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Old 12-08-2013, 08:09 AM   #31
Oriondk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LPRoad View Post
I keep vacillating on the Sportster. On the one hand I want one because I like the way they look (shallow, I know), I like that they are an honest to god Made in USA product, I like the plethora of aftermarket options available, and I like the fact that there always seems to be several decent looking used bikes for sale.

On the other hand, I am mildly concerned about the belt drive (dirt roads where I live) and it is really a heavier and less fuel efficient bike than I would prefer. I do plan to look further into the reality of belt wear and breakage, and also the consideration of a belt to chain conversion. Not a whole lot of discussion about paring down the weight although a lithium battery would be a good start, and I am sure there are incremental weight savings to be made elsewhere.

Fortunately I have another 6-7 months to beat the subject to death and hopefully take some test rides.
On my '94 1200 on some back road rides with the HOG chapter I saw as high as 55 mpg. Usually,though, though I averaged around 45 mpg. Not so sure about the belt in dirt, though. I had to replace the belt on my Vrod at 10,000 because it picked up a stone and I never had the bike off of pavement except to park in some vista points. Ths Sporty, on the other hand, still had the original belt at 60,000 miles when I sold it.
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:24 AM   #32
sweetwater
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Had a 1986 Liberty Edition 1100 (yep, an 1100cc "evo" Sporty) that was basically stock. Great bike, ran great, took it lots of places...

Had an '88 883 that I later converted to 1200 with Andrews cams, S&S "E" (had a Mikuni on it too and lots of other dabbling over the years), S'Trapps, Dyno Ignition...you get the idea.

Anyway, the bikes both got reasonable MPG, upper 40s to low 50s, favoring mostly townie use and short day trips. Both had chain drive, no worries.

Picked up a '95 a few months ago and Dad is riding it with similar mpg results, all backroads/rural riding. Belt drive.

I will buy another and am seriously thinking about one for backroads burning with higher suspension (I had raised the '88 via Progressive shocks and springs, worked very well) and 18" wheels. Funny thing, my '88 went places we later took the GS and that included fire roads and broken macadam (no real "trails").

The OP asked: Reasons to buy a Sportster? For me, nostalgia, ease of maintenance, won't tweak my license like a FireBlade (I have low self-control), and...

...Elvis had one when he was young and Sporty.

sweetwater screwed with this post 12-08-2013 at 08:32 AM
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:35 AM   #33
achtung3
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Everyone should own one HD in their lifetime.
I bought one once, spanking new 2005 883 standard and put 13k in 2yrs and it was a trouble free bike, I liked the stock muffler pretty quiet, did not like changing the oil filter because it would drip all over the front lower case, I did get heated grips for comfort and for touring a larger tank with it I had to get a new seat.

The front brakes sucked- scary as hell, corner poorly turning radius is pretty wide, scraped the crap out of the muffler and pegs, the suspension was not good, it used to bottom despite I weight 135 lbs, the engine lacked power, and I had to use metric and standard wrench for minor service-didn't like that it was confusing at first.

Got tired of scraping the muffler and pegs and lack of power so I moved on and got a real bike for the twisties. (sportster, I thought the name was deceiving)
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:45 AM   #34
EltonAvenue
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Wink

For 5yrs l rented a different HD from Eagleriders in Las Vegas when l went there to holiday/party/lose money/smile etc.

Every year when l returned to GB l said
"Never again will l rent one of those 2 wheeled tractors!"

Then one year I rented a Goldwing..............Hmmm, they do everything anyone would ever want in a touring motorcycle, but do they have a 'soul'?

I went back to renting Harleys after that, but you could be sure I would never buy one, because that's why Honda have so many sales!!!
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:04 AM   #35
JerryH
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Originally Posted by Anorak View Post
I don't believe you are a mechanic.

You get out of it what you put in from an education. Even though you have a $30,000 trade school education, you're still a new hire. You need time to learn how to work on whatever brand your dealer sells. I know a lot of auto mechanics making good money at car dealerships. Some are at $100,000 a year.

