Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycle Reviews on Cycle Insider (28)
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2004-03-04 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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Although I don't get to ride as often as I'd like (due to New England weather, family and other commitments) a few hours on the Sport is like a two-week vacation. The bike has had perfect reliability, starting within seconds after sitting all winter. It rides comfortably and precisely, has more than enough power for this old man, and stops smoothly and fast. The looks are classic, the sound is musical and the feel is solid. I owned a 1974 Norton Commando 850 for about 11 years, and the Sport is the only bike that equals it in ride, handling and character, but with better reliability (the Commando's reliability wasn't bad at all, not with standing Lucas electrical system).
- Richard, Framingham, Massachusetts

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2003-05-28 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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I sold my 2001 Fat Boy and bought a Sport. Sound crazy? Nope. I got rid of nearly 200 pounds of metal that required more care than a high-maintenance babe. I gained horsepower, handling, and braking. I never thought this thing would be so powerful, and at low revs too. My town is polluted with sport bikes, and I love to watch them in my rear view as I leave them sitting during regular stop light challenges. You absolutely must add intake, exhaust, and ignition upgrades to get the bike to live and breathe right. And there is a black Thunderheader, and I ordered it. Its black ceramic coating requires no maintenance at all and makes the bike really look like a classic racer. I'm 6'3" and didn't feel bad on the stock mid controls, but I bought a set of rear controls by Storz and absolutely love the new position. It's more like the jap bike riding position which lets me balance my weight on my thighs and butt, so there's no problem riding for hours on a cruise or hitting the curves with easy handling. I would try the rear set controls made by Crossroads Performance instead of the Storz because they are lighter and more well-made, with bushings and an overhead shifter mechanism which is more adjustable. I'm doing my last upgrade now, adding SE bolt-in cams. With the original cams being designed specifically for restricted intake and exhaust to conform to EPA noise and pollution regulations, adding the Stage 1 stuff just begs for the cams that HD would have put in there if they could. This will make my bike Stage 2 because it came from the factory with high compression dual-plug heads. I'll have around 80 horses, and all usable from stop light to stop light!!!!!! What other bike of any kind give you that for you with less than 2000 bucks of upgrades, and without needing a quarter mile to do it in? The only downside is that with my Fat Boy the braking was so bad that I had learned to do a lot of downshift/engine braking, and doing that now on my Sport has really worn the center of the rear tire. The Sport handles great, but it will challenge you to be the best rider you can be. That makes it completely absorbing, and suddenly hours and miles are gone without realizing it. Fun Fun Fun. that's what a bike should be.........
- Claude Clifton, Columbia, South Carolina

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2003-05-27 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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I have had my '03 XL1200S for about six months now. I would have to agree that the standard riding position is a little cramped (I am 6'1"). So, I had a forward control kit installed and guess what? A completely different bike! Very comfortable over long distances but still able to provide a lot of fun in the corners. Also, I love the power of this motor. It's a little deceptive because this is a torque monster, not a rever, but when you give it some gas it really goes. My last bike was a Suzuki Bandit 600S and I have to say that I much prefer the HD. As for the adjustable forks and shocks, unlike some bikes, you can tell the difference when you use the clickers. I have mine set to extreme soft and that seems to work best for most situations. Bottom line: A fun bike to ride that is not limited to the cruiser niche.
- Steven R Kauffman, Portland , Oregon

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2003-05-11 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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Some people say calling a Harley a "sport" is ridiculous , but this bike lives up to that name. With a few modifications such as different pipes , hi-pro ignition , twin velocity air cleaner , more comfortable seat , forward controls and w-i-d-e-r handlebars it becomes a fast true cruiser and backroad fighter. Too much fun ... this Harley is fast , stops great and ... yes , Virginia ... it handles!!!
- Bob " The Snake" Sutro, Boondocks, Oregon

