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Old 08-15-2009, 08:45 PM   #16
LoriKTM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GS Bones
So, I got a nice test ride today on a black XR1200.

(snip)


So there you have it.

Bones
Nice write up, Bones!

You were really paying attention on that ride! Glad you got to wring out the XR and get it up to 75mph. The bike is just smooth as silk at speed.
Come on and join us over at the XR1200 owners forums when you're ready. There's a lot of great information there.

The Showa suspension is definitely on my Christmas list. That rear shock is a kicker on sharp-edged bumps. It may not be a real dirt bike, but the XR works surprisingly well on the dirt road I live on, as well as the few gravel roads I've taken it on. I constantly expect the rear wheel to slide out in corners, but it stays quite planted. If only the TKC 80 came in a profile to fit this bike...
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:56 PM   #17
LoriKTM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hair
Lori,
Given your and Dave's history how did you guys end up on Harley's door step?
And from what I understand that Dave also has H-D powered bike.
I've stopped by the local shop a time or two. It is very different from when they first opened up in town. Back then one couldn't even talk to the guys. The last time that I stopped by they were very friendly. But then I fit the Harley rider profile.
I really like the XR. I almost bought one way back when.
Long story short, Harley's have always been in our family, so to speak. My brother has a '79 Shovelhead, that Dave owned for a few years out in NY. Back in '93 Dave and I took our honeymoon in Florida, and we rented Harleys for the day. He is a tall guy, and really likes the ergos on the H-D bikes compared to the japanese bikes. Dave also had a '84 Sportster 1200 for a few years in the early 90's. We are impressed with the improvements that Buell and H-D have made with the bikes in the past few years, and the dealer network can't be beat when planning long trips out on the road. We both sold our street bikes when we left NY back in 2006, but this year the timing was right to get back on the asphalt side of riding.
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:36 PM   #18
Duck_Pilot
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Congratulations, GS Bones!

I got the chance to test-ride an XR-1200 a few months ago, and was indeed impressed at how far this Harley has come. I started looking for a new primary-ride machine 3 years ago, with the first hard look at the 1200 Sporty Roadster. Had the XR been out back then, I would probably not looked any further. However, life being what it is, I bought the GT-1000 Ducati and am very happy with it. While I like the Harley a lot, I won't be trading-in my Duckie for one.

I'm glad that you are happy with your new ride, and look forward to reading ride reports and seeing pics. Get out there and play! It's all about riding what YOU love, not trying to impress others.......how else do ya explain all them KLR riders, eh?
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Old 08-16-2009, 06:13 AM   #19
subvet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GS Bones
So, I got a nice test ride today on a black XR1200. There is nothing I can say that would differ much from what a lot of magazine and online reviews have said, but here is what I found:

The engine is sublime. No, it is not a Hyabusa, but that is not what it is all about. If you like twins (which is my favorite engine format, be it flat twins, vertical twins or Vtwins), this engine is great. It has a ton of low end torque, but unlike most Vtwins, the torque does not flatten out 3/4 of the way to the top end. It likes to spin all the way up, much like the Buell Vtwins, which in my opinion, is a good thing. And my seat of the pants dyno reveals that it has a lot more low end grunt than the Buells. Even at 2K-2.5K, it pulls hard on the throttle and is very satisfying. The fuel mapping, unlike the Buells, is perfect. No hunting, no surging, no flat spots, no stumbling.

Drive line lash...none. Beautiful. This is something that most reviewers don't seem to mention, especially when they compare this bike to others that are supposedly in the "same category" which is something I will discuss below. The bike, thankfully, feels like it has a heavy enough flywheel, so there is absolutely no snatchiness to throttle response. Throttle response is brisk, but with NO snatch. That is a good thing. The belt drive is buttery smooth.

The transmission is perfect, for what I like in a transmission. Gear shifts are positive with just enough clunk but no excessive clunk. I don't like Japanese trannies, which have no clunk at all, but often leave you feeling like you are not sure if the shift has been completed to sastisfaction. The meshing of gears is perfect. It was very, very easy to find neutral when at a stop. No problems or challenges there, at all.

Ergonomics were great. Very upright riding position. The peg position is a very, very good compromise between sporty position and long time in the saddle position. I am sure that on very long rides, I would want more seat to peg distance, but to accomplish that on this bike, there would be other more significant compromises like less available lean angle or needing to have the bike too tall for what it is. The reach to the bars was just right for me. The bar angle and position was just right. I would need to make no adjustments at all.

Wind. The air was totally clean. It is a naked bike, so there is no point in commenting on wind protection, per se. But even at speeds of 75 (which I did get to test), the air flow was clean and smooth.