I have friends at the local BMW dealer. The magnesium engine blocks have a coolant leak issue that requires short block replacement. I don't remember what the job pays but a good mechanic can cut a couple hours off the book time after he's done it a few times. That's how you make money. If you get a comeback, you don't get paid to fix it and you have to eat any left over parts.
I have been a fleet mechanic for the city where I live for over 35 years now. Started at 18 as a shop rat, cleaning, moving things, fetching tools and parts, and helping where needed. Then I got moved up to doing routine 6 month service work, and moved up from there. I turned down a promotion to supervisor twice, because I didn't want the hassles that go with being a supervisor, and didn't want to cross the line from a blue shirt to a white shirt. I had nothing but a high school education when I started, but put everything I had into learning. I have been to school many times over the past few decades, at their expense and on their time. I have a stack of ASE certifications (which mean nothing, Pep Boys "mechanics" have those too) and have finally reached the top of the blue collar part of my job, troubleshooting and repairing electronic problems. Not my thing at all, I'd rather be doing oil changes. But I will be out of there in just 3 1/2 months, I'm retiring at 55. The boss is not too happy about it. Most people today don't have the work ethic I have. That job will be a golden opportunity for the right person. It's far from perfect, as I stated above, but what job these days is? It can be a lifetime job if you are willing to invest something into it.

Oh, and my pay was just over $54,000 last year, after 34 years. But unlike the private sector, I had GREAT benefits, including over a month off every year, after 20 years, and insurance for everything, 2 retirement plans, and several other things. My benefits were worth about another $20,000 a year. One of the biggest benefits was job security. Once you have seniority, you really have to mess up big to lose your job. I went through the whole recession thing without the slightest worry of losing my job. How many can say that?
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:12 AM   #36
JerryH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EltonAvenue View Post
For 5yrs l rented a different HD from Eagleriders in Las Vegas when l went there to holiday/party/lose money/smile etc.

Every year when l returned to GB l said
"Never again will l rent one of those 2 wheeled tractors!"

Then one year I rented a Goldwing..............Hmmm, they do everything anyone would ever want in a touring motorcycle, but do they have a 'soul'?

I went back to renting Harleys after that, but you could be sure I would never buy one, because that's why Honda have so many sales!!!

I have had 2 Goldwings, a 1200 and a 1500. Two wheeled cars. Extremely comfortable, and they just love to eat miles. But they are the most boring, bland bikes ever made. Must be why most Goldwing owners want tons of gadgets on their bikes. Something to play with while floating down the road in almost complete silence. They could just as well be electric. Harleys definitely let you know there is an internal combustion engine down there. Rough and noisy, just like an internal combustion engine should be.
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I won't spend more on a bike than I think it's worth, but if it's a good deal, I don't seem to have a problem buying bikes I don't need.
2002 Vulcan 750, 2013 Royal Enfield B5
2001 XT225, 2009 Genuine Stella
1980 Puch moped
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:18 PM   #37
Anorak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
I have been a fleet mechanic for the city where I live for over 35 years now. Started at 18 as a shop rat, cleaning, moving things, fetching tools and parts, and helping where needed. Then I got moved up to doing routine 6 month service work, and moved up from there. I turned down a promotion to supervisor twice, because I didn't want the hassles that go with being a supervisor, and didn't want to cross the line from a blue shirt to a white shirt. I had nothing but a high school education when I started, but put everything I had into learning. I have been to school many times over the past few decades, at their expense and on their time. I have a stack of ASE certifications (which mean nothing, Pep Boys "mechanics" have those too) and have finally reached the top of the blue collar part of my job, troubleshooting and repairing electronic problems. Not my thing at all, I'd rather be doing oil changes. But I will be out of there in just 3 1/2 months, I'm retiring at 55. The boss is not too happy about it. Most people today don't have the work ethic I have. That job will be a golden opportunity for the right person. It's far from perfect, as I stated above, but what job these days is? It can be a lifetime job if you are willing to invest something into it.

Oh, and my pay was just over $54,000 last year, after 34 years. But unlike the private sector, I had GREAT benefits, including over a month off every year, after 20 years, and insurance for everything, 2 retirement plans, and several other things. My benefits were worth about another $20,000 a year. One of the biggest benefits was job security. Once you have seniority, you really have to mess up big to lose your job. I went through the whole recession thing without the slightest worry of losing my job. How many can say that?
So, that contradicts what you told your son in-law. It sounds like you have been successful at your fictional mechanic's job.
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:23 PM   #38
EltonAvenue
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So, that contradicts what you told your son in-law. It sounds like you have been successful at your fictional mechanic's job.
He may be a fictitious fixation of his own factoids, but I would like to earn that type of money as a *grease monkey!!





