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Harley Davidson Sportster, what do you think?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by TXsizeK5, Sep 7, 2003.

  1. TXsizeK5

    TXsizeK5 1/2 ton status

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    I'm really starting to want a bike especially after watching countless hours of Discovery Channel where Billy Lane and Indian Larry build custom choppers from scratch!

    Anyway, what do you think of a HD sportser for a beginner rider... and I don't want any Honda crotch rocket or any of that crap.
     
  2. ChevyCaGal

    ChevyCaGal 3/4 ton status

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  3. Topdown

    Topdown 1/2 ton status

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    First off, let me say specifically - I eventually will own a Harley, I will just own other bikes that arent as hard on the body or pocketbook too.

    if your a beginner your not going to want a Harley. You will want a metric bike (not a crotch rocket). Harley's require a certain degree of constant maintenance that Honda's, Yamaha's and whatnot dont. They all have cruiser style bikes that you can accessorize the hell out of. I am 100% certain I will get flamed for that, but I know LOTS of bikers and there are two distinct kinds. The ones that wrench on thier bikes (or pay someone to) and the ones that ride Honda/Yamaha/Kawasaki's. (Anyone that feels like flaming me for that feel free, but I dont know anyone that rides a metric bike that has to "tickle the carb" to make their bike run)

    Personally I am a fan of the Kawasaki Mean Streak, its a bad-ass looking bike, as well as the Honda VTR's.

    I would recommend getting something in the 750 - 1100 range for a "beginner" bike. Something that will have enough power to get you into and out of trouble quickly but not so much as to scare the [I love Jeeps] out of you with every twist of the throttle.

    Also, if your a beginner rider, try checking out the huge selection of used bikes available. you will eventually want that Harley but you wont want to blow your whole wad on a sportster or on a brand new Honda. You can find lots of 750 - 1100's for sale in the 2k - 5k range (depending on age and miles). Also, if you have never laid a bike down, you will... we all do. The only bikers that havent are the ones that just havent yet. When you first start out your more likely to lay one down, you REALLY dont want to lay down a 10K or 15K bike...

    Just some stuff to think about.
     
  4. big pappa b

    big pappa b 3/4 ton status

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    Another question is " How big are you?
    My first harley was a Sportster and I won't have another one. Of course I weigh 230. I have a 1968 FLH now with a "slightly" modified motor
     
  5. chevyracing

    chevyracing 1/2 ton status

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    Sportsters are fine bikes for the money. My wife has a 96 XLH. (Hugger). If you are over 6 feet tall I would not recommend one though. The next step up is something like a Dyna Wide Glide or an FXR. Both are a Big Twin and are very affordable. I have an 86 FXRS Lowrider Custom. I am 6' 3" and around 230 Lbs and it moves me down the road real well. My wife has an 883 Sportster with a 1200 kit in it. If you get an 883 you can make it a 1200 for about 400 bucks. The Sporty's can be made into nice bikes with just a sheet metal change.

    As far as dependability I have almost 270,000 miles on my FXRS and the only time I have ever pushed it was when I take it out of the garage. The Evolution Engine is very dependable. The CV carbs are great and the way to go. I have found that people who say Harley's are not dependable have never had one and tend to use that as an excuse for not having one. when AMF owned Harley they had some issues, that was many years ago and that was with the Shovel Heads.

    It depends on how much money you are looking to spend. If you get one get it as plain as possible and hit the aftermarket for the goodies. I got my jugs, cam, heads, and a bunch of other stuff for my bike off of eBay. Mine is stroked and bored to 102 inches and I did it with all new parts for under 1500 bucks.

    Here is a Photo of mine.

    [​IMG]

    Here is my wife Sportster. We put Fatbob tanks and FLH stle fender on the rear. We moved the gauges to the tank as well.

    [​IMG]


    There are plenty of other brands out there that are fine bikes too. I am not one to put down another brand because they are not Harley's. It is just a persons preference. The biggest piece of advice that I have for you is if you want strong dependability in a Harley try to get one built in late 1984 or after. That is the Evolution Engine.

    John
     
  6. TXsizeK5

    TXsizeK5 1/2 ton status

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    I am 5'10" and 180lbs, so I'm not too big or too small... atleast I don't think so.


    I saw that a brand new Sportster was only 7-10 grand, which seems pretty cheap for a new Harley. I have a buddy with a 97 Sportster and I really like how it looks and sounds (nice rumble, not deafening loud like those annoying straight piped harleys). But I'm sure he'd teach me how to ride (i gave him my ac system and helped him wrench on his k5 several times). It doesn't seem to hard either....
     