Seat. It is firm, which I like. If you scoot forward towards the tank, it is nice and thin, so you can hang off nicely, get weight over the front, etc. If you are cruising along, you can scoot back in the seat and it is much wider, so your buttocks in nicely supported. And the seat looks cool. It is not designed as a two up bike, though you can do that...but let's not get hung up that, as it is not designed as a two up touring bike.

Exhaust....well, c'mon...no current bike has a stock exhaust that is great. The only thing I really don't like about this bike is the look of the stock exhaust. It sounds as good as a stock exhaust will allow these days. That is why the aftermarket exists for these bikes, and there are some good choices out there. But I will say that when you get on the throttle, you do get some nice audible low end feedback.

Vibes. I like twins, and I like some vibration in a bike. This is why I don't love in line 4's. They buzz, but are too smooth overall. This bike shakes just enough at idle. But overall, while there is enough low frequency vibration at all rpms to remind you that you are on a twin, it really is buttery smooth as power is delivered to the rear wheel.

Suspension. It is a decent compromise, which is what stock suspensions are designed for. They have to design these to deal with "the average rider," by which I mean, average size. I guess the US market is mostly guys that are taller and fatter than me, so I did not find the bike to be undersprung. In fact, static sag should be more than it was with me sitting on it...but I only weigh 140 lbs. Again, aftermarket is there for those who want higher performance or whatever.

Fit and finish. Other than the styling of the stock exhaust, the fit and finish on this bike is sublime. HD gets that right, and if you disagree with this, then you just aren't looking closely. These bikes are not light, and they don't pretend to be. That does give the designers the latitude to make certain parts more beefy, which I like. The analog tach is beautiful. The digital speedo is, also. Design work on the guages is modern enough to be modern, and retro enough to remind me of some things I remember from the 70's to put a smile on my face. The black handle bars are just right in shape and spread. The wiring is as hidden as it can be. The engine is completely visible from all angles and the working parts are artful, in my opinion. The swingarm is stout but nice looking.

Can you make it a "trip bike?" By that, I mean, it is able to be used for 2-3 day trips and carry enough gear to get it done? Yes. Add a few HD aftermarket parts that are inexpensive and esthetically reasonable, and you can easily put a 30 liter waterproof tail pack on board and you are all set. A tank bag could work, easily, if you want one.

Handling. Outstanding, and frankly, much better than I was expecting, even given the favorable reviews. It turns in very, very nicely with very little effort. It tracks in turns with fantastic stability and does not stand up with trail braking or adding throttle. I was surprised at how good it felt in this regard. It feels very planted. I am sure this is, in part, due to the designers working in much lower unsprung weight than one would expect on a bike of this overall weight. There was ZERO wallowing.

Category. There is no other bike that fits the category that this one fits into these days. And I am not exactly sure what category that is, to be honest. It is much more sporty than a "Universal" style motorbike. It is much more powerful AND nimble than a pseudo dual sport street bike (think Triumph Scrambler), it has a healthy suspension travel at 5.4" than most might expect, so it can deal well with road surfaces that are questionable. I think it is going to turn out to be a very, very good "all arounder," whatever that means these days. Does that mean a good bike for gravel roads? Not really. But there are lots of folks who ride their more sport oriented street bikes that way. I am sure it would do fine under those circumstaces, though its weight might be an issue. But it doesn NOT feel as heavy as the spec sheet says, even at a standstill.


How much did I like it? Enough to have purchased one today after the test ride. I will be making some trades and using some left over cash from that to get two major and a few minor aftermarket purchases. I will change out the stock exhaust to a Remus 2:1 with black cannister and stainless steel headers that will allow for loss of about 16 lbs, I think. I will change the stock suspension to the fully adjustable Showa sport suspension (front and rear). And I will get the tail rack and bungee rails, which since the bike is black, should be pretty inconspicuous.


So there you have it.






Bones
nice review.
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Old 08-16-2009, 11:24 AM   #20
Hair
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoriKTM
Long story short, Harley's have always been in our family, so to speak. My brother has a '79 Shovelhead, that Dave owned for a few years out in NY. Back in '93 Dave and I took our honeymoon in Florida, and we rented Harleys for the day. He is a tall guy, and really likes the ergos on the H-D bikes compared to the japanese bikes. Dave also had a '84 Sportster 1200 for a few years in the early 90's. We are impressed with the improvements that Buell and H-D have made with the bikes in the past few years, and the dealer network can't be beat when planning long trips out on the road. We both sold our street bikes when we left NY back in 2006, but this year the timing was right to get back on the asphalt side of riding.


