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Old 1st May 2016, 19:00   #1
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Default Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom

Earlier this year, Harley-Davidson launched the 1200 Custom in India at a price of Rs. 8.90 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi).

What you'll like:
  • A beautiful low stance cruiser
  • Build quality is premium for the most part
  • Fuel-injected, refined Harley-Davidson motor has bucket loads of low and mid range torque
  • Nice sounding stock exhaust
  • Fairly direct handling and mature ride quality
  • Pull-back handle bar is comfortable for long distance touring
  • Plenty of customization options. Seat, exhaust, footpegs, fuel cap...you name it and Harley has it!
  • Equipped with all the required daily switchgear, low fuel light, low oil light, pass light, tachometer, trip meter etc.
  • High quality Michelin Scorcher tubeless tyres

What you won't:
  • Expensive price tag for a CKD motorcycle
  • No ABS!!! Further, brakes lack immediate bite and feel extremely wooden
  • Heavy duty industrial gearbox with its forward inclined position is a pain to use in traffic
  • Low ground clearance of 105 mm sees it bottoming out on Indian roads
  • Seat compound is too soft for long distance touring
  • Pillion seat area is in short supply and lacks a grab rail
  • Zero storage areas, no space for even the documents
  • Misses out on a kickstand warning

Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08957-large.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 1st May 2016 at 19:08.
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Old 1st May 2016, 19:00   #2
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Until less than a decade ago, motorcycle enthusiasts in India were an ignored and starved population. Barring the rare BMW F650 available for sale in the late 90s and the Hyosung twins in the early 2000s, there simply was nothing on offer beyond the Hero Honda Karizma & Bajaj Pulsar. Things were set for a change, the 'Harley-Davidson for Mangoes' deal was all over the headlines, but nothing moved.

With all the big brands looking each other in the eye, Yamaha made the first move and launched the R1, a halo motorcycle for the racing enthusiast and the MT-01 for the touring class. The volumes were slow, but at least someone somewhere had started the show. Meanwhile, the rumour mill had started suggesting Honda launching their set of street and race bikes and soon enough, the CB1000 & 1000RR became a familiar sight.

Between all these soft launches, Harley-Davidson were doing what they do best, i.e. putting all their muscle behind the marketing activity, conducting surveys, boot camps (link to thread), organizing HOG rides with existing Indian Harley-Davidson owners etc. Little did anyone expect what was brewing in the minds of the top Harley-Davidson personnel. Soon enough, Harley-Davidson introduced their India line-up in 2010. In 2010 - 2014, Harley-Davidson saw little to no real competition in the Indian market and by now, they had introduced products from each of its varied family of motorcycles. The Sportster family was the volume mover whilst the legendary Soft Tail family had its fair share of fans. Technological backwardness and substandard build quality notwithstanding, Harley-Davidson India's share went from strength to strength with each passing year.

In 2014, Harley-Davidson launched the Street 750, India's entry level imported motorcycle which was an instant hit. Almost any and every working enthusiast could dream of bringing home a relatively affordable import someday. At the end of 2015, Harley-Davidson pulled out the Super Low 883 and Fat Boy Special from its Indian vertical. With the recently acquired traction of the Triumph motorcycle company vide the Tiger in its various trim levels, and Ducati's second innings in India, a revived offering was on the anvil. Enter the 1200 Custom. Soft tail family looks, 1202cc medium sized motor, generous servings of chrome, it seems like the perfect fusion of the Sportster & Soft Tail families .

Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08962-large.jpg

Low posture, thick shiny layers of chrome, deep black paint job, lovely pull back handle bars - one look at the 1200 Custom and you know this is a Harley Davidson:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08961-large.jpg

The 1200 Custom belongs to the famous Sportster family of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. This brand new offering is a step in the right direction. The Custom 1200’s styling is fairly contemporary and the generous scoops of chrome ensure that the 1200 Custom will attract all and offend none. Be it in city traffic, highway touring or country side cruising, the 1200 Custom attracted eyeballs from all sides of the road:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09407-large.jpg

