Turning an H-D Sportster into a Touring Bike

by Bucko on February 23, 2010

Touring on a 1200XL Sportster

Touring on my Sportster through the desert

Commonly, the Harley Davidson Sportster is seen as more of a city bike, used mostly for commuting or short weekend rides, especially when compared to the larger Harley models designed for the more long distance, 400+ mile rides. I really enjoy my Sportster 1200XL because the smaller frame combined with the powerful Harley engine gives the bike a really nice kick. I’m also someone who really enjoys a really long ride when I can find the time, anywhere from 300 miles in a day to the 3,000 miles in 5-6 days that I did in 2008 to San Diego. So over the almost 3 years that I’ve had the bike now I’ve gradually incorporated customizations that make it perfectly suitable for touring.

Some really important things that I had when I first bought the bike were a windshield and engine guard highway pegs. The windshield is great for cutting through the wind, which can help with fatigue when you’re on the road for a while, as you don’t have to do as much work to stabilize yourself (important for when you’re riding through the wide open terrain like the Plains of central US). The highway pegs are great for changing the position of your legs when they start to feel stiff. It’s nice to have the bigger touring feel with your feet forward like that. Another touring tip to avoid your legs getting too stiff is to also use the passenger pegs (if they’re free). It just helps to have another position to change to, and also with your legs back, it takes some weight off of your tailbone, giving you at least another 20-50 miles that you can go without a break.

Mustang Seat, picture from the website

In ’07 when I did a trip from New York to Florida with my dad, one of the major problems I had was the 10″ seat that comes stock on the Sportster. It got to a point where I just physically couldn’t ride anymore. We ended up pulling over and getting a pad to put on the seat. I ended up upgrading my seat to a Mustang Seat, and, even though I kept the stock seat, I don’t think I’ll ever go back. 14.5″ driver and 10″ for passenger. The driver seat is a bucket seat as well which gives some lower back support. This completely solved the discomfort, and since getting this seat I have yet to again get to the point of being unable to ride.

Aside from comfort, another issue for touring is storage and luggage. So I added to my bike a rear fender luggage rack from J&P Cycles where I can mount a bag that fits over the sissy bar. It’s nice too because it lets me put a bag on the passenger seat and on the back on the luggage rack. I also got the dealership to put on some Harley saddlebag brackets to attach some over-the-fender bags (the brackets are necessary on the Sportster to keep the bag off the lights and shocks). A last nice little addition is a windshield bag. This is just a small bag that you attach to the inside of the windshield. It’s nice to keep the things that you need easy access to: wallet, keys, cellphone, id, change for tolls, etc..

A couple other things that I haven’t done yet but am definitely considering is an EZ pass and EZ pass holder for the tolls on the highway as well as a grip for the throttle where you can hold it with the heel of your hand.

If anyone else has any other stories or tips of ways you’ve customized your bike for touring, we’d love to hear! Also check out the full story of my 3 week, 6,000 mile trip that I did on my Sportster from Toronto to San Diego to see how well these touring customizations performed. You can also see the maps of my route here (TO-SD) and  here (SD-TO).

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  • DrWhy

    I’m glad to see someone who realizes that often the best motorcycle for the job is the one they already own. It looks like fun. The best part would seem to be that when you reach your destination and unpack, you can hit the twisties in a way the Big FreightGlides never can. I also wonder how it does on dirt roads.

    • Bucko

      yeah, absolutely. so much more rewarding to when you use what you’ve already got!

      I actually found out recently that the original sportsters were designed to be Harley’s “dirt bike.” Obviously it’s strayed quite a bit from that, but the original designs for the frame that the current ones are still somewhat based on, had that in mind. That said, the sporty still being an approx. 500 lb bike, I wouldn’t push it too much on the dirt roads. It certainly was nice to be able to unpack and really rip around traffic and twisty roads alike!

