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Old 08-27-2010, 10:07 PM   #1
jvollmer
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Default Sportster Iron Butt Riders Speak Up

The Sportster "girl bike" thread got me thinking about how the guys I hear say Sportys are girl bikes are usually posers who own garage queens.


So tell me about your long Sportster rides. My XLH don't have alot of miles on it for being a 1991 but it sat for several years without being ridden. It has 30,000 on it and I have done the following trips:
SE South Dakota to Ft. Drum NY and back 2658 miles
SE South Dakota to Brainerd MN and back 900 miles
SE South Dakota to Sturgis SD and back 800 miles (I have done this 5 times and had a passenger on 2 of the trips)

There are a bunch of 200 and 300 miles trips as well.

My commute to work is 120 miles round trip and I have done this more times than I can remember. Just did it yesterday at 90-95mph the whole way
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:36 PM   #2
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The old solid mount must vibrate your teeth out at 90mph.
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Old 08-28-2010, 12:20 AM   #3
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actually it has a sweet spot between 75 and 90

I don't think it vibrates bad at any speed though. I get a buzz in the right handgrip at 65-70 which used to bother me after an hour or so but I got one of those lever things for the throttle and I don't notice it any more.
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Old 08-28-2010, 12:38 AM   #4
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You win!

My Sportie never gets that many miles in one trip. Did a 400 mile run down to Mt. St. Helens w/ family once. Had no problems during the ride. Bike did wonderful, heck of a lot better than me (I'd been riding less than 6 months at the time).

But other than that it's 20 ~ 100 mile trips.
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Old 08-28-2010, 02:03 AM   #5
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I havent taken a big trip on my sporty yet but I want to so badly just can't rght now saving up money to move kinda hurts the road trip fund. but I regurarly ride between 20-70 mile trips
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Old 08-28-2010, 08:22 AM   #6
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Obviously, the concept of "distance" is hard to defend with the peanut tank on my 48. However, the overall idea of being an iron butt has another facet.

For example, I take my Sportster commuting to the gym. Two of my friends have geezer-glides, and I have seen each one use it just once. Yesterday I had the only bike there. I even go grocery shopping on mine.

More to the point, this week has been our longest spate of sunny weather all summer. That still doesn't add much mileage for these guys.

However, they sure like the idea of "the lifestyle." They always tell me about 'bike night' at Quaker Steak & Lube. That's a Wednesday night event where you sit in a parking lot and 'talk' about motorcycling.

Sometimes in Wisconsin we only get about five months of chances to ride. I stress the word 'chances.' Several weeks ago our evenings were cursed with mosquitos from the intense humidity. My wife couldn't even garden. Just because autumn might be viewed as cooler, here it might also be saddled with frost.

June, July and August are the core of our riding season where you really could pile up the miles if you wanted. But I'm not sure it's even a Sportster vs. Glide debate sometimes. I think many of these guys just like the idea of owning a Harley--any Harley. It would never get ridden, anyway.
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Old 08-28-2010, 08:49 AM   #7
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I put on about 12,500 miles a year on average. Most of it is commuting, I haven't really had the time for long trips.
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Old 08-28-2010, 08:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodsfall View Post
Most of it is commuting, I haven't really had the time for long trips.
For lots of people--me included--we have scaled back our vacation mileage, but ride more locally. I didn't even take a vacation this year. My wife went with her circle of co-workers and her sister.

But I'm riding the pants off my bike. I've found many 'loops' around home, some I hadn't ridden in years. I see nothing wrong with a 'stay-cation' for bike guys, it's still fun to ride.
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Tourist View Post
Obviously, the concept of "distance" is hard to defend with the peanut tank on my 48. However, the overall idea of being an iron butt has another facet.

For example, I take my Sportster commuting to the gym. Two of my friends have geezer-glides, and I have seen each one use it just once. Yesterday I had the only bike there. I even go grocery shopping on mine.

More to the point, this week has been our longest spate of sunny weather all summer. That still doesn't add much mileage for these guys.