Good for you. Oh by the way. I really like that XR. That is one good looking bike.
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Old 08-16-2009, 12:06 PM   #21
Jody H
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Looks like you were smitten.
Myself, I was less than impressed.
Too agricultural (heavy, vibey, slow, clunky) when compared to my Aprilia Tuono.
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Old 08-16-2009, 04:00 PM   #22
GS Bones OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jody H
Looks like you were smitten.
Myself, I was less than impressed.
Too agricultural (heavy, vibey, slow, clunky) when compared to my Aprilia Tuono.


Apples and Oranges.



BUT...don't get me wrong. My opinion about the Tuono is overwhelmingly favorable, for certain things. It gives me wood, actually. The true thunder that comes from that malevolent beast with an aftermarket pipe is otherwordly. While the Tuono is a TOTALLY different beast than a Nightster, it would fit a very small niche and in some ways, similar niche for ME. And if I owned one, I doubt I would be riding it for very long, because I am quite sure my license would be taken away in a short amount of time. I don't think I could spend more than a minute on it without riding in ways I should not. As you know, it is essentially the Aprilia racing bike, made naked and more upright for hooliganism. Not the niche I was searching for. I was looking for, essentially, a Scrambler type of bike that would stay on the street and with more power. But I get your point.
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Old 08-16-2009, 04:11 PM   #23
Jody H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GS Bones
Apples and Oranges.
Not really.
More like Apple cider and Granny Smith apples.
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Old 08-16-2009, 04:14 PM   #24
Deans BMW
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Bones, congratulations on the new bike.

How is your cabin doing?

Be safe my friend.
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Old 08-16-2009, 04:24 PM   #25
ScottV
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Thanks for the great review, Bones. Good luck with the new bike. I look forward to some pics.

Scott
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Old 08-17-2009, 06:41 PM   #26
GS Bones OP
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And one more question....

What replacement tires are folks running if they want to get more miles out of a set of tires. It sounds like the stockers work well, but it also sounds like they are not going to last more than 3K miles. An 18" front makes choices limited, and I prefer to run matching tires. Looking at the Pirelli website, I think they make Diablo Stradas with an 18 front, but not quite sure.

Thanks.

Bones
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Old 08-17-2009, 07:05 PM   #27
rhinoWERX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GS Bones
And one more question....

What replacement tires are folks running if they want to get more miles out of a set of tires. It sounds like the stockers work well, but it also sounds like they are not going to last more than 3K miles. An 18" front makes choices limited, and I prefer to run matching tires. Looking at the Pirelli website, I think they make Diablo Stradas with an 18 front, but not quite sure.

Thanks.

Bones
I'm running Dunlop RoadSmart, dual compound, sport touring tyre - thay make a front that'll fit the XR
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Old 08-17-2009, 07:22 PM   #28
LoriKTM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GS Bones
And one more question....

What replacement tires are folks running if they want to get more miles out of a set of tires. It sounds like the stockers work well, but it also sounds like they are not going to last more than 3K miles. An 18" front makes choices limited, and I prefer to run matching tires. Looking at the Pirelli website, I think they make Diablo Stradas with an 18 front, but not quite sure.

Thanks.

Bones
I am on this quest as well. At nearly 2500 miles, the rear tire on my bike is showing some wear, and I have a 4-day trip planned in September. I was hoping the rear tire would make it back from our trip, but I don't know that I want to chance it.

In addition to the Dunlop Roadsmart, I have found the following tires with front/rear profiles matching the XR1200:

Michelin Pilot Road 2 (And Michelin Pilot Power 2)
Avon AV55 (front), AV56 (rear)
Pirelli Diablo Strada (as you found)
Continental Road Attack
Metzler Roadtec Z6

There are probably others out there, but this is what I've found so far.

The Michelin Pilot Road and the Metzler Roadtec have gotten some good reviews over at Motorcycle-Superstore.com. 8-10K mileage seems to be do-able.

I'm probably going to try the Michelin Pilot Road first. I've had good luck with Michelin tires on all my dirt bikes. (not that it means much for street tires!)
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Old 08-17-2009, 07:42 PM   #29
rev_eddie
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I'm loving the heck out of mine.
Stupid fun torque, great handling, great brakes.
There's just something perversely fun about screaming through twisties on a bike that's so different.

I'll be switching to Michelins.
I've ran their various tires for a couple hundred thousand miles
on various sport-tourers, and really like them.
I think they should work fine on this bike.



Eddie
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Old 08-17-2009, 07:46 PM   #30
BigIron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoriKTM
I'm probably going to try the Michelin Pilot Road first.
The Pilot Roads are, hands down, the best tires I've had on my Buell S3T.

I tried a set of Avons just before the Pilot Roads, but I spooned them off before I had 500 miles on 'em. YMMV.
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