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Old 11-23-2014, 05:45 AM   #1
Alexander B OP
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XR 1200 is not for me - what about a Roadster?

I have ridden the XR 1200 a couple of times in an attempt to find a flexible, easy-to-own, commuter/do-it-all bike.
In spite of many glowing reviews, I found the XR very disappointing. Slow, bad vibrations below 3000 rpm, not very comfortable ergos, mediocre headlight and brakes. (Please note that I otherwise ride a Yamaha thumper and a Honda Shadow, so I am used to vibrations, limited performance etc. The 1200 / 90 hp XR offered very little in performance improvement over my sub 50 hp bikes.)

Any suggestions about another Sportster worth looking at?
New, not used.
We still get the Roadster model here, with better suspension and dual front discs, albeit only in the 883 iteration. It seems sort of right on paper, but I guess a 1200cc upgrade should be budgeted for?
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Old 11-23-2014, 06:27 AM   #2
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If the XR1200 vibrated too much for you and didn't have enough performance, I don't think you'll like any Sportster. I enjoyed the little bit of riding I did on an XR1200, but they are not for everybody. Perhaps a Sportster is just not for you.
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Old 11-23-2014, 06:28 AM   #3
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Not sure how you feel that the XR is slow compared to the other 2 bikes in your post..Mine gets to 100mph pretty quick. The brakes, performance and speed will be better on this bike then a roadster.
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Old 11-23-2014, 07:40 AM   #4
Alexander B OP
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JTXR1200 said:
Quote:
Not sure how you feel that the XR is slow compared to the other 2 bikes in your post
JTXR1200, you I did not say that, I said:
Quote:
The 1200 / 90 hp XR offered very little in performance improvement over my sub 50 hp bikes.
Face it: the XR is about 200 (!) pounds heavier than my XT660R, which has a responsive, very mid-strong 48hp and great gearing for red-light exercises.
The Honda 750 Shadow Spirit has 46 hp of very well tuned, responsive EFI V-Twin grunt, much smaller cross section (for less wind drag) and weighs at least 50 pounds less than the XR.

Or say like this, it is BY FAR the slowest 1200 bike I have ridden. The big, heavy, "bordering-30-years-old", air-cooled, UJM Yamaha XJR1300 leaves the in the dust at half throttle.
The Yamaha XJ6 (FZ6R) I used to have (78hp 600cc) would also humiliate the XR in every kind of performance test, I'd think.

Below 3000 rpm, the XR vibrations are far more disturbing than on any other bike I have ridden, including a couple of Big Twin Harelys, even to the point of interfering with my riding into low speed corners and intersections.

Would you guys say the other Sportsters are as "vibey"?
I think an XL883R + upgrade kit looks initeresting; EFI, ABS, cast wheels, but still air-cooled, traditional style.

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Old 11-23-2014, 08:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander B View Post
JTXR1200 said:

JTXR1200, you I did not say that, I said:

Face it: the XR is about 200 (!) pounds heavier than my XT660R, which has a responsive, very mid-strong 48hp and great gearing for red-light exercises.
The Honda 750 Shadow Spirit has 46 hp of very well tuned, responsive EFI V-Twin grunt, much smaller cross section (for less wind drag) and weighs at least 50 pounds less than the XR.

Or say like this, it is BY FAR the slowest 1200 bike I have ridden. The big, heavy, "bordering-30-years-old", air-cooled, UJM Yamaha XJR1300 leaves the in the dust at half throttle.
The Yamaha XJ6 (FZ6R) I used to have (78hp 600cc) would also humiliate the XR in every kind of performance test, I'd think.

Below 3000 rpm, the XR vibrations are far more disturbing than on any other bike I have ridden, including a couple of Big Twin Harelys, even to the point of interfering with my riding into low speed corners and intersections.

Would you guys say the other Sportsters are as "vibey"?
I think an XL883R + upgrade kit looks initeresting; EFI, ABS, cast wheels, but still air-cooled, traditional style.
The thing you have to understand is that the XR is meant to rev higher than a big twin. The only time mine is below 3000 rpm is when it is in neutral. I'm in the 4-5000 range when riding. Below 3k and you'll be lugging the engine
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Old 11-23-2014, 09:08 AM   #6
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I'm not sure you'll like any Sportster. Different flavors of the same package.