    • Anonymous

      i drive my sportster down a 2 miles gravel road just to get to pavment everytime i leave my house work @ 30 to 50 mph driving on the path always looking for thick patches witch will lay the bick down

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  • Angel N

    I really appreciated your article about the Sportster. I was worried about how it would do on a really ‘long haul” especially a bike being smaller than the rest of the HD family. Now I really made up my mind about getting the Sporty. Thanks!

    • Bucko

      Hey Angel,
      Glad to hear you liked the article! Hope it helps. We’d love to hear about your sporty when you get it, especially any touring mods you make to it and any good long trips you try it out on!

  • Strolr

    My idea of a “touring bike” is ‘what you got’ when you gotta go. Over 80K on current 05 XL1200C.
    _First ‘tourer’ was ’65 CB77 Superhawk(305cc)- fm CA to Corpus Christi, TX. Upgraded for next big trip to ’67 CB450 fm CA to Ft Carson, CO. I’ve run a Virago 750 fm VA to Maine, and FL, and Louisiana (got 137K b4 it died).
    _But old butt is lusting after a 103ci “Road Glide Custom” now, so I can go on some REAL long rides – like Central America, or do “the Alaska thing”

    • Bucko

      Hey Strolr,
      I totally agree. Basically you can make anything work if you need to. Maybe need to adjust your riding style a little bit to accommodate, but you’ll still get there and can still enjoy the ride! I was surprised to find for example when I was able to do 700 miles at a stretch on my Wide Glide on my 8600 mile trip around the US (even did a couple iron butts). I actually heard a story of a guy who bought some 250cc bike in Alaska and rode it to New York. Didn’t actually make it all the way, but not for lack of trying as it broke down before he made it.

      I’m actually living in China right now and a lot of our recent posts have been about the Jincheng 250cc that I just got. Looking forward to finding some free time and seeing how far I can take that into the Chinese countryside.

  • Pat Urban

    I will be 66 in June 2011. I’ve been riding for almost 50 years and just downsized a heavier bike to a 1200C Sportster. I plan on riding it across the USA and back this summer with my husband on his bike! The Sportster is perfect for me and what I can ride: fairly light and nimble. I changed the seat for a better sitting one and raised the handle bars which allows me to reach the forward controls without problems as I am short of leg. We added a port for my Gerbing heated gear, engine guards, a passenger rest/luggage rack and with HD custom fit bags, she and I are ready to roll. Someone said to me, “You can’t ride that far on a Sporty.” Hmm…never gave that a second thought; never felt I couldn’t.

  • Pat Urban

    I forgot to mention I did add a windshield to my Sporty.

    • Bucko

      Good for you Pat! Yeah, I remember someone telling me once that I couldn’t go far on a Sporty, no more than one or two hundred miles. At this point I was already in Myrtle Beach, SC having driven over 1,000 miles from NYC!

      What route are you planning on taking cross country? Would love to hear about your trip.

  • gerald young

    Hi fellow Sportster addicts.
    My name is Gerald Young and we live in a small town callede Deneysville, in the Free State, South Africa.
    We have a 2001 HD Sportster Custom and will never think of getting anything else. Previously had a 1100 Goldwing with all the panniers, boxes and fairings and lights but sold it as it was way too heavy for me. My wife and I go 2 up on the Sportster and we both weigh 95 kg’s. we also have side bags and a back pack on the bike. The bike does not even feel the weight. Harley have excelled themselves with the 1200 of the Sportster. Our bike is our tourer and we have travelled all over South Africa on her. She’s a beaut with enough chrome to get everyones attention. I have fitted custom pipes and let me tell you, I have not come accross a ‘big’ Harley that can match the sound from our sporty. I suffer from Carpal Tunnel Sydrome and have fitted low straight handle bars (which allows your wrist to be more in a natural position) and have also fitted a home made lever on the end of the throttle to eable me to ‘throttle’ with my palm while I can flex my fingers. The lever folds away for town and city use. I don’t like a windscreen as I like the natural feel of the wind and the bike. But I must add, we seldom go faster than 70 miles per hour, as our motto is to ‘enjoy the ride’. We have a 2 way communication system in our full face helments and carry our ‘pisspot’ helmets in the sidebags for local driving. I plan my trips in advance so that we can stop for coffee and to strech our legs every 40 – 50 miles and of course as our Sporty has the standard tank, we have to fill up every 125 miles. consumption is about 19 kilometers per litre. about 150 miles to a tank full.
    In April the Africa Bike Rally takes place in Margate close to Durban about 500 miles from home, and you can be sure, we will be there. This is the biggest HD rally in South Africa, and last year more than 10 000 harleys were there, they expect more this year. We have no interest in joining a club as we do not want to be bound by club rules. We go where we want, when we want. On the back of our leather waistcoats is our legend ‘Forever Young’ this says it all. If anyone would like to correspond to swap ideas or to see photos of our Sporty, my e mail address is youngg@dwaf.gov.za drop a line, anytime. May all reading this have many. many happy miles on their Sporties. God bless, Gerald and Maryna Young.

