles of Harleys - the LOUDEST bike I've ever had was my first Sporty with Screaming Eagle mufflers - since then it's been either stocks or gronks...

stealthammer
2nd August 2008, 00:25
Harley may begin to think about liquid cooling when global warming makes air cooling impractical and civilisation collapses.

:clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap

xllent01
2nd August 2008, 01:39
My prediction - as long as it can - I suspect that the EU or EPA will likely force a change before the market will.

That said, I THINK the weight thing is largely a cost driven issue - i.e. they could go to an aluminum frame and save a serious chunk, plus go with lighter materials for bodywork etc, but it would all cost and these are really entry level machines.

Kev


Have you seen the ghey -rod, or the XR 1200........ they already use lighter materials, or the fact the new XL line doesen't use metal oil tanks or metal side covers anymore??

but i do agree, it will come down to cost savings in the long run.......it has to.......... for the MoCo to survive!! ;)


As far as air cooled goes..........it's going out........when ...........thats the million dollar question........ Stay Tuned!!

Ralphthe3rd
2nd August 2008, 01:48
The rubbermounts DO USE Metal side Covers !

Have you seen the ghey -rod, or the XR 1200........ they already use lighter materials, or the fact the new XL line doesen't use metal oil tanks or metal side covers anymore??

but i do agree, it will come down to cost savings in the long run.......it has to.......... for the MoCo to survive!! ;)


As far as air cooled goes..........it's going out........when ...........thats the million dollar question........ Stay Tuned!!

xllent01
2nd August 2008, 02:15
The rubbermounts DO USE Metal side Covers !


Sorry man.........thats what happens when your brain types faster than your fingers........:doh


Anyhoo.........you get the jist of it....:p even if the bikes still use plastic clips and zip ties to hold the sidecovers on........:laugh :doh

bearsfan
2nd August 2008, 02:20
When I went to buy my bike, my youngest son eyed a CVO softail and asked the salesman if he could hold the bike until my son was old enough to ride it. I commented that by the time he's old enough (he was 6 at the time), bikes won't even have wheels, but more like hovercraft. The salesman deadpanned "Not a Harley - you're lucky they have electric start!"

dabronco
2nd August 2008, 02:41
Water cooling, and overhead cam four valve heads wouldn't exactly be a step back in performance. Hiding the radiator would be a challenge, but not impossible. Another 25 horsepower and 2500 rpm would kick ass. Not to mention a quieter valve train.

racerwill
2nd August 2008, 02:53
I think HD will keep the Sporty as an air cooled v-twin with a full frame for a long time......there's still too much nostalgic old skool to market..... they will have to have other bikes that are state of the art modern machines to compete with the Jap and Euro bikes that always seem to be as modern as they can be........

of course, they don't really listen to me anymore

Ww

milmat1
2nd August 2008, 03:23
Harley may begin to think about liquid cooling when global warming makes air cooling impractical and civilisation collapses.

Thats Correct !!

Of course we wont really care then will we ???..:laugh:laugh

jrossty
2nd August 2008, 03:23
Its really hard to say at this point.... all speculation... subtrafuge ...

Moved On / My Own Choice
2nd August 2008, 03:32
Have you seen the ghey -rod, or the XR 1200........ they already use lighter materials

Uhh, the Ghey-Rod is actually HEAVIER (by a couple of pounds) than the V-rod and there is nothing LIGHT about the V-rod - plus the XR is just as porky (unfortunately) as the rest of the XLs :frownthre so uhh, no they are not.

Water cooling, and overhead cam four valve heads wouldn't exactly be a step back in performance. Hiding the radiator would be a challenge, but not impossible. Another 25 horsepower and 2500 rpm would kick ass. Not to mention a quieter valve train.

Take a look at the V-rods, Harley has NO F'n clue how to hide a radiator, and I could care less about a quite valve-train that requires adjustments...

Gone
2nd August 2008, 03:51
The MoCo has put a lot more investment in Rotax and the new Buell motor than is warranted by Buell 1125 sales alone, or even total Buell units sold. The heavy and continued efforts they are making to quickly make it bullet proof might be a hint. I love my Sporty for what it is, but it will be my last one, and possibly last Harley if they don't quit relying on this nostalgic BS and move on.

alsipd
2nd August 2008, 03:58
Law and regulations, not public opinion, will be the dictator of where the Sportster goes from here. I remember when I was told that there will NEVER be a fuel injected Sportster. So I bought an 06 and FI came out in 07. Never say never.

Just consider how seat belt and helmet laws came about; they are about money and governmental lobby, not about safety. We used to be a country of free will; where did we lose the ability to choose our own destiny?

Sorry about the soap box!!!

dabronco
2nd August 2008, 04:04
Take a look at the V-rods, Harley has NO F'n clue how to hide a radiator, and I could care less about a quiet valve-train that requires adjustments...
As far as hiding the radiator, maybe they could hire a consultant. A jacketed water assisted cooling system could be done without changing the aesthetics of the engine that much, and wouldn't require as big a radiator. Valve adjustments, if shim type are at wide intervals, and if rocker type, need not be a pain in the ass. I've had both. My DOHC CB750SC was a pain to do, but I only had to do it once in five years. (clearances stayed in spec for 30000 miles after the first adjustment.) My SOHC CB750 could be done in half an hour. Once a year. Hardly a maintenance nightmare.

MadMax25
2nd August 2008, 05:18
My prediction - as long as it can - I suspect that the EU or EPA will likely force a change before the market will.

That said, I THINK the weight thing is largely a cost driven issue - i.e. they could go to an aluminum frame and save a serious chunk, plus go with lighter materials for bodywork etc, but it would all cost and these are really entry level machines.

Kev

MadMax25:
Hi Kev,
I can't believe you said that... that the Sporty is an entry level machine. That sounds like 'BT-owner-speak'. Maybe you were referring to what the MOCO thinks. How many Sporty owners will keep their Sporty as opposed to trading up to a BT? Perhaps a poll, if not already done, is in order

Moved On / My Own Choice
2nd August 2008, 06:27
As far as hiding the radiator, maybe they could hire a consultant. A jacketed water assisted cooling system could be done without changing the aesthetics of the engine that much, and wouldn't require as big a radiator. Valve adjustments, if shim type are at wide intervals, and if rocker type, need not be a pain in the ass. I've had both. My DOHC CB750SC was a pain to do, but I only had to do it once in five years. (clearances stayed in spec for 30000 miles after the first adjustment.) My SOHC CB750 could be done in half an hour. Once a year. Hardly a maintenance nightmare.

Valve adjustments - SHIMS?? F-that - seriously, you want that, buy a Vrod, or a Kawahonayamazuki - or maybe a BMW K-bike - but NO THANKS from this camp.

MadMax25:
Hi Kev,
I can't believe you said that... that the Sporty is an entry level machine. That sounds like 'BT-owner-speak'. Maybe you were referring to what the MOCO thinks. How many Sporty owners will keep their Sporty as opposed to trading up to a BT? Perhaps a poll, if not already done, is in order

???????????????????????????????

You're kidding me right?

It's really very simple, I put no value on the statement other than it's pure economic and marketing logic - the lowest priced products are almost always considered the entry level products.

Doesn't mean you have to have the desire to bump up to the more expensive ones, but that doesn't change the fact.

Remember I've owned 3 sportys and 1 BT in my life...

JonnyRtn
2nd August 2008, 06:49
Willy sent me a letter once asking about the V-Rod.. as a mechanic I know they will be eventually doomed to a water cooled motor.... but I told him to weld up a V-Rod motor in a conventional Harley frame/tins and I would ride it around, show it off and tell him what I thought.... I never heard a reply..... and this is a true story, but it was from marketing/research..... and it did have Willy's mark on it..... The comment about a Japanesse space alien configuration probably did not help my chances in the styling comments....

Gone
2nd August 2008, 08:21
I think they've already designed, marketed, and sold the next generation Sportster-it's called the VRod, and it'll flat smoke anything else the MoCo puts on the road........

williamv1203
2nd August 2008, 08:23
Sporty is an entry level machine.

If the Sportster isn't the entry level Harley, what is? The FLHTCUI? :wonderlan
"Entry level" is classed as and dictates the most basic and inexpensive offering the company has to offer.

xllent01
2nd August 2008, 09:36
Uhh, the Ghey-Rod is actually HEAVIER (by a couple of pounds) than the V-rod and there is nothing LIGHT about the V-rod - plus the XR is just as porky (unfortunately) as the rest of the XLs :frownthre so uhh, no they are not.





You missed the point completly.........the rod has a plastic gas tank that you actually sit your a$$ on, chessy air box with false top to simulate gas tank.......the new XR 1200 utilizing similar chessy top, with plastic body parts also .....air box, gas tank..etc...etc with an introduction aluminum swingarm :doh

i was referring to lighter materials also, not the overall weight...:laugh



That said, I THINK the weight thing is largely a cost driven issue - i.e. they could go to an aluminum frame and save a serious chunk, plus go with lighter materials for bodywork etc, but it would all cost and these are really entry level machines.

Kev


Entry level bikes are anything below 250cc and less than 380 pounds........:laugh :doh

if the sporty is entry level.......I'm glad i bought the right bike, because every whine a$$ Poser knows, thier to hard to ride.......:clap

gypsysailor
2nd August 2008, 12:24
We can already buy lighter, better performing bikes if we want to. I not interested in what Harley can do to my bike. It is a solid performer as stock. I want a bike that I can make my own, that I can do bling, noise, performance modifications to so I can make it better, different than the other guy that bought a stock bike just like mine. The sportster will remain much like it is untill the EPA rules it out of production. Look at the VW bug. it was reintroduced but is no longer a bug. A water cooled sporty would just be something else, prob a nice bike but not a sportster.

bearsfan
2nd August 2008, 13:14
That said, I THINK the weight thing is largely a cost driven issue - i.e. they could go to an aluminum frame and save a serious chunk, plus go with lighter materials for bodywork etc, but it would all cost and these are really entry level machines.
Kev

Have you seen the ghey -rod, or the XR 1200........ they already use lighter materials, or the fact the new XL line doesen't use metal oil tanks or metal side covers anymore??


Uhh, the Ghey-Rod is actually HEAVIER (by a couple of pounds) than the V-rod and there is nothing LIGHT about the V-rod - plus the XR is just as porky (unfortunately) as the rest of the XLs :frownthre so uhh, no they are not.

You missed the point completly.........the rod has a plastic gas tank that you actually sit your a$$ on, chessy air box with false top to simulate gas tank.......the new XR 1200 utilizing similar chessy top, with plastic body parts also .....air box, gas tank..etc...etc with an introduction aluminum swingarm :doh

i was referring to lighter materials also, not the overall weight...:laugh

I don't think Kev missed the point - or if he did, you didn't make your case very good. Following the chain above, one can only conclude that the discussion was hovering around machine weight, NOT individual component weight. :geek
No need to thank me, it's what I do. :D

Folkie
2nd August 2008, 14:16
or the fact the new XL line doesen't use metal oil tanks or metal side covers anymore??The side covers are metal.

ShadenGheist
2nd August 2008, 16:07
I read somewhere a while back that the V-Rod was the future Sportster replacement. I mean, it is sporty, right?

In any case, I voted for less than 4 years. Production on the Sportster will stop on Dec. 21st 2012. :doh

Moved On / My Own Choice
2nd August 2008, 16:10
I think they've already designed, marketed, and sold the next generation Sportster-it's called the VRod, and it'll flat smoke anything else the MoCo puts on the road........

There is much more to the Sportster than Speed - it's also a narrow chassis with excellent handling - well, it had excellent handling before it was neutered to only lowered models... and well, at least they still can have excellent handling.

The Vrod is heavier, longer and lower - not a formula for a SPORTster...

You missed the point completly.........the rod has a plastic gas tank that you actually sit your a$$ on, chessy air box with false top to simulate gas tank.......

i was referring to lighter materials also, not the overall weight...:laugh


:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Uh, no... I WAS talking about overall weight - what's the point of lighter weight materials if not to reduce weight. And I'm thinking more of major items like frames...

I don't think Kev missed the point - or if he did, you didn't make your case very good. Following the chain above, one can only conclude that the discussion was hovering around machine weight, NOT individual component weight. :geek
No need to thank me, it's what I do. :D

BINGO :clap

Moved On / My Own Choice
2nd August 2008, 16:11
I read somewhere a while back that the V-Rod was the future Sportster replacement. I mean, it is sporty, right?


Uh, no - you posted 1 minute too soon... :p

ShadenGheist
2nd August 2008, 16:28
Uh, no - you posted 1 minute too soon... :p

Story of my life...:laugh

Fauxsuper
2nd August 2008, 16:57
I've always found a certain honesty about the design of the Sportster: what looks like the oil tank, actually is the oil tank, and that thing that looks like a battery---well, that's the battery. I know some of the design elements in the Evo were deliberately retained to invoke the ironhead motor: Harley knows it's buyers are rather tradition minded. The Evo bikes are not quite as "pure" as the ironheads in this regard. But, there's a certain form-follows-function theme going on.

I'm repelled by bikes with a lot of "phoney" design elements: fake fins on water cooled bikes, Japanese bike engine cases "styled" to invoke Harley's designs. Fake scoops, plastic parts that try to look like metal, and even phoney gas tanks remind me of PVC film with woodgrain on the side of a 60's station wagon.

Part of my preferences has to be the fact that I had the Sportster "imprinted" in my brain by the fact that when I was in the first grade, one of my parents neighbors rode a Sportster. I used to sit and stare at it through the fence and I thought it was a wonderful thing: it made a marvelous racket and I used to love hearing him blast off down the street. It reminded me of a locomotive or the tractors on my uncles farm: machinery.

