Buzz's question was meant to be funny (and kinda was) and Junkvists' response was spot-on.
I spent several days on a new 1200GS in all kinds of riding conditions, including high speed sideways dirt antics, boulder filled riverbeds, canyon sportbike scratching, in-town riding and long freeway droning. The 1200GS handled all of those situations with aplomb. -Sean
Fact: 120Hp is quite possible from a Sportster based mill. Fact: 120Hp sportster motors are not reliable for more than about 6 races (or a year of street riding). I wouldn't want a streetbike with a 120Hp Sportster motor, because I'd be wondering when the crank, or rods, or valves, or.... would let go. -Sean
In answer to, Good, sarnale: A question, I have...What, exactly, would that, Excellent, Harley touring-platform be?
While a Sportster might be an fine, entry-level standard- motorcycle, it is not, by any stretch of my imagination, what I would call sporty, or a tourer, considering that a FZ600 could whip up on a Sportster, any day of the week, then, travel several hundred miles, while the Sporty-rider is trying to get feeling back into his lower extremities.
Eccentric, though it may be, I do believe we might want similar things. However, my idea of a touring bike, is probably different from yours.
The Road Glide in particular is a roomy good handling and comfy touring bike, and the Ultra Glide Classic is also tops in touring comfort while maintaining a sense that you're on a bike, instead of a two wheeled Acura.
The only real complaint with either one is that they're on the under powered side stock. The VRod engine shoehorned into that frame, or a VRod engine and frame configured for touring would address that issue.
As to Sportsters, the newest version 1200 has been tested by MO and most other puplications and has been found to put that paintshaker myth to bed quite nicely. The '78 XLH I had cranked out more than a few 300 mile days, which isn't much for a touring or sport touring bike, but was still no problem, and for me, I think, would be more comfortable than the hi-frequency vibration of a 600-4 cyl. which the FZ600 has been noted for.
Didn't Buell make lots of PR statements about how air cooling was ideal for a streetbike? And you have the audacity to suggest otherwise?
I don't mind air cooling. However, I'd find Buells much more interesting if the vibes were seriously reduced ( counterbalancers? ). Oh, and add another gallon of gas. Drop the price on the XB12s to 9K tops. And what's with the graphics for the instruments? Did Buell hire a designer from Fisher-Price? Yuck...
I owned an '85 XLX (ported) for three years, put 30,000 on it including 500 mile days and never thought the vibration a problem. Nor did I have a reliability issue once. Of course being a founding GPTB member I remember bikes that really vibrated. Try a BSA 500 single, a Norton Atlas or a Gilera 202 sometime and you'll never complain about Sportsters again. I think that the people who are whining about the vibration are simply wussies.
As far as the performance goes, I don't give a shyt if a 600cc bike can stomp a Sportster. It all depends on the sort of riding you do. A Sportster is a superior platfom for my usual riding which consists of Interstate commuting and urban errands. I can come out at the end of a ride without needing to be put in traction. I wouldn't use a Sportster if my intention was storming around our mountain roads. Well, I wouldn't use a 600 either. No need for 160mph capability on roads with 40 mph curves and 2000 ft dropoffs. A KLR650 can be as much fun as anything in the twisties.
It's just too bad that so many people have this ego problem that causes them to slam people who don't get their kicks by whiteknuckling. Riding one sort of motorcycle, be it HD or Supersport doesn't make anyone a superior person. Having to even worry about what anyone else rides only reveals the whiner to be a jerk.
Like I said, your idea of touring might be different from mine. I tend to lean toward the sport-end of the spectrum. From my point of view, neither of the bikes you've mentioned would serve that purpose.
Also, I am considering the future, among other things that I'm sure are going to come up, as we continue
Possibly, but it would go against Erik Buell's words in a recent Fuell interview where he notes no plans to go water-cooled... from the weight, plumbing, and looks, to his remark Buell was on the verge of meeting all EPA standards with the air-cooled powerplant.