    • Bucko

      Hi Gerald and Maryna! Thanks so much for that reply. It’s great to hear about other Sportster enthusiasts experiences. I completely agree, the sportster can be more than enough and can certainly be very impressive, with the right pipes, the right gear, there’s nothing you can’t do.

      The Africa Bike Rally sounds like a fantastic experience. We’d love to hear more about it, and maybe put a post up on the site with some pictures for our readers to see! I’ll try and drop you a line but just in case, you can send them to buck@rubberonroad.com and I’d be happy to share with everyone.

      It’s always fun to hear about the motorcycle culture in other countries, which I think has been particularly exciting about my motorcycle travels now that I’ve moved to China. Also we have a few stories of long trips that the Sportster mentioned in the article has done, most notably a cross-country (US) and a trip to the Tail of the Dragon.

      Thanks again for sharing!

  • Dean

    Hi Bucko

    My name is Dean and I live in the UK in a little town called Melksham this is a great write up on HD Sporters 1200, I am currently in the the process of buying a 2001 Sporter. I was wondering if the Sporter would be ok to go touring with.

    Well you sold it to me with this article, my question is did you chnage the fuel tank for longer breaks between fill ups or did you keep the stock tank? if you kept the stock tank how far did it take you between fill ups?


    • Bucko

      Hey Dean, glad I was able to help out with the article. I actually did keep my stock gas tank but because it was an ’06 model, the tank is a little bigger, 4.5 gallon. I think it was for the ’04 models that they enlarged the stock tank from 4 to 4.5 gallons. With that size, as Gerald mentioned in a comment above, I would go for about 125 miles in between fill-ups, with my longest stretch being about 150-160 actually. Really though, in general I wouldn’t want to go much longer than that without breaks, which worked out quite nicely then.

      • Dean

        Thanks for the reply Bucko that mileage will do me fine, keep up the great work and yes keeps us all informed on your trips i would love to tour USA but first UK and then Europe.

        USA in a couple of years….what a trip that would be…now where to go

        • Bucko

          Glad you’re enjoying the blog. We’ll definitely be keeping our readers posted on trips, on here and our facebook page. Brent (the other owner of the blog) will be keeping writing about North America still while I’ll be doing my riding in China now!

          I definitely would like to make it to the UK for some riding at some point. As for places in the US, too many to name. You can read through the blog for some of the trips I’ve done, but off the top of my head the must-sees are: Tail of the Dragon in NC, Pacific Coast Highway in Cali, Montana in general, The Adirondacks in NY, and the Skyline Drive in Virginia.

          Happy riding Dean and enjoy that Sportster!

  • Nicholas Chason

    Hey Great Article. I know I am a bit late but this is the internet and articles are timeless. I just wanted to say I got my sporty (2009) and was riding for only a few weeks before I broke my foot. As soon as it healed I was just a few weeks from heading off to Louisiana (LSU) from the beaches of north east florida. So far I have riding the 600+ (one way) trip 8 times and am about to do it again. The sporty is great but DEFINITELY could use some serious accessories. Next on my list: Engine gaurd/ highway pegs, passing aux lights, Upgraded horn, Windshield bag, and better saddlebags/ actually getting the side racks. Great bike. 25000 miles and going strong. I might really consider that MUSTANG SEAT.

