Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles Reviews (90)
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2011-10-29 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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I bought my first Sportster in 1971, it was a '70 XLH. It was balanced, blue printed and other engine mods and could eat up Honda 750's all day long. This '05 is a blast. The 1200 motor delivers great power. The smaller bike makes it easier to handle also. But it will take a few changes if I want it to be a road bike. (the seat especially) I have had it a month and am getting a great ride every time. I love it!
- Joe Promedio, Mission Viejo, California

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2011-05-16 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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Being a new rider, some friends said I should buy a smaller bike first before buying a Road King. I bought this bike off E-Bay back in February, 2011 with only 5,600 miles on it. I have put over 1,800 miles on it in three months. It has run great, no issues here at all. The bike had custom Pearl Blue paint. The previous owner added a lot of accessories. I got this bike for a steal at $5,000! The bike looks brand new and was garage kept. It runs great, has plenty of torgue. I love this bike and hopefully later this year I will buy a Road King if Harley comes out with some decent colors for 2012. P.S. I will keep this bike besides getting a Road King.
- Pete Petersen, Tarpon Sprngs, Florida

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2010-09-11 2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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This is the best all-around standard bike available! At under 600 lbs., it is easy to maneuver around town but heavy enough to be comfortable on the highway. It's plenty quick and easy to handle. The paint job and chrome work are first class. You can customize it to your personal taste with tons of aftermarket/Harley parts. Make no mistake, this is no "starter bike". I had a metric bike prior to this and while I enjoyed it, I like my Harley better. It has character, class, and a mechanical feel to it that to me is what a motorcycle should be.
- Tzarofsmurfs, KC, Kansas

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2007-08-29 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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Great bike that handles well. As soon as I got it, I had a stage one done on it, pipes, air intake, re-jet the carb, and ignition module. The stock seat is crap, get rid of it as soon as possible. Overall I have been very happy.
- Dan, Boise, Idaho

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2007-02-18 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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First off, let me say a few things. 1. I am not a die hard Harley fan. I don't like lots of chrome or super loud pipes or Harley bikes for the sake of being Harleys. 2. Sportsters aren't 'rice rockets' and won't perform like them but are very potent with a rider who knows how to ride one 3. Although good 'beginner' bikes, test ride a few of the 2 wheeled sofas before you 'upgrade'. A lot of you will thank me then stick with your sporty. These bikes do have a special place with me because its history as the original superbike, its performance capability and growing up around them. But I will say this, they are straight out fun to ride. I love the torque and it delivers throughout the power range, but 6000 rpm was too soon of a cut off for me, just when it was starting to get fun. As far as reliability, I have had head gasket leaks after some work (cams), rocker box leaks (fixed myself), and neck bolt came loose (dealership couldnt figure it out). I am always worried that it's gonna break down, but it hasn't.....then again I tend to beat the hell out of it....more then the average rider it seems. Stock - it feels very torquey and seems to beg for more up until the top end, then it flattens out. But just some basic motor (exhaust intake etc) make a world of improvement. This motor has a ridiculous amount of potential for what it is (115 rwhp is possible wihtout NOS or turbos using aftermarket stuff). Stock handling is pretty decent but again can be improved a lot, same with comfort. It is a great all around bike but not great in any one area. Be sure it is what you are looking for. If you are willing to spend some more money and like tinkering, you can make a Sporty a very capable bike in any manner. With my slightly more then basic mods, I still frustrate a lot of rice rocket riders off the line, and they really don't like it when you are doing about a 100mph staying with them and using your highway pegs or when you blow by them in curvy mountain pass. I have also embarrased several Harley big bike riders. I personally love the bike for these reasons. Depending on the look you are going for it is a nice looking bike, I get a lot of compliments. Harley support depending where you are at can be little more then a bad joke at times. If you are looking for respect from the Harley crowd or other bikers...don't really expect much, you are on a 'girls' bike to the Harley guys (not the ones that know the Sporty) and the rice rocket guys will think - Harley junk. I plan to do more in depth aftermarket motor mods and plan on putting an aftermarket seat and rear shocks. At that point, I can't really complain anymore. Despite everything negative I have said, I won't ever get rid of this bike if I can help it. I love the thing and am making it what I want. Just make sure it is what you want, you understand the quirks and what you can do with it.... those who do usually become part of the small die hard Sporty club.
- john, katy, Texas

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2006-06-09 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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I took delivery in July '04' when H.D. decided too released the '05's early. Since then not much has changed. After adding around $2,500.00 of tinsel, and with just over 7,100 miles on the clock, every time I take a ride I'm every bit as enthusiastic as the day I got it. The weather channel has become must see T.V. and weekends can't come fast enough. I still find myself in the barn at strange hours staring at it. This is the best bang for the buck, smiles per mile investment I ever made! RIDE LONG, RIDE SAFE.
- Lee, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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2005-09-11 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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This is my first Harley Davidson and I have not one ounce of regret. The bike standing still has presence and that is saying a lot since it's stock except for screaming eagle pipes, air cleaner and rejetting of the carb. My only complaints are the shocks and the seat , not to accommodating over ruff roads. Which is why they have an after-market and please note its not cheap. I work a lot and have limited time to ride but I look foward to it and enjoy every second I get. I highly recommend this bike. The bang for the buck is out of this world. And it's an American Icon, that in itself, is Priceless.
- emo1372, nyc, New York

