The Sportsters with low suspension are difficult to make comfortable for two up riding because there is not enough suspension travel. You have to put such stiff springs in them for two up, the ride is really stiff when solo. If you want to ride two up, you will be better off with the Roadster. But they only made them from 04 to 08 (perhaps 09). The 04 to 08 Roadsters had only 3.3 gallon tank. The 09 Roadster had 4.5 gallon tank. I may be off on the actual years.
I have an 06 Roadster, I am 6' 3" tall. I have a Harley Sundowner (2 up) seat which moves me forward and up. I also added two inches of foam and a Air Hawk air cushion on top of that. I have added forward pegs just to have a different place to put my feet for comfort. My wife is 110 lbs in gear, and with a back rest, we can ride comfortably. But only for short 1/2 day rides. If you add two heavy people, with weekend gear, you can overload the Sportster. Solo, I can ride all day with Ricor suspension, and feel better at the end of a long day than most people, regardless of what bike they ride.
07 was the first year of the FI bikes on the Sportsters, and there were significant problems. The general quality of FI tune was not too good, lots of surging problems, and lots of aftermarket FI parts made the FI bikes run worse. The XIEDs are probably the easiest mod to fix FI. Corroded relays were also a big problem with 07 bikes. It appears these problems have been solved with later bikes.
Road King air shocks are a popular mod that can provide a reasonable ride solo and two up by changing air pressure.
Works Suspension is making an air shock also, but I have not read any reports about it.
The poor ride quality of rubber mount Sportsters is directly related to junk suspension from Harley and most of the aftermarket. Ricor Intiminators and Ricor IAS shocks prove the Sportsters can have an excellent ride. The 09 and later bikes appear to have better stock suspension than the earlier years.
Wanna Ride screwed with this post 05-11-2011 at 10:03 PM