Harley's dilema is similar to Chevrolet's deal with the Corvette: how do you make it contemporary while still keeping it a Corvette. The new car shares virtually no parts with the old car, yet there are always historical elements present: the pushrod engine, the crossed flags. Admittedly the sportster is a lot closer to the original design. Perhaps better examples would be the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger. I do notice that the rubber on the brake pedal on my 06 F-150 looks a lot like the same part on 50's and 60's F-series trucks. A traditional pedal.

There's always some penalty to trying to adapt an older design to current needs. The extra weight the current bike carries around is do to a number of cumulative factors: the addition of an electric starter, the need for the engine/transmission cases to look traditional: the extra metal needed in the frame to compensate for the rubber mounting.

I'd hope that any new Sportster would be as honest as it's ancestors in terms of coming by it's appearance in an "organic" fashion. This is, I admit, quite a challenge. If the bike is water cooled, find a way to incorporate the radatior as an element of the design. If it has an overhead cam, don't try to make it look like it has pushrod tubes.

The "primitive" aspect of the Sportster that is a big part of it's appeal, has slowly eroded as the bike has become more refined. Each "Improvement" is often a negative to someone else. The elimination of the starter pedal, rubber motor mounts, turn signals, all alloy engines, belt drive, fuel injection, generator ignition are all things that most people will see as "improvements", but for others make the bike less of a real Sportster. Many of the discussions on this page are born out of this concept: "Where do you draw the line?". Most reviews by the motorcycling press miss this entirely, and I find amusement when each new gereration of journos attempts to evaluate the bike like it's some sort of appliance.

Part of this stems from the idea that all motorcycles are either racing machines, touring bikes, or cruisers. Even most "naked" bikes are spinoffs (with a detuned motor and cheaper suspension) from a bike that was originally designed to have a fairing. (That's why some of them have all the design charm of the back of an oven.) "Standards" or "retro Standards" are not as yet a large enough catagory to have their own magazines. I'm not sure if this a good or a bad thing.

The indeterminate nature of all this is why this page is such a unique place. Since everybody seems to have a different idea of what the "ideal" Sportster is, there will always be something to discuss or argue about. I doubt there is so much diversity on the Suzuki Hayabusa page, for example.

drd1135
3rd August 2008, 00:56
I read somewhere a while back that the V-Rod was the future Sportster replacement. I mean, it is sporty, right?

In any case, I voted for less than 4 years. Production on the Sportster will stop on Dec. 21st 2012. :doh


Actaully, isn't our technology going to attack us that day? Fortunately, it's only a girl's bike.:p

ShadenGheist
3rd August 2008, 02:18
Actaully, isn't our technology going to attack us that day? Fortunately, it's only a girl's bike.:p

Nah, that's when all the Ancient Calenders end. Supposedly, because the Sun will align with the center of the galaxy on that date, there is supposed to be a massive cataclysm...

It's also my 50th Birthday.:doh

dashadow
3rd August 2008, 02:26
For a minute there I thought I was the only one that was going to get the Dec. 21st 2012 reference.

All power to the Mayans!!:laugh:laugh:laugh

Moved On / My Own Choice
3rd August 2008, 05:12
I've always found a certain honesty about the design of the Sportster: what looks like the oil tank, actually is the oil tank, and that thing that looks like a battery---well, that's the battery. I know some of the design elements in the Evo were deliberately retained to invoke the ironhead motor: Harley knows it's buyers are rather tradition minded. The Evo bikes are not quite as "pure" as the ironheads in this regard. But, there's a certain form-follows-function theme going on.

I'm repelled by bikes with a lot of "phoney" design elements: fake fins on water cooled bikes, Japanese bike engine cases "styled" to invoke Harley's designs. Fake scoops, plastic parts that try to look like metal, and even phoney gas tanks remind me of PVC film with woodgrain on the side of a 60's station wagon.

Part of my preferences has to be the fact that I had the Sportster "imprinted" in my brain by the fact that when I was in the first grade, one of my parents neighbors rode a Sportster. I used to sit and stare at it through the fence and I thought it was a wonderful thing: it made a marvelous racket and I used to love hearing him blast off down the street. It reminded me of a locomotive or the tractors on my uncles farm: machinery.

Harley's dilema is similar to Chevrolet's deal with the Corvette: how do you make it contemporary while still keeping it a Corvette. The new car shares virtually no parts with the old car, yet there are always historical elements present: the pushrod engine, the crossed flags. Admittedly the sportster is a lot closer to the original design. Perhaps better examples would be the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger. I do notice that the rubber on the brake pedal on my 06 F-150 looks a lot like the same part on 50's and 60's F-series trucks. A traditional pedal.

There's always some penalty to trying to adapt an older design to current needs. The extra weight the current bike carries around is do to a number of cumulative factors: the addition of an electric starter, the need for the engine/transmission cases to look traditional: the extra metal needed in the frame to compensate for the rubber mounting.

I'd hope that any new Sportster would be as honest as it's ancestors in terms of coming by it's appearance in an "organic" fashion. This is, I admit, quite a challenge. If the bike is water cooled, find a way to incorporate the radatior as an element of the design. If it has an overhead cam, don't try to make it look like it has pushrod tubes.

The "primitive" aspect of the Sportster that is a big part of it's appeal, has slowly eroded as the bike has become more refined. Each "Improvement" is often a negative to someone else. The elimination of the starter pedal, rubber motor mounts, turn signals, all alloy engines, belt drive, fuel injection, generator ignition are all things that most people will see as "improvements", but for others make the bike less of a real Sportster. Many of the discussions on this page are born out of this concept: "Where do you draw the line?". Most reviews by the motorcycling press miss this entirely, and I find amusement when each new gereration of journos attempts to evaluate the bike like it's some sort of appliance.

Part of this stems from the idea that all motorcycles are either racing machines, touring bikes, or cruisers. Even most "naked" bikes are spinoffs (with a detuned motor and cheaper suspension) from a bike that was originally designed to have a fairing. (That's why some of them have all the design charm of the back of an oven.) "Standards" or "retro Standards" are not as yet a large enough catagory to have their own magazines. I'm not sure if this a good or a bad thing.

The indeterminate nature of all this is why this page is such a unique place. Since everybody seems to have a different idea of what the "ideal" Sportster is, there will always be something to discuss or argue about. I doubt there is so much diversity on the Suzuki Hayabusa page, for example.


Even my Gramma(r) would aprrove!!! :clap

ShadenGheist
3rd August 2008, 05:39
Even my Gramma(r) would aprrove!!! :clap

Your Gramma rides a Sporty? How Cool is THAT!!!:clap:laugh

747 FlightEngineer
3rd August 2008, 14:27
Radiators belong on crotch rockets and BMW's. Sportsters will cease to being a sportster if it ends up with a radiator.

ShadenGheist
3rd August 2008, 15:11
What would we call a water cooled Sporty anyways? A Wet Rubber?A Rad Rubber?:wonderlan

Folkie
3rd August 2008, 15:54
What would we call a water cooled Sporty anyways? A Wet Rubber?A Rad Rubber?:wonderlanhttp://www.harley-davidson-hangout.com/forum/images/smilies/zh_smilies/sign0082.gif

bearsfan
3rd August 2008, 16:15
What would we call a water cooled Sporty anyways? A Wet Rubber?A Rad Rubber?:wonderlan

A 'Wet-ster'. Oh I can see all the threads already!

'What color is your Wetster?'

'How the Wetster should look like!'

'How many miles do you have on your Wetster?'

'Is a Wetster really a Sportster?'

http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n143/soujrnr/puke.gif

Moved On / My Own Choice
4th August 2008, 02:21
Radiators belong on crotch rockets and BMW's. Sportsters will cease to being a sportster if it ends up with a radiator.

Ahem - BMWs? Not all - not boxers!!!

MadMax25
4th August 2008, 03:49
A 'Wet-ster'. Oh I can see all the threads already!

'What color is your Wetster?'

'How the Wetster should look like!'

'How many miles do you have on your Wetster?'

'Is a Wetster really a Sportster?'

http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n143/soujrnr/puke.gif

MadMax25:
And as was the case when the Nightster came out...
'Does my WETSTER use the same air as a regular Sporty?

hrg
4th August 2008, 10:26
they will produce it as long as they can, same like the big twins....

Hopper
4th August 2008, 11:07
Why would they change after 51 years? The Harley target market doesnt want the latest high tech widgets, they want an old air cooled twin, simple, basic, just as good as it ever was. Recent sales indicate this is good business sense so they are not going to screw up a good ting.

Gone
4th August 2008, 14:34
Guys .. don't worry about it, if the environmentalist and a rather progressive group in Washington have their way, we'll all be pushing Schwinns in a few years.

jason43
4th August 2008, 14:48
They'll make them until they stop selling... which will be when the oil runs out of the planet.

biknut
4th August 2008, 15:23
Have you seen the ghey -rod, or the XR 1200........ they already use lighter materials, or the fact the new XL line doesen't use metal oil tanks or metal side covers anymore??

I guess you failed to notice that the new XR1200 is the heaviest Sportster ever made. 590 lbs wet.


I think what's going to put the air cooled motors out of business is the pursuit of more horsepower. Sportsters have the most horsepower now that they've ever had, and engine temperature is getting red hot. I don't think they can go much farther hp wise with air cooling.

dombell
5th August 2008, 01:04
Have you checked out the 2009s? There is no more "real" Sportster as in the standard no bullshit 883 or the XL1200R - All we have now are the "lows" and the would-be bad-ass Nightster and the "customs" - H-D has run out on us boys.

A real XLCH sure would be good - again.

Folkie
5th August 2008, 07:42
I don't think they can have sold well; they're still in the line up elsewhere.

Fauxsuper
5th August 2008, 19:23
I do find it interesting that the "winner" so far in the poll is "The air cooled Sporty will life forever". I don't know if this is wishful thinking or an opinion. There are at least three factors that would seem to indicate the aircooled motor has a finite shelf life, they are:

1. Noise
2. Emissions
3. Performance

1. Noise----This is tough. You'll notice the newest Harleys are pretty quiet right out of the box, and most riders turn to the aftermarket to provide the cure. Slowly, one would expect the various states to crack down on this, and you are bound to see bans on aftermarket exhausts appear. To meet noise regulations, Harley will have to resort to larger (and heavier) exhaust systems in order to me US and EU noise regulations. You'll notice the size and volume of the XR1200 exhaust system.

Among the Sportster-specific problems are the facts that the Sportster makes a lot of mechanical racket that radiates off of it's cooling fins. Also, the engine intake is on the same side as the exhaust so the induction noise piles on top of the exhaust noise. We'll need to see larger and more efficient induction systems, in terms of noise regulation. The XR1200's induction system had to take those concepts into it's design.

Water cooling helps in terms of noise suppression, as water jackets surrounding the motor help reduce the mechanical noise that radiates off of the engine. Any cuts in mechanical noise will allow the motorcycle to have a corespondingly louder exhaust note, which is certainly a marketing factor.

Emissions-------The trick here is controlling temperature and this is getting harder to do all the time with air cooled engines. The oil cooling jets on the XR1200 are a step in doing this, certainly not completely emissions related, as engine life and the ability to generate more power while avoiding overheating are paramount. But as regulations become stricter, as they surely will, maintiaining engine temperatures within a given range will become increasingly difficult.

The use of Catalytic converters will also greatly hamper the sale of aftermarket exhausts, as routine inspections will surely follow. Determined bikers will find ways around this but the general public will not likely break the laws if they face penalties for doing so. Although many bikers don't need an enhanced sound track, if all Harleys had to be as quiet as a Goldwing, fewer people will buy them.

Performance------- The XR1200 probably represents the high mark in terms of what can be wrung out of a Sportster-ish bike in terms of power with the current motor. ANY further intensification of emissions or noise regulation is likely to emasculate the bike further. It will be hard for them to come out with a "new improved" version when sales start to falter. One could argue that air cooled engines will always be possible in low stress situations where torque is more important than peak power, and you might be right. But, Harley has been slowly increasing the size of it's motors (along with the rest of the industry) and somehow I doubt there's much practical room for displacement increases of the Sportster motor without a complete redesign.

None of these problems are insurmountable in and of themselves. It might actually be a decade or more before government regulations make air cooled engines a thing of the past. But I do think that the combination of all the above factors might converge at some point to where the Sportster becomes too expensive, heavy, and slow to appeal to buyers. Will the public accept a general purpose Sportster without Shorty Duals? Without the big chrome air cleaner on the side of the bike?

On the other hand, the air cooled motor has lasted a lot longer than most people would have thought 20 years ago. There may be engineering solutions that allow this to happen. The next few years will determine the Sporty's fate. Will they sell enough of the current lineup to make the bike worthwhile to sell? Does the XR1200 represent a new generation of Sportsters, with oil-cooled engines?

I'm not saying that it's impossible. It's just going to be a difficult task to keep the Sportster as the same bike that we've come to know. If there is a Sportster in the future, I think it's likely to be quite different.

Moved On / My Own Choice
5th August 2008, 19:26
I can't believe you're talking the answers to such a poll seriously... ;)

Fauxsuper
5th August 2008, 21:14
I can't believe you're talking the answers to such a poll seriously... ;)

To quote the joker. when people say "Are you SERIOUS?" I usually respond with: "Hardley Ever.".

Gee, I wouldn't :banarasta:banarasta take anything serious. Work is bad enough. That's why I used the phrase "wishful thinking". I think the poll is fun, and I do find the answers sufficiently amusing to hold off any charegs of "seriousness". I was actually hoping for some debate about the points I raised. You know, examples of other manufacturers (Ducati, Guzzi, Triumph.) as having a stake in the air cooled motorcycles future.