Looking straight on at the 1200 Custom, it looks reasonably inspired by the higher spec Softail family. Front end registration plate too feels more at home on the 1200 Custom than its Japanese CKD counterparts.
The broad front end looks fairly macho and is unlikely to offend anyone looking out for a good looking motorcycle.
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08819-large.jpg

The eyebrow panel over the headlamp is a neat design touch on an otherwise neutral front end design. It helps that it is tastefully drowned in chrome as is the rest of the front. Notice the extra subtle Harley-Davidson logo on the eyebrow panel:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09354-large.jpg

Rear view mirrors are a fusion of form & function and provide an adequate view, but...
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08948-large.jpg

More often seen distorted, thanks in no small way to the vibrations from the V-Twin engine!
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08947-large.jpg

Brilliantly sized pull back handle bar reaches out nicely into your hands. No adjustment or adaptation required from the very first minute:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08919-large.jpg

Handle bar grips are firm. Plain jane looking, yet getting the job done:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08910-large.jpg

The perfect mix of handle styling, grips and posture ensured I had no sign of fatigue, or haste to get done with the ride. Time no bar, I would have ridden the Custom 1200 from sunrise to sunset!
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08854-large.jpg

Complimenting the handle bar grips are the short-length beefy clutch and front brake levers:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09319-large.jpg

The handle bar, grip and lever combination had me do a 300 km round trip for lunch on a hot Sunday afternoon. Shoulders, arms, palms and everything in between felt just as fresh after the ride as they did before:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09271-large.jpg

Beefy fork sleeves sporting reflectors on the outer face for that extra visibility on a lone countryside road:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08814-large.jpg

The 1200 Custom is equipped with a full size 17 litre fuel tank ensuring a respectable touring range of 250+ km on one fill. Neat Red/Chrome Harley Davidson logo with a seemingly timeless dual stripe styling going around it:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09101-large.jpg

The fuel tank spine, though not as prominent as on the Street 750, has no place on a 12 lac motorcycle! Keeps us wondering if the spine weld mark is a sign of cost cutting or evidence of poor design:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09323-large.jpg

Screw-type fuel cap wrapped in chrome, but without any locking mechanism. As informed, Harley Davidson offers a lockable fuel cap assembly as an aftermarket accessory, but that really is no excuse for leaving out the bare essentials in order to make a fashion statement in Phase I and a small packet of money in Phase II:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08916-large.jpg

The single base seat is built from a soft compound, is short in length for 2UP riding, and is typically not as well suited as we wished for long rides. It further skimps on a passenger grab rail, leaving behind very little option but for the rider to take the plunge into the aftermarket route. I distinctly remember getting off the saddle after 60 – 70 minute intervals. Some padding in the rear area of the rider's seat would go a long way in improving the touring capability of the 1200 Custom:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08934-large.jpg

As if the soft compound and lack of rider seat support weren’t enough, Harley Davidson cut short the rear half of the seat into a stubby, leaving just about 8 inches of space from the pillion, and further forgot to bolt on a grab rail for the minimum grip a pillion deserves:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08935-large.jpg

Harley Davidson has aftermarket seat options starting from Rs. 21,000. From a touring point of view and utility, the aftermarket seat route may well be worth the exploration.

Last edited by GTO : 1st May 2016 at 19:17.
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Old 1st May 2016, 19:00   #3
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Look at the 1200 Custom and the first thing you will notice is the chromed out V-shaped block with the beautiful (and slightly protruding) airbox bearing the 1200 Custom branding:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08912-large.jpg

If there was an award for the most beautiful airbox cover, the Harley-Davidson stable would bag all three podium positions in the category :
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09313-large.jpg

Lower down (close to the mounting base of the motor), the timer cover sports extremely classy Harley Davidson branding in a matt / laced silver scheme:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09335-large.jpg

The monotonous surround chromed out timer cover panel seems vague, lacks the character of the higher located motor & air box cover and honestly speaking, is one of the first components I’d like to see Harley Davidson redesign when the 1200 Custom is due for a refresh.