  7. landsmasher

    landsmasher 1/2 ton status

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    I had a 45 once. 3 wheeler, suicide clutch and enough room for my camping gear and tools. I always got stuck carrying the beer too but it made for nice road brakes. Harley all the way. No ricers unless you're a communist... Crotch rockets are for guys with very little between the ears and even less between the legs. Start with a Sportster or even a K Model it you can find one. Later you will want a hog. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  8. 75-K5

    75-K5 3/4 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Crotch rockets are for guys with very little between the ears and even less between the legs.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    AMEN! If you want a rice burner move to Japan. Sportsters are great starter bikes because they're small and easy to handle. They're also much more comfortable than a crotch rocket too seeing as you have to bend over the whole time you're riding one. Some people have tried to tell me that's easier on your back and I have to say bullcrap. How can it be more natural to support your weight with your arms and bend forward while sitting. Your back will give out a lot faster doing that than it will simply sitting up straight like when riding a HD. I have a 72 XLCH right now and I love it. Sure it has a few problems but that's to be expected with a 31 year old vehicle. Once running right, Harleys require little to no "daily wrenching." My cousin has a 2001 Sportster and my Dad has a 1998 Fatboy and you can get on both of them on any given day and fire them up and ride off. Of course they require some maintenance, but that's because they have engines, not beehives /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif. Sportsters are a great bike for the money and will be easy to learn to ride with.
     
  9. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    Having been a motorcycle rider for many years I can add a couple of comments. I started riding Ninja type bikes way back when starting with several small dirt bikes, then a KZ550 set up to race, then a Honda V65 Sabre, then a HD FXR and now a full dress Harley. I agree with ChevyRacing that those that decry the Harley as unreliable, or undependable, are usually relying on anecdotal stories from a friend of a friend that owned an old HD. I've owned many bikes and found each one to have it's own problems and strengths. My Kawasakis and Hondas all needed maintenance just as much as the HD. In fact, the Honda cam lobes scarred and fixing it was big bucks.

    I also have to disagree with Topdown that a 750-1100 is a beginner bike. My V65 was an 1100 and it was an absolute screamer. Most any 1100 is going to scare the heeby jeebies out of you if you get on it. But he is right, there are only two kinds of riders. Those that have laid it down, and those that will. I can't count how many fatal accidents I've been to due to some guy getting on a scoot that is way more than they can handle. If you really aren't sure whether or not you want to own a bike, get something small in the 250-400 range and cheap. Ride it, take a lesson or two, then upgrade if it's your cup of tea. I have a friend that bought a real nice Honda and laid it down within two weeks, put himself in the hospital, and totalled the bike. He decided that riding wasn't for him. He still has silent farts courtesy of the insurance co.

    If you are set on a Harley, and I recommend them, I'd think seriously about going with the Dyna Lowrider. I have many Harley riding friends that started with a Sportster and ended up selling it within a year. They are quick. They are fun, and they are Harleys but they aren't real good for long distance trips or freeway riding. Lots of Harley riders end up going to Sturgis, Hollister, Daytona, Laconia, and other large runs where they ride for days at a time. A Sportster isn't going to win your butt over on a long ride. And, once you get proficient, you will itch for something bigger anyway. Problem is, most every other Sportster owner has the same problem. So, used Sportsters can be had for a very reasonable price. Those that keep their Sportsters tend to be smaller in stature, female, or short distance riders that don't do long trips as a general rule. There are some iron butts out there that ride the crap out of their Sportsters but they are the exception.
     
  10. TX Mudder

    TX Mudder 1/2 ton status

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    I personally can't stand cruiser bikes, so I'd have to give it a thumbs down.

    So you don't want a crotch rocket. Fine.
    Get a 'standard' bike then. The kawasaki ZXR1200 is not a crotch rocket and it looks cool ot boot (esp. in silver.)

    I think a good beginner bike would be a 70's KZ650/750. I still think those old standard bikes are about as styling you can get without getting into cafe racer style.

    -- Mike
     
  11. chevyracing

    chevyracing 1/2 ton status

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    Derek,
    Something else you may consider too is a Victory. You can get a second hand one for decent money and they are American made bikes as well, I believe they are made by Polaris. They are some very sharp and dependable bikes and you can park it on Main Street in Sturgis you won't have to worry about getting your spark plug wires stolen.

    John
     
  12. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    I think it's a bad idea for your first bike. But that's just me since I dont have money buring a hole in my pocket. You're watching OCC and billy lane, but do you know [I love Jeeps] about old school choppers? They weren't what the new rave is now. They were old cheap bikes that were made into something different by the riders own hands, not a 30K machine that is bought off the west coast choppers showroom floor. Not that those aren't cool, but it's kind of like k5's versus prebuild rockcrawlers. If you can't drive on the trail, you're pretty much fawked either way. I'd do as has been suggested and get a dirt cheap jap bike. In fact, I'm planning to do just that. I've got a reservation on a 1984 Honda CB750, which was one of the original old school choppers. I'll be paying $600 for it, it runs good, looks ok, and I can build on it, ride it around town, ect. I can lay it down and will only have to cry about my road rash, not about my 10K bike that I'll have to fix. I've riden dirt bikes quite a bit, but never a street bike and I have no illusions. I'll lay it down, I just hope it's low speed and non-fatal. For me, it's not all about looking cool. It's about having fun. Now about the two classes of bikers, I've heard it this way and will maintain that impression.

