2002 Harley Davidson XLH Sportster 1200

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New rider experience with Sportster

Jun 14, 2002 (Updated Jun 15, 2002)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Reliability:
  • Comfort:
  • Handling And Control:
  • Quality and Craftsmanship:

Pros:Price and ride

Cons:Small Tank, Height (if rider is short), passenger seat, price for accessories

The Bottom Line: An awesome bike, just be aware of the downfalls and plan to spend accordingly to adjust for them. I've fallen in love and can't wait for the next sunny day.


I purchased this H-D 2 weeks ago. So far I've put 222 miles on this bad boy (would've been more, but its been rainy.) In the following sections, I will break down what the Sportster cost me, and my current experiences thus far.


The purchase price was 12,500 including the following accessories/addons:
a)2 Tone blue and pearl
b)Lowering Kit for Front and rear (about 3in lower total)
c)Passenger backrest
d)Chromed o-ring highway pegs
e)Prepaid maintenance (Saves a few hundred bucks on
maintenance you're gonna need
anyway)
f)4 yr unlimited mileage extended Warranty

The very first thing I did was to have the lowering kit applied to the bike by the dealer. I'm 5'5" and I could only touch the ground with my toes with the stock height. Not being able to touch the ground well will increase your chances of dropping the bike. The rear lowering was completed, but the front will be done at the 1000mi checkup. As of now I can touch the ground with both feet fully planted, but cannot bend my knees much. The extra 2in lowering with the front kit will help improve the safety of the bike.

The next thing to be aware of if you're new to motorcycles is the break in period stinks, but has to be done(no matter what brand.) The shifting is a bit rough for now. Shifting results in a nice ker-chunk except for 5th gear which slips on pretty smoothly. Neutral is abolutely impossible to engage at this point unless I shut off the bike and then shift.

I've been told by my friend (who he and his family own 4 harley's themselves) and by the dealer that during these first 500 break in miles the bike is going to be pretty rough in shifting and in its running. After the bike gets taken in for the scheduled 1000mi checkup, its supposed to be a completely different beast (for the better assuming you broke it in correctly.)

The only problem I've had so far was that one of the two screws that hold the clutch assembly to the handlebars fell right out while I was riding. Apparently those two screws were not tightened when it was shipped. Thankfully I noticed the clutch was loose and was able to stop and tighten it myself. I'm replacing the lost screw with another one from the hardware store, but the dealer has promised to replace the screw and locktite it when I bring the bike in for the 1000mi checkup.

The ride is nice and smooth on both the backroads and on the highway, although vibration goes up somewhat at 50mph or so. I find the seat to be comfortable for long hauls. I drove the bike for 6 hours and was ready to keep going another 6! The bike handles like a dream. I can really take it around corners and lay it down pretty far and the engine is nice and powerful so I can power my way out of the turn. Acceleration is great as well and the bike has very good braking power. At idle its not too loud but retains the classic harley sound.

If the bike is going to be used at all for longer trips, I'd recommend the highway pegs for more comfort as well as some saddlebags. I made the mistake of not rolling saddlebags into my loan, so now if I want them I have to spend between 200 to 600 bucks to have them put on.

I only have 3 small qualms.
1)Gas tank - It only gives you about 120mi of riding time
with responsible driving.
2)Passenger seat - my girlfriend (who is 5'3) complains
that the passenger seat isn't very
comfortable, and plans to purchase a
touring style seat for the bike.
3)Price of Accessories - All the H-D parts cost an arm and
a leg. Even so, its worth the
price in the end, just be aware
that it will be easier for you to
have everything put on when you
buy it and have it all rolled
into the loan.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 12,500
Condition: New
Model Year: 2002

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