The twin stripe styling from the tank is further carried onto both the wheel mudguards:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09241-large.jpg

Forward aligned rear brake pedal is surfaced with an anti-skid checkered plate, while being surrounded with the regular rubber sleeve to rest the heel:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09195-large.jpg
The tiny pin like protrusion on the foot pegs are the peg scrapers and typically warn you when bottoming out on those twisties (these scrapers serve as bragging rights between the riders).

Pillion pegs too are forward aligned. Expect to see a lot of foot scraping marks on the exhaust pipe and shiny gearbox chrome cover when riding with a pillion:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09203-large.jpg
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09333-large.jpg
When riding solo, the rider can occasionally position his legs on the pillion foot pegs to perform a brief squatted stretch on those long touring hours.

The classic dual exhaust pipe looks great in chrome and sounds nice and deep enough to mark your presence. Attention seekers won't feel the immediate exhaust upgrade urge:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09324-large.jpg

1200 Custom = Harley Davidson = Belt Drive:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08815-large.jpg

The contrasting black belt guard now super contrasted by our decal :
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc_0366-large.jpg

Chrome oil cap nicely contrasts the black panel. It would be easy for some to think of it as a design highlight rather than a mere oil cap:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09135-large.jpg

Screw-type threaded oil cap - turn it around to open:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09136-large.jpg

The 1200 Custom features an adjustable rear suspension which proved to be worthy (more on that later):
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09161-large.jpg

Suspension arm blends into the turn signal mount over the rear wheel:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09124-large.jpg

Reflectors on either side above the rear wheel are not as naturally placed as their front fork mounted cousins:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09127-large.jpg

5-spoke cast aluminium wheels look brilliant in motion:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09290-large.jpg

In a first for me, I’m just as attracted (if not more) to the left side profile as I am to the exhaust side of the motorcycle!
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08810-large.jpg

The beautiful Evolution V-Twin motor detailed in chrome defines the styling of the 1200 Custom...can’t get enough of looking at it:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09357-large.jpg

Gear shifter wears a rubber sleeve at the heel and toe ends to protect your expensive riding shoes from creases / marks. As mentioned before, that bling gearbox casing (among other fully chromed out panels) is going to make for a tedious upkeep. Going by bare minimum standards, expect many a Sunday afternoon spent in detailing the Harley:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09197-large.jpg

The 1200 Custom is equipped with only a dual surface side stand. As with the other CKD motorcycles under the Harley Davidson umbrella, the stand on the 1200 Custom does not have an engine kill switch:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09343-large.jpg

The mandatory saree guard is fairly discrete in an otherwise busy motorcycle. Fact is that it looks less of a barbecue grill than on most other CKD imports:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09121-large.jpg

The rear of the 1200 Custom is easily the least imposing angle of the motorcycle. The rear 150 section (Michelin manufactured, co-branded Harley Davidson) tyre looks undersized for an otherwise macho motorcycle:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09316-large.jpg

The LED tail lamp looks like a cheap aftermarket add on, as does the red reflector on the rear mudguard:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09411-large.jpg

The nicely etched Sportster branding on the rear end of the seat:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09299-large.jpg

You may be able to afford a motorcycle costing a six digit figure, but this is exactly how you are going to carry the paperwork for your Harley Davidson motorcycle (albeit in a more fashionable sling bag that you may purchase from Harley as ‘riding gear’) due to a zero storage space design!
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08822-large.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 1st May 2016 at 19:38.
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Old 1st May 2016, 19:00   #4
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The 1200 Custom is equipped with a two din lock set, one handle lock and one ignition lock. The key uses half its wafers for the handle lock, whilst the ignition lock engages the whole hog.

The handle lock is not marked with lock / unlock positions. The lock feels extremely cheap and lacks any sense of feedback one expects between the key being engaged with the lock (no steps whatsoever). The lock is engaged by turning the key to the right and opened by turning to its left which may take some getting used to:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09155-large.jpg

The ignition lock has three prominent steps - off, electrical & crank:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09388-large.jpg

The low beam (continuous DRL) & tail lamp stay turned on at mid point:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09416-large.jpg
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09411-large.jpg

You must be careful to turn the key all the way back to ground zero or pull the key out if she is going to be stationary for over a handful of minutes (in order to not drain the battery).

