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Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Roadster reviews

5.0
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Reliability
4.9
Overall quality
4.9
Performance
5.0
Comfort
4.6

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26 ratings and reviews

Voted most helpful review

yorgo

miami, Florida

Reviewed on 2010-01-23

Motorcycle reviewed2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Roadster

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5.0
Traded my 04 XL1200R for an 08 FXD just cause I wanted a big twin. The XL had 50K miles on the clock at trade in time but was able to get good monry on my trade-in. The XL had taken me to work every day, rain or shine, on weekend excursions, and short trips and long trips alike, even off-road on occasion. Only problem I ever encountered was the starter motor failed at 32,000 miles. New unit installation was time consuming but not difficult at all. Averaged 52 MPG (stage1), powerful enough to wheelie, fun to ride and surprisingly comfortable with a sundowner seat. I miss her.
Reliability
4.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

bryce whitehead

lincoln, Nebraska

Reviewed on 2007-08-29

Motorcycle reviewed2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Roadster

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5.0
3rd bike. 1st: '97 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 (fantastic bike also for the size) 2nd: '98 Suzuki Marauder 800 (a complete mutt, like riding a wet washcloth, unresponsive, washy, unresponsive) Customized and sold. Now, the good news!!! I was looking into an older 1400 Intruder. Very pretty motor, and tons of power, also look great when a good customizer takes ahold. But to be honest, I LOST MONEY ON BOTH JAP BIKES. Even with the 1000-2000 I dumped into both of them... I took a bath. Only one option then...Harley. Because although Victory is an American owned company, they do not hold value like the Harley. 2nd issue: Who wants to spend 20 grand on something that will sit for 4 months during the snow??? This left the Sportster. And I did my homework too. 2004 WAS THE YEAR!!! Every issue addressed. Vibration, gone, great braking, hellishly fast, stronger frame, better cooling, where do I stop??? But then there's the guys who say that it's a chick's bike. BS. This bike has more HP per pound of motorcycle than the 1450's. Fact. You can also lay it into corners like a track bike. I put highway pegs on it and it's everything I was looking for in a motorcycle. JUST THE ROADSTER. The Customs look a little to jappy for me. The OLD, RETRO, PEANUT tank is what gives the bike that nostalgic look...the way a motorcycle is supposed to look. The Roadster has the non too baffled factory exhaust too. Loud enough without just being an a*hole to your neighbors. And motorcycles are SUPPOSED TO SHAKE. It rumbles and shakes like an angry mental patient waiting to rip someone in half when idling. don't get me wrong, I like the Superglides and the Springers in the big ones...But most of the guys who will run their mouth about this bike, haven't ridden it. It's my bike, not my girlfriend's...hence the solo seat is how it is meant to be outfitted. No saddle bags, or big two up seats with studded backrests. It's a track bike. And the factory seat sucks...so what? You can buy a comfortable one. Personally, some bikes are made for saddle bags, windshields, two up seats, leather tank bags...and all that crap. I am a purist. On a purist motorcycle. You, the road, the bugs, the speed, the smells, and the fact that you know you are riding something SOLID. I have friends who own 1300 VTX's and 1100 V Stars...And they all say the same thing when they ride mine. That bike is SOLID. And if you're a chrome freak (I was), this probably isn't your bike either. But if you love motorcycles, you want to get your money back out of the bike, if you like deep corners, great responsive speed, the Harley rumble, and knowing that when you go to start it...it starts everytime, then this is the bike for you. My only issue. There is a design flaw with the mechanism controlling the front brake lever...I read about it, and it doesn't happen to everyone, but some of them, including mine...has a constant signal sent to the brake lights because of play in the brake lever. Rubber band??? Back spring (my choice) and you're good. don't waste 500 dollars for Harley to tell you some crap I just did. You can bleed your brakes for improved pressure, but you still have the play that turns the brake light on. I've had bicycles with more problems. OH yeah, the easiest oil change of any bike I've had yet! You can do that yourself too. GREAT BIKE...1st Harley. I'm never going Jap again. I can lose money at the casino.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
4.0
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Voted most helpful review

Flush Garden

San Diego, California

Reviewed on 2007-06-17

Motorcycle reviewed2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Roadster

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5.0
This is my second update review; however, I can't seem to find the first update. Anyway, at 19,500 miles absolutely nothing has broken on this bike. No leaks or paint problems either. The build quality is absolutely TOP DRAWER and the ONLY parts replaced are two sets of tires and about 7 oil filters. I have ridden this bike VERY HARD for 3 and a half years, with most shifts at the peak torque rpm with no ill effects. It burns less than 1/2 quart of oil between oil changes every 3,000 miles and still delivers 60 mpg cruising at 2,500 rpm. After almost 4 years, I have been offered to sell the bike for $500 less than what I paid for it back in late 2003. Try doing ALL of the above with a go-fast-but-cheaply-built metric bike! Hah! Trust me, you won't get even half way. I recently added all the engine work listed below in the Upgrade/Accessories list. I have just finished the second break-in period and had it dyno tuned. The bike still has tons of torgue off the line with a LOT more horsepower. It is now marginally faster than the crotch-rockets off the line and up to about 40 mph. You should see the looks in their beady, squinty eyes at the next stop light! And so what if those rice-burners blow past me after about 50 mph? Harleys are NOT race bikes. Harleys are cruisers and that's what they do the very best. In a few months or so, I will provide another update based on the roughly 30% rear-wheel horsepower (rwhp) increase. In the meantime, buy American!
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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traxxasen

lynn, Massachusetts

Reviewed on 2005-09-10

Motorcycle reviewed2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Roadster