In fact, there's a new Moto Guzzi, the V7 Classic that looks like a nice ride to me. It's air cooled and I don't know what it cost to develop (not knowing all that much about Guzzi Motors, save for the obvious), but I doubt they have money to toss out there for a bike that's not going to be made for long. The fact that this bike even exists would seem to call my own analysis of the situation into question.

It would seem that there would be no reason a re-engineered Sportster couldn't have similar specs in terms of performance and weight. The current 883 Sportster has got to be somewhat less profitable than the 1200, simply because it has to cost virtually the same amount to produce as the 1200 does. Larger pistons don't cost all that much more to make than the smaller ones, and I'd wager the 883 motor doesn't cost that much less for Harley to make. The engine and transmission cases, the frame, brakes and wheels all have to be made heavier to deal with the power of the larger displacement motor.

A bike designed from the ground up to be a 750 might be an interesting piece. Maybe it could weigh in under 450# and sell at a profit for either the same or less than the current bike. I'd say that one of the factors here has to be if air cooling is a viable long term prospect for any new bike. The other one has to be how anything new would go over with the buying public. The new bike could be better in every measurable way, and still not strike the buying public as a "True Harley". One only has to look at the rather meager sales success of the V-Rod to understand why Harley might be a little gun shy.

Moved On / My Own Choice
5th August 2008, 23:04
I guess it gets old debating the same stuff.

Your points are well thought out and reasoned - but there are plenty of counterpoints.

BMW, Guzzi, Ducati and Triumph (as you say) all have air-cooled motors, some of which are new or newer.

Guzzi's V7 is just a B750/N750 with new bodywork, so that's not support for a counterargument - except that ZERO of their bikes are current water-cooled, so they obviously don't appear worried about it.

And Harley hasn't exhausted possible methods to reduce emissions - like cat-cons or ???

citified
6th August 2008, 02:31
when we finally march on washington with pitchforks and torches we can have whatever d@#n bike we want. That day is getting closer.

whittlebeast
6th August 2008, 03:34
Fauxsuper

Great post.. Very well thought out and written.

I feel a version of the V-Rod motor is the only way out. I have indication from a source within EPA that any re-tuning of the existing ECU will soon be a thing of the past including all reflashes by the dealer. I wonder how they will deal with programing errors.

AW

josephthreedogs
6th August 2008, 16:26
No opinion.

waiteitei
6th August 2008, 21:16
simple answer is

as long as they can keep selling them and people will buy them

rokclmb
9th August 2008, 15:26
Mine is water cooled (Oh yeah, that's only when I'm riding in the rain)

shmoo
11th August 2008, 01:02
Might solve (part) of the cooling problem by mounting the engine sideways to get the cylinders out into the airflow. But that would be wrong.

coltrain311
11th August 2008, 16:10
Motor Cyclist had a little bit about a liquid cooled sportster a couple of years ago. Looked like a v-rod / sportster mix. Didn't give any kind of real useful information, just a pic.

humpbackbob
11th August 2008, 17:17
Maybe we will see something resulting from the MV-Augusta buyout? That would be an interesting development.

Moved On / My Own Choice
11th August 2008, 17:20
Motor Cyclist had a little bit about a liquid cooled sportster a couple of years ago. Looked like a v-rod / sportster mix. Didn't give any kind of real useful information, just a pic.

Yes, it was discussed extensively here about 2 years ago - it was a poor photoshop of a Vrod and a Sporty based on some clueless dude's description of an XR1200 test mule they saw.

Nothing water-cooled about it.

Kev

Fauxsuper
11th August 2008, 18:45
[QUOTE=humpbackbob;1408737]Maybe we will see something resulting from the MV-Augusta buyout? QUOTE]

Well, this might result in a infusion of technology. I think an update of the sportster motor might be needed. The trick is going to be keeping the Sportster heritage intact while making a lighter engine/transmission package that will allow for higher performance and a lighter machine. Future noise and emissions requirements will need to be taken into consideration. Designing the motor to be easily adapted to water-cooling it becomes needed might be an interesting approach to take. MV might be of some technical assistance here.

The anitique configuration of the Sportster motor is part of it's charm to a number of riders, so this is a formidable challenge to undertake. I'm not sure how inexpensive the current engine is to manufacture, particularly in it's 883 configuration. The base 883 Sportster is sort of a loss leader bike, in terms of being profitable for the Motor Company as it now stands.

Another need will be to make a design that can spawn a number of models: an entry level "starter bike", a "Sporty" model and a "Custom". The Sportster has always been able to accomplish this feat without the result looking peculiar in some of the forms. (I'm thinking of some of the more "chopper" like designs from companies like Triumph and Moto Guzzi that we've seen hit these shores)

krono
12th August 2008, 07:14
Why not oil cooler instead of water cooling? They could add a nice oil radiator like they did on the XR1200 plust some fans, more oil... and just stop using a lean map on the EFI (at least for models that go to laxed laws areas of the world like here, here a 2 stroke engine is legal, so a proper running harley is too).

If I were the owner of Harley, I would give a big finger to America gov/EPA just moving the factory out of USA to a offshore paradise and making the machines like I want, noisy, powerful, and caring less about EPA rules

But, I'm not business men so I somehow sense that it would cost billions...

Anyways, I'm used that, when we dont like what the gov is doing, we just throw a revolution...
:P

fun2none
12th August 2008, 13:35
My two-cents:

Sportsters will be oil cooled before water cooled. The XR1200 gives us a glimpse of what is to come. It has large volume oil pump and lines that route cooling oil to the heads. As another post mentioned, BMW, Moto Guzzi, Ducati, and Victory all have engines with cooling fins and oil coolers. There are effective means to meet emission standards and preserve the look and mechanical beauty of an air cooled motor.

I would expect the next-generation Sportsters to have an slightly larger displacement and have an integrated oil cooler that is built into either the chassis tubing (uses the frame as the oil tank) or attached directly to engine case. A return to a frame mounted motor and a counter-balanced engine would be cool too.:rolleyes:

Moved On / My Own Choice
12th August 2008, 14:33
If I were the owner of Harley, I would give a big finger to America gov/EPA just moving the factory out of USA to a offshore paradise and making the machines like I want, noisy, powerful, and caring less about EPA rules

But, I'm not business men so I somehow sense that it would cost billions...


Uh, that wouldn't work out too well considering how much of the brand's sales are still mired in patriotism - the day may come, but it's not here yet.

My two-cents:

Sportsters will be oil cooled before water cooled.

I know what you meant, but for the record, they ARE oil cooled now... ;)

Tick
12th August 2008, 15:04
As long as they make Sportsters.

daggar rider
12th August 2008, 15:43
sorry to say i think harley will have a liquid cooled model out within the next 4yrs, so they can keep up, i don't like it, i actually think its a bad idea but i think its enevitable

Fauxsuper
12th August 2008, 18:45
My two-cents:

Sportsters will be oil cooled before water cooled. The XR1200 gives us a glimpse of what is to come. It has large volume oil pump and lines that route cooling oil to the heads. As another post mentioned, BMW, Moto Guzzi, Ducati, and Victory all have engines with cooling fins and oil coolers. There are effective means to meet emission standards and preserve the look and mechanical beauty of an air cooled motor.

I would expect the next-generation Sportsters to have an slightly larger displacement and have an integrated oil cooler that is built into either the chassis tubing (uses the frame as the oil tank) or attached directly to engine case. A return to a frame mounted motor and a counter-balanced engine would be cool too.:rolleyes:

I doubt the Sportster will go to a much larger displacement motor, as it would then likely canibalize Big Twin sales. at the bottom of the BT range. Also, a larger motor would likely not work as they also need a lower priced entry level bike. A counter balanced motor is an interesting proposition as it would allow the use of a lighter frame as the engine could then be used as a stressed member.

A 1000cc counter balanced engine, in two states of tune, one for "cruiser" styled bikes and one for sportier models, (Assuming the XR1200 sells well enough for Harley to stay in this end of the market.) in a bike weighing around 450# is an interesting thought. A more modern design should be able to exceed the XR1200 performance envelope, as well as supply the grunt needed for cruiser type bikes as while exceeding the performance of the current XL's. The XR version would be like the XR with upgraded brakes and suspension parts, or maybe even a few lightweight bits.

I think to have two displacement sizes off the same basic cases is somewhat counter-productive as the smaller bike always ends up being an overweight- for-it's-class bike that is nearly as expensive to produce as the larger one.

I think the American economy is going to be as important a factor as anything. The next year could shape up to be an interesting one. Harley might find itself selling a lot of Sportsters just because they feature such good gas mileage, and make nice commuter bikes. Or, bike sales could just go into the toilet as people struggle to keep food on the table.

Harley might not want to take a chance in either case of altering what has been historically it's best selling line of bikes. IE: They might not want to spend the money on an all new motorcycle design.

Moved On / My Own Choice
12th August 2008, 19:16
I think to have two displacement sizes off the same basic cases is somewhat counter-productive as the smaller bike always ends up being an overweight- for-it's-class bike that is nearly as expensive to produce as the larger one.


I guess if you're nothing but Amero-Centric that might make sense. But if you want to sell bikes to the rest of the world, that has tiered licensing and/or insurance/tax requirements that are linked to CC's or HP, then that obviously doesn't jive.

That's why for decades many manufacturers (especially Euro) make smaller bore and/or shorter stroke versions of vehicles built on the same chassis.

and yes, I know well there is another potential movivation for shorter stroke, and that does explain a few of the examples...


Harley might not want to take a chance in either case of altering what has been historically it's best selling line of bikes. IE: They might not want to spend the money on an all new motorcycle design.

So you're saying they are not going to change their Touring models or Softails???

Of course, they did just change their touring models but ....

Remember, the Sporty has NEVER been their best seller (well, at least for the past 2 decades, before that I can't say)...

chillichugger
12th August 2008, 22:48
I dont think harley will ever make sportsters liquid cooled, they sell way too many the way they are now. People buy a harley for a harley. Vrods are kinda sorta in the middle as far as performance/cruising & use the revolution engine... which is liquid cooled. They also cost 50%+ more. Not to mention a radiator would look like crap on a sporty.

fun2none
12th August 2008, 23:22
Uh, that wouldn't work out too well considering how much of the brand's sales are still mired in patriotism - the day may come, but it's not here yet.


The foreign part content of the latest models is probably greater that we would prefer. I would not be surprised if the only US made items are the chassis and engine and the remaining sub-assemblies arrive at the factory pre-fabricated.


I know what you meant, but for the record, they ARE oil cooled now... ;)

At least to my knowledge, engines that are designated oil cooled (late 80's Suzuki GSXR-750/1100, BMW R1100/1150/1200, vintage Porsche 911) have two features in common: (1) dedicated oil circuit for cooling hot spots like the bottom of piston and exhaust valve pocket and (2) an efficient oil cooler (large area and high flow).

I could be wrong but I do not believe the Sportster engine, with the exception of the XR1200, has these features -- at least my '01 1200S don't have them .

Folkie
12th August 2008, 23:34
At least to my knowledge, engines that are designated oil cooled (late 80's Suzuki GSXR-750/1100, BMW R1100/1150/1200, vintage Porsche 911) have two features in common: (1) dedicated oil circuit for cooling hot spots like the bottom of piston and exhaust valve pocket and (2) an efficient oil cooler (large area and high flow).

I could be wrong but I do not believe the Sportster engine, with the exception of the XR1200, has these features -- at least my '01 1200S don't have them .The rubbermount engine does have oil jets to cool the bottom of the pistons.

Fauxsuper
13th August 2008, 00:53
I guess if you're nothing but Amero-Centric that might make sense. But if you want to sell bikes to the rest of the world, that has tiered licensing and/or insurance/tax requirements that are linked to CC's or HP, then that obviously doesn't jive.

That's why for decades many manufacturers (especially Euro) make smaller bore and/or shorter stroke versions of vehicles built on the same chassis.

and yes, I know well there is another potential movivation for shorter stroke, and that does explain a few of the examples...



So you're saying they are not going to change their Touring models or Softails???

Of course, they did just change their touring models but ....

Remember, the Sporty has NEVER been their best seller (well, at least for the past 2 decades, before that I can't say)...

OK, you are correct if you lump all the bigger bikes into only two catagories, as Harley does.


I don't know that the 883 and 1200 were created with much thought to the European and Asian markets, and I do think that once the bikes get to the size of a sportster that this is a major factors to the marketing guys. Maybe our European buddies will help us out here. I've been under the impression that this sort of thing was mainly a factor in smaller capacities, like 250, 350, and 500's.

I said nothing about the bigger bikes, but one will take notice that Harley doesn't just easily whip out new engine designs as often as some manufacturers. Paticularly in the Sportster range where there isn't enough profit to recoup expenses as quickly. My point is that if Harley is thinking of updating the Sportster, they might wait till we pull out of this rough economic patch, or that if they sell a lot of bikes due to the gas mileage thing, they might not pull the trigger right now.

Folkie
13th August 2008, 01:20
I don't know that the 883 and 1200 were created with much thought to the European and Asian markets, and I do think that once the bikes get to the size of a sportster that this is a major factors to the marketing guys. Maybe our European buddies will help us out here. I've been under the impression that this sort of thing was mainly a factor in smaller capacities, like 250, 350, and 500's.I learned to ride, and passed my test, on a 125cc bike. There's no way I'd have gone from that to a 1200 for my first 'proper' bike. If the 883 Sportster hadn't existed, I'd have probably got a Yamaha 650 Dragstar.

Moved On / My Own Choice
13th August 2008, 13:05
The foreign part content of the latest models is probably greater that we would prefer. I would not be surprised if the only US made items are the chassis and engine and the remaining sub-assemblies arrive at the factory pre-fabricated.


I'm sure it's more than most people would like, but that's true with every single American produced vehicle these days.

At least many of the japanese components - Showa suspensions, and I THINK the nissin Brakes, are produced at US plants.

