One of the posts that we get a lot of searches landing people here at Rubber on Road is one I wrote way back in 2010 about taking a Sportster on long haul trips. We’ve gotten a lot of great comments over the years on that post from other Sportster enthusiasts voicing their agreement and sharing some stories of their own tours on Sportsters.
With the right aftermarket customizations, such as a wider seat, windscreen, highway pegs, saddle bags, and a luggage rack, coupled with some of the features on later models that include the rubber mounted engine (to reduce vibrations) and the 4.5 gallon tank, the Sportster can make a great touring bike. The lighter build makes it very nimble which is great for taking it through the Tail of the Dragon or weaving through city traffic on your commute.
Introducing The New Sportster Superlow 1200T
Well it looks like the clarion call of Sportster enthusiasts has been heard loud and clear by the people at Harley as they have introduced the Superlow 1200T (T for touring of course). This new model is made on the same chassis as the Superlow 883, so it still might be a little small for many (my being 6’1″, the 1200XL chassis that I took cross country is probably still better suited). It does come with the bigger gas tank (4.5 gallon) and the rubber mounted engine that you would expect for a touring sporty.
Other visible additions include an adjustable and detachable windshield as well as detachable saddlebags. Harley has also built in adjustable suspension with preload adjustment so you can change the tightness of your suspension according to your luggage and passenger requirements. Some other features (courtesy of Cyril Huze):
Dual staggered exhaust • Premium performance brakes:- Front: 300mm rotor, rigid caliper with dual 34mm pistons, and high-efficiency aluminum front master cylinder – Rear: 260.1mm rotor, dual 38mm pistons • Detachable 14-inch clear polycarbonate windshield can be adjusted on the forks to match rider height • Black and silver, split five-spoke aluminum wheels • Front turn signals are located on the lower triple tree to increase handlebar adjustment range • Lockable saddlebags are covered in durable black vinyl with chrome badges • Premium glass-filled chrome cloisonné tank badge • Chrome-plated headlamp visor, turn signal housings and instrument housing • Optional ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) • Optional keyless H-D® Smart Security System with a proximity-based, hands-free security fob • Color choices include: Vivid Black, Candy Orange, and two-tone Birch White/Midnight Pearl
Additional Resources and Riding Stories
If you’re interested in reading the original post on customizing a Sporster, you can check that out here: Turning an H-D Sportster into a Touring Bike.
Read the whole story of my cross-country trip from Toronto to San Diego on a Sportster back in 2008
A friend of mine, Dan Zinn, did a 14,000 mile round the country trip on a Sportster back in 2012: IAmDanZinn.wordpress.com
And finally, you can see the bike for yourself, even schedule a test ride, from Harleys own site.
(Photos from Harley Davidson’s promotional material for the new 2014 Sportster Superlow 1200T)