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2003-02-11 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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I bought my Sportster 1200 Sport brand new and have loved every minute I've spent riding it. I do not, however, like the seat and handle bar vibrations above 70 mph. A 6-speed transmission would probably make this the best bike on the planet. But this flaw is small compared to the class and character of this motorcycle. I've never raced a Japanese bike and I never will. I bought a Harley planning to ride it like a Harley and that's what I do. I just WISH I could find more BLACK aftermarket exhaust, like a Thunderheader or something. Other than that, my only complaint is South Dakota's horribly short riding season. Oh well.
- T. Boltjes, Baltic, South Dakota

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2003-01-16 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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In a previous post titled "Sorry I bought it" the writer says he's 6'1" and felt cramped on the Sport. He also said he owns a 750 Nighthawk. I've ridden my buddies Nighthawk several times and It feels like a much smaller bike then my Sport to me and I'm only 5'8"! Interesting..... One last thing, Harleys are different. Everything technical aside, the difference is this: Pull into anyplace where there are people. The mall, a bar, the supermarket, wherever, with any other bike and nobody notices. Now do the same with a Harley. People will turn to look and most often comment "cool bike".
- Rovert, upstate, New York

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2002-12-15 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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I HAVE HAD A BLAST ON MY SPORT.SOME VIBRATION, BUT OVER ALL A NICE GOOD LOOKING BIKE THAT PERFORMS WELL. YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER IT IS A HARLEY, NOT A CROTCH ROCKET. TAKE IT FOR WHAT IT IS.
- PJ BROUSSARD, BUNA, Texas

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2002-09-02 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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see since 1957 and still going strong. since then i added screamin eagle pipes, air cleaner and screamin eagle carburettor jet---it transforms the bike. less vibration, stronger torque,goes like hell and is a much more enjoyable bike to ride--totally different riding experience.
- isaac mercer, Holyrood, Newfoundland

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2002-05-08 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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Take it for a test ride. DUUHH! I am having a problem understanding something all the sportsters are available for test rides all harleys for that matter are available, so my question is simply take one out for a test ride.Is this rocket science or quantum physics, sounds like basic common sense to me.Thats what I did before laying down hard earned cash for mine, I liked it when I test rode it and 14,000 KM later I have nothing but good things to say about the bike and I have owned JAPANESE AND EUROPEAN motorcycles I have owned and raced vintage motorcycles so I know about Idiosyncrasies in a motorcycle,my sporty is dead reliable and is oil tight and absolutely looks and sounds and goes fantastic.So let me make this simple for some of you 1. Take any motorcycle that you may be showing interest in then 2. Take it out for a test ride THEN, AND THIS IS WHERE SOME OF YOU GET LOST SO READ CAREFULY 3.If you don't like the motorcycle on the test ride then chances are you won't like to own the motorcycle SO, NOW PAY CLOSE ATTENTION, don't BUY THE MOTORCYCLE!!! allalluya did the light come on I hope so but by judging some of you I don't think so.For the majority of sportster sport owners who get it enjoy, you know the score.
- B.W., London, Ontario

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2002-05-07 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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While it is a sharp looking bike, there are too many faults, the vibration makes your fingers numb, I hate the self cancelling turnsignals, I am 6'1" and I am cramped on the bike, the standard seat is comfortable for about 5 minutes, three seats and $600 later it is still uncomfortable, it leaks oil from the base of the fwd pushrod tube and after 4 dealer visits it still leaks and makes a mess of the case, standard power is lack luster (jet kit, screaming eagle aircleaner and mufflers help) I also own a 1997 CB750 Honda nighthawk, the Harley really makes me appreciate what a nice bike the Honda is.
- Tom, Richmond, Michigan

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2002-02-16 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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after 7000 miles, it gets greater, and more comfortable, to boot. A long distance traveller---sure, add touring windshield, touring seat, highway pegs, plus tall sissy bar and luggage rack, fill your saddle bags, throw on a large touring bag, and you can go anywhere. I did, 3000mile tour of the island of newfoundland, saw the rear end of 7 moose disappearing into the woods because they heard my loud pipes and decided not ot stick around to see where all that racket was coming from !!! Semi retired and 62 to boot, i plan not to stop riding unless --stopped. ride sensibly and safe. A fantistic bike for solo travel--torque at any engine speed--great gas mileage, very reliable, no problem with 18 wheelers or cross winds, and 6.7 in of clearence to boot--hey, with cross country tires, you could even go overland---i am old enough to remember when they came out in 1957, and they were used for dirt bikes then. one problem---those sticky tires will only last 5000 miles--thats the only bad point. Ger one while you still can.
- isaac mercer, Holyrood, Newfoundland

