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bad sportster years?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by newride, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. newride

    newride Been here awhile

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    I have been looking at used HD 1200 Sportsters and reading about folks opinions on here.
    Are there any years I should stay away from say from 1993 till present?

    I know they went to fuel injection in 2006 and rubber mount in 2004. other than that, I am not sure if there years that sportsters just sucked.
    :ear
    #1
  2. kdstang

    kdstang Child of the Corn

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    Fuel injection came along in 07. There aren't any "bad" years, but condition depends on the bike. Newer bikes are less likely to have gasket problems. I have an 02 roadster, they will buzz you at high rpm. If you're looking for a more comfy highway ride, a rubber mount would be nice. The thing about EVO sportsters is that they come in a huge variety of flavors, belt - chain, 4-5 speed, solid - rubber, carb-injection, etc. Depends on what you want in a bike.
    #2
  3. Bueller

    Bueller Cashin? Super Supporter

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    The Sportster has continuously evolved over time. Assuming the same condition and pricing commensurate with year/condition, typically the newest year you can get is the one you want. I strongly advocate '04 or newer because the upgrade to the rubber mount powertrain made such a difference. And if you can swing it, '07 and later fuel injection runs way nicer than the carb'd versions ran.
    #3
  4. InfiniteMiles

    InfiniteMiles Been here awhile

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    I would personally go for an 04-06. Rubber mounts are great and I prefer carbed bikes.
    #4
  5. The Dirty One

    The Dirty One Been here awhile

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    i`m not necessarily sold on the fuel injected bikes being "better." i will say i get the chance to ride many bikes and in doing so have really come to like the rubber mounted sporties. they are a very nice ride.

    any evo based sporty will make you a good ride,just depends on your level of tolerance for buzziness.
    #5
  6. Lopoetve

    Lopoetve Been here awhile

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    anything post-04, so that you get the rubber mount, unless you really like the raw feel of the older ones. Carb/efi can run equally well, just whatever your comfortable with (the Evo is cold blooded though, so expect plenty of choke getting her running happy in the winter).
    #6
  7. Bueller

    Bueller Cashin? Super Supporter

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    I don't know if you were referring to my post or not - I said they run way nicer than the carb'd models because you don't have to deal with an enrichener or a coughing engine during the warm-up period.

    I owned an '06 883R and I jetted it properly. But even so it never ran as nice (particularly during warm-up) as the '07 up injected models do. I became a Technician when cars and bikes both still had carburetors so I have no problem working on them, but if I never owned anything with a carburetor again it wouldn't hurt my feelings at all.
    #7
  8. MQracing

    MQracing Been here awhile

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    #8
  9. welder

    welder Long timer

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    1960- 2010:lol3
    #9
  10. Birdmove

    Birdmove Long timer

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    I have a 2006 XL883 (rubber mount and carb), and like it very much. I might add what, in my opinion, are the strong points of the 2003 and earlier models. Two very important things come to mind:

    1.The earlier solid mount models were a lot lighter in weight. When they redesigned the frame in 2004 to change to the rubber mounted engines, they added as much as 75 pounds. And though my 2006 XL883 doesn't exactly feel like a pig, that is a huge amount of weight for a nakid motorcycle to gain in one year. I've mentioned before, that, since lighter weight usually means better handling, and dropping weight on a motorcycle is as good as adding horsepower, that is why fans of "cafe" bikes often begin with a solid mount Sportster.

    2.The 2003 and before had a "trap door transmission". That means, should you need internal transmission work you don't have to split the engine cases like you do on the 2004 and newer models. Now I don't particularly believe that there is any weakpoints in Sportster transmissions. Still, should you need to replace a gear or two, the earlier models are way cheaper and quicker to repair. Check out the newer Kawasaki 650 Ninja/ER6N/Versys engines. They have a similiar feature. To remove the trans, you first remove an engine side cover, and the whole gear cluster comes out in your hands.

    If you check out Sportster forums, you will also find some people that will tell you that the vibes just aren't that bad on a solid mount. I bought a new 1984 XLX-61 that year, and I don't recall the vibes were that bad. But I was a while lot younger then.