The EFI systems are Delphi - US (they used to be Weber-Marelli - European)

The tanks, fenders, most of the stock chromed bits are mostly produced in house.

The cast wheels come from a Harley owned plant in Australia.

Bearings are or were Timken - US ... not sure if they still are.

There was a time when most of the electrics where Japanese, but I don't think that's currently the case...



At least to my knowledge, engines that are designated oil cooled (late 80's Suzuki GSXR-750/1100, BMW R1100/1150/1200, vintage Porsche 911) have two features in common: (1) dedicated oil circuit for cooling hot spots like the bottom of piston and exhaust valve pocket and (2) an efficient oil cooler (large area and high flow).

I could be wrong but I do not believe the Sportster engine, with the exception of the XR1200, has these features -- at least my '01 1200S don't have them .

Just because some manufacturers (like BMW) differentiate one generation of bikes with the term oil cooling (Oilhead) to distinguish them from their older "air cooled" bikes (Airheads) doesn't change the FACT that any air-cooled motor ALSO uses the oil for cooling.

You don't NEED a dedicated oil cooler to do that.

And as Folkie points out, there are oil cooling jets spraying oil under the pistons to cool them.

Oil cooling is also a factor in how the rear cylinder of a Harley not only doesn't burn up, but runs as cool or cooler than the front...


OK, you are correct if you lump all the bigger bikes into only two catagories, as Harley does.


NO THEY DON'T JEZUS - get your facts straight they're posted on the F'n Harley website.

http://investor.harley-davidson.com/shipments.cfm?locale=en_US&bmLocale=en_US&WebLogicSession=IiOF2X3STQzGUGckZyQi3fN4AYe3f7is6g cRI1Zysokvg1oYaXvT!-469951230!hdijunapppr08.ihd.hd!7005!8005


TOURING MODELS have been listed separately for years - they have handily outsold Sportys in all the years they have listed.

2004

Sporty 69k
Custom 154k
Touring 93k

2005

Sporty 70k
Custom 148k
Touring 110k

2006

Sporty 64k
Custom 161k
Touring 123k


2007

Sporty 72k
Custom 144k
Touring 114k


That means touring models in those years were as much as double Sporty sales.

YES, the lump Vrods, Softails and Dynas together, but a couple of Harley dealers told me that during the 90s the Softails were the best sellers - and I THINK their sales numbers are still up there -

Vrods sales are obviously miniscule in comparison - let's say there are 10 or 20k of them sold just for arguments sake.

I've been told that Dyna sales are not stellar either - even if they are double that of the Vrods - maybe 20-40k ... that means maybe 40-60k of those customs in any given year are other than softails - meaning Softails would STILL be matching or outselling Sportys (at double the profit).

And sporty numbers in the 90s were horrible by comparison... (granted overall production was much lower in the early 90s also - but my point remains).


I don't know that the 883 and 1200 were created with much thought to the European and Asian markets, and I do think that once the bikes get to the size of a sportster that this is a major factors to the marketing guys.


I didn't suggest it was the motivation to create it - I suggested it was motivation to continue it.

They need a sub 900cc bike for at least some markets.

Ala the R850R, the Guzzi Breva/Norge 850s are examples - same chassis, smaller motor for cost/tax/insurance etc...



I said nothing about the bigger bikes, but one will take notice that Harley doesn't just easily whip out new engine designs as often as some manufacturers. Paticularly in the Sportster range where there isn't enough profit to recoup expenses as quickly. My point is that if Harley is thinking of updating the Sportster, they might wait till we pull out of this rough economic patch, or that if they sell a lot of bikes due to the gas mileage thing, they might not pull the trigger right now.

Actually I Harley HAS just updated the sporty - I don't think they're gonna change the motor much unless they are FORCED too...

Fauxsuper
13th August 2008, 16:09
;)




NO THEY DON'T JEZUS - get your facts straight they're posted on the F'n Harley website.

We're splitting hairs here---They lump Road Kings, Electraglides and such as "Touring".

But I will concede that Bit Twins outsell Sportsters, by a large majority. Which I think was your point. I wasn't careful with my original wording and should have qualified my statement.

Actually I Harley HAS just updated the sporty - I don't think they're gonna change the motor much unless they are FORCED too...

I'm not sure the most recent changes in the Sportster motor qualify as much of an update, in the sense that the Ironhead to Evo update were. I don't think any company makes changes in it's products without being forced to do so by some economic imperative.

One could reasonably argue, I suppose, that some companies are visionaries in the sense that they change before the market demands they do so and thereby increase their share of the market.

I do think Harley has done an amazing job of reading their market: somehow holding to tradition while still reinventing itself enough to get new business.


I think everyone agrees that, at some point, the Sportster will get a major update: the only question is when.

Moved On / My Own Choice
13th August 2008, 16:31
;)

We're splitting hairs here---They lump Road Kings, Electraglides and such as "Touring".


Actually - and I know you're smart enough to follow this

Road Kings and Electraglides are to Touring Models as 883Ls and 1200Ns are to Sportsters -

So you're the only one splitting hairs.

You can't say

"The Sportster is the best selling bike" and be right - PERIOD.

You can't then object that I can't use as evidence to the falseness of your statement the Touring bike sales figures by saying that they lump the Road Kings and ElectraGlides in as Touring bikes - since TOURING bikes is the name for the FLH chassis whether that's an FLHRI or FLHTC just like Sportster is the name for the XL chassis whether that's an XL883L or XL1200N.

:geek

and Jezus (hey-zeus) cuts my lawn!


;)
I'm not sure the most recent changes in the Sportster motor qualify as much of an update, in the sense that the Ironhead to Evo update were. I don't think any company makes changes in it's products without being forced to do so by some economic imperative.

<snip>

I think everyone agrees that, at some point, the Sportster will get a major update: the only question is when.

Are you really looking at things through such a weird prism?

If you ask anyone who is familiar with late-ironhead motors and early EVOs (we're talking 85 and 86 era stuff) they'll tell you there were TONS of things that were the same - the basic differences being the jugs and heads, but much of the cases and frames and other parts were more similar or the same.

If you compare the 03 solidmounts to the 04 rubbermounts you're going to actually see more physical DIFFERENCES - from a significantly different frame, to different brakes, to different cases, new jugs, new heads etc.

It's a complete redesign that significantly changed some aspects of the bike, while keeping the basic look and flavor.

Similar to what they did in 06 with the Dynas, and now 08 with the FLHs.

Kev

Folkie
13th August 2008, 17:26
I think everyone agrees that, at some point, the Sportster will get a major update: the only question is when.Didn't it just have a major update with the rubbermounts?

Fauxsuper
13th August 2008, 18:59
Depends on what you call Major. In my opinion, it's still an Evo motor, with a few refinements. Rubber mounting requires a sturdier frame, but it's still basically the same design. You could probaly argue about this for decades as it's a matter of degree.

But, certainly it's not a major redesign, in the sense of switching from Ironhead to Evo was. Even then, they didn't completely abandon the Ironhead layout. You can look at the current bike's motor, and tell it evolved from the 1957 design. Even though I doubt if a single part is the same on both bikes, you can certainly see the heritage.

I've been criticized (mildly, I admit, and I wasn't offended) for dredging up "ancient history" with some of my observations about the marketplace. My perspective and opinion is that if you expect the marketplace to go on exactly as it has for the last 20 years you're probably mistaken. The vast majority of Harley buyers over the last 20 years have been Baby Boomers. At this very point in time, we're about to pass over to the point where more Harley buyers are pre baby boom than boomers. Most of the people who buy Harleys don't subscribe to this page, and are not what you call enthusiasts. Fashion is a big part of their buying motivation, and fashion can change at the drop of a hat. Not too many people lining up to buy Hummers lately.

I started this thread to find out what people's speculations concerning the Sportster's future and what directions it might evolve in over the next few years actually are. My opinion is that the changes made to the Sportster over the last few years are band aids (highly effective ones, obviously) that have allowed the Sportster to evolve enough to meet current market conditions.

GM, Ford and Chrysler are now facing hard times indeed largely because they somehow assumed they were going to basically recycle 70's and 80's technology in the form of big ass SUV's forever. I think Harley's current marketing plan is running out of steam, and that the next year or so will show that to be true. The question is will they react quickly enough in the right way, to stop this momentary decline before it becomes a trend.

Moved On / My Own Choice
13th August 2008, 19:12
Depends on what you call Major. In my opinion, it's still an Evo motor, with a few refinements. Rubber mounting requires a sturdier frame, but it's still basically the same design. You could probaly argue about this for decades as it's a matter of degree.

But, certainly it's not a major redesign, in the sense of switching from Ironhead to Evo was. Even then, they didn't completely abandon the Ironhead layout. You can look at the current bike's motor, and tell it evolved from the 1957 design. Even though I doubt if a single part is the same on both bikes, you can certainly see the heritage.


Yes, we can debate "major", but it's your thread and you defined it as IH to EVO, HOWEVER

I don't get how a guy of your obvious inteligence can completly miss a point.

AGAIN - cause you missed it - I'd say careful analysis would show the differences between the 03 and 04 is MORE than the difference between the 85 and 86... significantly more.



I've been criticized (mildly, I admit, and I wasn't offended) for dredging up "ancient history" with some of my observations about the marketplace. My perspective and opinion is that if you expect the marketplace to go on exactly as it has for the last 20 years you're probably mistaken. The vast majority of Harley buyers over the last 20 years have been Baby Boomers. At this very point in time, we're about to pass over to the point where more Harley buyers are pre baby boom than boomers. Most of the people who buy Harleys don't subscribe to this page, and are not what you call enthusiasts. Fashion is a big part of their buying motivation, and fashion can change at the drop of a hat. Not too many people lining up to buy Hummers lately.

I started this thread to find out what people's speculations concerning the Sportster's future and what directions it might evolve in over the next few years actually are. My opinion is that the changes made to the Sportster over the last few years are band aids (highly effective ones, obviously) that have allowed the Sportster to evolve enough to meet current market conditions.

GM, Ford and Chrysler are now facing hard times indeed largely because they somehow assumed they were going to basically recycle 70's and 80's technology in the form of big ass SUV's forever. I think Harley's current marketing plan is running out of steam, and that the next year or so will show that to be true. The question is will they react quickly enough in the right way, to stop this momentary decline before it becomes a trend.


Comparing Harley to GM/Ford/Chrysler is myopic on a good day, they share only the slightest similarities.

Lots of people talk about "technology" but really have no idea what they are saying.

Very little technology used on ANY motor vehicle today is cutting edge in the slightest fashion.

Show me what technology used on Jap bikes or Euros is less than a decade old?

Maybey you're confusing simple by choice as primitive? Or maybe you're confusing differences in materials as primitive?

Neither is true.

Harleys don't NEED variable valve timing and aluminum frames - not unless the market or the EPA forces it on them, and at least so far, NEITHER is happening.

Harleys may have made a mint with fashion, but that hardly explains their unparalleled success of the past 2 decades. They weren't actually fashionable until the very end of that time frame.

Harleys sell for a lot of reasons, not the least of which are the fact that they offer something DIFFERENT. That's a good thing.

They don't NEED to offer the same things as everyone else.

I could counter your GM/Ford/Chrysler argument by saying their problem was that they didn't differentiate themselves from the competition.

I'm not saying Harley should branch out, explore new markets and demographics or in otherwords continue to evolve - but I'm not advocating revolution or saying the sky is falling.

fun2none
13th August 2008, 19:48
Just because some manufacturers (like BMW) differentiate one generation of bikes with the term oil cooling (Oilhead) to distinguish them from their older "air cooled" bikes (Airheads) doesn't change the FACT that any air-cooled motor ALSO uses the oil for cooling.

You don't NEED a dedicated oil cooler to do that.


All internal combustion engines use oil for cooling but that doesn't make all engines "oil-cooled". The difference between an "air-cooled" and "oil-cooled" engine is the fluid used to remove a majority of the engine heat. The BMW oilhead and early Suzuki GSXR engines emphasize this difference. The heads on BMW oilhead engines have less cooling fin area that previous "air-head" design. The early Suzuki GSXRs have very little cooling fin surface and a massive oil cooler.

If oil is the primary coolant, meaning a majority of the heat is removed by the oil, then it's an "oil-cooled" engine and an oil cooler is required. If most of the heat is removed by the air flowing through cooling fins on the heads & cylinders, as on the current Sportster, an oil cooler is optional. The oil jets that first appeared on the TC88, and current Sportster, provide supplemental cooling not primary.


Oil cooling is also a factor in how the rear cylinder of a Harley not only doesn't burn up, but runs as cool or cooler than the front...



Agreed. Oil helps with engine cooling. The extra cooling fins can't hurt either.

I was under the impression that the rear cylinder on Harley engines always ran hotter than the front since it does not receive that same amount of air flow as the front jug. If Harley figured how to make the rear cylinder run "as cool, or cooler, than the front" cylinder, their engineers deserve a large bonus.



They need a sub 900cc bike for at least some markets.

Ala the R850R, the Guzzi Breva/Norge 850s are examples - same chassis, smaller motor for cost/tax/insurance etc...



Yes !! They should make a Sportster that has
- 800cc short stroke motor that likes to rev; reduce moving mass to minimize vibes and engine weight
- a solid mount engine to frame to reduce cost and overall weight of bike
- adjustable seat height and peg location to accommodate a riders of all body types

Moved On / My Own Choice
13th August 2008, 20:03
All internal combustion engines use oil for cooling but that doesn't make all engines "oil-cooled". The difference between an "air-cooled" and "oil-cooled" engine is the fluid used to remove a majority of the engine heat. The BMW oilhead and early Suzuki GSXR engines emphasize this difference. The heads on BMW oilhead engines have less cooling fin area that previous "air-head" design. The early Suzuki GSXRs have very little cooling fin surface and a massive oil cooler.