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2002-02-04 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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This is an update review ,I now have 13000 km on my Sport and nothing has changed on my feelings towards this fantastic motorcycle .I went on vacation to northern Ontario and it was great.The only problems I have had with the Sport were,tachometer replaced tail light lens replaced rocker cover gasket replaced all done under factory warranty and if I needed a loner Harley while the repairs were made ,it was available to me great dealer back up and service.To put this in perspective I had a Kawasaki KZ 1000 and had nothing but problems with it and I purchased this bike new ,worst bike I have ever owned and they were touted to be bullet proof,every long weekend that summer it was in the shop.The sport is definitely a keeper,I would recomend putting XLX flat track bars it makes a big positive difference.This is a fantastic road motorcycle ,the people that are having problems with their bikes probably got a lemon like the kawasaki I had.I would still highly recommend this motorcyle without hesitation,oh well time to go back into the shop and admire it some more, can hardly wait for spring,for the lucky sportster riders in the south have fun ride safe.P.S.I get more positive comments and looks,thumbs up etc.than any other bike I have owned.
- Bill W., London, Ontario

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2001-12-30 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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VERY PLEASED WITH CRAFTSMANSHIP. I HAVE A BLAST RIDING IT, ESPECIALLY ON CURVEY ROADS. GET OFF TO THE LOOKS IT GETS. THIS BIKE IS NOT A CROTCH ROCKET, YOU HAVE TO PUT IT IN A CLASS OF IT'S OWN. THE ONLY NEGATIVE THING I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT IT IS THE VIBRATION PROBLEM AT HIGH SPEEDS AND I WISH THE GAS TANK HELD MORE. OTHER THAN THAT I LOVE IT!
- PJ BROUSSARD, BUNA, Texas

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2001-11-08 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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I'm a former Hondas, Yamahas, Moto Guzi, and Ducati owner. In the last year I have put 19,000 miles on this "girls bike". If you want to appear to be an ignorant fool, try calling a Sportster 'Sport' an entry level girl's bike... it's anything but. These are the facts: It's a huge olde fashioned air pump that needs after-market massive intake and massive exhaust. I didn't break open the cases or change the carburetor, but I did everything else I could to the engine. The 'Sport' model comes from the factory with dual plug heads, single-fire ignition, hot cam, and high compression heads, so it's a little high tech. The bike has for suspension, the latest and greatest components from an 80's era Japanese bike. I ride with a variety of bikes to include Italian exotica, high tech Japanese, and "American made". My bike has never paled in comparison to ANY of these bikes in the performance arena. It has been only those fans of ignorance, elitism, and narrow mindedness that show their true character when 'dissing' this Harley (this would be to include Harley owners as well). My bike is all about fun, the best exhaust note heard anywhere, massive torque on a narrow and nimble frame, it's bare bones best with nothing hanging on it, and it's history is that of the first American produced 'Sport bike' (but appeals only to a select few). If you are weak in ego, need external validation, or must be seen on the biggest machine around... don't consider a Sportster; as you WILL attract the attention and comments of the most ignorant bikers out there. If you want a bike that is least expected to be seen on the tail of BMW's, Ducati's, and VTR's (but it's right there)... this is the bike with which to surprise the unaware's. I have never had so many "sport riders" pace around my bike in disbelief mumbling to themselves, "I can't believe it's a Harley!?"
- Patrick Williams, Stockton, California

