Go Sportsters

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Bloodweiser, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    thanks amigo, this is helpful. I am not looking into sport bike performance from a cruiser, if I did I would be looking into something else. I have a KLR as my faster bike, so power is not a thing this bike came with. If you say you never had a moment that made you wish for more stopping power 2 up with luggage then it will be enough. I had a moment like that on the KLR so I change the front brake to a bigger rotor and caliper, and it work.

    THe reason I would go with a stock tank and then change it, it is for the fact that it would be cheaper, if I buy the bike in the USA I have to pay import fees so it would be like $500-1000 to import it. The higher the cost of the bike the more I pay, if I just put on the tank it would cost just that, no additional fees, but I would buy the tank ONLY if I wanted to go on tour with the sporter, and maybe that would not be the case (at the begging), and I know that tanks are on the expensive side, but anything HD is on the expensive side...

    Thanks Damasovi
  2. 83XLX

    83XLX Been here awhile

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    While I agree that the '82-'85 Sportsters lack the good looks of the '78 and older ones, a little bit of backdating the looks of one goes a long way. The change to an alternator was made in mid-'84 and carried over to the '85 Ironhead, BTW, so some '84s have a generator. I bought mine in 1990 with about 9,000 miles on it. It was in reasonably good condition, but had been painted red, mildly customized, and left outside most of its life (rust). It's been a very dependable bike during the 22 years I've owned it. Here's a pic of my 1983 XLX returned to the stock black paint, with a few nostalgic styling touches...

    [​IMG]

    Or, for a snazzier look, with a tank from an '88 XLH. That's one nice thing about the '82-'85 Sportster - a lot of body parts and suspension components from later-year Evos will fit them because of the shared frame design.

    [​IMG]
  3. HapHazard

    HapHazard Waiting for Gudenov

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    ^ I gotta say it again - it's impossible to take a bad picture of 83XLX's bike (no matter which look he transforms it to).:thumb
  4. Birdmove

    Birdmove Long timer

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    I've had two Sportsters. Bought a new 1984 XLX1000 that year, and recently had a 2008 XL883. I understand they have dropped the XR1200 now. Too bad. I worked at Destination HD in Tacoma, Wa. for five years, so am a bit out of touch now. I much prefer an XL with the longer "standard" length suspension. My two XLs didn't have much of a scraping of parts while cornering problem. A co-worker with a Nightster tried following me on the way to work one day on a nice curvy country road, and could not stay with me due to lack of cornering clearance. I was 58 at the time and he couldn't believe how far I leaned in the corners and the speeds I went.
    All the Sportsters now have lowered suspension since the fine XR1200 and XL883R and XL1200R have all been dropped for the US market. These shortened models would have to have longer shocks and longer fork tubes installed. I think it's a dam shame, as a Sportster CAN be fun on a twisty road.
    Some prefer the older ridgid mount models due to their lighter weight, which can be as much as 75-85 pounds difference. Yes, they vibrate more, but depending on the bike and how it runs, some don't find the vibes that bad. That's why many "cafe" bikes that are Sportsters use the pre-2004 models.
    There should still be parts where you can convert your 883 to a 1200 using dished pistons available from HD. This way you can reuse the 883 heads. Your converted XL you will find, will be faster stop light to stop light than a factory 1200 as the gearing is lower on an 883. If I converted one I would stay with the 883 gearing, as my 2006 ran just fine at freeway speeds and got very good mpg.
    If you don't mind the shortened XLs, you might take a look at the "Superlow". It comes with radial tires and some nice radial wheels, and a bigger 4.5 gallon tank.
    I love the looks of the 48, Iron, Nightster, etc, but after riding the two that I owned, I don't know if I could live with a Sportster that shoots showers of sparks in the corners. I also don't like forward controls, as they can be another problem in the area of cornering clearance.
    I think a good, used "R" model would be hard to beat, and they made them before they went to the rubber mounted Sportsters also. They have dual front disk brakes, nice flatter handlebars, and longer suspension.
    The tank on the 48 is too small for me.

