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Sportster longevity

Discussion in 'Cruisers' started by mattb, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. Hi All.

    Am thinking about getting a bigger bike suited to cruising more open roads than the twisties I'm used to, and the SR is not so good for such a purpose. Am looking at new or late model. The three that have caught my eye are the Bonneville, the Vulcan 900, and as of today when I perchance got chatting to a guy in Harley Heaven, the Sportster 883. I've never ridden a Harley but am fundamentally attracted to their sound and what appear to be their great rumbling vibes (the sort of character that attracts me to the SR, an engine whose pulses are felt in your stomach), to what appear to be its compromise between cruiser and cornering ability, and when I sat on one today it felt great! Surfed the net a bit tonight, and have come across some horror stories, but in contradiction I have heard that reliability is no issue these days. So my question is, what do people know of their longevity? Are they equal to a Jap bike? I expect an engine should do 100,000km no worries and get between 50,000 to 100,000 more if looked after right (which I do - eg I change oil every 2000km etc). (I'm tempted to - shock horror - buy a new one, precisely so I could over-service it from day one and own it for years.)


  2. Seems like you have already decided Matt, assume they are as good as anything these days. If you are interested I was at Raceway Suzuki on Wednesday and they had a second hand C50 that had done only 1000k's, guy who owned it changed his mind about cruisers, no idea what price they wanted though.
  3. All bikes have standard faults (most fixed under warranty, some that occur outside the warranty period). these are faults that many bikes of that model have.

    All models also have random manufacturing faults.

    The impression I get is you have a higher chance of having a random manufacturing fault with these bikes than you do with Jap bikes.

    If you don't get that random fault then they are quite reliable.

    so maybe this is an argument for getting one with a few thousand on the clock. Though looking at advertised prices at the moment I'd be buying a new one too.

    Mind you, I don't believe people are getting anywhere near those prices second hand. If they do, they've been lucky in finding a sucker.
  4. Go with the one that gives you "wood". How much extra are you prepared to pay (and continue to pay through insurance) for that HD sound?
    Reliability should not be an issue with any modern hi volume selling bike.
    The C50 would be my pick however.

    Are you really set on a cruiser? There are plenty of mid sized upright bikes that will put a grin on most peoples faces.
  5. Don't know when it's due here, but reckon this is the bike for mattb - XL1200R :cool:


    And there is another version, but don't think they make them anymore

    P0st 04 has the rubber mounted engine so be the one to get http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/roadtests/harley_davidson_xl_1200s/index.html

    Really like the "roadster" style of the Harleys - IMHO, no other manufactuer has been able to come near it.
  6. I have a few mates with Harley's and they don`t have much trouble at all with them .
    My own personal choice would be a Nightster
  7. Great looking bike but felt very cramped on one at 6' 1" - don't think I could ride ride it all day :cry:
  8. I love the nightster look.

    But at 6'4", I will never own one..... Maybe I will have to settle with a streetbob with forwards and apes ;)
  9. It's funny as much as I pay Hardley out, it still seems to me that the Japanese are still missing the point. They are getting closer, but keep dodging either side of it.
  10. It's a pity DuHAST doesn't post any more; he could give you a detailed report on the longevity of the bike......
  11. Thanks for the replies All.

    Re the C50 / M50 suggestions, they might be under consideration if I decide to go second-hand instead and keep the SR at the same time, as they would cover the cruiser / long mks tourer thing very well, but while they seem like very fine bikes, I strongly suspect they won’t do it for me like the Harley would as my only bike: I want a bike with low fat big vibes, whereas the Suzuki seems quite revy by comparison. Otherwise the Bonneville would be the winner, but it’s too revy too. I’ve never ridden a Harley (though I will be doing so before buying anything), but out of all the bikes I’ve ridden, of the two which really did it for me, I knew they would do so before I rode them. One was a Ducati which I used to borrow from time to time - rode it down the GOR for instance, which was the best ride I ever did because of that bike, which ran on emotion rather than petrol! – and the other is my SR500, which out on an empty road will sink will into a low-reving rhythmic thumping pulse that goes through me and feels like nothing else. I could tell just by listening to these bikes that they had something I wanted, and riding them confirmed it. I get the same sense with Harleys. Indeed I get excited just seeing the engine idle.

    I think you’ve probably summed it up ibast. I worry when I hear stories of thrown rods on bikes that don’t sound like they’ve done big kms. And despite what I just said, at the end of the day I would sacrifice feel for longevity simply because simply being out there matters most, especially when I’m spending what for me is a lot of money. Hornet, would DuHast have a good or bad story in particular? – I just see lots of posts of his expressing love for the HD.

    On a related topic, I was talking to my partner about the options. I said I couldn’t justify owning too many bikes (well, two bikes plus hers) and would have to sell the SR – she responded that this was nonsense, that this is my passion, you only live once, so just keep them all! What a girl!!
  12. matt, DuHAST has (or had last time I rode with him) a Sportster; I think it was 883 (?) model with a big-bore kit, but I could be wrong. I DO know he had it for a number of years, so he'd know a lot of long-term stuff, if you know what I mean. Of course he is a fan; I guess that's why he's kept the bike.

    There are a couple of people here who see George socially, so someone might relay to him your questions, and with luck he could get into contact wit you.

    My 10c worth is that I'd love to have a smaller Harley, just to see what the fuss is all about, but I'd like to have a more traditional sort of bike to ride most of the time as well; but that's just me...
  13. I reckon it's time you bought yourself that XS650...

  14. Speedmaster??

  15. I'm afraid I'm the sort of guy who thinks that paying three grand for a bike is a lot - so $11,000 plus ORC is my limit, a king's ransom! I think the speedmaster would exceed that price a bit! Besides, I thought of getting a Bonnie, or a Scrambler which has similar engine characteristics to the Speedmaster, and styling them in a British cruiser way such as you see on some 70s Triumphs, which in almost every way would be my preference...except, it's that potato potato v-twin thing that really sparks my plug! :) In case anybody's thought about the same thing - Triumph make aftermarket parts for the Bonnie that include a "King & Queen" seat, and cruiser bars with longer cables.
  16. I like the Bonnies but they have a chain, hate cleaning and oiling and the goop they shed.

    Anyway love my C50. Shaft drives rule. :cool:
  17. I do like the sportster but the speedmaster does it better for me. I like the whole UK rocker thing and the SM rocks.

    Scramblers are uber cool.

  18. Could get a couple year old Scrambler for that - although IMHO the really cool ones are the blacked out engines which only came out last year (I think :? )

    Scrambler also has a unique crank, so distinctive firing order and sounds pretty cool with aftermarket exhaust