While the visibility from the low beam was satisfactory, the high beam was overwhelming!

The quality of switchgear around the handle bar is a few shades better than the earlier genre of sub-10 lakh Harley-Davidson motorcycles, but still has a long way to go before matching the precision-obsessed Japanese.

The switchgear housing on the left side of the handlebar holds the low beam / hi beam, horn, MID toggle switches and the self-cancelling left hand indicator button:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09209-large.jpg

The switchgear on the right side of the handlebar holds the hazard lights, engine start, engine crank and RHS signal switches:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09216-large.jpg

The 1200 Custom comes with the usual placement of having an individual switch for left and right side turn signals mounted on either side of the handlebar. One touch on the button turns on the blinker, which goes off by itself after completing the turn (just like in a car). Another way of disengaging the blinking turn signal is pressing the button again.

The oddly placed indicator lamps may not offend anyone, but it would have been nice to have them slightly flushed out and better integrated within the frame:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09308-large.jpg

The rear turn signals are nicely integrated into the chrome wedge running across the rear wheel mudguard:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09206-large.jpg

Single tone horn serves the purpose, although a refined dual-tone would be more fitting for a premium motorcycle:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09228-large.jpg

The neat retro speedometer is located on the center of the handlebar and houses a mini MID:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09083-large.jpg

The speedometer has an orange backlit display which is nice to look at and easy on the eyes in the evening traffic. The MID displays the clock, tripmeter A & B, gear / RPM indicator (sweet function) and odometer:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09419-large.jpg
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09413-large.jpg
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09423-large.jpg
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09420-large.jpg
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09421-large.jpg

The warning light display above the speedometer for the turn signals, engine oil level and neutral gear. Either the cluster designer missed the spot between the left turn signal and neutral lights or we just didn’t do anything wrong for a warning light to show up there!
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08917-large.jpg

The fuel warning light is a part of the speedometer and stays on constantly once the fuel level goes into reserve. The Harley representative at the showroom said that the reserve tank holds up fuel for at least 30 kms / 2 liters from the time the fuel light comes on. From our tank up using the auto cut mechanism, I’d think the reserve capacity is in the range of 4 liters, but why take any chances:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08940-large.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 1st May 2016 at 19:39.
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Old 1st May 2016, 19:00   #5
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The 1200 Custom is powered by the fuel injected 1202 cc Aircooled Evolution engine, same unit as seen on the Forty-Eight Sportster.
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09357-large.jpg

The engine makes 96 Nm torque at 3500 rpm. Turn the ignition lock to on, engage the ignition and push that starter button and the 1200 motor sets into a nice roar. The 1200 motor takes hardly any time to get warmed up and soon enough, the roar settles down into a nice consistent burble.


It takes negligible or actually zero throttle to get moving on the 1200 Custom, releasing and depressing the meaty clutch lever is all it takes to wade through thick traffic. A Harley-Davidson showroom executive mentioned how prone the clutch plates are to getting burnt if the clutch isn't disengaged accurately. The executive also indicated that a well used clutch could be made to last in the range of 80,000 km, with all major checks being conducted at the 40,000 km service.

First thing into a short ride you will notice is that the 1200 Custom runs really hot, to a point that you can hear the heat dissipate from the engine and exhaust pipe surface for a fairly long time after shutting off the motor. A temperature gauge on the dial is severely missed.

The 1200 Custom has a 6000 RPM redline and saying that it makes effortless power would be an understatement. The motor is lazily spinning just under 2000 RPM at triple digit cruising speeds and there is bucket loads of torque available on tap with a slight twist of the wrist. The 1200 makes instantaneous power at every point in every gear, thanks to the famous HD(R) low end torque. The first and second gear ratios are extremely tall; one would only occasionally need to upshift to 3rd in order to get through the urban commute. Third would be rather useful on those public holiday commutes within the city.

The torque curve being typically cruiser-like is more biased to the low and mid end (read 1500 - 4500 RPM). Sure, you can go all the way up to 6000 RPM and the engine won't resist, but there is very little to achieve on the other side of 4500 RPM. You would rather upshift to the next gear and feel like a rock star riding the torque than straining the top end for that little extra ounce of power. The effortless low and mid range torque make the Custom 1200 a joy to ride and is the strongest weapon in its arsenal.