If oil is the primary coolant, meaning a majority of the heat is removed by the oil, then it's an "oil-cooled" engine and an oil cooler is required. If most of the heat is removed by the air flowing through cooling fins on the heads & cylinders, as on the current Sportster, an oil cooler is optional. The oil jets that first appeared on the TC88, and current Sportster, provide supplemental cooling not primary.




MY turn to say someone else is splitting hairs on this one.

I also believe that many "oil" cooled motors have been referred to by their manufacturers as "Air and Oil" cooled - not meaning the air that moves over the oil cooler... I suspect the oil heads are designed to shed head from the cases and jugs as well.

The newer Guzzis all have oil coolers too, but they are generally referred to as "air cooled".

I think we're just mincing words on defintions - but I'll continue to refer to anything that isn't WATER cooled as AIR COOLED - even if it uses an oil cooler. ;)

I was under the impression that the rear cylinder on Harley engines always ran hotter than the front since it does not receive that same amount of air flow as the front jug. If Harley figured how to make the rear cylinder run "as cool, or cooler, than the front" cylinder, their engineers deserve a large bonus.


Then you're under a common misconception which is easily remedied with a laser pyrometer.

Most Harleys I've tested were withing a few degrees of each other front and rear - but OFTEN the rear was cooler.

Why? Couple of theories - including:

the fact that the exhaust and exhaust port is at the front of the front cylinder, pre-heating the air before it gets to the rest of the cylinder/head.

the rear cylinder gets plenty of air - I mean, I doubt there's much of a pressure drop due to the passage of the front cylinder through the air - it's not a vacuum - but there's more than a little turbulence, which probably swirls cleaner/cooler air in on the cylinder too.

Heat is going to radiate also, regardless of air flow.

oil spreads the heat around to the rest of the cooling surfaces.

and I think that on carbureted motors the shared manifold and air/fuel mixture disruption from internal turbulence probably plays a part.

As a matter of fact, I wonder if that last part isn't more significant than people realize, especially comparing the temps that the 07s run compared to the 04-06s (even 07s which have been richened by aftermarket fuel controlers).

Kev

Fauxsuper
13th August 2008, 21:25
Yes, we can debate "major", but it's your thread and you defined it as IH to EVO, HOWEVER

I don't get how a guy of your obvious inteligence can completly miss a point.

AGAIN - cause you missed it - I'd say careful analysis would show the differences between the 03 and 04 is MORE than the difference between the 85 and 86... significantly more.

I don't see how a guy of your obvious inteligence can fail to see that reasonable minds might differ as to opinion. But, lay out the facts to support your opinion. I'm open to the fact that I may have missed something in my obviously less-than-careful analysis.


Comparing Harley to GM/Ford/Chrysler is myopic on a good day, they share only the slightest similarities. I'd counter that failing to see the similarities is turning a blind eye to the obvious.

Lots of people talk about "technology" but really have no idea what they are saying.

Very little technology used on ANY motor vehicle today is cutting edge in the slightest fashion.

Show me what technology used on Jap bikes or Euros is less than a decade old?

Maybey you're confusing simple by choice as primitive? Or maybe you're confusing differences in materials as primitive?

I din't say anything about "Primitive" nor anything being "cutting edge". I did mention that GM/Ford/Chrysler were still using technology rooted in the 70's. Pushrods, live axels, and just the sheer mass of the things.


I could counter your GM/Ford/Chrysler argument by saying their problem was that they didn't differentiate themselves from the competition. You're kidding, right? Just who else made something, anything, even remotely like a Ford Excursion or a 4/4 Dodge 3500 Cummins. I doubt people stopped buying these trucks because they weren't different enough from what the asians and europeans were offering. "Gee, Honey, is that a Hummer or a Toyota Land Cruiser?"


I'm not saying Harley should branch out, explore new markets and demographics or in otherwords continue to evolve - but I'm not advocating revolution or saying the sky is falling.

I don't remember saying the sky is falling either. I'm just suggesting that Harley's current marketing plan, like the machines it makes, are getting a little long in the tooth. This isn't a value judgement, I'm much more confortable with my 2003 Sporty, than anything anyone makes now. God, I'd love to buy a brand new 57 Vette, if they made such a thing. I'm not advocating change, just making observations.

Vehicular history is littered with examples of companies nearly going out of business, for failing to adapt quickly enough to meet changing tastes.

I certainly don't think anyone can make black and white statements about this sort of thing. It's like a Democrat calling a Rebublican a moron for being a Republican, or vice versa.

Do you think that Harley Davidson will still be making the same bikes 100 years from now? If not, we both believe the same thing: we just disagree on the rate of change that's neccessary.

Folkie
13th August 2008, 22:19
http://www.v-twinforum.com/forums/images/smilies/popcorn.gif

Fauxsuper
14th August 2008, 00:20
http://www.v-twinforum.com/forums/images/smilies/popcorn.gif
How'd you get away with less than ten characters?

Folkie
14th August 2008, 00:27
Easy !

Folkie
14th August 2008, 00:31
OK, actually it wasn't less than ten characters. The post contained this:http://www.v-twinforum.com/forums/images/smilies/popcorn.gifwhich is actually 71 characters. :)

Moved On / My Own Choice
14th August 2008, 00:45
I don't see how a guy of your obvious inteligence can fail to see that reasonable minds might differ as to opinion. But, lay out the facts to support your opinion. I'm open to the fact that I may have missed something in my obviously less-than-careful analysis.


Differ all you want, but if you ignore the stated arguments and facts, failing to recognize or counter them, why would I continue to waste my time with the conversation/debate. :p


I'd counter that failing to see the similarities is turning a blind eye to the obvious.


I'd counter by saying I turning a blind eye to the trivial...




I din't say anything about "Primitive" nor anything being "cutting edge". I did mention that GM/Ford/Chrysler were still using technology rooted in the 70's. Pushrods, live axels, and just the sheer mass of the things.

You're kidding, right? Just who else made something, anything, even remotely like a Ford Excursion or a 4/4 Dodge 3500 Cummins. I doubt people stopped buying these trucks because they weren't different enough from what the asians and europeans were offering. "Gee, Honey, is that a Hummer or a Toyota Land Cruiser?"


Why are we debating these car companies - other than the fact that they are/were American vehicle companies that struggled with foreign competition they are irrelevent.

Cars/Trucks are more a necessity than a recreation - most Americans treat motorcycles as little more than recreation - this makes them completely different from an economic standpoint.




I don't remember saying the sky is falling either. I'm just suggesting that Harley's current marketing plan, like the machines it makes, are getting a little long in the tooth. This isn't a value judgement, I'm much more confortable with my 2003 Sporty, than anything anyone makes now. God, I'd love to buy a brand new 57 Vette, if they made such a thing. I'm not advocating change, just making observations.

Vehicular history is littered with examples of companies nearly going out of business, for failing to adapt quickly enough to meet changing tastes.

I certainly don't think anyone can make black and white statements about this sort of thing. It's like a Democrat calling a Rebublican a moron for being a Republican, or vice versa.

Do you think that Harley Davidson will still be making the same bikes 100 years from now? If not, we both believe the same thing: we just disagree on the rate of change that's neccessary.

I've stated multiple times that their bikes will change.

I don't think anyone can say with certainty IF there will be vehicles with internal combustion engines in 100 years, nevermind air-cooled Harleys

Fauxsuper
14th August 2008, 01:16
Differ all you want, but if you ignore the stated arguments and facts, failing to recognize or counter them, why would I continue to waste my time with the conversation/debate. :p I'd think you'd relish the chance to actually state the argument and facts concerning the monumental significance of the 03/04 update that I've managed to miss. :p


Why are we debating these car companies - other than the fact that they are/were American vehicle companies that struggled with foreign competition they are irrelevent.

Cars/Trucks are more a necessity than a recreation - most Americans treat motorcycles as little more than recreation - this makes them completely different from an economic standpoint.

Wrong. Cars may also be transportation, but they're a lot more than that. If that was the case we might still be driving modern conterparts to something as stark as a Model T. How many people drive utilitarian anything nowadays? Cars are fashion as much as motorcycles. Only a small percetnage of SUV's ever go off road, people, by and large, purchased them because they were "cool". (I know there are a few people who actually need to haul a trailer while carrying around 7 people, but they are not typical.) They are not different enough in that sense from bikes to invalidate my point. I can give you plenty of examples of other items, from guitars to plasma TV's where a once dominant manufacturer failed to keep abreast of the times. Most people do not buy much of anything for rational reasons.

I've stated multiple times that their bikes will change.

I don't think anyone can say with certainty IF there will be vehicles with internal combustion engines in 100 years, nevermind air-cooled Harleys

Oh, I'm pretty positive there will be vehicles powered by internal combustion engines in 2108. Maybe not new ones being sold in showrooms, mind you, but they will exist.

Moved On / My Own Choice
14th August 2008, 01:46
Ya know, it's a real PIA the way you don't separate your quotes - so that If I quote they disappear.

1. I did outline them - you didn't pay attention.

2. Cars may be all those things TOO, but look at how little we rely on public transportation - they are transportation first and foremost. So NO.

3. Time will tell.

K

sprtrjl
14th August 2008, 02:19
How long do you think harley will make air cooled Sportsters???

I might be going out on a limb here but ..........


My guess would be at least 52 years! :drinkup

Martinrobert
14th August 2008, 16:48
The sportster is a traditional / classic motorcycle that will continue on until something else (like the Nighster) comes along to replace it that's just as classic and timeless as the Sportster.

In my mind, a Harley Davidson Motorcycle IS the Sportster. Simple, Classic, Timeless. As many of you have said -- why mess with a good thing?

Gone
14th August 2008, 16:51
The sportster is a traditional / classic motorcycle that will continue on until something else (like the Nighster) comes along to replace it that's just as classic and timeless as the Sportster.

In my mind, a Harley Davidson Motorcycle IS the Sportster.

ummm, errrr??? Hey fella, got some sad news for ya-your Nightster IS a Sportster....It didn't replace anything

Folkie
14th August 2008, 17:48
The sportster is a traditional / classic motorcycle that will continue on until something else (like the Nighster) comes along to replace it that's just as classic and timeless as the Sportster.

In my mind, a Harley Davidson Motorcycle IS the Sportster. Simple, Classic, Timeless. As many of you have said -- why mess with a good thing?All very true apart from the bit about the Nightster: it's not something else that might replace the Sportster, it iis a Sportster.

cantolina
15th August 2008, 03:28
I was under the impression that the rear cylinder on Harley engines always ran hotter than the front since it does not receive that same amount of air flow as the front jug. If Harley figured how to make the rear cylinder run "as cool, or cooler, than the front" cylinder, their engineers deserve a large bonus.

MY turn to say someone else is splitting hairs on this one.

I also believe that many "oil" cooled motors have been referred to by their manufacturers as "Air and Oil" cooled - not meaning the air that moves over the oil cooler... I suspect the oil heads are designed to shed head from the cases and jugs as well.

The newer Guzzis all have oil coolers too, but they are generally referred to as "air cooled".

I think we're just mincing words on defintions - but I'll continue to refer to anything that isn't WATER cooled as AIR COOLED - even if it uses an oil cooler. ;)



Then you're under a common misconception which is easily remedied with a laser pyrometer.

Most Harleys I've tested were withing a few degrees of each other front and rear - but OFTEN the rear was cooler.

Why? Couple of theories - including:

the fact that the exhaust and exhaust port is at the front of the front cylinder, pre-heating the air before it gets to the rest of the cylinder/head.

the rear cylinder gets plenty of air - I mean, I doubt there's much of a pressure drop due to the passage of the front cylinder through the air - it's not a vacuum - but there's more than a little turbulence, which probably swirls cleaner/cooler air in on the cylinder too.

Heat is going to radiate also, regardless of air flow.

oil spreads the heat around to the rest of the cooling surfaces.

and I think that on carbureted motors the shared manifold and air/fuel mixture disruption from internal turbulence probably plays a part.

As a matter of fact, I wonder if that last part isn't more significant than people realize, especially comparing the temps that the 07s run compared to the 04-06s (even 07s which have been richened by aftermarket fuel controlers).

Kev

Here is an oldie but a goodie...some of the best minds on the forum (past and present) sharing some pretty easy to understand explanations of cylinder temp differences...

http://xlforum.net/vbportal/forums/showthread.php?t=23151

Moved On / My Own Choice
15th August 2008, 12:45
Here is an oldie but a goodie...some of the best minds on the forum (past and present) sharing some pretty easy to understand explanations of cylinder temp differences...

http://xlforum.net/vbportal/forums/showthread.php?t=23151

I remember that thread - they didn't really give an answer - such as to explain some of the possibilities - mostly exploring how air/fuel mixture and intake/exhaust flow affects temperatures and how reversion can really heat a cylinder up.

One thing they only started to touch on was Stevo seemed to have noticed the rear wasn't always cool on EFI motors (with individual plenums) - but I know I've seen (and heard reports from others who have also seen) the rear cylinder run hotter on EFIs - both the weber-marelli system and the current Delphi system

Is the runner shared on the current Delphi system for BTs and/or XLs?

Edster
15th August 2008, 14:27
There are still Royal Enfields. Kawasaki made a W650. Also there are a fair amount of "modern classics" sold in Japan. Most are air cooled and no larger than 400cc. Blame that on tiered licensing. I like the simplicity of my Sportster. I think air cooled bikes will be here to stay for a while.

rdgzoe
15th August 2008, 17:33
Believe the Sporster will be air cooled FOREVER.

I see myself riding a battery powered air cooled sporster in 2025.

You loud pipe freaks will be hating life though :laugh

Fauxsuper
15th August 2008, 19:01
Believe the Sporster will be air cooled FOREVER.