    • Bucko

      Absolutely, never too late to get in on the discussion. Take care of that foot and enjoy the sporty! Good luck with those accessories too. I highly suggest that mustang seat it at least doubled the distance I was able to ride per day. When I did my trip from Toronto to San Diego on the Sportster, I’d say that seat was definitely the difference maker, particularly since I was somewhat strapped for time.

      Happy riding!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001620753934 Michael Chamberlain

    I love those comments that you can’t tour on a Sportster. I’ve been going on trips since 2004 on mine, including a 600+ mile day from home to Deal’s Gap two years ago. That Mustang seat makes all the difference. I couldn’t believe how comfortable it was. The great thing is that the Sporty doesn’t care what’s piled on. I get 45+ MPG with nothing on the bike, or loaded down with a tour trunk, saddlebags, tent and sleeping bag. This years trip? About 1400 miles to Sturgis.

    • Bucko

      Would love to get my opportunity to go to Sturgis, for the rally that is (I made a trip there last year, but the town was pretty empty in October)

      Nice to find another fan of the Mustang seat! Probably one of my favorite accessories. I think I remember one time stopping at a Biker Bar in Myrtle Beach I think it was and listening to someone say you couldn’t go much more than 200 miles on a Sportster, meanwhile I was in the middle of a 300 mile day as part of a 4,000 mile trip!

  • http://n/a Kelly W.

    Hey, thanks for posting. I am looking at buying a 2006 Sportster Low XL-1200 and I will need to riding distance on occassion. I was wondering how it would do on the open road. I have heard so many bad things about the sportsters. I am sure that most of the horror stories are from the old sportsters, but I still had my doubts. I might really consider getting it now are reading your post. Thanks again and keep it pointed into the wind.

    • http://www.rubberonroad.com/18-2/about-buck/ Bucko

      Hey Kelly, I’m glad you found the post helpful! It’s definitely a misconception that Sportsters can’t do the miles. I remember on one trip, I stopped at the Iron Horse Saloon in Myrtle Beach and a guy was saying how you couldn’t do more than 200 miles on a Sportster. Of course I was in the middle of a 300 mile day as part of a 4,000 mile trip to Florida!

      Most of those horror stories are almost definitely related to those pre-rubber-mounted seat days. Now the vibrations aren’t noticeable and there’s a bigger gas tank since the ’04 modifications. The only thing for me was leg room, but I’m over 6 ft. so to be expected.

      Anyway, good luck with your decision, and stop by again and let us know how it goes!

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  • Randy Tumblin

    Hi Bucko, thanks for the info on the sporty. I picked up a 2001 1200 this year for peanuts! Having a blast. Plenty of power and room for my 6’30” frame and 230 pounds. I have added the Mustang seat along with a couple of other goodies. At 60-65 miles per hour the ride does get a little rough. But I’m loving it. My question: would it be better to stick with my “peanuts” sporty or jump to a post 2004 model with the rubber mount engine and electronic fuel injection. If I could get one of $5,000 to $6,000 I wonder if it would be better to invest in the smoother engine and ride, as opposed to putting more money in my 2001 sporty. Would appreciate your thoughts since I plan to tour on a sporty.

    • http://www.rubberonroad.com/18-2/about-buck/ Bucko

      Hey Randy,
      Thanks for commenting, and I’m glad you liked the post and are loving your sporty! Unfortunately, I don’t have any personal experience on the pre-2004 Sportys though judging from the reactions that some people have to “touring on a Sportster” before realizing that now (and for a long time now) the seat’s been rubber mounted and thus the vibrations have been by-and-large solved, I would say it might be worth it.

