Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster Custom


The first Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster appeared in 1957 and was conceived as a sports equipment for flattrack, dragracing, and other races, popular in those years in the United States. Let’s see how the model has evolved after almost 60 years.

It is hard to imagine, but in the distant past, Harley-Davidson motorcycles often conquered the catwalks at various competitions. Today, one name is left of the sports component Sportster, but the family of motorcycles has grown and includes seven models: 883 Roadster, Superlow, Forty-Eight, Iron 883, Superlow 1200T, Seventy-Two, and 1200 Custom, which will be discussed. Sportsters differ from each other, as they say, just by look at life – the aero and engine: a portion has V-twin 883 cm3, a part – 1200 cc unit.

Sportster 1200 Custom, as you might guess, is equipped with a 1200 cc V-shaper issuing 96 Nm of torque. The number of “horses” in Harley-Davidson traditionally does not indicate, as it believes that for motorcycles in this class this figure is not significant. But we all understand!

Be that as it may, the power and torque of the motor is enough to disperse a compact and relatively lightweight (just 268 kg of unladen weight) machine to ensure the safety of overtaking and beautiful starts at traffic lights. And yet, when you get the bike, it vibrates much like the legendary Dyna (which, by the way, “crawls” from a place not so far away, as the owners like to embellish the stories), and this vibration does not completely disappear during the ride, and it is currently felt in the hands and feet. But such is the idea of engineers, for it is clear that the 21st century they could solve the problem of motor vibration, if they wanted to. Just their task is not only to do work while driving the machine, but also to put in its classic iron shell the classic “true” soul.


But not only the engine is responsible for the “old school” feel – the designers also did their best, and they made a harmonious, beautiful bike. It is true that beauty is not always a synonym for comfort. For example, the driver’s seat is comfortable, but with the centrally located footrests it forms not the most successful landing with a little unnatural, stressful tilt forward (for the driver with the height of 180 cm). The very steps hinder legs to move the bike – it’s a problem of “centralpegs”. Passenger seat is generally bad: small and sloping back. Although it is clear that these bikes are not made to ride together. Nevertheless, designers and marketers strongly hint at the thick catalog of tuning (and even in the name of the model, insert the word “custom”), which presents a range of footrests, seat, handlebars, and all the rest. Say what you like, but stock Harley is rarely seen on the road: customizing for these bikes, especially classical, is almost a mandatory step after purchase.

Describing the majority of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, to focus on the technical parameters is hard, but not too much it is need: Harley is not about the-state-of-art technology, electronic assistants, the original decision, or the adjusted settings (for example, the front suspension Sportster 1200 Custom fulfills “excellent”, and the rear – “non-achiever” spoils everything!). Harley is about the emotions that causes any particular motorcycle brand. And sometimes that is not – well, it is without it is quite self-sufficient.


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