    Bikers = Guys that are just out to enjoy riding. These riders don't care what their companions ride or sneer at jap riders. Some of them ride japanese bikes. Most have owned jap bikes. Some of them have been on their sides. All of them have a universal respect for bikes and bikers, no matter the race or make.

    Rubes = Rich urban bikers. These people ride harley only. They are akin to Heep drivers. They wave at harleys only and sneer at other makes. They don't know crap about turning wrenches on their bike. They trailer their bike to runs and then push it off the trailer 10 miles away. They ride wearing 300 bucks worth of harley apparel. Their bike looks flawless as it should be since it's a 1997 model with 3000 miles. They only ride when it's over 70 degrees outside on weekends when there's no chance of rain. They refuse to ride with anybody other than a harley owner or help anybody out that's not in the clique. A rube is someone that you dont want to be. Or maybe you do. And if you are one, you're just another [I love Jeeps] in the sea of assholes.

    /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif
     
  13. Chris_T

    Chris_T 1/2 ton status

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    A harley is on my list of 'one days too', though I disagree with getting anything small if you're going to freeway ride.

    I had a Yamaha Virago 500 as a first bike - and it was a good one, don't get me wrong, but I didn't like it if I had to highway ride for more than an hour or so due to lack of power and weight. It was a good bike to cut my teeth on, but I would have liked a 750 at least.

    If you're new to bikes check out the local motorcycle shops and ask about classes. I took one from the local motorcycle safety association. they provided bikes to anyone who needed one, taught you things you're not going to learn just riding someone elses on weekends, and did our road test for us - they just gave you a slip to take to the DMV and you wrote the written test. They also offered a road riding course where you spent a whole weekend out on the streets - traffic circles, highway riding, how to ride with a passenger, etc. Good deal. Plus, it's always much nicer to be able to confidently test-ride a bike you go look at.

    Whatever you choose good luck and have fun!
     
  14. TXsizeK5

    TXsizeK5 1/2 ton status

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    LakeTex... I agree with you. I never dissed any jap bike owner, i simply said I would not want to drive one; it's personal preference.

    I also never said I was hardcore or into choppers, I just saw the show and it really sparked a higher interest in bikes. And not because they have a 6 grand paintjob on it either, but because it's amazing they can build something so reliable with such great performance and looks out of scrap iron and tube.

    Why would I get something to look cooL? hey i drive a k5. /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif jk

    As for not riding with somone that doesn't have a HD... that's pretty fawked up. I'd ride with someone if they had a bycicle and could keep up. haha.
     
  15. chevyracing

    chevyracing 1/2 ton status

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    I ride with just about anyone no matter what tyhey ride. I just don't ride with people who want to give the hobby a bad name by being an a-hole and trying to scare the heck out of the public.

    Heck, I have a full dresser Goldwing too. That is made in Ohio, that is almost overseas. LOL

    John
     
  16. MudNurI

    MudNurI 1/2 ton status

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    Gotta jump in here...........

    What your asking is pretty much like saying "should I get a K5 or a Bronco"....your getting people's opinions....if you want to learn more, go to a bike shop.....sit on them, move them around, get a feel for them....

    You said you "liked the way it sounded and looked cool" (something like that about your friends bike).....that doesn't make it the right bike for you...My brother in law has a Full Custom S&S that "looks cool and sounds better than most" but that doesnt make it the right bike for me....it's almost 950 lbs.......holy crap, I'd lay it down and never pick it up.

    John and I are both in the market for new bikes. He's riden since he was 7 (started on dirt bikes) and owned quite a few off road and on road bikes over the last 30 years. Being his size (6'1 280) he doesnt want a "small" bike....he's driven/riden numerous Harley and "harley type" bikes....he's looking at a 'Busa now. He knows that after 2-3 hours on a Harley or that type, his tailbone is killing him, however on a "crotch rocket" he feels fine.....

    Being a beginer rider like that of myself, (only riden his XR650R 4-5 times and dumped it twice).....I have researched the bikes of size for me. YES it's a crotch rocket, but that's the style bike I like...I'm going with the Katana 600, for the simple reason that is has more than enough power for what I need. I am buying a USED OLD Ninja 500 for $1K this weekend to lay down......I KNOW I will, it's only a matter of time, so my thought is why not lay down the bike that's 1K versus the 6K.