On the other hand, the gearbox murders the joy of the comfortable posture and the low & mid range power of the 1200 Custom:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09200-large.jpg

The 5 speed gearbox does the job, but the 10+ Lakh segment demands a 6 speed box, even if it might be the feel good factor alone. Secondly, the shifts between neutral, first, second and third gears is as industrial as it gets!! Think loud mechanical sounds and sticky shifts between the lower gears. Finding neutral took some getting used to and, in a couple of hours of riding, I had perfected the shift to N. The fourth and fifth gears are relatively slicker & noise-free to shift. With the forward controls posture, shifting between first and second gears in dense traffic is sure to take a toll on your left knee over a period of time. I highly recommend using the first gear as an automatic, and negotiating the start and stop traffic via the clutch with negligible or zero use of the throttle.

The handling of the 1200 Custom is fairly direct. Holds out well on even the unexpected humps. The front end is noticeably predictable for a motorcycle of its size and will not particularly disappoint those looking to carve corners on ghat sections.

The rear suspension is adjustable. Though slightly on the stiffer side, it felt just right for the most part:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09161-large.jpg

The grey rings are for tuning the rear suspension to personal preference. Notice the discrete Harley-Davidson logo featured on the mount above:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09157.jpg

Despite the relatively low 105 mm of ground clearance, the 1200 Custom glides through most bumps & speed breakers if one takes them with due caution. If you don't, the mid bottom of the motorcycle is going to scrape 6 out of 10 times.

The motorcycle I rode was kitted with Harley Davidson-branded Michelin Scorcher cruising tyres:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08915-large.jpg

The front end is shod with a 130/90 R16 tyre while the rear uses a 150/80 R16. The rear tyre does not look as imposing as that of full size cruisers in the market, yet does the job well. The Michelin Scorchers had decent grip levels and seem well suited to our road conditions. The tyre size / compound is a great choice and we didn't encounter any nervousness whatsoever.

The 1200 Custom is NOT equipped with an ABS system. And this is one of the 'needed' few things that Harley-Davidson does NOT offer as an aftermarket option. The 1200 Custom is equipped with a single brake disc at the front and another disc at the rear. The brakes are a fly in the ointment here and will take a lot of getting used to. They lack immediate bite and feel rather wooden. Lack of adequate feedback implies you will need to brake with a lot more margin for error. Wooden, vague or weak brakes have been a commonly reported problem with most Harley Davidson motorcycles and we wonder how much more feedback would it take for them to rectify the issue.

The 1200 Custom recorded FE of 16 kmpl in our review and for all that mix of idling, redlining & touring, we are hopeful that the figure would be closer to 19-20 kmpl in real life conditions.
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08860-large.jpg

I highly recommend getting an aftermarket windscreen to save yourself from the wind blast. Closing in on the redline in third gear, it felt as if the motorcycle was going to leap ahead from below.

Last edited by Rehaan : 3rd May 2016 at 18:33.
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Old 1st May 2016, 19:00   #6
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The Smaller yet Significant Things:

Fully seated on the bike, even short riders can have their feet firmly placed on the ground, thanks to the low stance of the 1200 Custom:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08950-large.jpg

Driving belt is partially exposed in the area just below the rider:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09382-large.jpg

Frame and engine stamped with their respective serial numbers on the outside. No more hunting in desolate places for verification by the authorities:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09143-large.jpg
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09247-large.jpg

The 1200 Custom has its first service due at 1600 kms, post which service intervals are 8000 kms / one year. The oil filter cover carries a reminder footnote for the next service:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09250-large.jpg

The right leg, when placed on the brake pedal, is in constant contact with the chromed out airbox. We highly recommend using dedicated riding pants (or nothing less than high quality denims) in order to restrain any burn marks....even from riding short distances:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc08870-large.jpg

Our almost new presser with 2,000 kms on the clock had relatively deep surface rust on the insides of the exhaust pipe:
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09325-large.jpg