I see myself riding a battery powered air cooled sporster in 2025.

You loud pipe freaks will be hating life though :laugh

Easy enough to take care of. The Japanese already have devised a way to pipe cool engine sounds into the cockpit in automobiles. You could have earphones in your helmet that could make even a mo-ped sound like a big twin with open pipes. They could also connect this to a vibration driver in the seat (and even pegs and bars) so you could have that experience as well.

Heck, they'll certainly have stuff to water cool the rider (already do, actually) and control his emissions as well.

Subie Driver
16th August 2008, 10:39
I guess you failed to notice that the new XR1200 is the heaviest Sportster ever made. 590 lbs wet.


I think what's going to put the air cooled motors out of business is the pursuit of more horsepower. Sportsters have the most horsepower now that they've ever had, and engine temperature is getting red hot. I don't think they can go much farther hp wise with air cooling.

The temps the new FI Sportsters are seeing is why I decided NOT to buy one. Originally, I was planning on getting a new 883 Sporty, and then they came out with the FI version, which I thought was cool, until I heard how hot they run. Makes sense: FI means better fuel control, means leaner A/F mix for more power and better emissions/economy, but leaner also means hotter, and air cooling can only do so much. Ended up buying an 84 Honda Magna 1100. It also weighs in at 590 pounds wet, but it's putting around 100 HP to the rear wheel, so it more than makes up for the weight!

Anyways, with that new water-cooled Buell 1125 out, and making as much power as it's making, I think that engine, or some variant thereof, will end up in the Sportster sooner rather than later. Just so long as it doesn't include those God-awful scoops on the sides!

Fauxsuper
16th August 2008, 19:36
The temps the new FI Sportsters are seeing is why I decided NOT to buy one. Originally, I was planning on getting a new 883 Sporty, and then they came out with the FI version, which I thought was cool, until I heard how hot they run. Makes sense: FI means better fuel control, means leaner A/F mix for more power and better emissions/economy, but leaner also means hotter, and air cooling can only do so much. Ended up buying an 84 Honda Magna 1100. It also weighs in at 590 pounds wet, but it's putting around 100 HP to the rear wheel, so it more than makes up for the weight!

Anyways, with that new water-cooled Buell 1125 out, and making as much power as it's making, I think that engine, or some variant thereof, will end up in the Sportster sooner rather than later. Just so long as it doesn't include those God-awful scoops on the sides!

I suppose there have been threads on this already, but I don't often look at what gets said about the FI bikes, since it's not my main area of interest. But do they run hot enough to where there are overheating issues? (pinging, fried oil, etc.) Or, does the motor run hot enough to cause discomfort on rides in the heat? I would think that an oil cooler could easily cure this, if it does run hot enough to be a problem. Synthetic oil?

The weight issue is interesting. You certainly can make a 600# bike handle, but you can't negate the laws of physics. If you've ever ridden a Goldwing, you are initially shocked by how agile it is and how fast you can go through corners. Then you are brought back to reality when you try to flip it over in the other direction on a winding road. I know this is an extreme example, but my own (2003 883) Sportster's weight is a little on the Porky side for my tastes. It's more of a subjective feel issue than anything else for me. It's certainly not too heavy to spoil the fun, though. But if I could make it 50# lighter without spoiling it's character I would.

It's been nearly 40 years since high objective performance has really been part of the Sportster's makeup. For the vast majority of it's life the bike has been anything but competitive in that arena. And it hasn't seemed to hurt sales a whole lot. Even the new XR1200's performance (or lack thereof) hasn't kept the motorcycle press from becoming enchanted by it. The bike isn't really marketed as a race-replica or sportsbike in any case.

The other day when I was walking to get the morning paper, and a late 90's era Sportster took off from the light and accelerated by me. It just sounded so good that it made me smile and think that few motorized devices make such a charasmatic noise, and how the ones that do are usually V-twins. (Although some vertical twins and flat twins can sound very nice as well, for some of the same reasons) And the ones that sound the best to me are usually of 45, 60, or 90 degree designs. I'm speculating that this has much to do with how these designs result in exhaust strokes with two intervals that are different but mathematically related (and thus harmonically related), rusulting in a very musical sound that is pleasing to the human ear. The fact that there are two different intervals results in more harmonic complexity and thus a more interesting sound.

This is why some of the Japanese Harley clones sound just awful with an aftermariket exhaust fitted. Some of them have all the sonic charm of a Toro lawn mower or a leaf blower. Riging one must be like being strapped to an out of tune organ for hours at a time.

Curiously (to me at least, although there must be some mechanical reason more than one manufacturer does this. Any ideas? Probably balance related.) the Rotax motor in the Buell 1125 uses the same 52 degree angle as Honda does with it's cruiser V's. I haven't heard one, but can speculate that it has some of the same harmonic dissonance feature in it's Japance relatives.

I think this one thing alone might disqualify that motor from ever being in a motorcycle that bears the name Sportster.

I know some of my comments earlier on in this thread might have seemed cynical and maybe even negative. This isn't really the case. I'd like for Harley to continue to produce the Sportster in some form for years to come.

What I'd love to see is an updated Sportster that is both traditional and more advanced, yet still simple. A tall order indeed. I think companies like Moto Guzzi and Ducati and to a certain extent, Triumph, have created machines that successfully invoke earlier model's essential flavor, while still being more modern.

I just don't think that the recent updates (regardless of whether you consider them to be major or minor) to the Sportster are enough to make it viable in the marketplace for more than a few years to come. In other words, I think it's time to start with a fresh piece of paper.

Obviously, those of us who've recently purchased Sportsters are quite happy with them. For many of us these might be the last motorcycles we ever own and may meet our needs completely. But time marches on and my OPINION is that there will be fewer and fewer people who feel the same way. I think they are about to run out of band-aids that are needed for the old design to be viewed as a more contemporary machine. The fact that they had to compromise the bike's performance by adding 50+ lbs to rubber mount the old motor is an example of this. Change is inevitable, it's just a question of when.

Pehaps a less contentious form of this thread would have been: "When the Sportster does change, in what directions might Harley take?" (I'm certainly open to the opinion that a too radical departure from the current bike would not be viewed as a "Real Sportster".)

My ideal Sportster of the future would be:

45 degree V-Twin weighing less than 450 lbs with more horsepower than the current bikes, but still lots of torque. Styling that invokes the current bike, but without parts that are overtly "styled" to look like something they're not. The bike needs to have an element of form following function that is such a big part of the Sportster's charm. Suspension should be more modern, with upgrades available for those with a more Sporting bent. The design also has to be versatile enough to have several versions to meet various ideas of what the ideal Sportster might be, just like the current platform.

humpbackbob
17th August 2008, 06:23
I suppose there have been threads on this already, but I don't often look at what gets said about the FI bikes, since it's not my main area of interest. But do they run hot enough to where there are overheating issues? (pinging, fried oil, etc.) Or, does the motor run hot enough to cause discomfort on rides in the heat? I would think that an oil cooler could easily cure this, if it does run hot enough to be a problem. Synthetic oil?

The weight issue is interesting. You certainly can make a 600# bike handle, but you can't negate the laws of physics. If you've ever ridden a Goldwing, you are initially shocked by how agile it is and how fast you can go through corners. Then you are brought back to reality when you try to flip it over in the other direction on a winding road. I know this is an extreme example, but my own (2003 883) Sportster's weight is a little on the Porky side for my tastes. It's more of a subjective feel issue than anything else for me. It's certainly not too heavy to spoil the fun, though. But if I could make it 50# lighter without spoiling it's character I would.

It's been nearly 40 years since high objective performance has really been part of the Sportster's makeup. For the vast majority of it's life the bike has been anything but competitive in that arena. And it hasn't seemed to hurt sales a whole lot. Even the new XR1200's performance (or lack thereof) hasn't kept the motorcycle press from becoming enchanted by it. The bike isn't really marketed as a race-replica or sportsbike in any case.

The other day when I was walking to get the morning paper, and a late 90's era Sportster took off from the light and accelerated by me. It just sounded so good that it made me smile and think that few motorized devices make such a charasmatic noise, and how the ones that do are usually V-twins. (Although some vertical twins and flat twins can sound very nice as well, for some of the same reasons) And the ones that sound the best to me are usually of 45, 60, or 90 degree designs. I'm speculating that this has much to do with how these designs result in exhaust strokes with two intervals that are different but mathematically related (and thus harmonically related), rusulting in a very musical sound that is pleasing to the human ear. The fact that there are two different intervals results in more harmonic complexity and thus a more interesting sound.

This is why some of the Japanese Harley clones sound just awful with an aftermariket exhaust fitted. Some of them have all the sonic charm of a Toro lawn mower or a leaf blower. Riging one must be like being strapped to an out of tune organ for hours at a time.

Curiously (to me at least, although there must be some mechanical reason more than one manufacturer does this. Any ideas? Probably balance related.) the Rotax motor in the Buell 1125 uses the same 52 degree angle as Honda does with it's cruiser V's. I haven't heard one, but can speculate that it has some of the same harmonic dissonance feature in it's Japance relatives.

I think this one thing alone might disqualify that motor from ever being in a motorcycle that bears the name Sportster.

I know some of my comments earlier on in this thread might have seemed cynical and maybe even negative. This isn't really the case. I'd like for Harley to continue to produce the Sportster in some form for years to come.

What I'd love to see is an updated Sportster that is both traditional and more advanced, yet still simple. A tall order indeed. I think companies like Moto Guzzi and Ducati and to a certain extent, Triumph, have created machines that successfully invoke earlier model's essential flavor, while still being more modern.

I just don't think that the recent updates (regardless of whether you consider them to be major or minor) to the Sportster are enough to make it viable in the marketplace for more than a few years to come. In other words, I think it's time to start with a fresh piece of paper.

Obviously, those of us who've recently purchased Sportsters are quite happy with them. For many of us these might be the last motorcycles we ever own and may meet our needs completely. But time marches on and my OPINION is that there will be fewer and fewer people who feel the same way. I think they are about to run out of band-aids that are needed for the old design to be viewed as a more contemporary machine. The fact that they had to compromise the bike's performance by adding 50+ lbs to rubber mount the old motor is an example of this. Change is inevitable, it's just a question of when.

Pehaps a less contentious form of this thread would have been: "When the Sportster does change, in what directions might Harley take?" (I'm certainly open to the opinion that a too radical departure from the current bike would not be viewed as a "Real Sportster".)

My ideal Sportster of the future would be:

45 degree V-Twin weighing less than 450 lbs with more horsepower than the current bikes, but still lots of torque. Styling that invokes the current bike, but without parts that are overtly "styled" to look like something they're not. The bike needs to have an element of form following function that is such a big part of the Sportster's charm. Suspension should be more modern, with upgrades available for those with a more Sporting bent. The design also has to be versatile enough to have several versions to meet various ideas of what the ideal Sportster might be, just like the current platform.

once upon a time,in a land far, far away..........:D:o:laugh

Folkie
17th August 2008, 09:44
I was waiting for the bit where Napoleon's army enters Moscow. :D

qrb912
17th August 2008, 10:47
Would everyone feel that it was not a real sportster if the MoCo was to make it water cooled and flow the water through the frame to cool the water? You would perserve a lot of the stuff that makes a sportster a sportster. You woould not have to look at a radiator and if it was just to assist the air cooled portion of the cooling system on the evo motor would not have to be changed too much. Water jackets in the cylinder jugs and posibly an oil cooling system shouod be able to remove a lot of BTU's. I would like to see MoCo do a prototype. I would be happy to give a factory 8000 rpm 130 hp sportster a spin.

Folkie
17th August 2008, 10:52
I don't think it's just the look; people like the simplicity of an air cooled engine.

OutlawTexan67
17th August 2008, 11:21
As far as I am concerned when the Sportster ceases to be a air cooled bike then it wont be a Sportster.

I also like how the Moco keeps trying to push there new models as thier own ideas when in fact almost all the new bikes all came from concept bikes that were designed by the people that worked for the so called bad AMF company.One huge example is the V-rod the Moco would like you to believe that HD and Porsche designedthe V-Rod when in fact the AMF guys had the basic set up back in the 70's and it was called the V4 Nova( http://www.bikerenews.com/AntiqueBikes/CodeNameNova.htm) which never came to production because of the switch over from AMF and Traitor Willie G.

The Opinion of most older HD riders will tell you that Harley died in the mid 60's and I agree but AMF kept it half way alive but also stuck to the roots of HD not like the present managment!!!

Folkie
17th August 2008, 11:33
Doesn't look much like a V-Rod to me:

http://www.bikerenews.com/AntiqueBikes/Nova/144217_NOVA.300x196.jpg http://www.bikerenews.com/AntiqueBikes/Nova/144217_NOVA.300x234.jpg

OutlawTexan67
17th August 2008, 12:06
Doesn't look much like a V-Rod to me:

http://www.bikerenews.com/AntiqueBikes/Nova/144217_NOVA.300x196.jpg http://www.bikerenews.com/AntiqueBikes/Nova/144217_NOVA.300x234.jpg


No but the basic engine design is very similar to the V-rod.Folkie you have to keep in mind this bike was designed in the late 70's and earlier 80's and of course they changed the looks and some of the engineering is garanteed to be better than the Nova but the idea of a water cooled HD has been around longer than most people know.And it didnt make it to production then and almost all the people that I know that have bought a V-rod have eventually traded it back in for a conventional HD.

Teehaml
17th August 2008, 12:53
It's "all about the money" (the MOCO's)... Tee :D

bh206b3
17th August 2008, 12:53
I dunno...I always thought the V-Rod embodies the spirit of the Sportster pretty well. Maybe if H-D made it a little less extreme in the performance/cruiser department...made it more of a regular ol' streetbike it could authentically wear the "Sportster" name.

