Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200C Reviews from United States of America

2001 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200C

Model year2001
Year of manufacture2000
First year of ownership2011
Most recent year of ownership2012
Acceleration marks 9 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 9 / 10
Handling marks 7 / 10
Braking marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.4 / 10
Distance when acquired14300 miles
Most recent distance17100 miles
Previous motorcycleTriumph Bonneville

Summary:

Awesome bike, expensive HD repair cost

Faults:

Volt regulator died on a trip.

Old and faulty ignition module incapacitated the bike.

2 dead batteries (as a result of above).

Throttle cable split.

General Comments:

This beauty was my first Harley and I loved it. I had no issues with one of my 750 mile road trips, and for that I'm grateful (sport seat was surprisingly comfy as well; and the drag bars were a good fit for me and the bike).

It cost over $1000 to fix in the space of 3 months afterwards, however. First, the ignition module went, then the 2nd battery, then the volt regulator. The volt regulator flopped on another road trip, and left me stranded 100 miles from home.

The throttle cable broke after going over a bump on a questionable road. Spent an hour and a half rerouting the secondary cable just to get me home. Luckily, I broke down across the street from a cable guy who had some tools I didn't have in my travel box, and let me borrow them (i.e. the carb bolt hex-keys; otherwise I would have been "up the creek").

All things considered, I adored this bike and would get another in a heartbeat. I would be wary, however, of electrical gremlins that could be lurking.

Mechanically this bike was a dream, requiring nothing more than an oil change or two and proper tire inflation. Plus, its Screamin' Eagle pipes were the bee's knees when it came to sound. Throaty and attention grabbing, but not obnoxiously loud.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th November, 2012

2001 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200C

Model year2001
Year of manufacture2001
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2003
Acceleration marks 9 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 8 / 10
Handling marks 8 / 10
Braking marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 2 / 10
Comfort marks 1 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.4 / 10
Distance when acquired4 miles
Most recent distance6000 miles
Previous motorcycleHarley-Davidson Sportster XLH 883

Summary:

Well made, but not reliable

Faults:

The voltage regulator quit and left me stranded, at night, in the dark, on the side of the road, with 750 miles on the bike.

A bolt vibrated out of the gas tank and was lost.

The brand new battery on the brand new Harley lasted about 6 months.

General Comments:

Well, I'm conflicted about this bike. I had HD do the stage one upgrade using Harley Screaming Eagle parts right from the start as a brand new motorcycle. It sounded awesome. It cruised through the mountains like a dream. It was fun and exhilarating to ride. So, from that side I loved the Sportster.

When it had only 750 miles on it, I stopped on the side of the road to help a guy on a brand new Fat Boy who was broken down. I went to start my bike, it was dead, bad voltage regulator. There we were, two brand new Harleys, broke on the side of the road. That had an impact on me.

I really wanted to love this bike.

Then there was the time that I had to go to an out of town school for work. I rode the Sportster. It beat me nearly to death out on the highway. Granted, it was pre-rubber mounted engine. It was at that school that I decided to trade the Sportster. It was a love hate relationship. I loved it, but it only moderately liked me.

If you're looking for a motorcycle that's great for easy, low speed, around town or back road cruising, the pre-rubber mounted engine Sportsters are great. If you need reliability and highway riding, this wouldn't be the best choice. Like I said, there were things about the Sportster that I really liked. But the negatives were too much.

I eventually traded the Sportster custom on a 1999 Honda Valkyrie. There were many times when I would rather have had the Sportster back. The V-twin rumble is great, the feel of the V-twin at lower speeds is great. The power of the 1200 is good. But all things considered, it wasn't the best motorcycle I ever had.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st January, 2012

8th May 2014, 07:03

I own a 2005 Sportster 1200 Custom... Electrical problems were mainly due to improper grounding. Once you fix that it will be a reliable bike. It cruises on the FREEWAY at 75 mph and is SMOOTH; you can actually see what is in the mirrors behind you with this bike! Change the grips and pegs to the ISO type and you're good for a 2-3 hour ride. I added a MUSTANG 2 up seat with the back support (hump) and could not be any happier. Air filter / pipes / re jetting all added together will let the motor flow better = COOLER running = will last longer!

Average review marks: 6.4 / 10, based on 2 reviews