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2001-07-11 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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I bought my 2001 Sportster 1200 in December. This bike is fun for short cruising trips. But the horrible vibration causes long trips to be miserable. It is heavy, handles clumsily, and all this talk about torque? It is a gutless wonder...what good is torque if your red line is so low, and the thing vibrates so bad you wonder if it is going to blow up. Despite all this, I love the bike and have no plans on selling it, but I think I have the proper perspective on it unlike most Harley owners that treat it like a religion and are too emotional and threatened by the Jap bikes to place this bike in the proper perspective. As for pride of American craftmenship? It is one of the most UN American products you will find because it is not refined, not innovative, and not worthy of American Pride. Still, I love riding it on short hops and look forward to riding it for a long time to come. My advice to HD: Create an innovative, smooth as silk, powerful, dependable, reliable, comfortable bike so you can truly be worthy of being the pride of the United States! In other words, make a bike worthy of the craftsmanship of a Honda. And in that regard, the Honda bike is more American then the HD.
- Jimmy Bob, Los Angeles, California

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2001-03-16 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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Ive had my 2001 1200S since Oct. this is my first bike owned the Sporty is like a dream come true. I am glad I picked a H-D product. It commands attention any where you go. The Bike is perfect just the way it rolled off the show-room floor I wouldnt dare mess with perfection. My wife likes my bike so much I am buying her a Buell Blast this spring So we can ride together. A little bit of advice for all You hotrods out there Ride Safe wear a helmet, proper gear and grow up It could save your life or someone else so we can ride another day. Live to ride.Ride to live.
- Gonzo, McAllen, Texas

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2001-02-23 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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I purchased my 2001 XL 1200 Sport out of state about a month ago. I had it shipped to my work because the freight company would not deliver it to my door. It was about 25 degrees outside and the road were clear of snow, so i decided to ride it home instead of leaving it at work. I only live about 12 minutes from there. i got to tell you that 12 minute ride was more exciting than all the riding i did on my former Japanese bike all last summer when it would run good or even start for that matter. Things will only get better once the snow is gone for the summer. P.S also got more looks and complements on the bike then i did with the Japanese bike.
- Tony , Wisconsin

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2001-02-09 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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Hondas, Yamahas, Ducati, Moto-Guzi, and now a Harley Davidson. They are all in a class of their own. 8,500 miles in 7 months and a couple three tubes of Locktite later; tach' had to be replaced, oil leak at the heads, missing hardware, soft compound tire worn out, concern about the handling characteristics... but I'm getting more attention on this bike then I got on my Ducati 17 years ago. I thought my stock Sporty was a dog until I put a thousand bucks into performance parts. I had to put wider bars on to fit my shoulders, a fork brace, bar-end mirrors, cafe fairing, gel pad in the seat, more locktite... I don't know, I'm gonna sell it now and get a used BMW. The HD subculture is full of trendy wannabe's, I'm too old to have to work so hard at enjoying a bike on back road twisties, and it's true what they say about a Sportster's tendency to vibrate an annoying buzz. I like the sound and I've enjoyed the "brotherhood" of being a 'Harley' owner, but it's time to move on to yet another pasture that must be greener on the other side...
- Patrick Williams, California

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2001-01-19 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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The Sportster takes me back to my early days of riding. I have been riding for thirty five years and have owned at least thirty bikes. No it does not handle like a modern sportbike, but it does handle well enough for reasonably fast riding. The bike will easily make 75hp with a few mods. How much power can you use safely on public roads? If you like to ride several hundred miles at a time, buy something else. Resale value is excellent.Its a great city bike, not so good on the interstate. Vibration is intrusive above 60mph for extended cruising. If I had to own only one bike this would not be it,but as a second fun bike for short trips its great. By the way, the best all around bike I have ever owned? Honda vfr!
- skip cooper, Baltimore, Maryland

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2000-12-18 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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No, You OUCH brothers don't get it. You are trying to compare apples to oranges. A Sportster is not the technical bike that that the Japs make and most of us who do get it don't want it to be. It is a very back to basics motorcycle that is easy to service, narrow, light, agile and has loads of torgue and charachter. I have had four sportsters and two new generation triumphs and the "sport" is a keeper. You guys could not possibly have used the new suspension to its potential. It is really quite good. And with a couple hundred dollars worth of go-fast goodies; air cleaner and jetting, pipes and an ignition my bike says seventy-six horseys and 73 ft./lbs. of rear-wheel power on the dyno. What you also don't get is resale value with your Japanese bikes. Sure I paid $8750 for my Sport and granted it could perform much better, but I was just offered $10,000 for it, with 8,600 miles on it. Can your bike do that? I didn't think so.
- Steve, Bainbridge, Pennsylvania

