My de-cruiser-ized 1200 Sportster...

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by John Backlund, Aug 26, 2019.

  1. John Backlund

    John Backlund Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    A month ago, I picked up this minty 2015 XL1200C Sportster for a good price, but as this model comes from Harley, it has horribly inadequate, spine-jarring, 2.12 inch travel rear shocks, who's purpose is to give the bike that oh-so fashionable, ass-dragging, 'low look'. It was intolerably harsh to ride on anything other than glass-smooth pavement, so off they came, and on went a new set of 13.5 inch Progressive shocks, raising the rolling chassis to level, and almost doubling the shock travel.

    Before...

    IMG_20190727_112058284.jpg

    After...
    IMG_20190817_191756855_HDR.jpg

    The difference in ride quality is very apparent, and well worth the added expense of the new shocks.

    Next items to go, were the factory 'forward' foot-controls, replaced by a set of 'mid-position' foot controls I found on eBay, they were removed from a late model Sportster.

    Before...
    IMG_20190727_112326432_HDR~2.jpg

    After...
    IMG_20190820_131403093_HDR~2.jpg

    The bike is now reconfigured as a 'standard', and is much more enjoyable (to me anyway) to ride our Black Hills area on.

    The Sportster had only been ridden 1400 miles in the previous four years since new, and I have doubled that in the past thirty days, and that while also riding my Guzzi V7III, Triumph Thruxton, and also a new 2018 Honda Goldwing purchased about the same time as the Sportster last month.

    The Sportster's are fun, reasonably powerful, and very economical to ride and maintain.
     
  2. marshman

    marshman Friend of Leo's

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    Those definitely look like some tasteful and practical mods.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but if I could talk the missus into letting me have a Thruxton, I’d be done shopping.
     
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  3. John Backlund

    John Backlund Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I haven't been riding mine much lately, I need to detail-clean it and get it out more, it's a great motorcycle.
     
  4. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    much improved. I greatly dislike forward controls.
     
  5. DonM

    DonM Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Works for me; that’s a beaut. Congrats.
     
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  6. rz350

    rz350 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I'll take functionality over looks any day!

    (just needs a turbo!) ;)

    Kidding, good job!! :)
     
  7. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    I like your way of thinking.......
     
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  8. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    The Sportster was always a clean simple machine. What you've done is the way it should have come from the factory.

    Cool ride!
     
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  9. Deeve

    Deeve Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Triumph, MGuzzi, Goldwing and HD - lots of flavors there!
    Ride safe.

    Peace - Deeve
     
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  10. Jonzilla

    Jonzilla Tele-Meister

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    The mods you've done are exactly why I've always liked those "roadster" model Sportsters. Nice bike!
     
  11. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Didn't the Sportster actually come like what you have done back in the original days when it first came out?

    It literally was their sporty bike to compare with stuff like the Honda CB wasn't it?

    It's always a laugh that "comfortable" cruiser style bikes have half the suspension travel of sport bikes. It's been a long time since I had a bike but all mine were sportbikes and I don't think any of them had less than 4" of rear travel. The way the linkage works the back of the bike actually moves more than that too.

    Always hilarious to try and ride forward controls on the highway and have your legs keep getting ripped off the pegs if you go too fast. You might say "tuck your pants into your boots you idiot!" but that doesn't work well when it rains! Standard/rear set pegs + pants over the boots and your expensive waterproof boots don't fill up with water!
     
  12. Bluetelecaster

    Bluetelecaster Tele-Meister

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    IMG_20180723_041429.jpg

    Gotta love a Sportster!
     
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  13. verb boten

    verb boten Tele-Holic

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    Great looking Sporty!
    The Harley aftermarket is huge! The ability to change almost everything to suit your taste.
    I wonder if the previous owner was a short guy? There are many bikers out there trying to get closer to the ground and both feet planted firmly on it when stopped...it's a chore, expensive and always seems to mean a less comfortable ride.
    My last "mod"; traded an electraglide classic for a heritage softtail and gave up a large amount of comfort but finally, a Harley that fits me.
    Congrats on the new bike, enjoy and stay safe!
     
  14. Nubs

    Nubs Tele-Afflicted

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    Nice mods and a nice Sporty!

    Are there plans to put highway pegs or an engine guard on it? When I bought my 06 Street Bob, it originally came with mid controls which I was going to swap out for forwards. My brother convinced me to stick with the mids and put highway pegs on it so there are options on where to put the feet. That way I could stretch out if I wanted to.

    That made a lot of sense to me so that's what I did.
     
  15. Wallo Tweed

    Wallo Tweed Friend of Leo's

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    Nice bike and improvements.

    2 years ago we bought a 2003 lowrider with only 7,000 miles. Someone had spent a lot of money for a piece of driveway jewelry. Chrome and lots of hd accessories everywhere.

    First thing I did was progressive suspension front and back. Next was to take off the forward controls, and replace them with factory mid controls. It rides and handles much better.
     
  16. John Backlund

    John Backlund Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    The 2004 XL1200R 'Roadster' I owned for a few seasons some years ago was one of the last examples of a classic 'standard' Sportster. It had the benefit of effective dual disc front brakes, mid-position foot controls, and even halfway decent suspension (though nothing anyone would call 'plush').
    IMG_20150126_100939276_HDR.jpg

    Functionally, I think my 2015 is a little better than my old '04, it has a seat that is tolerable for more than fifty miles, and it's single-disc front brake is at least as good as my '04's dual setup. The 2004 had a carb, while the 2015 is fuel-injected, though the '04 ran very well, and had more of a classic Sportster profile.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
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  17. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Kudos, John. To my eye, the stance of the bike after your suspension change is much improved. It looks as if it is ready to do some business on the road, and forward controls are imho not only uncomfortable but dangerous. My Softtail had pegs on the crash bar when I got it....those came off fairly quickly.
     
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  18. SuprHtr

    SuprHtr Tele-Meister

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    My bet is that it turns into corners more easily now. Nice, tasteful modifications!
     
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  19. REWTX

    REWTX TDPRI Member

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    I am different on this. I prefer forward controls. I have put lots of miles on dynas with forward controls and street glides with highway pegs. This is after years of riding with mid controls. I do agree with the suspension though, I will take a good ride over being low any day.
     
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  20. Tony474

    Tony474 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Excellent. You’ve turned a fashion statement back into a proper motor cycle. Nods of approval from this curmudgeonly British rider!
     
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