Sportster 1200C vs. Honda VTX 1300

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Sportster 1200C vs. Honda VTX 1300

Unread post by Wordherder » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:04 pm

Folks, I'm hoping I can get some relatively unbiased opinions here. I've narrowed my search down to the HD Sportster 1200 Custom and the Honda VTX 1300. The price points are pretty much identical. I'm a more comfy on the HD, but the Honda promises a smoother ride and (by reputation) better reliability.

My current ride is a Suzuki S50 (nee Intruder VS800).

Can I get some insight from S1200 and VTX1300 riders?

Thanks all!
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Unread post by Wrider » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:34 pm

They're kinda different bikes!
Sporty is kind of a hot-rod cruiser, narrower, better cornering clearances, more of a standard seating position.
VTX is more of an traditional cruiser seating position, wider, more of a cruising cruiser than a hot-rod.

If you're more comfy on the HD I'd say go for it. Which year sporty? If it's a Twin-Cam it's almost guaranteed to be as reliable as the VTX.
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Unread post by Big B » Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:32 am

yeah, it is all going to come down to which one you feel more comfortable on. i've got a vtx (albeit the 1800 - bigger motor - fuel injection - but the same basic layout otherwise - same frame) for the at least immediate future and have had absolutely no issues with it, it's very comfortable for long rides, the 1300 should be the same. one of my riding buddies has a 1200 sporty and loves his, i've ridden it a couple times and it's a great bike as well. you can't go wrong with either one, just depends on what kind of riding you want to do. i personally would never think i was going to sell my vtx (and if i don't get what i want out of it, then i'll still have it) so i can't imagine you'll have any problems with one - as long as it fits you.
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Unread post by MTexile » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:58 pm

Have a '03 1200 Custom. I love it except for the vibration above 65 mph, I'm assuming you're choosing between new bikes. H-D rubber-mounted their XL's in '04. No problems with mine yet (17,000 miles), either way you go, I think you've done good.
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Unread post by Wordherder » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:50 pm

Thanks all! Appreciate the insight. I'm looking at new bikes here.

I've been leaning toward the Sporty, yes, mainly because when I threw a leg over it, there was almost an audible "click" as I snapped into place. It felt like home.

HD also has a 2-year warranty, vs the VTX's one, for what that's worth, and the local HD stealer has a fairly good reputation for service, from what I can tell. (Feel free to disabuse me of that opinion: it's Heritage H-D in Lisle, IL.)

I like the look of the VTX; it's a serious head-turner. And I'm willing to bet it beats the 1200 hands-down in the horsepower department as well.

But the missus and I are mainly back-road sightseeing types, puttering along at 62 mph on the blue roads and enjoying the scenery. I think the VTX's zip would be wasted on me. (She's got her own bike. Don't need the extra HP for a pillion rider!)
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choice

Unread post by xdixiecratx » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:57 pm

Sounds like you ve talked yourself into the Harley, Both are good bikes till you crack the throttle, and or have run a 100 000 miles and spent asmuch money on one of them as you gave for it. If your not planning on long distance trips at freeway speeds all day go with the Harlet, not that it cant,but dont take my word for it or anybodyelses take em both out on the freeway at 80 mph and see for yourself

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Unread post by jmillheiser » Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:46 pm

If your more comfy on the harley than you will probably be happier with it.

Between those 2 actually the HD is probably a tad quicker. VTX1300s aren't speed demons. The VTX is a bigger bike than the harley and will probably be smoother on the highway. Both have tons of aftermarket accessories available

Of the 2 I have ridden a sporty 12 myself, I found the engine to be very torquey and responsive.

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80 mph I said

Unread post by xdixiecratx » Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:52 pm

I ride a wide glide and would take both of em for mine.

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Unread post by XB08 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:30 pm

Sportster is light next to the VTX , The sportster sounds better then the VTX. The VTX will last for ever. The VTX is a better highway bike. If you are tall you won't like the sportster for long. The VTX is very heavy if you need to push it. But it all comes do to what one you like, ride them and find out.

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which

Unread post by xdixiecratx » Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:36 pm

Ill say it like this,If your goin to ride around town get the Harley, If you like to travel on the interstate get the Honda.

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Unread post by Wordherder » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:35 pm

Thanks everyone! Appreciate the input. I plan to rent the 1200 on Friday and take her for a day-long spin. If rubber-mounted Milwaukee iron & the trade-in don't win me over, I'll head 15 minutes up the road and buy the Honda.
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Unread post by NewGuy » Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:29 pm

For me the EFI, belt drive, and lighter weight of the Sportster would win me over. Also, you'll get better resale value out of the Sportster.

As for reliability, I think it's a toss up. The stories of unreliable H-D motorcycles haven't been true for more than a decade. H-D made a serious effort to turn things around after the AMF years.

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Unread post by Amdonim » Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:35 pm

Disclaimer: I don't own a VTX, but my dad has one (1300). If you like twisties, I honestly wouldn't recommend the VTX. I've ridden the VTX a few times, and it doesn't have very impressive lean clearance. I remember scraping the floorboards over and over doing stuff I normally do on my Sabre. However, if you plan to do a lot of trips (of more than a few hundred miles) I'd say the VTX is great. The engine is smooth and composed up to 100mph (maybe higher, that's as fast as I took it.), and it's low ride height and c.o.g mean it's very stable at those speeds.

