Subject line says it all. Sportster is a better bike than the Big Twins, but are you interested in riding or interested in compensating for physical shortcomings? Oh, sorry, if you were interested in riding, you wouldn't be asking about cruisers
Go Ride one. Don't most Harley dealers let you ride them? I rode a Sporster 01 I think at a demo ride. I am 200 lbs 6'0. I had just had my Ninja for 9 months (my first bike) so it was kind of culture shock watching the Sportsters mirrors vibrate at idle (I think the new models have rubber mounts) . However once you got riding it smooths out and it's not a bad bike. Ashley makes a great point you can put all kinds on things on it to customize it to your build. Long term I think you would want the 1200. I was trying to con my wife into buying a 883 for her thinking I could ride it to the local cruiser bar with my brother-in-law (GPTB type).
Ashley is right Sportsters are considered chick bikes inside the brotherhood and indeed there is nothing sexier than seeing a lady in black leather on a Sportster.. But I think I have seen as many guys on them as women. They are just easier for women to handle than the bigger bikes. Looking back at my experience, I actually think it is very forgiving and might be the best thing for ya as a first street bike. My brother-in-law has a Shadow I thought was harder for me to handle than the Sportster. Could be the Sportster I rode I think had more standard like foot pegs less foot forward. Also, the sound of the Harley V-Twin is seductive... If you decide to trade up it should retain much of its value depending on what part of the country you are in.
4 of my 5 H-Ds have been Sportsters. My current one, a 2004 1200R has easily become my personal favorite out of the 75 bikes I've owned. Many have been far faster (like my zx12r), better handling etc, but for all around grin producing fun nothing has surpassed my 1200R for me.
BTW I'm 6'2", @ 220#...the Corbin gunfighter saddle was a very worthwhile investment over the useless lump of foam harley laughvingly terms a saddle. DFO
Howzabout 6-5 and I ride a Buell.....(tube frame). Like riding a dirt bike on steroids. Sportster has 60" wheelbase-557 lbs. Dyna glide, 64" wheelbase-632lbs. They both shake like a cub scout @ Neverland. I'd buy the Sportster.
Don't be afraid to get what you like. But I recommend you ride some other bikes as well. You started in the right place with a small dirt bike, now go ride some standards, some cruisers, a sport tourer or two (Buell Ulysses!!!!) and then ride the two Sportsters. Then get what you like. Never buy a bike you haven't ridden, even if the dealer won't allow a test ride and you just gotta have one. Beg friends, look in the want ads for test ride opportunities, travel to far away friendly dealers if you have to, or look for dealer-sponsored events like the Honda Hoot.
Test rides are always available at those things.
You do have a license don't you? If not, get to a motorcycle safety class and get one. Don't even think of buying a road bike before you go through that training and become licensed.
If you still can't find one to ride, talk to those who own the bikes you want, go to online owners groups or ask MOrons. Oh, you already did.
If you're looking for a sound investment, try mutual funds.
I've ridden a few Sportsters, an 80's 883 and a 96 1200. They feel like 2 wheeled farm tractors. And I like Harleys. No power, massive vibration, clunky shifting, and cramped without forward controls. At least if you're 6'2", like me. And for a so called girls bike, all the controls sure take a fair amount of effort. I have yet to ride a rubber mount sporty, but I used to have an FXR, so I'm sure it's smooth on the highway now, at least.
Don't be sucked into a Sportster just because you feel you can't afford a big twin. A guy your size, I don't think you will be happy at all on a Sporty. Get a Softail Standard.
After several Harleys, and almost every other brand as well, I'm very happy on my Yamaha Road Star Warrior right now.
Exactly! HD has rides all the time at their dealers. Call ahead and ask. Personally, I think a Sportster is a great first road bike, especially a new one with the rubber mounted motor. But ride everything, not just HD's. I own a couple of bikes alot of people don't like, but I love. If I'd gone with posted opinion, I'd probably never have tried my BMW K1200RS, or my Buell X1, and I enjoy the hell out of both of them. Don't worry what other people think. Get what you like best that's in your price range. Try everything, keep an open mind. I can't wait to check out that ZX14, and I wouldn't have even considered "rice" before I started riding.....
I'm 6ft 300 and I ride a Thruxton. I probably look like a monkey f***'n a football on it but I don't care, It's one of the funnest bikes I've had. The only reason I didn't get a 1200R was that I wanted a Brit. twin. I think the Sporty's an excellent bike and I wouldn't hesitate to buy one if I was in the market now. The "Sportsters are chicks bikes" crowd show their ignorance everytime they open their mouths, the 1200R is the fastest, best handling air cool Harley you can buy.
Buy what grabs yer' goolies, you're the one paying for it and you're the one riding it. Do you care what some 1000 mile a year village people wannabe thinks?
I had an '85 ironhead 1000cc Sporty that I put 24K trouble free miles on in three years. With my wife on it I never felt particularly deprived for power and it managed freeway speeds (75+) easily up the 6% grade 12ft altitude of Parley's Canyon near Salt Lake.
It was a fun bike and, frankly, I have no idea where these guys are coming from with the *****ing about the crampedness (you can put on highway pegs), brakes or vibration. The Sportster is as good a choice as any for a new street rider with dirt experience IMHO.
I would suggest the 1200, but if you get a good price on an 883 the 1200 jugs are easy to install and actually get better midrange power than the stock 1200. Another plus is that if you decide you don't like it you can sell it without taking a bath like you would on a Japanese brand.
The best way to hedge your bet on whatever you buy is to get a used bike. Then, even if you decide to buy a Japanese bike you will remain dry and toasty.
The 1200R (Roadster) is quite possibly the "best" bike HD makes, bang-for-the-buck wise. It's comfortable, quick, doesn't handle badly, and looks nice to boot. BTW - I'm 5'11", 210. Fits like a (leather) glove.
No way is the 1200 too small. I have a 2005 SportsterR Model. This engine is hopped up from the factory. I added a Bub/Reinhart Exhaust and the first stage rejetting/air cleaner mods and progressive 440 rear shocks. I have owned 13 motorcycles including many fine japanese bikes up to 1000cc and have also ridden friends bikes. This 1200R now pulls so strong and is so fast that literally you have to hang on very tight and lean forward when you get on it as the front wheel wants to get airborn in 1st and second. I weigh 200lbs at 5'11. With the rubber mounted engine this thing is smooth as glass compared to my now sold 1999 1200 Sportster. Bottom line: with a few mods, (I've spent about 1,500.00 on parts and service for the mods) this bike ROCKS!! Kicks ass!! Will blow the freaking doors off 99.0% of ALL other Harleys. A VERY VERY Fun ride with a terrific sound. YIPPEE rings in my helmet regularly!! My next bike will be the Buell....but I will not sell the 1200R Sporty which my girfriend loves to ride on with me. People notice this bike everywhere I ride. I would say succinctly, IT'S BAD ASS!!!
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