    I know of quite a few people who get a brand spankin new bike, with 3-4 years of payments attached, and then lay them down or even dump hard, and end up with a bike that requires $$$$$$ to fix.......

    On a last note- a motorcycle class should be MANDATORY for everyone! John and his brother just finished one, and some people who failed, had permits or licenses and DROVE AWAY...after failing the class! That's just plain scarey.

    My class is scheduled for early April, which means I can play on this 500 around my neighborhood for another month, and then take the class and break out the Katana in the spring.


    oh I forgot- whoever said you use your arms to support your body was totally wrong about a crotch rocket, you use your upper body- chest, abs and back...your elbows are bent, not much weight is actually on your handlebars.....
    Brandy
     
  17. TXsizeK5

    TXsizeK5 1/2 ton status

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    lay down? dump? explain.

    If "laying down" is what I think it means... ie. the bike sliding, i've never seen anyone do it... and I dont think i'd drive it crazy enough to actaully do something like that, but i guess it happens.
     
  18. MudNurI

    MudNurI 1/2 ton status

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    Okay here's what i meant....

    Lay down---- the bike slides out from under you - where you are in fact laying it down......most people I know who do this are on soft ground and usually one of their feet goes out from under them.....they don't drop the bike- it just starts falling, and they lay it down.......usually you see this in a driveway or such....Driving crazy has nothing to do with it, as normally your just taking off or even just sitting on the bike....I don't know too many people who have NEVER laid down a bike....at least the people I know will admit that they did.

    Dump.....this I did instead of hitting a tree with the XR650R...being I was going faster, I intentionally dumped the bike- it ended up on its side on the ground, I did not control the dump- it just WENT down.....I got a bruised/scratched up arm and leg out of the deal.....

    I've seen a guy acting cool in front of a chick once, in a MC.D's parking lot, he was lurching towards her....she was up on the side walk.....he lurched- front tire came up, hit the curb on the way down and he DUMPED....brand spankin new bike- paper plate and all....smashed the mirror and handle bar up pretty good.......oh did I laugh!

    Anyway- anyone who tells you that you WONT dump/lay down a bike is not telling you the whole truth.....like I said, John's been riding for 30 years, and he's dumped/laid down more than 1 bike...of course many of these were off-road bikes, and the dumping took place in the woods, but I remember him laying down the CBR in the driveway of our old shop....the dirt gave under his left foot, he was just talking away sitting on the bike, and before he could react- the bike was on it's way down.....where the only thing he could do was assist it in laying down gently......when your sitting on a bike, once it gets past that 1/2 way point, its easier to lay it down gently then to try to correct it and pick it up....especially a 900 lb bike....

    Brandy

    Hope that explains it......
     
  19. TXsizeK5

    TXsizeK5 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks for the calrification... i did see once somone try and do a wheelie and the bike went forward and he stayed where he was and fell on his ass... i didnt really laugh cause i thought he was really hurt or something but just got up and ran down to the ditch(small ditch) where his bike was, picked it up, it started and he just kinda sat there a bit and was on his way.
     
  20. landsmasher

    landsmasher 1/2 ton status

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    One thing that hasn't really been addressed here. Your safety. You can be one of the best at handeling a bike. You can be very aware of traffic around you, obey all the laws, wear a helmet and leathers and still get mowed down by some little old lady pulling out in front of you in a buick. My experience has been that people are not watching out for motorcycles. As a matter of fact it's like you are completely invisible. I have locked eyeballs with a driver sitting in a driveway and staring right at me and then just before I get there the idiot pulls out right in front of me. You need to ride as though everyone in a car or truck is out to get you. Sharing a lane in traffic is a good way to expidite your travel time but you never know when someone will just change lanes without seeing you just when you get there. People will turn left in front of you. People will back into you or your bike. And just about the time you look to your right to check out that babe walking down the sidewalk, the guy in front of you will most definately slam on his brakes and you will end up on his hood.

    Expect the unexpected. You may be in the right, but you may also be dead right. And showing off can bite you in the a$$. A friend of mine died in a parking lot showing off. He popped a wheelie. Just a little one. He lost it and hit a telephone pole and broke his neck. He had over 4000 skydives, had owned more than 6 bikes over his lifetime and was considered one safe dood. Now he's gone.

    Just don't take it for grant it that people see you coming. Even with your headlight on, in most cases they don't even know you exsist. If you don't believe me, just ask anyone who has ridden a bike on the streets for more than a week. Be carefull and keep a lot of open space around you as much as you can. Enjoy your bike no matter what kind you get and have a lot of respect for the pavement and all that metal being driven around by all those idiots out there. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     

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