    I really enjoyed the two Sportsters I owned and wish I would have kept my 2006 and paid to have it shipped to the Big Island.
  5. McJamie

    McJamie STROMINATOR

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    18" rear, 19" front helps, that and not having the back of the bike dragging on the ground. A low seat height does not make for better handling.
  6. Bar None

    Bar None Candy Ass

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    WTF? Braking can be measured and is not subjective but is objective. Even riding any bike (not Sportster hating here) as an "old standard" there will be times when good brakes are required.
  7. slowoldguy

    slowoldguy Tire Tester

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    I would say that stopping distance from a given speed can be measured, but even then tires, road surface, and road conditions are all variables. Brakes can be grabbier than I like. Brakes can fade. Brakes can require more effort. Braking can be non-linear.

    So while shortest stopping distance from a given speed is "objective", that is just the beginning. There are important "feel" considerations beyond that. As an example, brakes suitable for racing would probably not please me on the street even though they would be objectively "better".
  8. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard I have no soul

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    He asked "How are the brakes?". To me that meant comparatively in regards to whether or not the bike can be safely ridden without having the fear of death put into you. I wasn't trying to debate stopping distances. I was merely trying to point out that the brakes are fine if ridden with the mindset that these bikes are NOT abs equipped sport tourers but more reminiscent of older standards like the CB750,etc. (my Sportster stops way better than my CB) and if ridden as such the brakes work fine. "Good brakes" is subjective, it just depends on what your idea of "good" is , who is actually riding the bike, where it is being ridden and how. To be clear even two up with a loaded bike I have always felt in control when braking and have never needed better brakes even when running through the twisties or panic stopping. If we are going to compare them to the brakes on a bike like a new ABS equipped ZX14 it can be said that they are not good.
  9. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard I have no soul

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    x2 ! Love that bike.
  10. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    This makes no sense to me. You are saying "take a look at the "Superlow" that has 24.7 lean to the right and 24.4 to the left then in the next setence you state that the 48 (XL1200X) and the Nightster (XL1200N) throw sparks.

    The XL1200X 48 has 27.8 right lean (deg) / 26.1 Left
    The XL1200N Nightster has 29 degree right and 30 Left available lean.
    kk

    STAY away from the Super Low IMO. It is a bike that should not be marketed to new riders.

    The XL883N has a seat that is only .5 inches taller and it actually turns!
  11. 83XLX

    83XLX Been here awhile

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    Thanks, guys. It's a cool, fun old bike, for sure, in whatever configuration it's in at the moment...:D

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  12. Bar None

    Bar None Candy Ass

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    Of course there are other factors in stopping distance besides the brakes on a vehicle. And we are not talking about brakes for racing here.

    I though the question was about brakes on a particular motorcycle.
  13. Birdmove

    Birdmove Long timer

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    I think this person is looking at lowered Sportsters anyway. The Superlow is the first HD that comes stock with radial tires. Also the big tank. The SL can improve with longer shocks and fork tubes like the other models. I also stated that the XL883R and XL1200R models would be my choice in the used market. Both have better cornering clearance and dual front disk brakes.


  14. Ratchdaddy

    Ratchdaddy Been here awhile

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    That is what I love about Sportsters. Cruiser, cafe, bobber, chopper, flat tracker, tourer. You can make it whatever you want.
  15. Birdmove

    Birdmove Long timer

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    Beauty!! My 1984 was actually called the XLX 61 and had no tach. Exhaust was flat black as were the handlebars. It was a stripped down model--just the way I like them.
    Had three problems. First, it would ping going uphill on a hot day even running premium. Second, the tank rusted through after maybe two years. Three, it broke the clutch throwout mechanism under the left side engine cover. The last was fixed under warranty. That darn 1000cc Sportster gave me 66 mpg time after time commuting from Bonney Lake, Wa. to Seattle.
  16. theKite

    theKite Ulyssean

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    Don't forget adventure tourer, check out "The Project That Should'nt be", Jimmy the Hog, and RTW Doug in these forums.
    Rob
  17. Ratchdaddy

    Ratchdaddy Been here awhile

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    RTW Doug's last trip was what inspired me to renew my relationship with the Sportster.
  18. frog13

    frog13 Long timer

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    I had the same model...XLX-61.When I speak of that bike,folks say I'm lying about the gas mileage you quoted....i cannot explain why the XLX-61 gave such great gas mileage,but it did!.I had no problems with rust or mech's braking though!....wish I still had that bike!.
  19. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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    [​IMG]

    Buell motor and suspension /wheels /brakes. Single tube frame. As in a single piece of tubeing.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
  20. Photog

    Photog Charismatic Megafauna Administrator

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    I just peed.


    :drif