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2000-11-30 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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I just purchased a 2001 1200 Sportster sport and I love it. I completely agree with the happiness review, this is one cool motorcycle!!! I have owned cookie-cutter Japanese motorcycles, and yes they are kind of neat but they lack that OH SO IMPORTANT INGREDIENT CHARACTER! One day when you grow up old ouch, Oroonies you will realize this FACT!! Anyone interested in classic things such as old airplanes, cars, boats, and all things mechanical will definitely appreciate this fine example of functioning rolling art. So if you are not interested in the latest flavor of generic same, same technology I would highly recommend this timeless classic.
- Bill W., USA

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2000-11-27 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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Like a previous writer I own a 2000 Kawasaki zrx1100. I also had the opportunity to trade bikes with a friend's 2000, 1200 sporty "sport" for a nice back road ride. My ZRX is much more comfortable,makes a lot more power (100 hp vs 65 hp),has better brakes, and far superior handling (especially at higher speed). Compared to my ZRX the "sporty" wasn't much fun or even "sporty" for that matter. To pay much more for a lot less doesn't make sense to me. I JUST don't GET IT !!!!
- mike, Milwaukee Wisconsin

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2000-11-06 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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I have been riding for twenty years and I have ridden all types of sporting motorcycles, let me tell you this one brings a grin from ear to ear. I purchased my sporty about six weeks ago and I love it this is a true enthusiast's motorcycle with loads of character and performance to back it up. I have 3600 KM on mine and have nothing but positive things to say. The power, handling and brakes are fantastic, and it is very comfortable, the sport is one of those rare bikes that you can be out riding all day, come home park it and in five minutes have that burning desire to be back on the road. The person in the ouch review just does not understand what motorcycling is all about. The only problem I have is the cold winter months are at hand, but hey in the spring I'll have a beautiful bike to ride, and during the cold winter months I'll have a beautiful bike to look at in my nice warm shop. I would highly recommend this motorcycle to anyone looking for a bike with heritage, class, character and performance, comfort to boot ride safe have fun.
- Anonymous, Canada

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2000-10-27 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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I really loved my 1200! Unfortunately it spent as much time getting fixed as it did getting ridden. I broke it in gently and rode it like an adult and it broke down every other week. If I ever get another one (and I may) I'll get the extended warranty too. To the dealers' credit, they picked the bike up and fixed it under warranty each time.
- Mike, Ohio

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2000-09-25 2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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After one year of ownership and 7000 miles down the road I can honestly say that the bloom is hardly off the love affair I've been having with my 2000 Sportster Sport. Although not a perfect bike (if there is such a thing), suffice it to say that this bike delivers big fun with a healthy dose of character. There is far more to like than to fault on this bike and the few problem areas I've discovered have all been easily remedied. The Sporter Sport offers great handling (especially on busy streets),fully adjustable suspension that really works whether on the back road twisties or on the Interstate highways, comfortable upright riding position, great stopping power via triple disk breaks, decent gas mileage, and an engine that I swear gets smoother every time I ride it. My only modifications have been an upgraded Mustang solo seat, HD detachable windshield, highway pegs, screaming eagle air cleaner and drilled out pipes(a real horsepower boost and cheap to boot). If you like to ride at 80mph,play with your stereo or wonder when your ABS is gonna haul you down from warp speed do yourself a favor and shop elsewhere. If, however, you're looking for a fun, great handling, character enhanced bike that thrives in the real world do consider this bike to be less of an investment and more of a long term relationship that gets better with age. There's nothing wrong with the many fine Japanese bikes I've owned but unlike them you won't be seeing my Sporter Sport in the want ads anytime soon. Heck, with the Harley engine rebuild program my son just might inherit this beauty from me just as soon as they can pry her from my cold dead hands! She's a keeper and a great bike by anyone's definition of performance. Ride Safe.
- Steve Smith, Fredericksburg, Virginia

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