>>easy-to-own, commuter/do-it-all bike.

I rode a Yamaha Bolt last month. It might be closer to your needs but it's still not very fast. How about an FZ-09 or Honda CBR500X?

FYI: Looking forward to visiting your beautiful country in July. Too bad Husky's are made in Italy. I'd visit the factory.

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Old 11-23-2014, 09:10 AM   #7
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I know when I've ridden bikes that are different than what I'm used to I usually don't like them very much. When I first tried out the HD Touring bikes I thought they were too heavy and didn't like them at all. Now a Road King will be my next bike. Before I bought my Street Bob I rode the Demos at Daytona. Probably put 500 miles on them in a few days. I thought when the new wore off I wouldn't like it. And it took a few thousand miles getting used to the Ergos. I wondered where at they hid the power in that 1500cc motor. But guess what after 5 years I still love it. It has plenty of power, handles and stops just fine, and is comfortable.

What I'm saying is if you want one put some miles on one before you give up on a Sportster. If you can't get used to it pass and look at something else. There are so many after market and HD accessories to change some things but at the end of the day it is what it is.
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Old 11-23-2014, 09:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DynaSport View Post
If the XR1200 vibrated too much for you and didn't have enough performance, I don't think you'll like any Sportster.
Yep.
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Old 11-23-2014, 09:35 AM   #9
Ginger Beard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander B View Post
I have ridden the XR 1200 a couple of times in an attempt to find a flexible, easy-to-own, commuter/do-it-all bike.
In spite of many glowing reviews, I found the XR very disappointing. Slow, bad vibrations below 3000 rpm, not very comfortable ergos, mediocre headlight and brakes. (Please note that I otherwise ride a Yamaha thumper and a Honda Shadow, so I am used to vibrations, limited performance etc. The 1200 / 90 hp XR offered very little in performance improvement over my sub 50 hp bikes.)

Any suggestions about another Sportster worth looking at?
New, not used.
We still get the Roadster model here, with better suspension and dual front discs, albeit only in the 883 iteration. It seems sort of right on paper, but I guess a 1200cc upgrade should be budgeted for?

Was something wrong with the XR that you rode? It's much quicker than the XTZ or Shadow by a pretty comfortable margin and will certainly trounce the Shadow at all levels of performance. They certainly aren't a supersport nor were they designed to be. They are pretty quick for their class;Think Retro Standard like a Thruxton , Enfield Continental GT, CB1100, etc. Man, reading your post reminds me of how badly I want an XTZ660. Too bad we don't get any of the 660 variants here.

A Sportster engine at 3k rpm will vibrate a lot. They don't like to be ridden that low in the power curve.

The truth is that you probably aren't a Sportster guy and that's okay. Plenty of bikes in the world for all types of riders. This is a great time to be a motorcyclist.
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Old 11-23-2014, 09:54 AM   #10
Alexander B OP
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JTXR1200, please spend more time Reading post than typng, PLEASE!
FFS, I own and ride a 660 thumper and a 750 V-Twin since years - keeping "in the working range" on the Evo is nothing new to me!
I flogged the bike to the redline as well, and was rewarded with an acceleration one could expect from an engine half the size, at least as long as Harley market this as a "sporty bike".

Still, approaching an intersection, idling and starting at stop signs, coasting in gear, with clutch in, waiting for a gap in traffic etc, that paint shaker idle and low rev character adds ZERO to the experience for me.
My current thumper and V-Twin vibrate too, but that is mailny load dependant, something Harely has not managed in their bikes. Coasting or off throttle, my bikes are "relaxed".

OK, so the rest of the Sportsters are the same. Good to know.

Ginger Beard did also not read too well, I have the R, not the Z. The R is almost 80 pounds lighter than the lead-sled Ténéré.
The Swedish Shadows are much quicker than the US, ones, at least up to 2012 or so. EFI and less anti pollution restricions.

Milar, welcome to Sweden. I'd recommend summer time...
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Old 11-23-2014, 10:11 AM   #11
Ginger Beard
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Sorry, the XR is only a second faster than the XT rather than 1.5 as when compared to the Tenere which is still a pretty broad margin. It is much quicker and better handling than the Shadow.

The XR is indeed a sporty bike, it just isn't a sport bike. if you are going to compare it to dedicated performance motorcycles then it is surely going to disappoint. When compared to motorcycles within its class it does quite well.

