Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them

Follow WRN on Facebook Follow WRN on Twitter Follow WRN on Pinterest Follow WRN on Instagram
Women Riders Now - Motorcycling Lifestyle. Women. Men. Men Riding with Women.

Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









Sportster Models

Harley's entry level bikes

1/14/2009

The Sportster family of motorcycles, otherwise known as the XL platform, comprises Harley-Davidson's entry level motorcycles. Harley-Davidson has discontinued the XL 883 Sportster and the XL 1200 Sportster Roadster models for 2009. XL is the designation of the chassis or frame around which the Sportsters are built. They all have five speeds, a belt drive, and fuel injection comes standard. We’re listing the new-for-2009 XR 1200 here because it shares similarities to the Sportster line, although it really is its own platform. Click on images to make them larger.

The New 2009 Harley-Davidson XR 1200.
The New 2009 Harley-Davidson XR 1200.

New for 09! XR 1200
Specs at a Glance:
Displacement: 1202cc
Seat Height: 29.2 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.5 gallons
Weight: 580 pounds
Price: $10,799

Description
The all-new XR 1200 is a powerful new Harley-Davidson hot rod motorcycle that has a dirt track inspired design. It is essentially in a category by itself but shares similarities to the Sportster line. The XR 1200 was initially designed and launched only in European markets in April 2008. It was inspired by the XR-750, the most dominating American dirt track racing motorcycle of all-time. The XR 1200 has a 1200cc Evolution V-Twin engine with high performance components that make this an aggressive street bike. Women who want an edgy race-inspired street fighter should consider this bike.


The 2008 Harley-Davidson XL 883 Sportster.
The 2008 Harley-Davidson XL 883 Sportster.

XL 883 Sportster
Specs at a Glance:
Displacement: 883cc
Seat Height: 27.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Weight: 583 pounds
Price: starts at $6,695


Description
The Sportster 883 is entry-level cruiser that is an inexpensive way to buy into the Harley-Davidson family. This model has been discontinued for 2009. The XL 883 Sportster has a moderately low seat height of 27.3 inches. We say moderate because you'll find other cruisers with lower seats. Where the Sportster differs is in its narrow profile and light weight at 583 pounds making the seat height more manageable for shorter riders. The engine is rubber mounted to the frame so engine vibration is reduced providing a smooth ride. The XL 883's fuel tank has a classic "peanut" shaped design with a decent 3.3 gallon capacity. This bike has a solo seat (no room for a passenger), low-rise handlebars and mid-mount foot controls, meaning feet are placed right below the knees.


The 2008 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 883.
The 2008 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 883.

XL 883L Sportster Low
Specs at a Glance:
Displacement: 883cc
Seat Height: 25.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Weight: 583 pounds
Price: starts at $7,145


Description
The "L" stands for "low" as evidenced by its super low seat height of just 25.3 inches. Having a lower center of gravity makes this bike easier to ride for shorter and smaller riders. The Sportster 883 Low replaced the Sportster Hugger, popular in the 1990s because of its low seat. Like its sister model, the Sportster 883, the Low is relatively light at 583 pounds. Combined with the low seat, beginner and smaller riders should be able to handle this bike with relative ease. The Low has all the same features as the regular 883, but it comes with a solo seat positioned to scoot the rider closer to handlebars that have been angled closer to the rider. Steel laced wheels and Harley's Smart Security System are available as optional accessory items.


The 2008 Harley-Davidson 883C.
The 2008 Harley-Davidson 883C.

XL 883C Sportster Custom
Specs at a Glance:
Displacement: 883cc
Seat Height: 26.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 591 pounds
Price: starts at $7945

Description
The Sportster Custom 883 is the 883 model that features the larger 4.5-gallon fuel tank and a two-up seat. Seat height is a bit lower than the standard 883 at 26.3 inches. The custom features that sets this bike apart is the silver powder coated polish treatment on the engine. Foot controls are foward. This is the bike for riders who'd rather have the 883 over the 1200, but want touring features like the larger fuel tank, forward controls and two-up seat.