For some of us, a Sporty will always be an air-coooled V-twin. Then again, I don't have any problems calling the new Beetle a "Beetle."

Folkie
17th August 2008, 14:19
almost all the people that I know that have bought a V-rod have eventually traded it back in for a conventional HD.I certainly haven't seen many on the road.

Moved On / My Own Choice
17th August 2008, 14:46
The temps the new FI Sportsters are seeing is why I decided NOT to buy one. Originally, I was planning on getting a new 883 Sporty, and then they came out with the FI version, which I thought was cool, until I heard how hot they run.

Anyways, with that new water-cooled Buell 1125 out, and making as much power as it's making, I think that engine, or some variant thereof, will end up in the Sportster sooner rather than later.


Heat - is no big deal - heat is part of a motor, and especially an air-cooled one. A little fuel management will basically bring these things within an engineering RCH of the carbureted models.

And no - you won't see the 1125 motor in a sporty anytime soon - it's a completely different beast for a completely different demographic. Just like you won't see the Vrod motor in a sporty anytime soon.


I suppose there have been threads on this already, but I don't often look at what gets said about the FI bikes, since it's not my main area of interest. But do they run hot enough to where there are overheating issues? (pinging, fried oil, etc.) Or, does the motor run hot enough to cause discomfort on rides in the heat? I would think that an oil cooler could easily cure this, if it does run hot enough to be a problem. Synthetic oil?



Obviously, those of us who've recently purchased Sportsters are quite happy with them. For many of us these might be the last motorcycles we ever own and may meet our needs completely. But time marches on and my OPINION is that there will be fewer and fewer people who feel the same way. I think they are about to run out of band-aids that are needed for the old design to be viewed as a more contemporary machine. The fact that they had to compromise the bike's performance by adding 50+ lbs to rubber mount the old motor is an example of this. Change is inevitable, it's just a question of when.



Heat - although a few bikes have shown some alarming temps, most are running just a simple 20-30F at the oil bag over the temps of the carbureted rubbermounts and heat is not a particularly big issue. A little time/effort with fuel management should take care of it on 99% of them.

As for "time for a change" the market and/or the EPA will dictate that - nothing more, nothing less. The market IS NOT clamoring for that. Sportsters have sold in the past 5-6 years in record numbers and indications are they continue to. A RADICAL change is more likely to occur from EPA regulation than anything else right now.

Also, people have been saying that Harley needs to change, can't keep selling the same bikes bla bla bla - for DECADES - and those decades were record growth unsurpassed by any modern American vehicle manufacturer.

No but the basic engine design is very similar to the V-rod.Folkie you have to keep in mind this bike was designed in the late 70's and earlier 80's and of course they changed the looks and some of the engineering is garanteed to be better than the Nova but the idea of a water cooled HD has been around longer than most people know.And it didnt make it to production then and almost all the people that I know that have bought a V-rod have eventually traded it back in for a conventional HD.

The only similiarities between the Nova and the V-rod are that they are BOTH water-cooled and both motorcycles (2 wheels)... it's a silly comparison.


I dunno...I always thought the V-Rod embodies the spirit of the Sportster pretty well.

Heavy, long, low and slow to turn has NOTHING to do with the Sportster.

Some people object to the rubbermounts as being heavier - but honestly, if you're not racing them (and who races em??? 0.001% of owners?) then it's a silly objection, it's an RCH in performance differences (see the thread someone recently started to compare IHs to EVOs and look at the performance numbers over the years...).

Kev

Fauxsuper
17th August 2008, 17:40
Some people object to the rubbermounts as being heavier - but honestly, if you're not racing them (and who races em??? 0.001% of owners?) then it's a silly objection, it's an RCH in performance differences (see the thread someone recently started to compare IHs to EVOs and look at the performance numbers over the years...).

Kev

While I agree that the effects of weight might be relatively easy to compensate for in terms of actual performance numbers, the weight is still there and you can feel it. The current 2009 883L has a published running weight of 583, whereas my 2003 883 was listed as 5006. With an 180 lb. rider that's still a 10% increase. Plug that into just about any acceleration calculator and you'll find that's a significant factor. True, some extra horsepower can compensate for that, as we can see in the case of the XR1200. But take that same XR1200, subtract 75 lbs from it and you have a bike that's faster, stops quicker, and feels more agile.

Again, what one man might term an insignificant change in feel might be a deal breaker for another.

Moved On / My Own Choice
17th August 2008, 21:52
While I agree that the effects of weight might be relatively easy to compensate for in terms of actual performance numbers, the weight is still there and you can feel it. The current 2009 883L has a published running weight of 583, whereas my 2003 883 was listed as 5006. With an 180 lb. rider that's still a 10% increase. Plug that into just about any acceleration calculator and you'll find that's a significant factor. True, some extra horsepower can compensate for that, as we can see in the case of the XR1200. But take that same XR1200, subtract 75 lbs from it and you have a bike that's faster, stops quicker, and feels more agile.

Again, what one man might term an insignificant change in feel might be a deal breaker for another.

Silly - to me - equals splitting hairs over the weight, when the performance numbers show nothing was lost.

Silly - to me - is worrying about a change that the vast majority of riders found improved the bike overall in terms of ownership and comfort.

Silly - to me - is worrying about a change that probably means nothing to the speed at which the bike can be ridden by 99% of the owners, especially on public roads.

I find it a much bigger sin that they went to weaker brakes to save $10/unit instead of holding the brakes and passing on the cost.

Also, when it comes to handling, I betcha what a lot of people chalk up to weight really comes down to things like wider, less aggressive profile tires found on the rear of the rubbermounts, plus differences in bars, controls etc.

Kev

Folkie
17th August 2008, 22:18
Also, when it comes to handling, I betcha what a lot of people chalk up to weight really comes down to things like wider, less aggressive profile tires found on the rear of the rubbermounts, plus differences in bars, controls etc.So Kev, could you change the 150/80B16 on the rear of a rubbermount to a 130/90B16 or 140/90B16, and get an improvement? Which of those two tyres would you change to?

Fauxsuper
18th August 2008, 00:19
Silly - to me - equals splitting hairs over the weight, when the performance numbers show nothing was lost.

Silly - to me - is worrying about a change that the vast majority of riders found improved the bike overall in terms of ownership and comfort.

Silly - to me - is worrying about a change that probably means nothing to the speed at which the bike can be ridden by 99% of the owners, especially on public roads.

Kev

So, the following would be a silly statement then: "the XR is just as porky (unfortunately) as the rest of the XLs".

Very good point about the rear tire, though.

Moved On / My Own Choice
18th August 2008, 00:29
So Kev, could you change the 150/80B16 on the rear of a rubbermount to a 130/90B16 or 140/90B16, and get an improvement? Which of those two tyres would you change to?

I will likely try a 140 when the rear on Jenn's bike runs down...

But I seem to remember someone saying about 2 years ago they'd run a 130 on a rubber and liked the difference in handling, quicker break-over.

It's also just as likely that a change in tire brand may yield some of those differences. I've always noted that my Harleys responded quicker and handled better on Metzlers than Dungflops.




So, the following would be a silly statement then: "plus the XR is just as porky (unfortunately) as the rest of the XLs".

Very good point about the rear tire, though.

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Nice try, but a waste of time.

It's not splitting hairs over weight to think that a good bike might be EVEN BETTER at a lower weight.

That's not saying it's a "significant factor"

and I wouldn't trade the improvements of the rubbermount to loose that "pork" from the XR...


NOT TO MENTION I BETCHA the sport radials they are putting on the XR make it handle like it's 75 lbs lighter anyway...

Folkie
18th August 2008, 00:58
I will likely try a 140 when the rear on Jenn's bike runs down...

But I seem to remember someone saying about 2 years ago they'd run a 130 on a rubber and liked the difference in handling, quicker break-over.

It's also just as likely that a change in tire brand may yield some of those differences. I've always noted that my Harleys responded quicker and handled better on Metzlers than Dungflops.I agree with you on the Metzelers. Now you've got me wondering how much different it could be with a narrower tyre. There's still a fair bit of life left in my exisiting Metzelers (stock sizes), so I guess it'll be a while before I find out. :tour

radeschultz
18th August 2008, 01:39
http://www.v-twinforum.com/forums/images/smilies/popcorn.gif

Thank you Folkie :D I about spit my drink on my keyboard there... Classic... lmao

bh206b3
18th August 2008, 02:27
Man, yous guys must be reading my feeble mind! I've been hating on that big fat tyre on the back of my '05 (not crazy about the cruiser look) and was thinking about changing to something narrower and wondering if it might: a) be worth it; and b) speed up the handling a little.

I still say though that - to me - a V-Rod could and would be a desireable and "sporty" alternative to the Sportster, should the Sporty ever go away. I like the looks of it a WHOLE LOT better than the BT's. If'n I could afford a V-Rod, one would be parked in my garage as we speak.

Moved On / My Own Choice
18th August 2008, 05:07
LOL - I can understand liking Vrods - but I probably won't ever buy a bike with that type of valve maintenance - and I REALLY don't want a water-cooled bike... maybe someday, but not if I have choices.

Gone
18th August 2008, 07:05
The Nova concept bike wasn't even remotely similar to the VRod


As far as I am concerned when the Sportster ceases to be a air cooled bike then it wont be a Sportster.

I also like how the Moco keeps trying to push there new models as thier own ideas when in fact almost all the new bikes all came from concept bikes that were designed by the people that worked for the so called bad AMF company.One huge example is the V-rod the Moco would like you to believe that HD and Porsche designedthe V-Rod when in fact the AMF guys had the basic set up back in the 70's and it was called the V4 Nova( http://www.bikerenews.com/AntiqueBikes/CodeNameNova.htm) which never came to production because of the switch over from AMF and Traitor Willie G.

The Opinion of most older HD riders will tell you that Harley died in the mid 60's and I agree but AMF kept it half way alive but also stuck to the roots of HD not like the present managment!!!

Thornhammer
23rd August 2008, 20:14
I certainly haven't seen many on the road.

Funny you mention that. I was just saying the same thing to my father about two weeks ago, then bam - I see three different V-Rods on the road over the course of two weeks. I live in the middle of Illinois, so I wasn't really expecting to see one, much less three.

Of course for every one V-Rod I see thirty or more Big Twins, so as far as I'm concerned the V-Rod is certainly an exotic.

Bozinski
23rd August 2008, 21:16
The Nova concept bike wasn't even remotely similar to the VRod

Considering that the Nova program was in development during the late '70s/early '80s, it seems to me like it was remarkably similar to the V-Rod. Unless I'm mistaken Harley even collaborated with Porsche on the Nova engine design, like it did on the V-Rods.

I've only seen two concept bikes that were part of the Nova program, one had lines which very much would have made it a "muscle bike" even before the genre was bolstered by bikes like the Yama V-Max and the Honda Magnas. I would argue that "muscle bike" is the category that the current V-Rod series best fits into. They aren't truly sporty and they certainly aren't a traditional cruiser, but they get down the road fast and look good.

The other Nova concept I saw was a half faired sport-tourer which would have been similar to a rigid-bagger Dyna T-Sport. Obviously there is no direct V-Rod equivalent, but IMHO, a sport-touring bike would be a really natural development of the V-Rod architecture and something I'd very much consider buying, since the BT touring bikes don't really light my fire (except for the dearly departed T-Sport).

From what I've read, the Nova engines were supposed to be modular in order to potentially lead to V-twin, V-4 and V-6 versions. And they were designed to have a mostly inconspicuous cooling system. Sounds similar to the way V-Rods have their liquid cooling system components mostly hidden by styling elements.

XL4me
24th August 2008, 14:51
This is a funny thread......:laugh
No offense to anyone, but this mostly replies by people "who have drank the Sportster Kool-Aid" !
Most people on this forum / people that do their own work / will probably keep their bike for X number of years / just happen to own a Harley because they wanted a Sportster, are not the people that will keep the MoCo (never mind the Sportster) in the black. Bottom line, Stock price, Marketing, Public perception (and sales follow that), lobbying / money to MSF AND Gov. Regs will determine the future of the Sporty never mind Air Cooling, overall ! The Sportster models for sale, change based upon Marketing, what people have bought, what they (Marketing types, again) think will make X amount of money. They are not going to continue a product line (doesn't matter what the history), if the sales are not there to support it ! How many people (in 2009) would buy a Panhead, just because it was a Panhead, EVEN though it had the same reliability as it did back in the day ? Advertising / Marketing and MONEY to MSF have done more to float the MoCo..... Remember they advertise to people that watched Biker Build-off, American Chopper, Monster Garage...... most posts here keep talking about technology vs. regs. ????
It's all about business....., the bottom line ! There is not enough people (like people on this forum) to float the model line, think about it...............
btw, the generation(s) that would buy Harley over any other brand (people that drive Chevy or Ford, over Toyota or Honda), just in principal alone are getting older and some now have money and some are not buying bikes anymore. The "next generation(s)" of buyers want technology, not just the young squids on crotch-rockets, but just X number of years younger than me will spend their money on technology over tradition, any day of the week !
Look at all the Acura, Lexus, Infinity, Audi, BMW and Mercedes (never mind Honda, Nissan and Toyota) on the road (varies depending upon where you live, I suspect MI has more American cars on the road) !
Like someone else posted, about wanting a Sportster, since they were 9 (or near that age), neighbor or relative had one....., those days are no more !

Fauxsuper
24th August 2008, 19:48
This is a funny thread......:laugh
No offense to anyone, but this mostly replies by people "who have drank the Sportster Kool-Aid" !

Like someone else posted, about wanting a Sportster, since they were 9 (or near that age), neighbor or relative had one....., those days are no more !