It still sounds to me like you simply are not into Sportsters . It tends to be one of those bikes that people either get or don't get. If you are looking for a high performance sport bike I would suggest looking at makes other than HD.
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Old 11-23-2014, 10:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ginger Beard View Post
If you are looking for a high performance sport bike I would suggest looking at makes other than HD.
Right. Like a Buell. The older air cooled ones have a little bit of the same HD "character" (vibes and noise) with more performance, and the newer ones have gobs of performance in a unique, V-twin package... if the Swedes even got any, that is. FWIW, my air cooled Ducati S2R1000 was completely worthless in terms of rideability below 4k rpm, so 3k isn't bad. My Buell Ulysses doesn't go much below 3k b/f she's unhappy. Your air-cooled 1200 twin is not at all comparable to your 660 single or your little twin - very apples and oranges - no need lash out at other and insist you know what you're doing with the powerband.

If you don't like the XR, I don't think you'll like anything in the HD inventory - move along.
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Old 11-23-2014, 12:19 PM   #13
Alexander B OP
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Thanks for the input, guys.
If the rest is of the Sportster range is equally vibey (of which I was not sure), but slower (suspected) and with even less brakes and handling (that I already knew), then I have to look elsewhere.

Still, I am not looking for a sportsbike, just something a little better than a late 70s/early 80s middle of the road UJM. And I really respect Harley Davidson for their after sales support, giving "eternal life" to the vintage bikes, too.

This guy came to a similar conclusion - the XR1200 compared to a 1985 Honda Nighthawk S:

Quote:
I think I can sum up my review of this bike as follows. The XR is a simple, basic, industrial motorcycle. It turns, it stops and it rides well. The fit and finish is awful. The tach and speedo look like they were found in the discount parts bin in the performance parts aisle of your local Auto Zone. The suspension? Forgettable. If you want to buy a bike that can give you the same experience as the XR1200 but with more performance and a better ride perhaps you should consider firing up your computer and searching Craigslist or E-Bay for a sweet 1985 Honda Nighthawk S. I find it to be amazing that a motorcycle designed and built in 2009/2010 can easily be blown off the road by a mid-level affordable rice burner circa 1985. You think that’s a load of hype? Let’s go to the numbers:

1985 Honda Nighthawk S 2010 Harley Davidson XR-1200
Zero to Sixty
3.60 4.34 (as measured by Bike magazine)
Quarter Mile
12.35
sec at 107.46 mph
13.11 @ 103.9 MPH (same source)
Measured Horsepower
67.7 @ 9,500 rpm 90.1
@ 6900 RPM

linky:
http://dryohe.wordpress.com/2010/01/...vidson-xr1200/
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Old 11-23-2014, 12:39 PM   #14
Ginger Beard
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Alexander,

I wouldn't put too much stock into that blog with regards to facts. That performance data is simply not very accurate though I would say that the two bikes are quite comparable with regards to acceleration. The 1/4 mile times for both bikes are pretty far off. If all that the XR rider could manage to run on an XR is a low 13 then that person should hang up their drag racing hat. Many people (myself included ) have bested that time on stock Sportster 1200's. Most published times for the XR seem to be in the mid-low 12's which would make far more sense given the 20whp advantage. Having ridden an 86' Nighthawk750 and an XR1200 I can tell you that you would need to do some serious rework of the suspension and brakes in order for it to hang with the XR (especially the XR1200x) anywhere other than raw acceleration.


Strangely enough, I would rather own the Nighthawk.
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Old 11-23-2014, 12:43 PM   #15
Alexander B OP
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My impression of the XR1200 handling and brakes led me back to memories of riding an old buddy's 1982 vintage Kawasaki Z750. Enough said, I think...

By the way, if the XR1200 is competive within its class (a definition that seems to consistently exclude all REAL competition - come on, I have seen others suggest the Guzzi V7 as a benchmark), its 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds is about as far from a CB1100 (at 3.3 seconds) as it is from my XT66R's 5.2 seconds.

The Yamaha XJR 1300 also does 0-60 mph in about 3.3 seconds, the Guzzi Griso 8V in 3.3 as well, and BMW R nine T needs 3.6 (factory spec.)
All traditional style, air cooled, sporty-not-sport-bikes of similar capacity.
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