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Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport reviews

4.4
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Reliability
4.4
Overall quality
4.4
Performance
4.4
Comfort
4.4

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37 ratings and reviews

Voted most helpful review

Danno

Mounds View, Minnesota

Reviewed on 2004-06-25

Motorcycle reviewed2003 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport

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5.0
I give this bike an excellent rating. Plenty of power and torque when you need it and very agile in slow manuvers and excellent cornering at high speeds on the twisties. At 70 mph a quick twist of the throttle will instantaneously get me at 90-95 mph with plenty of ponies remaining. I use the adjustable front and rear shock settings and feel more comfortable in having the dual front brakes. My only complaint is that I wished the bike was 1 to 2 inches lower and that the seat was a little more comfortable for the 125 + mile rides. Of course these situations could be remedied with low profile shocks and a different seat. Someday I will replace the stock exhaust with a performance system to eliminate the crossover pipe and add a few more hp. In my opinion it is one tough machine that will keep up and/or blow by a lot of the larger Harley brothers. In 2003 it was the 3rd quickest stock Harley out of the whole Harley line up.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
4.0
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Voted most helpful review

Richard

Framingham, Massachusetts

Reviewed on 2004-03-04

Motorcycle reviewed2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport

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5.0
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).
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
4.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Tony

Alabama

Reviewed on 2003-08-13

Motorcycle reviewed2003 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport

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5.0
Just finished a 2000 mile trip on my 03'Anniverary 1200C. No Problems, breakdowns and it rode fantastic! I got great mileage and can ride as slow as those BOHEMOTHS, or as fast as the Screamin Eagles. No respect for Sportie riders? When I get there, I'll wait for you, cause I aint gotta slow down in da' curves!
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Mike R

wilmington, North Carolina

Reviewed on 2003-06-11

Motorcycle reviewed2003 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport

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5.0
I love my new 1200s...There is no comparison to be made...
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Claude Clifton

Columbia, South Carolina

Reviewed on 2003-05-28

Motorcycle reviewed2003 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport

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5.0
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.........
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Claude Clifton

Columbia, South Carolina

Reviewed on 2003-05-28

Motorcycle reviewed2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport

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5.0
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.........
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Steven R Kauffman

Portland , Oregon

Reviewed on 2003-05-27

Motorcycle reviewed2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport

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4.0
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.
Reliability
4.0
Quality
4.0
Performance
4.0
Comfort
4.0
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Voted most helpful review

Don Dunbar

guadalajara, Mexico

Reviewed on 2003-05-26

Motorcycle reviewed2003 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport

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5.0
This is an update. I've now had my 1200s for four months and it just keeps getting better. I switched to the forward foot controls, changed the seat, added some chrome stuff and even though I don't need any more power, I think I will do the stage 1 modification anyway. It looks like I've caught the harley fever and I hope that a cure is never discovered!! I've had a couple of metric bikes in the past but this sportster is definately giving me more fun and enjoyment than any thing else I've ever ridden. I used to be a couch potatoe and purchased a big screen TV about a month before the harley. I hardly watch TV any more 'cause I can't keep myself off the damn bike ! I still give it five stars (even though it has developed a slight oil leak).
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Bob " The Snake" Sutro

Boondocks, Oregon

Reviewed on 2003-05-11

Motorcycle reviewed2000 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport

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5.0
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!!!
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

sky king

monrovia, California

Reviewed on 2003-04-12

Motorcycle reviewed2003 Harley-Davidson XL 1200S Sportster 1200 Sport

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5.0
I was a loyal honda fan starting with a trail 90..., then I rode my 305 scrambler all over the country, tried a 69 kawasaki triple 500 2 stroke. knew I was going to kill myself, traded it in on a 750 honda, then a 76 gold wing! Gave up bikes for 25 yrs taking up airplanes..., much safer.Last winter I was in florida with harrison fords crew restoring an old classic beech 18 and an airport worker saw me taking an interest in his bike. He invited me to throw a leg over his 57 sporty and take it for a ride. One year later, driving down the 10 freeway and saw the harley building and decided to check it out. Walked into the showroom and fell in love with and bought a new 1200 sportster S. I call it my traffic splitter, very narrow, easy to park, good on gas and sounds great..., The service manager and ALL the staff including the owner have been just great! The vibration factor above 3000 is a bit of an issue at cruise but I'm upgrading to a bigger countershaft sprocket. Harley is a good investment and the most bang for the buck. sincerely sky king
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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