Is the Harley Davidson Sportster a Good Starter Bike?
So you want to know if the Harley Davidson Sportster a Good Starter Bike. I have a few reasons why I believe it is. The Harley Sportster was my very first bike back in November 2011, and I love it. I didn’t even have a motorcycle endorsement when I bought it from the dealership brand new. They had to ship it to my home. That night I road around the neighborhood and taught myself how to ride. With that said, I have a few things I want to talk to you about. Things that I thought up before buying and some things I found out after the fact. Also if you find any of this stuff helpful, click that subscribe button and click that little bell next to it. That way you are notified when I post more Harley Sportster videos! Let’s start.
You need to figure out what you can afford. This is a Harley Davidson. It’s not going to be cheap. New vs Used, that does play a small difference here, but not where you expect it. Used Sportsters will be cheaper yes, but since this will be your first bike, you won’t mind dropping it. Yes, you will drop your first bike. These things are heavy. So with this being used, you won’t mind adding another scratch to the paint. That is where a used bike really excels.
Maintenance is often ignored when it comes to motorcycles. Especially the cost from a Harley dealership. It gets ridiculous, even for an oil change. Get yourself a manual, buy a quality motorcycle jack, and learn to change your own oil. It really isn’t that hard and there are a ton of YouTube videos on that subject alone. I should know, I’ve made a few myself. The first time you do it yourself, you’ll already have paid for that $100 jack you just bought. I’m dead serious.
Now getting a new bike might be the best option for you if you have the money. You can get what you want, and that includes the newer technology. Like ABS or the new Roadster Sportster. The new Roadster comes with a ton of new features that most Sportsters don’t have. Inverted shocks to name one. New bikes might also come with dealer incentives and might be easier to finance.
Also look into insurance. I didn’t really think of that when I got my bike. Sport bikes are usually pretty expensive compared to the Sportster in terms of rates, but shop around. Just like buying a new car, do your homework.
2) Style and How You Ride
Do you plan on going out of town a lot? Do you want to carve up some mountains? Do you plan on just commuting? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself. When I was debating an Iron 883 or a Sportster 1200, I asked myself what I wanted to do with the bike. At the time I had a shitty truck and I wanted to go out of town a lot. Which I did. A lot. I went all over California and Arizona with my Sportster. The 1200 engine performed amazing at interstate speeds. The Sportster is comfy for these long trips and I feel as though I had what I needed in town.
The great thing about Sportsters is the fact that you can customize them however you want. You like the ape hanger with forward controls look. Awesome. You can easily do that with a Sportster. How bout a Cafe Sportster? A Sportster Scrambler? A Sportster Bobber? All achievable with a few modifications.
By the way, you can carve up mountains on a Sportster. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Matt and I have done it many times.
3) Your Height and Weight.
Let’s say you are a really big boy. Height and weight wise. You will probably need forward controls, and an upgraded suspension. You have long legs, and you weigh a little bit more. Also be aware that you might look huge on a Sportster compared to what I look like. I am 5’6’’ and I can easily flat foot the stock Sportster suspension. With my upgraded Progressive 412 13.5 inch shocks, it is tippy toe time for me. So if you are big, be aware that the stock Sportster might turn you off. But! You can upgrade to make the Sportster fit your needs. I will recommend the Harley 48 or Roadster for you though. The 48 comes with forward controls, and the Roadster comes with upgraded suspension.
4) Are You Planning on Trading it in Later?
There really is no real need to trade up. The Iron 883, Roadster, 1200 Custom, Harley 48, or whatever new variation they decide to throw out there this year. All are easily upgradable. The Sportster engine is robust and almost bullet proof. You will have all the power you need, and maintaining it will be easy. Now, the only reason why I think you’ll want to trade in your Harley Sportster later is to change your riding style. You might think cross country riding is what you want to do and a Road King or Street Glide is the way to go. I’ll tell you right now, my Sportster was comfy enough to travel across the state, and many people have gone cross country on Sportsters. Whatever you choose, the resell value of Harley Sportsters are pretty decent. Just check the dealerships and Craigslist. People sell and buy high for these, especially if it’s in good condition.
Do I think the Harley Sportster is a good beginner bike? Of course! I love my Sportster. 25000 miles later and I can’t think of any other bike I’d want right now. The memories I have of this bike and my travels will always be with me. Well, I hope you guys all enjoyed it. Ride safe. Be good.
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