Sporster XL 1200 Custom Review

 XL 1200 Custom

 

Hi again, for my first review for Harley Davidson Motorcycles. My post will be on the Sportster Range especially the XL 1200 Custom.

The Sportster as the name indicates is a little sportier than all other Harleys, they are thinner and shorter, all be it only slightly , but this does not detract from a very distinct appearance they carry and the fact they carry either a 883 or 1200cc power house which is complemented by its lightweight build.

When purchasing my XL 1200 Custom, I was told how underestimated people view them, and I must admit, I was under the impression they were the bottom of the range of Harley Davidson, but on second look, and now I have ridden one, they are far from that, in fact I don’t think Harley has a bottom of the line bike as Harley’s complete range , only varies due to factory built , custom modifications i.e. the XL 1200 Custom, has lots of Chrome compared to the XL 1200 but pretty much they are the same bike. Just yesterday I parked my bike next to a XL 883 Custom, and couldn’t tell too much difference other than lack of Chrome, some bliing on the tank, an the fact they put the cc rating on the air filter.

The Sportster range consists of (based on USA website) are:
883 Low
883 Custom
Iron 883
Nightster
1200 low
1200 Custom
XR 1200

So what do I think of the Sportster?

First of all I have to be honest with you, which also will tell you about my trust in the Harley product, I walked into a showroom and looked at all the bikes, I had initially looked to buy a Triumph Daytona, due to the fact I thought Harleys were just too expensive, It was impressed on me by a good friend that, that just wasn’t the case and subsequently taken to the dealership by my friend to see for myself.

Because of some of my first experiences with Harley’s, my mind had been set on getting a Fat Boy so when introduced to the idea of getting a Sportster, I sort of cringed, as I thought it was a girls bike (horror you might say) , but anyway back to the story, I then came across a XL1200 Custom, and I was impressed to say the least, but what was more impressive was when the salesman, cranked up an anniversary 1200 Custom decked with Screaming Eagle livery they had sitting outside on display, all I have to say is WOW!!! Then I asked the nail biting question “HOW MUCH” and nearly fell over backwards when he told me a standard XL 1200 Custom went for $16990.00 (au). This is what I was going to spend on the Triumph, so at that defining moment, my childhood dream of one day owning a Harley was realized.
From that point I ordered my XL1200 Custom, without even riding it, which some people would think strange, but think about it , I wanted a Harley more than anything else, I couldn’t afford any of the other models, and by this point forgot about buying anything else, so decision made.

I picked it up from the dealers, and rode it home, and I have to say it was brilliant, and everything I had expected from the Harley’s stable , it had presence on the road, lots and lots of power, it was just fantastic.

What don’t I like? They say when you have to find things to pick on it just shows how good something is, well same goes with the Sportster.

I only have some small bug bears, one is the absence of a fuel gauge, but I have pretty much found out how many litres I have left in the tank, by filling up immediately when the fuel warning light is on, but that is pretty useless on a country road where you don’t know when the next petrol station will appear on the road.

Secondly, the standard rear shocks are hard, and can be somewhat back jarring on the bumpy stuff, especially when carrying a passenger, but again can be fixed relatively inexpensively by changing to aftermarket shocks.

What I Love?
THE CHROME give me more. Sure it is harder to keep clean, but hey that’s what you do when you have such an iconic motorcycle in the garage, and a passion and love for your bike.

THE POWER!! it has bucket loads.

THE SOUND!! Aural delight, and gets everyone hopping when you give it a squirt.

THE RIDE!! With it’s low centre of gravity, and lighter construction the Sportster can be thrown about a bit more than its larger brothers, and is very stable on the road making it easy to ride.

Thanks for reading my first review, if you have any feedback please let me know what you think, and remember, the reviews are about the bike how it looks, how it rides, and the things I like and don’t like. I will not get into the deep specs, as you can read them for yourself on the Harley website

Cheers and safe riding to all.

~ by danielromaine on May 31, 2009.

3 Responses to “Sporster XL 1200 Custom Review”

  1. Sounds like you are very happy with your pride and joy,are you still riding it or have you gone dyna style. I like the harleys but my pocket dont stretch that far prices here are way too high…..so i’ve gone second best, wait for it……..a kawasaki 1500fi classic cruiser full dresser and i love it, loads a chrome exelent brakes and more grunt than a wild hog, exelent road holding with air shocks for a bump free ride it has vance and hindes so sounds the behst. If i win the big one i will buy dyna glide custom around 2008/9 with the solid wheels and twin disc set up and a mustang seat and to round it off v/h long shots

    • thanks for the comment. I am still riding my sporty I can’t bear to part with her and yes they can get pricey I have a mate with the same buke as you and they are a great replacement over something like a boulevard which are cheap but nasty. keep the dream as good things do come to those that wait. enjoy riding

  2. Hi Daniel, like you I was set to buy a Bonneville or Dartona. My first “real” bike was the 650 Bonnevile-bought it in 1969, so showing my age!
    Haven’t owned a bike for 20 years-and as my life has changed (kids grown up and left, wife died last year) I thought it was time to get started on my “bucket list”. Anyway, after looking at the new Triumphs in the dealers, the wonderful orange colour of the XL1200 CA caught my eye. The salesman offered me a test rice-and I was hooked! My first ever Harley, and I’ve never really looked at the colour of a vehicle before. Looking forward to taking some long service leave this year and going to see Australia!
    Cheers and all the best,
    Mick.

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