      All I can tell you is that touring on the post ’04 sportster, once I got the wider Mustang seat, was a breeze. 500 mile days are definitely doable on a regular basis and I’ve even hit mileages of 600-800 per day, and you can hit 90-100mph easily without feeling any vibration. Not too much more you’d need to do on your average touring day (Iron Butt might be another story though).

      Hope that helps a little bit. Would love to hear how it works out and what you end up going with. What kind of touring trips did you have in mind?

      • Randy

        Bucko, thanks for the input. Next summer I anticipate that my “touring” will be some 2-3 day trips and maybe one longer trip. That’s the main reason I don’t want to drop too much money on a big bagger. If I can get by on a Sportster for some short trips, that would be great. But I do want to be relatively comfortable. I have a small tour pack with a back rest for me picked out for the spring. But I’m tempted by the rubber mount engines and wonder if I should step up to a newer model in the next year or so. I have a strong independent streak and will not give in to the conventional wisdom that I have to drop $20K on a bagger to do some short tours.

        • http://www.rubberonroad.com/18-2/about-buck/ Bucko

          Well I definitely don’t think there’s any need for dropping $20k on something especially if you don’t plan on doing any trip longer than one or two thousand miles. That said you can get used sportster models of the post ’04 variety for still a fraction of that price. And from what I’ve heard of the difference with the rubber mount, it might be worth it for that upgrade as your range is significantly increased. Beyond that though there’s not much need for anything bigger. If you check out the story on my trip in 2008, I was able to do a 3 week (2 weeks of riding), over 6,000 mile long trip on my rubber mounted, ’06 Sporty!

  • Michael Chamberlain

    Just thought I’d leave an update for anyone thinking of Sporty touring. Went to Sturgis in Aug 2011 and put almost 4000 miles on my 97 Sportster (which is an 883 by the way). Had the Mustang touring seat and a National Cycles windscreen on it. The only limiting factor is the 3.3 gallon tank. so I would have to stop for gas every 100-125 miles. But that seat is fantastic and with the windscreen to break the airflow, I didn’t have a problem the whole trip! Doing 300-500 mile days isn’t that hard when you stop every hour and a half for gas.

  • http://www.rubberonroad.com/18-2/about-buck/ Bucko

    Thanks for the update Michael! I love the mustang seats. Even on bigger bikes with better stock seats, it’s definitely worth considering the upgrade.

    300-500 definitely doable, even 800 but you’ll be looking at a sore butt. All-in-all it’s not a bad idea to stop every 100-125 miles anyway, grab a coffee or snack before moving on.

  • Garyrwatson

    I added some progressive heavy duty 440 Series IAS shocks and now it rides to my wife’s satisfaction. Expensive they can be found for 400.00 versus 600 if you look hard enough! 

    • http://www.rubberonroad.com/about-us/about-buck Buck

      Nice! Good call. Do you have a pre-2004/pre-rubber mounted seat sportster? I can imagine upgrading the shocks could help as well in that situation. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/eljujo Jules Arnold

    glad i found your page, picking up a few extras for trip from ohio to florida. i love the compact feel of the sportster.

    • Bucko

      Definitely! Glad you enjoyed and hope you have/are having a great trip! There’s some great riding in that stretch of the country.

  • Dennis

    I have added a tank bag for EZ-Pass, maps, and such. Also upgraded the seat to a Sundowner from Harley that I had to re-contour the foam for a more custom fit. Moved my rear turn signals all the way back and installed big saddlebags, which with a rear luggage rack allows tons of storage. Then an engine guard for some highway pegs, and a Daymaker headlamp to aid in late day rides and early morning starts. Did 13,000 miles in 13 days, then 2,000 miles in 5 days. Planing a 4 corner ride with 11,000 miles in 3 weeks. Am glad I did not have a big heavy bike when riding up Mt. Washington. Don’t under estimate a Sportster. I ride a 2008 with a 4.5 gallon tank.

