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2009 Harley-Davidson Sportster XR1200 Review | Motorcycle Review

Powering the Harley-Davidson Sportster XR1200 is a 1203cc Evolution engine that has some mild hot-rodding including 50mm throttle bodies, higher-spec cams and more compression, all engineered specifically for its application. Thumb the starter button and the engine rattles to life with that unique Harley thud-thud sound. At a stoplight the engine vibrates so much that the driver next to you can’t help but instinctively stare at the gyrating H-D lump.

Once the stoplight turns green, over 60 lbs-ft. of torque from just 3000 rpm make escape especially entertaining. the engine is especially apt down low in the rev range, pumping out a steady and highly useable spread of torque that.

The Harley-Davidson XR1200 will suprise you with its quick handling. It’s Dunlop Sportmax Qualifer tires will also take a lot of cornering abuse, however at speed the footpegs will drag on the road below.
makes accelerating from a standstill a blast.

Throttle response is also first-rate, no doubt in part to its well-sorted fuel-injection as well as the right side belt final drive, which helps make the connection between your right hand and the throttle especially precise.

“The XR’s engine comes on strong down low. It’s got so much torque right off idle that you don’t even need to give it any gas when launching from a stop. But the engine spools up slowly and power signs off way earlier as compared to the Guzzi,” stated Hutchison.

Not only does the XR’s engine spin up slowly once it gets past 6000 rpm acceleration feels like it tapers off thereby necessitating an upshift.

Fortunately, while the XR doesn’t have the top end power of the Guzzi, where it does beat it is in the transmission department. As you maneuver through all of the XR’s five gears you’ll really be amazed with how well it shifts. Gear changes are accompanied by both an audible “clunk” and a solid feel at the end of the shift lever. we do have some complaints however: First, the manual cable-actuated clutch requires way too much lever pull. unless you’re a gym rat or blessed with superhuman arm strength working the stiff clutch quickly becomes tiresome. plus the spacing between each of the five gears feels too wide. we would have preferred an additional final cog which might allow the individual gear ratios to be closer together.

Although the Harley-Davidson XR1200 makes use of some stout braking hardware, including three thick 292mm cross-drilled brake discs controlled by dual four-piston Nissin calipers up front with a single-piston controlling the rear disc, braking performance feels lackluster.

Slowing the bike down in a hurry requires a minimum of two fingers along with some serious pull on the brake lever. Conversely the rear brake set-up felt strong and when used together with the front brake drastically reduces stopping
The Harley-Davidson XR1200’s minimalistic instrument display provides the rider with the bare essentials including speed, rev counter, odometer and double trip meters.
distances to a more acceptable measurement.
The Harley-Davidson XR1200’s minimalistic instrument display provides the rider with the bare essentials including speed, rev counter, odometer and double trip meters.

The XR’s instrumentation consists of two rounded gauges that sit atop the upper handlebar clamp. the smaller gauge to the left houses an orange-backlit digital speedometer. Next to it a larger white-face tachometer with an integrated digital odometer/trip meter and assorted engine warning lights relays information to the rider. Despite its minimalistic design the gauges are clear and easy to read day or night.

In terms of overall build-quality the Sportster XR1200 is without a doubt a quality piece of machinery. Its components have a very solid, weighty feel to them and appear very high quality. Stylish touches like the exhaust system’s satin chrome finish and the engine’s silver powder coat set it apart from other motorcycles you might see on the street.

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2009 Harley-Davidson Sportster XR1200 Review | Motorcycle Review