The 2008 Harley-Davidson XL 1200L Sportster Low.
The 2008 Harley-Davidson XL 1200L Sportster Low.

XL 1200L Sportster Low
Specs at a Glance:
Displacement: 1200cc
Seat Height: 26.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 581 pounds
Price: starts at $9,697

Description
Like the "L" in the 883L, the "L" stands for Low putting the seat height on the 1200L slightly lower than the 1200C's 26.5 inches at 26.3 inches. Weighing in at 581 pounds, the 1200L is lightweight and easy for beginner or smaller riders to handle. This 1200 is ideal for beginners who want a little more power than the 883 but also want the low seat height. The narrow profile and lighter weight make this middleweight an appealing package for shorter beginner's or intermediate riders who are confident in their riding ability. Click here to read WRN's review of this bike.


The 2008 Harley-Davidson XL 1200C Sportster Custom.
The 2008 Harley-Davidson XL 1200C Sportster Custom.

XL 1200C Sportster Custom
Specs at a Glance:
Displacement: 1200cc
Seat Height: 26.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 589 pounds
Price: starts at $9,895


Description
The 1200 Sportster C offers more power than the 883 Sportster putting it in the higher end of the middleweight category of motorcycles. Sparkling chrome sets the 1200C (C stands for custom) apart from the other 1200 Sportsters. A low seat height of just 26.5 inches and a light package at 589 pounds, this bike is ideal for beginners or smaller riders who have the confidence to control a more powerful bike. The 1200C features a two-up seat, a chrome laced 21-inch front wheel, and lots of other chrome pieces. Wide pull-back handlebars and forward foot controls position the rider in a laid back classic cruiser riding style. For 2008, the 1200C comes in the 105th Anniversary color scheme (shown).


The 2008 Harley-Davidson XL 1200 Sportster Roadster.
The 2008 Harley-Davidson XL 1200 Sportster Roadster.

XL 1200 Sportster Roadster
Specs at a Glance:
Displacement: 1200cc
Seat Height: 28.1 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 585 pounds
Price: starts at $9,697

Description
This 1200 Roadster has been discontinued for 2009. The Roadster positions the rider a little differently than the other Sportsters because of its dirt-track style handlebars (flatter as opposed to angled up towards rider). Triple-disc brakes, mid-mount foot controls and a high mounted tachometer set this bike apart fromt the rest. Seat height is a little higher than with the other Sportsters at 28.1 inches. That's so it can handle the canyon carving, the style of riding riders will be inspired to do aboard the Roadster -- reminscent of a dirt-track style riding.


The 2008 Harley-Davidson XL 1200N Sportster Nightster.
The 2008 Harley-Davidson XL 1200N Sportster Nightster.

XL 1200N Sportster Nightster
Specs at a Glance:
Displacement: 1200cc
Seat Height: 25.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Weight: 562 pounds
Price: starts at $9,695

Description
The XL 1200N Nightster is a a rugged, retro-styled, black-out version of the Sportster. With a super low seat height of 25.3 inches (same as the 883 Low), and weighing in at 562 pounds, the Nightster is a lightweight and easy bike for a beginner or smaller riders to handle. Like all the Sportsters, the Nightster features a rubber-mounted powertrain, 5 speeds and fuel injection. Finishing touches include black laced steel wheels, low-rise handlebars and mid-mount foot controls. Combination style rear turn indicators/tail/stop lights and a side-mounted license plate give the rear fender a clean, uncluttered look. Click here to read WRN's review of this bike.

Prices, specifications and features are subject to change without notice.


Your thoughts on this article

Your Name
Email (kept private)
City
Country
v
State/Province
v
Comments
Image(s)
Allowed File Extensions:
.jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .bmp, .png


Anti-Spam Question:
Please enter the words you see in the box, in order and separated by a space. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this service.
Submit
Clear