    • http://www.rubberonroad.com/18-2/about-buck/ Bucko

      Great advice here! Those are some pretty intense rides you got under the belt with that sportster. Most I was able to do on the sportster was an 800 mile day (did my first and second iron butts a couple year later on a Dyna :))

    • LogicDude

      How are you liking the Daymaker? It’s always tempting to add upgrades, though that’s a pretty pricey one. Still, if it’s really cool……

    • http://www.rubberonroad.com/ Bucko

      Wow, some really awesome trips there! Very impressive to do it all on a sportster. My only two iron butts were both on the bigger Dyna Wide Glide that I had after the Sportster. Missed the speed and the agility of the Sporty for sure, but I found myself maxing out at around 800 miles, I think mostly because of my height (6’1″, not a giant but after 800 miles, you start to feel it).

  • LogicDude

    I’ve run into so many folks who either tour on Sportsters or know friends who do. It got to the point where I had to try it myself, which meant getting a Sportster!

    I got my chance last summer when I took my ninth motorcycle in ten years–and first American bike–to see my folks in N. Illinois from my home in SW Oklahoma, for about 1750 miles round trip on my 2006 XL883 (standard). It was great fun. Sure it was a little cramped for my 6’2″ self, but with all the position options I gave myself it was just a matter of shifting around now and then.

    I was surprised that a lower and and flatter 2-up Mustang worked better for me than the beautiful, scooped two-piece it came with, or the wide Mustang solo touring seat which had me scrunched too far forward and on my tail bone. The flatter Mustang was harder but let me scoot around more. A key for me is that I left the pillion empty and often sat back there for a mile or two. When sitting on the front portion of the seat, passenger pegs definitely help(!), letting me ride “sportbike” style which was surprisingly my most used position. My turned-down buckhorns helped too, probably (along with my dual gauges and low seat) keeping me from being too much of a sail on my naked bike. My engine guard also gave me some places to put my feet, like in your photo but I didn’t have luggage for a backrest. Sometimes I had one foot on one set of pegs, and the other on another set.

    Mine being an 883, with a 3.3 gallon tank, I discovered I got over 50 mpg at 65 mph or below, but it dropped to the low 40’s or even upper 30’s if I pushed it to 75, so I rode 65 between the big cities and let people pass me. It was a serenely mellow ride like that. Given a chance I’d probably trade for a 1200 with a 4.5 gallon tank, if it had similar ground clearance (unlike ANY 2013’s and probably and 2014’s which will be available in the US), though I realized that in the 2.5 years I’ve had my Sporty I’ve put over $1500 into making it “my own” and might not want to do that again. This included the two used Mustangs, an H-D rack and analog tach kit, a used “Biker’s Friend” cylindrical luggage, and H-D passenger pegs and heated hand grips. There was more expense for taking a used bike and sorting a few things–tires, new front disc (to replace the one that we messed up doing the tires ourselves!), several attempts to fix overachieving breathers (complete rerouting seemed to be the best), buying an oil tank thermometer which then inspired giving the bike an oil cooler (H-D) for hot days, with a manual bypass (Jagg) for cooler days and warming up, and removing the PO’s lowering kit so I scrape hard stuff less.

    And then I made the mistake of showing my wife the spreadsheet.

    Still, I’ll probably mess with the gearing eventually to make 70+ mph a little less vibey (though it’s certainly tolerable) and maybe get more mpg, and then of course I’ll want some electronic compensator so the speedometer and odometer are again accurate. But yeah, if you can fit and make a few mods, Sportsters are great for touring. Not long ago a friend and I went to some of our favorite twisty roads, but this time with three couples on baggers. Those turns might as well have been four-way intersections with no cross traffic but yield signs. There wasn’t a lot of fun to be had. Light bike touring is really a lot of fun!

