Getting back on, 833 or 1200?

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by pecromer, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. pecromer

    pecromer New Member

    I'm getting back into riding after about 10 years off and looking into the Sportster models. I don't want anything to big, only want to spend about 10k, and haven't ridden in a while so am looking at the Sportsters. Question is 833 or 1200? My only reference in power difference between models is I have ridden 600cc and 900cc CBR's and the 900 was far more powerful of a machine which weighed roughly the same. I have read some posts that say get the 833 and up grade it later, and others that say go for the 1200. Money is not the issue but if there is no real difference why waist it. Plus it looks like some of them only come 833. I do want to be able to have the wife on the back.

    Thanks to anyone who helps.
  2. Mad Dog Jim

    Mad Dog Jim Banned

    I say this from experience... take it or leave it.

    200 miles on the back of a Sporty feels like 400 miles on a Dyna, 500 miles on a softail, and 600 miles on a Tour frame. I bought a Sporty 1200 classic when I got back into it and traded it in for a softail in about 4 months...

    I would highly suggest getting a low mileage dyna or softail. There are a ton of them out there for about the price of a new Sporty. You will be MUCH happier, and the wife may actually want to go with you more than once.

    Little story: Bought new Sporty. Took a trip to the Oyster Fest in Anacortes. The first day we did 250 miles and it took us 10 hours. Lots of breaks... First big trip on the softail we did 550 miles in 10 hrs... And no groaning along the way!

    Hi again...

    Plus - unless the two of you are really tiny, it wont take much to bottom out or overload that Sporty. You'll have to add bags, next you'll want a windshield, etc etc. If its your first bike in a while, I highly recommend a dyna or softail with detachable bags and windshield. Lets you play around with it and figure out what you like.

    Either way - welcome to an AWESOME forum with straight answers!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2011
    1 person likes this.
  3. dbmg

    dbmg Guest

    As Bull Dog stated, This could be a recipe for not wanting to ride. The Sporty is going to be quite a compromise. As to power there is not a lot of difference like a 600cc vs 900cc. Part of the decision might be to really decide how you are going to ride and how often 2 up. Choose the right tool for the job.
  4. geezer

    geezer Senior Member Contributor

    I think you would find a softail much easier to ride. Sportys are fun but you have to drive them, a softail you just ride. As far as power, the sportys are faster than the big twins. JMHO
  5. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    I agree with everyone else's advice so far.

    It is a common misunderstanding that Sportsters are good starter bikes. Price wise perhaps but not when it comes to riding them. They have a higher center of gravity and a smaller frame which makes them more challenging to ride well, especially on longer days as has been stated.

    Other HD big twins are indeed heavier but the center of mass is lower and they are much easier to ride once above parking lot speeds.

    If you're just looking for something to zip around on for an hour or two, the Sporty would be perfect. You can probably get a mint condition one for far less than $10K.

    Otherwise, follow the sage advice of the many on here (myself included) who bought a new Sportster and upgraded to a Big Twin in less than a year.
  6. ultra...good

    ultra...good Banned

    First thing I have to say is that I love my Sportster and as long as its my choice I will never get rid of her. That being said, it is not a very nice ride for more then about 20 minutes. It is fun, so much fun, but I'm glad it only goes about 40 miles til it hits reserve, because I have a good reason to get off the thing. If money is not an issue, I would highly recomend a Dyna, FXR, Softail, anything but a Sporster. They are nice second bikes, or a bike for the wife, but not a bike that you want to ride with someone on the back. When I was younger, a lot younger, and both me and the girl were much smaller then I/we are now and we used to bottom out all the time. Could only imagine what would happen if I tried to ride the Sporty 2 up now....... Of course I wish you luck with whatever you decide, but if you still think you want a Sporty, go rent one for a day, you will not regret that, one way or the other.
  7. jetwrench

    jetwrench Member

    Sportsters are great bikes, I would go with the 1200. It all depends on what kind of riding you want to do. If you plan on extended 2 up touring, a touring model is a better choice. But I use my sporty as a daily driver to work and I take the weekend 400 mile trips often with no complaints.
    I would highly recommend renting each category (Sportster, dyna, softail, touring) for a day and really put a few miles on them before you make a final decision, like I say it's all personal preference and what kind of riding you will be doing the most.

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

    MY story,

    The DYNA GLIDE is by Far the Better choice when it comes to TWO UP riding.(.)

    I VERY MUCH like a sportster also I like a Much Better Ride.(.)

    The Dyna will give you the Lighter sporty bike feel and Not be overwhelmed because of Weight like on the Bigger

    I have owned Many smaller sporster bikes,, 883/1200/1200R and always went to the DYNA for the Comfort and Ride-ability of them..

    Had a 2000 FXDS(dyna) putting over 117,000 miles on that bike with better seat. (mustang seat)

    I traveled with the wife on the back often and found that bike (dyna) to do the best..

    IF we were going on a long ride (over 50 mi.) no way would I want to ride them doubled and on a sportster.

    If you feel the need for the smaller bike,,, I would go with the 1200 size Before the 883, just for the power/gear ratio difference.

    Presently I own a 09 FLHR(road king) and a Kept 1200R sportster.

    The ride of "two up" isn't even a question what bike? as it is understood the big ride is the best.

    Age and Physical shape has a lot to do with it,,, and ANY decision..

    I and My wife rode 883/1200 doubled up for many of or YOUNGER days. $$ were tighter then and so were our Bodies... Any sporty was Less$$ needed to own one then over the Big Bikes.

    NOW it is about the comfort. :D

  9. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    As in the past you have been riding sporting motorcycles the transition to a sportster may be easier for you the 1200 has a fair bit more power than an 883 but neither will be as quick as your previous experiences
    i have a sportster in my wee collection of bikes and if i am riding on my own i prefer to ride it as it has better handling on the twisty roads in my part of Scotland i have taken it across the northern part of europe without issue
    If however i am riding with my wife she on her dyna and me on the softail as wife does not enjoy riding on twisty roads fast we ride at a more sedate pace and the larger bikes are better suited to that type of riding
    If a sportster is your choice then a 1200 would be best but may require some up rating of the rear shocks for 2 up riding with some luggage

  10. Admiral Nelson

    Admiral Nelson Banned

    I had an XL1200C, and it was a nice bike

    The Dyna Street Bob I now ride is so much more bike, especially 2 up.