I agree with a lot of the points you've brought up. I certainly fit the profile you outlined in your post. In fact, I was the guy who posted that I'd wanted a Sportster since I was a kid. I just instinctively thought it was cool, but as I grew up, the fastest, most bad-ass vehicle in town always was a Sportster. Once Japanese bikes started to show up however, Harleys started to look old school. The vast majority of my teen-age motorcycling friends wanted nothing to do with Harley Davidsons, at least the big twins. Sportsters, during the era when I was in high school, were still top dog in the acceleration department, (This was also the "Then Came Bronson" era) and a few of my buddies bought them right out of highscool. But, the vast majority of baby boomers bought Japanese machines.

Although I do think there are plenty of Kids who now grow up in households where Harley's are the only bikes worth owning, in most of those households, a Sportster is the proverbial "girls bike" or "My First harley". definately "not cool", in other words. There are probably not too many teenagers haunting this site, waiting for the moment when they can buy a Sporty.

The first time I actually rode a Sporster, (a buddies XLCH) I was struck by how it was much different than I'd thought it would be. Far from being intimidating to ride it was quite user friendly, in that you could get it to move quite smartly without having to wind it up. It could also go around corners at least as fast I was willing to take it. Just thudding around town was actually fun, whereas riding a Honda 750 on those same streets was quite dull. That planted a seed that took over 30 years to blossom.

I then went on to a succession of Japanese Bikes (with one BWM R80) that were always more technologically advanced and also faster, better handling, etc. It finally dawned on me that none of them fit the actual way that I enjoyed riding and that's when I bought the Sporty.

But, over the last 20 years, it's not been the "true believer" that's kept Harley selling Sporties. The people who've bought Sportsters in numbers have been those who take the bikes to the dealer for service, view them as entry or beginners bikes and bought a Sportster because it was inexpensive.

One reason I started this thread is I thought it would bring out the feelings people have about what makes a Sportster a Sportster and how much people think it will have to change to capture enough market share for Harley to continue to produce it.

The reason this thread has lasted as long as it has is that there are a wide range of opinions that are actually plausable pathways the bike might evolve down. I guess one could re-phrase the question as: Will Harley be able to keep making a Sportster that appeals to people who HAVE drank the cool aid? There seems to enough variety of opinions to make that an open question.

XL4me
24th August 2008, 23:00
In fact, I was the guy who posted that I'd wanted a Sportster since I was a kid.
.
.
.
.
I guess one could re-phrase the question as: Will Harley be able to keep making a Sportster that appeals to people who HAVE drank the cool aid? There seems to enough variety of opinions to make that an open question.

I wanted one, since I was 9 ! That's why I own one. The base XL883 was the bike I wanted...., had to have the Sportster tank, mid-controls......
I have also just completed a 1000+ miles trip, on a Sporty with a stock seat / suspension, and after having test rode several other brands recently, I have realized what a "Sport-Touring" bike is !
I am not going to / planning to upgrade the seat / suspension / engine, I have other responsibilities.
It's funny that what most people think of as "just making a Sportster theirs", in most cases includes upgrading: seat / suspension / engine / brakes.
It will be interesting to see what motorcycles models exist in the coming years (Sportster and other brands, too).

Folkie
24th August 2008, 23:08
It's funny that what most people think of as "just making a Sportster theirs", in most cases includes upgrading: seat / suspension / engine / brakes.Well, we all make choices about what we want to do to our bikes. You choose not to do these things, other people choose differently. That's well and good.

Moved On / My Own Choice
25th August 2008, 14:10
I have also just completed a 1000+ miles trip, on a Sporty with a stock seat / suspension, and after having test rode several other brands recently, I have realized what a "Sport-Touring" bike is !


Funny - I just spent the weekend on a Sport-Touring bike - riding with Sportsters and wishing I could have brought the Sporty instead... go figure.

Still had a blast on the bike - just that particular ride would have been more fun on the Sporty.

Luckily I got at least a fix when I took Dan's bike for a spin...

Gone
14th September 2008, 01:18
This is a funny thread......:laugh
No offense to anyone, but this mostly replies by people "who have drank the Sportster Kool-Aid" !
Most people on this forum / people that do their own work / will probably keep their bike for X number of years / just happen to own a Harley because they wanted a Sportster, are not the people that will keep the MoCo (never mind the Sportster) in the black.

Excellent point. Aside from Sportsters and VRods, I really really dislike the rest of the Harley Davidson lineup. They destroyed the Sportster in '04, I can't afford a VRod-and I go out of my way to buy American made NON-HD aftermarket parts........So you're right-the MoCo has sucked all the blood that they're going to get out of this particular stone.

paxman1
14th September 2008, 02:42
My prediction - as long as it can - I suspect that the EU or EPA will likely force a change before the market will.

That said, I THINK the weight thing is largely a cost driven issue - i.e. they could go to an aluminum frame and save a serious chunk, plus go with lighter materials for bodywork etc, but it would all cost and these are really entry level machines.

Kev


I agree with Kev, EPA regs and will add C.a.r.b. from California. That Govt agency has a huge impact on many things reaching far from California :frownthre

Mark

RGlaz
15th September 2008, 16:28
I have one of the last good German air cooled cars. As the regualtions got tighter The Porsche had to go water cooled. Driven mostly from California where Porsche sold most of its cars. Water cooled Porsches ( converted air cooled engines) have their downside . They made the made the engine more complex less freindly to work on. The evolution of the aircooled Boxer Porsche engine to water cooling has yielded an engine that only resembles the original in the number of cylinders and their location. ..i.e. horozontally opposed. Porsche stuck with the design concept of keeping the engine in the rear and boxer design because the demand for a totally new designed P car the 928 924 944 had very poor sales. The faithful wanted a rear mounted horozontally opposed six that sounded like a Porsche ( sound has a big part in the Porsche community also not exhaust loudness ) Converting to water cooling was done in steps at Porsche. First came water jacketed heads which gave them lower operating temperatures( first tested in their racing cars and street turbo cars ) and better emmissions but Porsche realized to meet the EPA polution and noise standards they needed water jackets around the cylinders. Thus the evolution of water pumped Porsches for the masses.

Overall air cooled engines are simpler and thus more reliable. ( assuming you take reasonable care of them.) The millions of air cooled VW bugs are testimony to that. If the Harley faithful want the Harley sound and look, the Sportster will have to stay true to its roots. Like the Porsche failed attempt at front engine water cooled cars, HD is learning about the power of the buyer in the Vrod models. I dont think these will be outselling their tradtional line up any time soon.


Assuming that Harley is able to keep the Feds off their back for emmissions and noise, Air cooled should be around for a while. A lot can be done with dry sump oil system in terms of cooling ( ala vintage porsches ). As previiously mentioned elsewhere squirting oil on the underside of the pistons and an efficient oil cooler in the airstream mounted on the bike somewhere will go a long way to keep engine temps down and emmissions OK with the Feds. Of course if they are looking for a huge increase in engine performance there are limits to what air cooling can provide. So my vote is that HD will try to keep it air cooled until the govt reguations make them change.

Erik
15th September 2008, 17:49
I don't think it's just the look; people like the simplicity of an air cooled engine.

+1

And adding to that : the bike and i share that :wonderlan

Erik
15th September 2008, 18:08
I hope they factory continues to make an air cooled Sportster. I like it that way and i believe a lot of others share the same feeling.

I think -perhaps even as a future niche part of the market - continue building these will be profitable for the factory.
Maybe the environmental issues will gradually force the factory to let go of the aircooled concept.

But consider this : lots of bikes have ABS. Easilly spotted on these bikes. But -please correct me if i'm wrong- aren't or isn't there an HD tourer with ABS much more concelled ? (my english is poor, i know)
Maybe they can get oil- or even watercooled engines with the same restriction as far as 'visibility' is concerned.

I think the watercooler on the V-rod is F:censorugly, so they already know how not to do it...

Hopper
19th September 2008, 06:46
Ooh, I reckon about 7-foot long, give or take 10-inches or so.

Fauxsuper
19th September 2008, 16:33
When I saw another post had been added to this thread, I wondered "What else could anyone say that would add anything to this thread?". Hopper, I see that you've managed to add (literally) a new dimension to the discussion. Looking at the Hesse quote in your signature I'm wondering if your comment in some way is connected to the relationship between space and time? Therefore, that leads to the question: " If Sportsters exist in anonther dimension, are they still aircooled?"

rdgzoe
19th September 2008, 17:14
The one water cooled bike HD does make won't last long even.

Bozinski
20th September 2008, 14:18
Therefore, that leads to the question: " If Sportsters exist in anonther dimension, are they still aircooled?"


That probably depends on the dimension? In another dimension where life is silicon-based and we all breathe something crazy like methane, then they would probably be methane-cooled.

In a dimension full of water, then they would definitely be water-cooler.

In a divorce dimension, maybe they would be cooled by the icy stares of your ex-wife. Or ex-wives. The more wives you used to have, the more highly tuned your Sportster can be.

In the beer dimension they might be cooled by jets of icy cold Natural Light. I mean, c'mon, you aren't going to waste your good Sam Adams on keeping your scoot from detonating, are you?

skratch
21st September 2008, 00:37
Harley may begin to think about liquid cooling when global warming makes air cooling impractical and civilisation collapses.

according to al gore, that should be in about 6 months :D

Fauxsuper
21st September 2008, 00:52
[QUOTE=Bozinski;1479847] they would probably be methane-cooled.

QUOTE]

A few of them are methane cooled already, (at least the seats are).

Bozinski
22nd September 2008, 02:13
[QUOTE=Bozinski;1479847] they would probably be methane-cooled.

QUOTE]

A few of them are methane cooled already, (at least the seats are).

Did you mean valve seats or, uh, saddle seats? The latter I thought were methane-heated. :doh

I was referring to being methane-cooled from the outside, as in the entire atmosphere being methane instead of air. I'm not exactly sure if life can exist in a methane atmosphere, even hypothetical silicon-based life. At any rate in such an atmosphere we may have other problems to worry about than how we are going to cool our American V-twin motorcycles. I wonder...if the atmosphere were primarily methane, then would we fill our fuel tanks with liquid oxygen in order to sustain combustion inside the cyliinders? Can you carburete liquid oxygen, or would you have to use oxygen injectors?

roachhill
8th October 2008, 05:20
I bought my carbed, air cooled Sporty so I could rebuild it till I die because I assumed the govt would put an end to bikes I would want to buy.

ugocon
8th October 2008, 11:48
I see a couple of threats arising that could force the Sporty to turn into a water cooled, thus... to die as the model we know... :(


More strict control on emissions: here in europe we have reached the Euro3 level for motorbikes, but it could become even stricter and only a water cooled engine could be compliant at all rpms.
A strict campaign on noise reduction: very hard for an air cooled engine to be compliant!

In my opinion masking a water cooled engine with an air cooled look will destroy the essence of the Sporty.

I can only imagine an oil cooling as default, that would give benefits to the engine without twisting the Sporty's nature.

Ciao
Ugo

mr_sportster
6th November 2008, 03:05
That's why BMW went to the oilhead.

XLFREAK
6th November 2008, 06:09
How long will Harley continue to Make air-cooled Sportsters?


Only until the Dems realize that they are the real cause for "global warming' then they will all be banned, and we will be forced to ride underground

Moved On / My Own Choice
6th November 2008, 13:18
That's why BMW went to the oilhead.

Back in 1994! :doh

bustert
9th November 2008, 01:41
actually, the harley air cooled engine runs cooler sump temperature than a water cooled engine. most go to water cooled engine because the engine can be confined to a small range of temperature that makes emision control easier. however, the progress of electronics has made it possible to have tight emmision control even on an air cooled engine. even two cycle engines have been able to pass emisions. i believe air cool will be around for awhile. the v-rod was developed because harley thought the twin cam wasn't a emission passer but it does.

mcdonalddj
17th November 2008, 08:33
We can already buy lighter, better performing bikes if we want to. I not interested in what Harley can do to my bike. It is a solid performer as stock. I want a bike that I can make my own, that I can do bling, noise, performance modifications to so I can make it better, different than the other guy that bought a stock bike just like mine. The sportster will remain much like it is untill the EPA rules it out of production. Look at the VW bug. it was reintroduced but is no longer a bug. A water cooled sporty would just be something else, prob a nice bike but not a sportster.

That's what they said when EFI was introduced :p

I hear you though. Just hold on to your old sporty. It's like the Vette, from 57-present it has been changed a lot and people collect ALL years of it.

Sporting Lad
17th November 2008, 10:34
If MoCo wanted to bring the XL into the 21st century, all they'd have to do is
take a V-rod, make some cosmetic changes to it, slap on some Sportster decals, and call that the NEW, IMPROVED 53 YEAR ANNIVERSARY SPORTSTER for 2010.
Would you buy one of them? I might, but it wouldn't be a Sportster would it? :frownthre
I think the XLs could continue as is for a good long time if the greenies would allow it. Likewise, if VW reintroduced the air cooled Beetle for under ten grand, I think they'd sell like hotcakes. If GM brought back a '57 Chevy :wonderlan with the small block V-8 and the old technology, I'd buy one. Even those new "Bullitt" Mustangs are hot sellers now.
One of my XL's greatest strengths now is that it's so low tech that I can work on it in my little shop. It's a simple engine using basic design with a lot fewer moving parts than other bikes. My 'o6 has got a carburetor for feck sake. Just ONE! Four valves. I've said it before on here, but compare it to, just say for the purpose of discussion, the new "Star" V Max: That thing's got at least a brazillion moving parts and they are all controlled by computers. A "fly by wire" throttle? That sounds like fun in a couple years when it all begins to entropy away into a useless pile of silicon and plastic that nobody outside the dealers' will be able to fix. I'm rambling, I know, but my POINT is:
Keep It Simple and we can still be riding when the high tech society falls apart and the fancy-schmancy new design bikes ain't so fast anymore cos they're all in landfills.