However, they sure like the idea of "the lifestyle." They always tell me about 'bike night' at Quaker Steak & Lube. That's a Wednesday night event where you sit in a parking lot and 'talk' about motorcycling.

Sometimes in Wisconsin we only get about five months of chances to ride. I stress the word 'chances.' Several weeks ago our evenings were cursed with mosquitos from the intense humidity. My wife couldn't even garden. Just because autumn might be viewed as cooler, here it might also be saddled with frost.

June, July and August are the core of our riding season where you really could pile up the miles if you wanted. But I'm not sure it's even a Sportster vs. Glide debate sometimes. I think many of these guys just like the idea of owning a Harley--any Harley. It would never get ridden, anyway.
That is the truth about the small fuel tank. The town I live in doesn't even have a gas station. There is a small town 5 miles down the road which sells gas (they didn't for years) so I don't have too far to go. I did upgrade to the 3.3 gallon tank and that helps. I am in rural South Dakota and can get into trouble running out of gas pretty easy if I don't plan ahead. Even on trips I have to keep an eye on it. And to tell you the truth it is a Sportster not an Electra Glide- I am ready to get off and stretch after 100 miles.


Our riding season is the middle of May until the first snow which is usually in the middle of October.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:07 AM   #10
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And to tell you the truth it is a Sportster not an Electra Glide- I am ready to get off and stretch after 100 miles.
That's my point, we girlie bike owners cannot due long stretches of miles. We just do more miles.

According to my service writer I have already exceeded the average number of miles on my 48 than most of his clients do on their dressers.

In other words, I have to stop every fifty miles, but I do that to pile up more than 4,000 total miles. With good weather, I'll probably break the 6,000 mile barrier--just on that one bike. Granted, I didn't ride Betty that much this year.

However, a guy at my gym has one of the best dressers made. In one weekend this summer he did thirty miles. He has not even been in for his 1,000 mile check-up.

It's the mental, not the metal.
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:33 PM   #11
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My 1200 doesn't do much for long distance. Not because it can't, but because I simply do not have the time for it. I do take it on 200-300 weekend day trips on a regular basis though. There is something with the seat and handlebar orientation that does cause a sore upper back after a while though. I have worked out the rear suspension and the seat, next will be the bars.
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Old 08-28-2010, 04:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurch77 View Post
My 1200 doesn't do much for long distance. Not because it can't, but because I simply do not have the time for it. I do take it on 200-300 weekend day trips on a regular basis though. There is something with the seat and handlebar orientation that does cause a sore upper back after a while though. I have worked out the rear suspension and the seat, next will be the bars.
I'm betting you can get them dialed in with a little trial and error.

The only issue I have had is a hip cramp during a longer ride. That's mostly due to age, I suspect. I have considered adding some highway bars to be able to change leg positions from time to time. That might help.
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I'm betting you can get them dialed in with a little trial and error.

The only issue I have had is a hip cramp during a longer ride. That's mostly due to age, I suspect. I have considered adding some highway bars to be able to change leg positions from time to time. That might help.
I have the highway bars and use them as well as the rear footpegs. Between the three sets of pegs I can usually stay comfortable.

I put on a couple hundred miles today when I went to visit a SD Kawasaki dealer I had never been to. I used all three sets of pegs on this trip.

I like to lay on the tank with my feet on the rear pegs when it is really windy so that is what I did for the 90 mile ride home.
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Old 08-28-2010, 08:16 PM   #14
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My 1200 doesn't do much for long distance.
I did want to spend some time with the wife today, so I only did 70 miles--all on the slab.

My left lat is speaking to me, but that could be gym related. Funny, the seat doesn't bother me as much now. I guess you can get used to anything, although it does make Betty feel like a GoldWing.
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Old 08-28-2010, 08:58 PM   #15
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Funny, the seat doesn't bother me as much now. I guess you can get used to anything, although it does make Betty feel like a GoldWing.
I've never had a problem with the stock seat, although the passenger seat is very rough on any passengers.
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:55 PM   #16
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I've never had a problem with the stock seat.
I am referring to the stock seat on a Sportster 48. And until I had the rear shocks set all of the way up, I got pounded. I slid around on the seat, and almost got bucked off once.