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2005-08-27 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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I picked up this bike on 8/23/5... my b-day is on the 29th, so I decided to act on a longtime fantasy. I've only ridden DIRT BIKES and a small BMW motorcycle. (Once on the motorcycle!) I had it delivered since I thought I'd need a lot of neighborhood tests. I was almost completely wrong. Now, of course I spent a day getting used to all to how the bike handled, but before I knew it I was cruising to work on the highway, and feeling safe doing it. This is my first bike, but for me it feels more than powerful enough. I am skinny, and tall... and I feel like I fit the bike. If anything, I may look a bit big on it... but it handles me! I have felt like the suspension is just a bit rough. Sometimes going over bumps @ 50 miles jolts you a bit. I'd think on a big bike it would be less. However, it feels like the worst happening is a stiff feeling... the bike doesn't feel unsafe on these bumps... Like some other reviewers, I also notice a hiccup every now and again when starting to rev the engine. But, this kind of plays into the Harley sound I think... as long as the bike is not hurt by these hiccups they don't bother me. I like to accelerate slow and solid... if you want power you learn when to twist hard... also, I noticed if you shift slow and solid like, depress and shift and let go and rev all at the right time you get a real smooth shift experience. I am an extremely novice rider - and the 1200C has been exactly what I wanted so far! It's a fairly solid powerful bike that is easy to learn and use quickly. I feel like this is the perfect learner bike, and will suit me for some time to come... I believe years down the road having had a Sporty will get me ready for a biger HOG!
- Paulie420, Sacramento, California

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2005-08-25 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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I PURCHASED MY '05 SPORTSTER 1200C ALMOST ONE YEAR AGO. I NAMED HER PIGLET. MY BROTHER HAS A MAGNA AND IT RUNS LIKE A SEWING MACHINE COMPARED TO MY H-D. WHEN I FIRST GOT HER SHE HAD A BAD COUGH. NOW THAT SHE IS BROKEN IN THE COUGH HAS ALL BUT DISSAPEARED. FROM A CROTCH ROCKET TO A HARLEY AND I COULD NOT BE HAPPIER. SMALL, LIGHT, FAST AND WITH GAS AT $3.00 A GALLON ALL I CAN SAY IS YEEEEAAAAH! I AM DEBATING ON WETHER OR NOT TO GET A OIL COOLER AND A TACH IS IN MY NEAR FUTURE.
- CHRISTIAN HARDY, HOUSTON , Texas

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2005-08-24 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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This is a great bike, no problems, The Vance & Hines Pipes really wakes this thing up.
- Gary, Wahiawa, Hawaii

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2005-08-18 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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I bought my XL1200C in August of 2004. Great little bike. Faster than most of the 'big twins' even after building them up. Out ran a Victory just the other day on the e-way. He was alone and I was riding a passanger. The only complaint is the rear shocks and stock seat. Replace the rear shocks with 'Progressive's' and get a 'Mustang' seat and you've got a 'discount' Harley cruiser. The maintanance is less costly than the 'fat-heads'. The bike handles great and goes down the road in a straight line no matter how windy it is. No complaints now. I prefer to ride my sporty over my '03 Electra-Glide unless I'm traveling across the country. Buy one, you won't regret it. Oh yeah....most of the Harley dealer's mechanics need much more training....everyone that I've dealt with is a HACK. The dealer's so called 'Techs' are a running joke. Lucky the bikes are much more dependable than 20 years ago.
- Krayven Sumhead, Peckerwood, Alabama

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2005-08-09 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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I love this bike. I have owned 2 Honda's & 1 Suzuki. I was really tired of being asked "Is that a Harley?" This bike is fast, comfortable & a pleasure to ride. I shopped for a few months & read a lot of reviews. Most of the time I was reading that it was uncomfortable & the shocks bottomed out. It's a small bike, not a good idea if you weigh over 250 pounds.
- Erik, Parkton, North Carolina

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2005-08-04 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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In July '05 during H-D's "Sportster Days" I picked up my first motorcycle ever. Now I'm a big boy almost 375lbs and over 6ft tall. I fit like a glove on this bike in the showroom. about 15 miles down the road this thing was killing my tail bone and I would just see stars when I hit a bump on the road. Limiting my rides to smooth roads and short rides stink. Since then I purchased a Corbin solo seat and the ride has improved significantly however my next step will be the rear shocks. What to do? What to do?
- Al Jackson, Richmond , Virginia

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2005-07-30 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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This is my first Harley, I sold a 2000 Honda Shadow Custom 750 two years ago, Although I miss the size of the Honda which looked like a Harley Fatboy, I am more pleased with the feel and sound, and overall design of the sportster. The rubber mounted engine with screaming eagle pipes is perfect. Also the bigger gas tank and wheels round out this bike, reminds me of a Deuce, and gets as many looks as more expensive Harleys.
- skilbreth, merrimack, New Hampshire