    Test ride an early model, maybe a 2004-2006 carb'd model, and a new fuel injected model and see what you think. These all run a belt instead of a chain and have hydraulic valve lifters (no valve adjustments needed).

    Jon
    #10
  11. 13

    13 __________ Supporter

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    ur a quick one.
    #11
  12. Yamadavidson

    Yamadavidson Been here awhile

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    So the 1957 thru 1960 were the good ones?????:rofl
    #12
  13. mtwillyman

    mtwillyman Lost and Cornfuzed Supporter

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    :deal I've owned a 1972, 1990, 1991 and 2007 sporty. Hands down the 2007 XL883R is the best sportster I've owned. (I still have it BTW) The rubber mount engine with fuel injection is very nice indeed. Test ride a few sportsters and then decide. good luck. :slurp
    #13
  14. Superzoom

    Superzoom Been here awhile

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    My 2008 Sportster was my first EFI bike, and I have to say, I absolutely loved it. Instant start, no choke fiddling, no rough idling, no bogging, no waiting for the engine to warm up before riding (gently). Plus the EFI on the Sportsters is almost perfect. That combined with the belt drive giving no driveline lash makes for extremely smooth acceleration.

    The other thing that the EFI gave was a non-traumatic first start up in the spring. No hooking up the battery to a car, no lighter fluid, no carb cleaning, no playing with the throttle. Just press the start button, even with a slightly weak battery.

    I would never go back to carbs.
    #14
  15. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    What Bueller said.

    The bikes have continuously evolved and the newest one you can find/afford will be the "best" one.

    '07-up because of efi and rubber mount engine, but if you want an older one look for an XL1200S Sport model with adjustable suspension. Those are nice.
    #15
  16. bearcat1

    bearcat1 Been here awhile

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    What they said! My '08 1200C has been solid. To me the EFI is a bonus. Carbs are fine but the fuel injection has worked great for the last 18,000 miles on my bike. Fuel pumps in any vehicle require fuel to keep them cool and from prematurely failing. FI bikes of any make and cars for that matter habitually operated for miles with the low fuel light glowing are at risk to pump failure.

    The only issue on my '08 has been an oil seep at the rocker box around the 17,000 mile mark. With a little research at the Sportster website I found a good fix under ~$30.

    While researching Sportster rocker box leaks I began to wonder if anyone actually worked on their bikes anymore other than take it to the shop. Then complain of rocker box seeps/leaks again shortly thereafter. My bike was out of warranty. Long story short, I applied a thin layer of Yamabond sealant to each side of a new rocker box gasket, loctite the bolts and torqued them to spec. Solid fix for now or hopefully another 17K miles:D . It probably would have been just fine without the Yamabond but having gone through the trouble to disassemble...

    The above was the only issue, these bikes are as simple/reliable as an anvil (and just as heavy!) Based on my limited one model Sportster experience the '07 and newer would be my 1st choice, the '04-'06 models next, then considering the deal factor the older models. Bottom line is get one!

    Oh and just because I recently figured out how to post pics, here is my 2008.

    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. squish

    squish Out of the office.

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    the ironheads shook like mad and leaked like hell and didn't run with out a lot of intervention, often
    The early evo shook like mad and only leaked a lot especially around the base gaskets. but they started to run and keep running.
    the later evos shook like mad only leaked a little and had a belt drive
    The early rubber's shook not as bad weighed something like 100 pounds more and flex in the middle. and the foot pegs and grips got down around normal size.
    The later rubbers shook not as bad still weigh a ton and have FI

    The lastest rubbers are painted flat black and are finally sportsters that are almost cool enough to be seen on.

    The speicals don't count (XRs and the "caferacer")
    #17
  18. ctfz1

    ctfz1 been there

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    As I remember them, solid mount sportsters had sweet spot engine bands, if you spend your time riding this bike at these speeds, and shift to stay there, lovely ride.
    If you want to use all speeds, go rubber mounted.
    Difference between Triumph and Norton in the day, mostly.
    And the less paid, the more fun, or is that just me.
    #18
  19. newride

    newride Been here awhile

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    Yeah,
    this is kind of what I have been thinking.
    Thanks!
    #19
  20. newride

    newride Been here awhile

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    This is some great advice all, Thanks!
    #20