If you compare my bike's seat to a new brand new model on the showroom floor, my seat looks compressed. I don't even think the quality of the padding is very good.

That's where the problem lies. This bike is not a need, although I use it for deliveries. It's an admitted toy. I don't need it, I just want it.

To spend 229 bucks on a proper seat for something to "drive around the block" seems kind of wasteful. I'm adapting, and right now I can find many truly needed items that ask for attention other than toys.

I sure am having fun with this little bike, though.
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:43 PM   #17
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Quote:
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I've never had a problem with the stock seat, although the passenger seat is very rough on any passengers.
The stock seat on my '06 was horrible. I was ready to get off after 30 miles. The new Mustang seat is all day comfy.
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:45 PM   #18
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longest I've done so far is a 600 and change trip on a rubber mounted EFI sporty.

carbed and solid mounted....good luck.
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:29 PM   #19
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Nothing wrong with the carburetor. I love mine. Now the solid mount engine, that's another story. Some people don't mind it. But after riding the rubber mounted, the solid just isn't my cup of tea.
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Old 09-01-2010, 05:58 PM   #20
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I have a solid mount and carb '03 bike. The vibration doesnt bother me even when I take it on 200 mile trips. The handlebars are another story though.
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:45 AM   #21
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You guys should have rode the 1964 BSA I had. Now that thing vibrated and was not a road bike but people did it.

Heck my father in law rode a Cushman Eagle across country and a friend of mine rode a 1967 Yamaha 305 two stroke from South Dakota to Los Angeles and back.

Me thinks the metrosexation of society is well underway. We should all buy old solid mounted hard tails and go for a ride. The ride might be to the chiropracter but at least we would be in the wind and have stories to tell our kids about the old days riding barefoot to school in the snow.
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Old 02-08-2011, 04:24 PM   #22
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Sonny Barger rode a Sporty for quite a while. I'd love to see somebody stand face to face with him and tell him it's a girl's bike!
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:17 PM   #23
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I put 60,000 miles on my Sportster in two years, but hey, I'm a girl.
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Old 03-06-2011, 12:21 AM   #24
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I sell Harleys and I can't tell you how many times I've heard that sportys are a girl/starter bike. Which is completely untrue. I have customers that have ridden for 30+ years and they will only buy a sportster.

Also a stock XL1200C will beat any stock 96ci bike off the line. And now we have the XR1200 which will out run any stock 96ci
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:29 PM   #25
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Dude? She really IS a girl...
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Old 06-18-2012, 12:34 AM   #26
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Rode my 75 ironhead sporty rigid from Phoenix, Az to Santa Fe, NM and back once. fun ride but seemed like i hit every pothole in the rode though.
the only sporty that i consider a "girlsw bike" is the stock 883. i understand if thats all you can afford at the time, but atleast save up and throw a big bore kit on it lol
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:40 PM   #27
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I love my 883 all I could afford at the time. Ran into a guy that has been riding for 60 plus years. Had a sporty about 3 years ago thought he would trade up and got a road king. Road it on one long trip took it in and traded it for another 883 sportster.
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:10 PM   #28
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I've had mine since last October and have put 10,000 km on it. I'm hoping to do some long rides this summer, but doubt I'll do any great distances at a single stretch.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:41 PM   #29
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I was kinda sad to hear that Sportys were thought of as girls bikes by some people. Not sure how much that bothers me though...I really am looking into getting one.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:00 PM   #30
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It shouldn't bother you at all. Why should you care what someone else thinks of your ride?
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Old 08-11-2012, 01:32 AM   #31
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I'm heading out this morning on a fairly long ride:



I'll post some pics when I get back.

Girl's bike? Well, there are girls, and there are girls:

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