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5.0
This is with out a doubt a great bike to ride. handles great fast looks are awesome and the price is great. I can't believe how well it handles and the power is great! I love this bike and everything about it. The 150 back tire is perfect for handling, rubber mounted engine HUGE. Roadster looks RULE.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Glenn

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Reviewed on 2005-05-13

Motorcycle reviewed2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Roadster

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5.0
I've had this bike for 2 weeks and put 400 KM on it. First bike in 15 years, last one being a Japanese 650 four cyl. Wow! Quite the difference! The V-Twin takes some getting used to. It took me a while before I felt comfortable on this bike. I always questioned whether or not things were "normal". The engine seems somewhat noisy at first and the idle seemed somewhat unstable to me (always sounds like it wants to stall), and you can almost stall it by hitting the throttle abruptly at idle (still not sure if this is normal for a V-Twin). However, when you twist the throttle and accelerate, you really have to hang on, because it launches quickly. that's when the engine seems to be running it's best - when you're demading power. I looked at many of the Japenese bikes, but always found at least one really annoying thing about all of them. When I saw the HD 1200R for the first time, I knew the search was over. It's a great looking bike, handles very well, and has unbelievable power, all at a great price. My only complaint is that I find the engine to be a little "busy" at highway speeds, and the suspension is a little rough on the highway if the road surface is not perfect, but I guess I'm just a perfectionist.
Reliability
4.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Winslow

Delmar, Maryland

Reviewed on 2005-05-03

Motorcycle reviewed2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Roadster

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5.0
Ok, so all my buddies told me not to buy a Sportie. Too small, not enough power, no fun to ride and "a girls bike". All I have to say is this - NO WAY! This is one fine bike, very easy to ride, looks and sounds realy cool. This thing has plenty of power for quick passes and just plain getting ya down the road. Taking it up through the gears, you can easily get lost in the moment and be idoling down the road at a good 80 mph before ya know it. I do experience some "bottoming out" with a rider, but slowing down a bit it is not a problem at all. I have not had one lick of trouble with it and will gladly buy my next bike new from Harley as well. The only drawbacks are low after market parts availability, a hard seat and 3.3 gallon tank. Pulling over every 110 miles or so is a major pain. Beyond those minor drawbacks, this is one bike I heartedly recomend!
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
4.0
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Jthurber

Mountain View, California

Reviewed on 2005-04-29

Motorcycle reviewed2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Roadster

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5.0
Right out of the box this bike registered a solid 9 out of 10 on the fun scale. Easy to ride, comfortable, decent handling, enough power to satisfy most riders, and excellent build quality. Absolutely no problems with the exception of the oil sender unit, replaced under warranty. Vibration level is insignificant, dropping substantially after 5,000 miles and maintenance is stone simple. Metzler 880's provided significant handling upgrade. This is a great bike and highly recommended.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
4.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
4.0
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Dan

Richmond Hill, Ontario

Reviewed on 2005-04-11

Motorcycle reviewed2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Roadster

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5.0
Just picked up my black/cream 2004 1200R last week and have already washed it three times... just for the hell of it. So far a great, powerful, stable bike that gets a lot of attention on the street. I am upgrading from a 600CC Kawasaki Eliminator, which felt unstable and got tossed around at highway speeds. I am still riding my new Sporty gingerly as it breaks in. Will give an update at a later date but for now I am in heaven! I was going to buy a Suzuki Boulevard M50, but it was only a few $$$ cheaper than my sporty and full of plastic crap everywhere. Once you own a Harley, few people go back to metric bikes. Harley parts are no more expensive than the metrics, are so well made, and there are just so many opportunities to customize these bikes.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Jeff

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Reviewed on 2005-03-30

Motorcycle reviewed2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Roadster

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5.0
The 1200 Roadster is a GREAT around town bike, but it's not a traveling bike. I'm very happy with everything about the bike, with the exception of the seat. Do yourself a favor, buy a Mustang Seat at the onset. If you're considering the 1200R as a first bike, do yourself a favor and don't let the cost make your decision for you. I bought the Sporty for cost, but after putting some miles on it I realized I really wanted a big twin. Now I'm looking to trade up and expecting to lose several thousand in the deal. If a Sporty is what you're after, buy it, it's a GREAT bike. If you really want a big twin, buy it when you can, you won't be happy with anything less.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
3.0
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Bujin

Dublin, Ohio

Reviewed on 2005-02-25

Motorcycle reviewed2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200 Roadster

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5.0
Bought this in October and it is my second Roadster. My first was a 1982 1000cc Roadster. This one is so different ride wise, than my first one. Handles well, rides smooth and after paying the "Harley tax" it's as fast as I need it to be. After the carb adjustments I was able to pull the front wheel off the ground something my first one could never do. I love this bike considered trading it in for a bigger one after riding for a while (all winter) I think I'll just buy a second bike.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
4.0
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