Our review motorcycle also sported balancing weights on the wheels, not so common on motorcycles in India.
Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom-dsc09395-large.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 1st May 2016 at 19:01.
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Old 1st May 2016, 19:42   #7
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Default Re: Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Motorcycle Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 1st May 2016, 20:03   #8
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Default Re: Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom

Quote:
Originally Posted by manson View Post
The monotonous surround chromed out timer cover panel seems vague, lacks the character of the higher located motor & air box cover and honestly speaking, is one of the first components Iíd like to see Harley Davidson redesign when the 1200 Custom is due for a refresh.
Nice review overall, Manson, however, just incase you are unaware, that bit you talked about is a trademark of the sportster and the evolution engine. So much so that it's the logo for most sportster forums. Doubt that's ever getting changed!
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Old 1st May 2016, 20:36   #9
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Default Re: Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom

Fabulous. Its been over a month that this motorcycle is launched, and all one gets off the net are superficial "first ride" reviews. Until this one!

The 1200 custom is significant for people looking to buy an affordable Harley that looks like a big, chromed out Harley and not a compromise. Your in-depth review will help them a lot in this regard. Things like the right leg touching the airbox all the time, or hearing the heat dissipate from the engine - are significant details ignored in a TD but rued in actual long term ownership. Thank you for this review.
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Old 1st May 2016, 22:29   #10
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Default Re: Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom

Good review mason. To add to it, according to me this is a beefed up version of the superlow with performance and cosmetic changes. The most prominent ones being, of course the 1200 cc engine, and the pull back risers missing on the superlow. After about a thousand kms on my superlow, I realised that I needed more pullback on the handle and had maxed out on it. I made 1" custom risers as the superlow has the handle bar grip casted into the upper tripple tree. That gave me a good 2-3" pullback which works for me. On the 1200 custom this is given as stock, so short handed riders would be at ease when touring. Also, the forward controls work better when you have a straight sitting position, which the mini apes are known for and revered by the sportster riders. With the 1200 custom, I'm guessing the tourers will go for different handlebars.
And yes, thanks for a very crisp and utilitarian review.
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Old 1st May 2016, 22:51   #11
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Default Re: Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom

Excellent review Manson!

Being the latest entrant to the lineup, I would have expected HD to provide ABS as a standard option. Side stand indicator or an engine cut off is also a glaring omission. Also I expected to see footboards on this bike - instead of footpegs.

With regards to rust, I have seen the chrome on a couple of HDs losing their shine and rusting pretty badly. Perhaps it's due to our proximity to the sea - but I always though HD chrome was strong enough to withstand our salty weather.

The wheels on the 1200 Re amazing. A bit of black here and there and it would pretty much resemble the ones on the 1973 911 RS.
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Last edited by v12 : 1st May 2016 at 22:52.
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Old 2nd May 2016, 13:45   #12
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Default Re: Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom

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Nice review overall, Manson, however, just incase you are unaware, that bit you talked about is a trademark of the sportster and the evolution engine. So much so that it's the logo for most sportster forums. Doubt that's ever getting changed!
Thanks for the input KhalDrogo. I was referring to the chrome panel surrounding the logo and not the logo. The logo itself in my opinion is very well designed and looks the part in the matt / laced silver scheme.

Last edited by manson : 2nd May 2016 at 13:46.
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Old 2nd May 2016, 15:12   #13
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Default Re: Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom

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Thanks for the input KhalDrogo. I was referring to the chrome panel surrounding the logo and not the logo. The logo itself in my opinion is very well designed and looks the part in the matt / laced silver scheme.
Yes, Manson, the chrome panel itself is what I was talking about as well. This is the logo I was talking about. We're talking about the same thing, right?
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Old 2nd May 2016, 15:19   #14
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Default Re: Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom

Nice review. Loved the narrative and am sure you had a great time riding this beauty.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 2nd May 2016, 15:25   #15
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Default Re: Ridden: Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom

Superb review and pics manson! The depth of the review easily matches the t-bhp car reviews. Thanks for going the whole hog including the small but significant things bit as well. This really seems to be a good choice for customers shopping for cruisers. I specially liked the well designed controls and the levers.
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