*mechanic
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:48 PM   #39
kraven
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:25 AM   #40
rudolf35
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Thumb Why a Sporty?

After going through a Buell Ulysses, Sportster Sport and a XR1200 I found myself missing all of them. I have two quite good H-D road bikes but there was "something" missing from the heard.

The missing item was a Sportster. It adds good commuting, reliability, ease of maintenance and a bit of a throwback to the days of "Motorcycles".

Motorcycle in the sense of two wheels, a engine and a place to sit - basic and not hemmed in by labels or a marketeers idea of a motorcycle. True, they are about as advanced as a hammer but that is what makes them what they are. Yes, H-D attempts to market them as a "life style" but if all that is ignored the basic Sportster is just a plain motorcycle open to anything.

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Old 12-10-2013, 12:00 PM   #41
PassTheGravy
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Why buy a Sportster? My reason was very simple: It was the bike I had always wanted from the time I first gained motorcycle consciousness back in the mid 60's.

To me, the Sportster is what a motorcycle should look like. I like most bikes and have owned a bunch of them, but the Sportster is iconic and timeless.

I don't own one any more but have no regrets about buying one.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:09 PM   #42
jon_l
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LPRoad View Post
I keep vacillating on the Sportster. On the one hand I want one because I like the way they look (shallow, I know), I like that they are an honest to god Made in USA product, I like the plethora of aftermarket options available, and I like the fact that there always seems to be several decent looking used bikes for sale.

On the other hand, I am mildly concerned about the belt drive (dirt roads where I live) and it is really a heavier and less fuel efficient bike than I would prefer. I do plan to look further into the reality of belt wear and breakage, and also the consideration of a belt to chain conversion. Not a whole lot of discussion about paring down the weight although a lithium battery would be a good start, and I am sure there are incremental weight savings to be made elsewhere.

Fortunately I have another 6-7 months to beat the subject to death and hopefully take some test rides.
As far as I can tell, belt drive is the best option going for a road bike.

Chains require regular maintenance, plus occasional adjustment. I do like how cheap and easy it is to alter the gearing of chain drive systems to my type of riding though.

Shafts are inefficient, complicated, and when they require service it is a lot of work.

Belt is efficient and minimal maintenance. Could a rock damage a pulley or belt? Sure. Hundreds of other things could go wrong too. Lots of belt drive bikes do gravel roads, including to Alaska. Hell, RTW Doug just rode the TAT on a Harley with a hack.

I wish more bike had belts.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:12 PM   #43
jon_l
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I also wish HD would bring back the 1200R. That is the Sporty I would buy.

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jon_l screwed with this post 12-11-2013 at 03:27 AM
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Old 12-11-2013, 05:56 AM   #44
rudolf35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jon_l View Post
I also wish HD would bring back the 1200R. That is the Sporty I would buy.

All you would have to do is purchase a Custom and add 13.5" shocks plus the compression tubes ($60 for the pair) from a Roadster. That is what I did to my 48; has the looks of a 48 but the suspension of a updated Roadster (13.5" Progressive shocks, Progressive springs and the compression tubes of a Roadster).


2011 H-D "48"
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Old 12-11-2013, 07:48 AM   #45
woodnbow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rudolf35 View Post
After going through a Buell Ulysses, Sportster Sport and a XR1200 I found myself missing all of them. I have two quite good H-D road bikes but there was "something" missing from the heard.

The missing item was a Sportster. It adds good commuting, reliability, ease of maintenance and a bit of a throwback to the days of "Motorcycles".

Motorcycle in the sense of two wheels, a engine and a place to sit - basic and not hemmed in by labels or a marketeers idea of a motorcycle. True, they are about as advanced as a hammer but that is what makes them what they are. Yes, H-D attempts to market them as a "life style" but if all that is ignored the basic Sportster is just a plain motorcycle open to anything.

Rudolf, what was the best and worst of the Uly in your opinion?
Thanks,
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