Do Sportsters Overheat?

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by DaveInPA, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. DaveInPA

    DaveInPA Frozen Account

    Picking up my first bike this weekend, a 2008 XL 883 Sportster. I know that the engine is air cooled rather than water cooled, so I'm a little worried about the heat.

    Riding during the summer months (80's and 90's), if I get into stop and go traffic, which does happen, do I have to worry about the bike overheating/being damaged?
  2. docholliday88

    docholliday88 Member

    I have a 1200 and I don't have a problem riding in the 90's and even when it's over 100. the bike gets hot, but never had it overheat, and i've been in some bad traffic. If you're in traffic for too long, you'll just have to pull over and let it cool down. you can put synthetic oil in as i've heard this will make the bike run a bit cooler.
  3. Baggh

    Baggh Active Member

    I ride my 883 in this 90+ TX heat and haven't had any overheat problems. As I mentioned in another post... I travel 60 miles everyday to work... 95% of that highway which means I get into some bad bumper to tire traffic.

    I had the same concern you did in regards to air\water cooled. Given this I bought a temp gauge. The engine runs at 200 degrees and pretty much stays there. Funny thing is that when stopped it cools a bit... when going 70 mph is raises to about 210. I would have thought this was the other way around but it makes sense. While going 70 mph the friction is way up due to the rpms and you're generating more combustion heat (the engine is working harder=higher temp).

    The service dept guy said 240~250 is ok... above that think about synthetic or an oil cooler.

    bottom line... dont sweat it :)
  4. Sharky1948

    Sharky1948 Junior Member

    I "rode" my 1200 in a couple of very warm Memorial Day parades. Walking pace. The oil temp rose to 250F. It normally runs about 180F on a cool day...up to about 220F on hot days at high speeds. I run Mobile v-Twin 20W50 in the engine. (Spectro HPCL in the tranny.) During the parade the only thing I noticed is that I needed to rev it a bit more when starting, otherwise I would hear a disturbing rattling or clanking sound, almost like piston slap.

    Oh yes...the horn stops working when it gets too hot. Go figure!

    I'm a big fan of the synthetic oil. Makes me a lot more comfortable on hot days!