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Unread post by Wordherder » Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:09 pm

Final report:

We rented a 1200 (me) and an 883 (her) and were most impressed. For example, I cranked the bike down Rt. 83 and opened her up and could not find the top end in the two miles before I had to slow down for the stop light at North Ave. Most impressive.

The missus loved the 883, except the rental was a little too tall for her (she's 5'3"). The dealer says they can lower the shocks and seat so she can comfortably flat-floot at 1200. We'll see next year!

My take on the Harley-Davidson 1200 vs. the Suzuki Intruder (S50) 805cc was that the HD out-accelerated the Zook on the top end. Up to 50 mph, acceleration was the same. By 70 mph, the Suzuki was pretty much wound out, but the HD was still accelerating briskly.

On the other hand, the Sportster just didn't feel like that big an upgrade from the Suzuki S50. The acceleration was comparable. The top end was WAY higher, but now often do we sustain above 65 mph, really?

When we got back to the dealer, I ended up sitting on the Superglide, and *click*! It felt like home. A big Barcalounger seat and a huge '69 Impala speedometer built into the tank felt like home. Combined withe the heft and ... well, the patented H-D "potato potato" sound won me over.

I ended up buying the Dyna Superglide Custom, which is probably exactly what they hoped I would do. I'd confess to feeling like a Harley sucker except I freakin' love the bike!
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Unread post by Ryethil » Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:45 am

Wordherder wrote:Final report:

Snip

When we got back to the dealer, I ended up sitting on the Superglide, and *click*! It felt like home. A big Barcalounger seat and a huge '69 Impala speedometer built into the tank felt like home. Combined withe the heft and ... well, the patented H-D "potato potato" sound won me over.

I ended up buying the Dyna Superglide Custom, which is probably exactly what they hoped I would do. I'd confess to feeling like a Harley sucker except I freakin' love the bike!
I have a customized XL1200C and aleady know my next bike will probably be a Street Bob. I think you did the best thing. A Big Twin is just a better, more comfortable bike all the way round. Every big Harley that I've rode has had a personality all its own and isn't just an appliance. And when you stop, everyone around you will know you have a Harley.

I love all Harleys but I'm a bit small for a lot of them. I think that your wife would love the XL1200C and yes they can lower it. I think that most women can handle the extra omph of the larger Sportster and will be more happier in the long run. And the 1200 is actually safer because it has more "go" when you twist the throttle which means you can drive out of dangerous situations better.

Anyway, I hope this helps. :chopper:
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hd vs vtx

Unread post by bsa_bob » Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:57 am

I am a senior , now i have a honda ACE, it runs quiet and smooth, does everything a person could want,and i rode a xl the other day, i couldn't ride very far, and i was warned, that the harleys are not the same bike as the honda,if your riding on rural roads, and sight seeing the harley will wear you out long before the vtx will jmo :D

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Unread post by Schlepstream » Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:02 pm

Good choice. I ride an '07 1200C with SEII muffs. on it and it sounds sick! My buddy rides an '07 Super Glide with drag pipes on it and it sounds sick! My 1200 runs circles around his bike. His bike is waaayyy more comfy on the hiway. You made a good choice. Life ain't a drag race, and Harleys ain't the fastest bikes around anyway. :wink:
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sportster vs vtx

Unread post by rocktucker » Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:21 pm

on its worst day the vtx 1300 will out run , out ride , out handle and out last the sportster on it's best day !

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Re: sportster vs vtx

Unread post by Ryethil » Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:38 pm

rocktucker wrote:on its worst day the vtx 1300 will out run , out ride , out handle and out last the sportster on it's best day !
Just a question... Are you tryng to start a flame war?

It's obvious that you haven't rode a Sportster lately. I can't say that my bike will beat your bike because mine has been breathed on rather heavily. But a stock Sportster regularly beats the VTX 1300 esp. if it's from a rolling start.

I don't have anythiing against Hondas esp. VTX 1300s. I suggest them regularly to people who want to move up from a smaller bike or want to learn on something they won't grow tired on in a few months. The VTX 1300 has a lot of advantages like shaft drive and water cooling which require less maintiance and so on. However, speed isn't its forte. It's just a great medium cruiser.

The Harley on the other hand is actually fairly fast for its type of bike. It has a lot of torque to go with its horsepower. It's lighter and I find them more comfortable and quicker handleing. And there is something visceral
about riding a Harley be it a Big Twin or a Sportster. I've never had the same experiences from riding a rice cruiser. And now that Harleys are as reliable as a hammer, there is actually no reason I would rather ride anything but a Harley.

Actually, I like the fact that there are so many different types of bikes out there. While Honda and others are like appliances because they have to appeal to the largest market share possible. Harleys can just get in your face and say ride me damn it. And you'll have the best time possible and still be on a motorcycle.

:rockon:
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Unread post by redwing » Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:06 am

Hi Wordherder... I recall reading on a forum somewhere about buying boots with a really thick sole to add a little length to the legs. An edge. My boots add perhaps half an inch to my heigth. Buy the bike you like and enjoy the ride.
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