Wednesday, January 28, 2009

1200 Sporty - A Big Twin?

This is based entirely on a comment Big D made on Joker's post, “More on the New Iron 883”.
First, is a 1200 Sportster a “Big Twin”?
Second, who you calling a “old timer” Big D?

The 1200 Sportster vs. Big Twin is a valid point, and one that has always bugged the hell out of me. When Harley made the change in 1986 from the Ironhead Sporty to the 1200 Evo. Sporty, it bothered me. Mainly for one reason. Having owned several 1200 Big Twins, and still having a “74in. 1200 Big Twin”, the almost overnight perception that a bike with a 1200 cc engine (the Evo. Sportster) was a small, entry-level bike irritated me. Perhaps a different advertising campaign at that time, introducing the all-new “Big Twin Super Sport Sportster”. Or something along those lines. But to keep the 1200 Evolution Sportster in the same classification as the 1000 Ironhead Sportster, I think was a mistake.

Make no mistake about it. A 1200 Sportster will almost always, in my opinion, out-run a 1200 Shovelhead. A 883 with a 1200 kit, will probably always out-run a 1200 Shovel. I also would not be a bit surprised if a 883/1200 conversion, opened up a can of speed demon whoop-ass on a few of the new 96 inchers. I’m in complete agreement with Big D on this one. A 1200 “is” a Big Twin, no matter what frame it’s mounted in. As for the 883 itself, I don’t think it should have been made part of the Sportster family. It should have had it’s own product designation, or just left on the design room floor.


Ann said...

LMFAO!!!!!! I believe he was referring to himself as an old timer, too Willy D!!

Big D LOVES his Sportys and I don't think I will ever convince him to get a bigger bike, so I'll just have to watch my girlish figure until the end of time so we can both still fit on his Sporty in 25 years. :)

mrs rc said...

I knew a guy in high school who dropped a chevy 305 (or some such nonsense) into a Pinto! It was still a V-8 no matter if it was in a Pinto frame. I would think the same rule applies to motorcycles. Any motor with 4-digit cc's should be classified as "big" regardless of what frame it is mounted in.

Big Daddy said...

I remember back in 79 I built a v8 vega and my buddy a v8 pinto.
I left the stock rear in it as I couldn't afford a custom rear end.
nice slow easy starts and she held up quite well.
One night I went to pass a "slow' car..stepped on the gas pulled out alongside and passing gear kicked in a little late.
Ended up passing the guy doing a 360.
Scared the living shit outta me.


"Joker" said...

Willy: Great post. I remember thinking when I first got my '04 XL 1200C, that I might be "shunned" by riders of "real" Harleys. In reality, I got nothing but compliments from people about my Sporty, and I never felt like I wasn't a member of "the club." Beyond that, I just love the bike, so I could have given a rats ass about what anyone else thought anyway.

I'll miss the low-end torque. I thought about that when I first got it too. "Skirtster?" Yeah, ok, give the "broad's bike" too much throttle on anything damp or loose and see how fast you're looking up at whoever comes over to help you up. I remember when I was at a dealership gearing up for Milwaukee and the chick behind the counter shaking her head "no way" at the idea of riding a Sportster out there and back.

Now, when I hear anyone bad-mouthing Sportys, it tells me right away that they don't know shit from Shinola when it comes to Harley-Davidsons.

Webster World said...

Willy, My youngest son owns an 883/1200 can of whoop ass. It is just that.

Dean "D-Day" said...

I don't bad-mouth Sportys. I know a lot of 'em that will leave you in the dust. The power-to-weight ratio is much better than a lot of the "big twins".

Mr. Motorcycle said...

I totally agree with you all. I guess that's one of the reasons, I'll likely never give up my 883/1200. When I get another bike,If I ever do, it'll have a place in my garage sittin right next to Kenny.

FLHX_Dave said...

Yeah, I remember reading articles in the 80's about how 1000cc bikes were just way to big and way more power than any rider would possibly need.

Shit, BB's 883, her very first bike, is bigger than my first 3 bikes.

You are an old timer WillyD. Sorry man to drop that on you. So is BigD. LOL!!!! Much respect...much respect. Old-Timers don't have to demand respect because they have earned it.

Willy D said...

Ann: 25 years? I thought “someone” was building you your own bike ;]

mrs rc: Yep, big is big, no matter how you spell it.

Big D: Oh yes, I remember those day well. The things we built. I have no idea how I’m still alive. Didn’t Chevy do a very limited 454 Vega?

“Joker”: My point exactly. Anyone who looks down on a Sporty not only doesn’t know shit about Harleys, they don’t know shit about bikes period. My favorite is when I’m riding my Ironhead. It’s so clean and shiny; I guess some people think it’s newer than it is (1984). I can’t count the number of “bikers” that have asked, “Is that one of those 883’s”. I just walk away. It’s not worth my time to “school” them.

Webster: I’ll bet he has fun leaving the “old man” in the dust!

Dean: In the dust and wondering, “What the hell was that blowing by me”.

Mr. M: I’ve seen the pictures of your ride. It looks fast just sitting there.;)

Dave: Don’t tell B.B. But one of these days I want to find out what that bike will do. With her permission of course.

Big Daddy said...

Aww geez.
Now your picking my brain on automotive?
I don't know much about Cars;]

No..Chevy never made a V8 chevy for sale.
They did offer a Cosworth Vega which is a special indy type head.
When they converted the vega to a v8 they changed the body and name to "Monza" to lose the bad conontation that Vegas had started to get because of the alluminum sleeved engine. It had a experimental 'coating' on the walls that was suppoosed tp withstand the steel piston rings...It didn't work very well.
However if you bought a 'ASTRE'
Pontiacs version of the Vega you got the iron duke 4cyl which some claim was damn near indestructible.
Also later you could bo the the junkyard and take all the monza parts and bolt them right into your vega..use a mildly built 350...instant supercar for cheap money.

You could go to NY and there was a dealer there who would convert it to 350 or 454 specs
it was called Motion performance/Baldwin chevrolet
He even offered a limited warranty on the cars.
Sorry for the limited info..;]

mrs rc said...

Speaking of Vegas...
My sister's old boyfriend once got a speeding ticket for doing 93 mph in a 25 mph zone all of 2 blocks from the beginning of the road. His defense in court was "Your honor, I drive a 73(?) Vega. It is simply not capable of getting up to 93 mph in undar a quarter mile." He won his case!

As for Sportys: One of the guys in our chapter rode his 1200 to Milwaukee and back. He's taken it to Sturgis. He seems to have a little chip on his shoulder about it--"oh sure, pick on the guy riding a Sporty...well this thing has more miles on it than your big twin has ever even imagined, so..." Truthfully, I don't think any of us give a crap what he long as he's riding!

FLHX_Dave said...

Heh, hell yeah. We will take it out when she is gone. I know where the key is. ;)

FLHX_Dave said...

Oh yeah...I have already wheelied it...but you tell her and she will freak.

oh crap, my verification word is: ejacto. WTF is that? Precision spooge or something like that? Money shot!

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Anonymous said...

Its funny that an EL Panhead (1000 CC) would never be referred to as a girl's bike