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2005-07-21 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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I am a soldier in Iraq and I just got back from leave and while I was on leave I rode my new 1200 Custom. I loved it. I use to ride an 83 Suzuki Temper GR650. It was like going from a Pinto to a Cadillac. During my 2 weeks home I was trying to put on as many miles as I could before I had to put her into storage until I get back home in December, I hope. I only got to ride 471 miles on her but I enjoyed every mile. When I get home I plan to put some pipes on her, rejet the carb, and a stage 1 air kit. I plan on more things to add but those are the first things I plan to do.
- Ron, Sioux City, Iowa

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2005-07-16 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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Picked up the bike today, what a fantastic machine. Smooth right out of the box. Very comfortable, good riding position. I look forward to many miles and smiles. My dealer, Harley Davidson of Suffolk County = excellent people and perfect salesmanship. Thanks guys.
- John, Brentwood, New York

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2005-07-09 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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When I told friends that I would be gettin this bike they all said the same thing... it's too small for you and it vibrates too much." They are very wrong! The bike is smooth as silk on the road and at idle and has power to spare. Although I would've liked to splurge for a bigger bike, I think this one is deffinately not too small.
- Mitchell , st augustine, Florida

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2005-06-30 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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Got this bike three weeks ago, and have put 1200 miles on it. Added sundowner seat, passing lamps touring back rest. Pleanty of stock power even with two of us on the bike. Would like a little throatier sound, but at least I don't get stopped like they do with seII slip ons. I have the leather hard harley bags(removable) on it,and windshield....just beautiful!!!
- mark, laconia, New Hampshire

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2005-06-27 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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I've ridden motorcycles for 23 years, and this is the very first Harley I've ever had. I love it! The annoying Sportster "buzz" of former years is gone - no more butt or feet falling asleep! Power for days, and torque, enough to beat almost any cruiser out there at a green light. I did NOT have the jet kit done, and it still can easily manage 100 mph with room to spare. It's plenty fast - I doubt if the jet kit would have been worth the extra $$. I actually like the softer-sounding pipes - I have no need to impress anyone and my neighbors don't need to know when I get home. I have had no defects which needed to be fixed, and I'm about to turn it over 7K miles (since 11/04). Great all around bike, only complaint is the seat is a little uncomfortable.
- Christy, St. Petersburg, Florida

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2005-06-23 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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My first new bike, I have owned a few others, but they were all used. My service has been awesome, and I've felt invited into a family. I've had a stage 1 done (carb re jetted, high flow air intake, and new pipes) before I rode it, but I don't think I would have needed to with how it responds. No annoying vibration, rubber mounts are awsome. Just got done with the 500 mile break in period though, and haven't played rough with it too much yet. Only problem so far is the factory seat starts to hurt my tailbone after about an hour and a half, I have a bad back though, and haven't had any other comfortability problems though. Also when I was giving my dad a ride, it had some wobble in the rear at low speeds, but I neglected to adjust the tire pressure or shocks, and wobble went away at about 35mph or so. So far this bike rocks and I have not been disappointed, but parts and accessories are expensive. I'll write another review after I have more miles on.
- zzj, sauk rapids, Minnesota

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2005-05-30 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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This is a great bike. My first Harley. The only complaints are: 1. The bike coughs when you take off from a stop sometimes, and 2. the stock seat needs too be replaced as one of your first mods. Power is fine for me, my wife and I can ride on the highway all day, if I just get a new seat. I really am happy with my new harley.
- W.S., Killeen, Texas

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2005-05-17 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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I fell in love with this bike the first time I saw it and just had to have it. I put 700 miles on it in the first 10 days and it would have been more if the weather man had cooperated. Everything that I read about this bike has been true...right down to the vibration in the seat. My rear end was numb after the first 30 miles on the highway but I think most of that was from never really riding on the highway before. note: the highway trips are better now that the bile is broken in or it could be my butt that is broken in...who really cares, I'm off to go for another ride. I really love this bike.
- Dean Fritz, Regina, Saskatchewan

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2005-05-09 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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If you thoroughly check this bike out,you will want it...let people rib you for getting a sportster, you will love it...the 1200 custom has it all...chrome,good looks and get up and go...there is still a touch of vibration,, but hey, this is a big motor on this bike...it handles great with my wife behind and still has the power to move out.I wanted to get a softail but it was just too much so I "settled" for a sportster...and I have not regretted it for a second. The stock seat was not too comfy for her so we got another harley seat and sissy bar.
- wild weasel, graham, Washington

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2005-05-09 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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Picked up last week and love it. I had an initial problem with a cam sensor but the dealer was great and fixed it asap. No problems after riding all weekend. Sportsters have come a long way and the custom has everything.
- TONY, SUSSEX, New Jersey

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2005-04-28 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Custom Motorcycles View Listings

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Overall this is an awesome bike, lots power and lots chrome. It still has some vibration that I have in the mirrors but it goes away at 55 mph and 70+. I had the baffles taken out and I didn't have the carbs jetted and it is loud and doesn't have any problems. This bike has lots of power.
- CS, Sauk Centre, Minnesota

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