    Another thing I noticed about Sportsters is that they have sweet spots, and finding them is half the fun. The mpg’s at 65 mph or less is one. Where you keep the tach needle generally helps find some motor sweet spots for smoothness. When you are somewhere on the tach where the motor is just not as smooth, there are foot positions on the pegs which make vibrations nearly disappear. I don’t think I’ve ever found a motor whose character I liked so much. I did several Victory demos, and those bikes perform beautifully but don’t have the character. (The Vision seems to defy some laws of physics.) A newish Bonneville motor is a treat to be admired, and I love the ergos for around town (and wish I could find such a seat for my Sporty), though at 65 mph on a naked Bonneville you have to hold on for dear life, or risk flying off the back of that flat seat. I don’t know about a 1200 Sportster motor, though a ride on an ’06 Roadster had me impressed back then, when I was still on a 250 Ninja. It’s just my bank account wasn’t going to impress the folks selling them. :-S

    Thanks for the article!
    Mike Dougherty
    Weatherford, OK

    • http://www.rubberonroad.com/ Bucko

      Epic comment Mike! Thanks so much for sharing. Great stories and tips in here. I totally agree about jumping up on the passenger’s seat. I found that having a couple different positions that you can shift to every now and then helps a lot, which is why the highway pegs are nice. Hopping up to a higher position where your leaning off of your tailbone can give you a lot of staying power. Also nice if you’re carrying extra luggage and have another bag strapped onto the pillion seat as I have before. Lean back on it from your seat or hop up and have the extra support from the higher one!

      • LogicDude

        Thanks Bucko. I am glad you are still keeping up here. My first riding was in Taiwan on 150cc scooters, for a few days in the south end of the island. Your pictures from China make me nostalgic.

  • B

    Awesome insight! I got my first Sportster about six months ago and really want to start doing some longer rides. I’ve been going on about 100-200 mi day rides each week and have been considering a larger bike to go further. Can you provide some thoughts on
    1) Have you found the tank size a challenge? My stock 2.5 gal tank seems to be my leg stretch saving grace, but adds a lot of fuel up time.
    2) Have you had any challenges with the stock 5 speed tranny? I’ve found the stock 5 speed limits cruising speed and above 70, for extended rides, Sporty starts to vibrate and fuss.
    3) Have you found any passenger mods to make longer rides more comfortable? My girl likes being on the bike, but after a few hours, bumps in the road and the stock passenger pegs are uncomfortable (so I’ve been told).


    • Jason Cole

      B which model do you have? HD now offers a touring seat that has the zeppelin adjustable air bladders built in. Also you can depending on model go to a 3.3 or a 4.5 gal tank. I’ve got 1200c with the factory 4.5 and I get over 50 mpg on the highway. Also you may want to have your wheels checked. I ride mine over 70 mph with out problems, but again models may very. I hope I helped a little.

  • Jason Cole

    Loved this article. I’ve got a 06 1200c I upgraded to a sundowner seat within weeks of buying it. I’ve got a memphis shades batwing fairing, and plan on getting the color matched hard bags. I’ve also got a Bluetooth sound system. I now have some highway pegs coming in the mail for my engine guard which I also have auxiliary lights on. I’ve also been looking at putting a day maker headlight, and one of the new inflatable touring seats that just came out, and an oil cooler. I’ve been a big into Sportsters since I was a kid, and have never understood why they’re so under rated as a long distance bike. Most of the people who bad mouth them would give up important body parts for a Pan, Knuckle, or Shovel yet they all have about the same size motors with less output on heavier frames. I’ve shared a photo of what mine currently looks like. Once I’m done I post a new photo. It just might be down the road a little.

    • http://www.rubberonroad.com/ Bucko

      Hey Jason Cole!

      Sorry for the delayed response here! Unfortunately comment notifications had somehow been turned off so I missed it. Glad you enjoyed the article though. Thanks for reading and sharing your own experiences! Got some beautiful mods on your sportster there. 1200cc Sporty really is a ton of fun to ride. Great info too on the recent upgrades they’ve been making. Like the idea of the inflatable seat. Have you heard of the new touring model Sportster HD just recently announced? The “1200T”, “T” for touring. It’s a pretty looking bike to be sure. I also like the fact that the Sportster as tourer is getting some recognition.

      Definitely keep us up to date, and if you’d like to write a post about your experiences with it here, just let me know!

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