Top Heavy

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by gdsbls, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. gdsbls

    gdsbls New Member

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    I bought an 07 1200C last year. I like the way it rides, but I hate the top heavy feature of the sportster. Does anyone have any advice? I am looking at trading for a street bob because of the weight issue. I am a female rider and when I am going slow and turn into park or just turn around, this bike is a bear - especially if the gas tank is full. Any help on this or another bike that might fit me better. My height is 5 ft 8 1/2 with long legs. Thanks
     
  2. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    If you keep your Sportster, you just need to practice, practice, practice! Have you taken a rider course or watched the Ride Like A Pro DVD? Either would help considerably. Hang in there and don't get overly worried about it - all bikes are a challenge at very low speeds.
     
  3. gs34

    gs34 Junior Member

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    +1 for what Doc says. After reading your post, You've got plenty of height in your favor, being 5'8", Additionally, you might want to work a little on your upper body strength to help with the weight.
    Not suggesting that you add any bulk...just strengthen what's already there.
     
  4. silentflyer

    silentflyer Active Member

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    Might think about the smaller tank like found on the Roadster, if long didtance trips are not an issue, but that wont be much weight loss.
     
  5. WHM1

    WHM1 Junior Member

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    My first Harley was a 1200 Sportster .... reason I thought being small it would be easy to ride and handle. I am not bashing the Sporster but unfortunately that is not the case. When riding with friends on the Interstate it was scary by the wind from the big trucks and felt like the bike was really top heavy. I traded it for a FatBoy and could not believe the difference in how the bike handles. My wife decided she want to learn to ride and took the Rider's Edge four day course and after getting her endorsement started to look for her bike. She of course thought the Sporster being small is what she was going to get. Since I had one before convinced her to try something larger with a lower center of gravity. She now rides a Softail Deluxe and in only 18 months has 15,000 miles registered. She is small 5'4" and 110 pounds so she is not a big girl. There is nothing wrong with the Sportster but is is DEFIANTLY not the easiest Harley to ride. I think many people buy one for the wrong reason. It of course cost less than the bigger models so it has a place in the Harley line. I enjoyed zipping through town on mine but would not looking forward to the long trips we like to take. To each his own.... the Sporster is a GREAT bike and good for a budget minded rider but is not as easy or as comfortable to ride as the bigger bikes. In my opinion most Harley salesman do not try to explain this to first time buyers in fear of losing THE SALE! Again please understand I am not bashing the Sportster but most experience riders knows this to be true. The other comment are very good to work on upper body strength and practice..practice..practice and then go out and practice so more. Ride safe and have fun!
    :panic
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2008
  6. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    I'm not convinced upper body strength has much to do with it. If you're counting on your upper body to muscle the bike around, then your technique and balance are wrong. Watch the Ride Like A Pro DVD - several women in there maneuvering big bikes around so gracefully it makes me want to cry! They don't appear to be overly muscular either. Most of low speed maneuvering is balance, technique, head/eye control, friction zone manipulation, and practice. Practice time outweighs time in the gym 100 to 1 in this case.
     
  7. bwalsh22

    bwalsh22 Junior Member

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    Go with the Bob, you won't regret it. It is heavy yes, but rides smooth. Of course, I am biased and never actually road a Sporty, the Dyna was my first love and first bike, handles great. I'm 6' with mid-controls and highway pegs, works for me, although I am leaning towards switching to forward controls over the winter since I find myself wanting my feet on the highway pegs more often then not (which means the foot is not near the brake when it needs to be.
     
  8. gdsbls

    gdsbls New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I have learned some tricks of the trade of turning the front over to the right before I lift it up - but my husband even hates to back my sportster out of our carport due to the weight distribution. I have taken the Rider's Edge and loved it - that is why I haven't dropped it anymore than 4 times in slow left turns...lol. I am going to wait on the 09 street bob at our local dealer. When I start letting my bike decide where I am going to ride it is time to try out another. I passed the course with flying colors even with the figure eights in the parking spot - so I am sure that CofG is a factor for me. I love the bike - but....
     
  9. NEWHD74FAN

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

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    FYI, 6.6 lbs per gallon...4.5 gal on the Custom, 3.3 gal on Roadster, keep the tank. The Sporty is just that, made for spirited riding, meaning it is rather minimalist (fewer options, less weight (600 lbs), 1200cc/74cu in, and so "less expensive"), but higher up to not scrape hard parts, so it is more "top" heavy feeling when stock, and invites heavy mods...:newsmile093:

    I am a wee bit short at 5' 6" w/ 29 inseam and went for the larger tank, seat (another 1 1/2" less), lowered the bike w/fork & progressive shock mods another 1 1/2" and feels significantly less top heavy, even at parking lot speeds.

    I am refitting the mid riding position brackets & pegs for riding in gravel or sand when two-up; otherwise I use the passenger pegs for rough/sport riding. BTW, if you lower your bike with all of the above mods, adjust the preload on the shocks 2nd notch (Solo) and 3rd notch (w/ Co-Rider) :p

    Forward controls and highway pegs are nice for long rides stretched out, but in your case you might try the lowering approach I did at both ends and practice-practice-practice. My UJM Katana was also much more top heavy than the Sporty and higher off the ground to boot...you will adapt very quickly, just ride...it gets better:D
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2008
  10. hntwrobin

    hntwrobin Active Member

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    How long have you been riding? With time in the seat you can ride anything! It's a mtter of getting used to the machine. I taught the safety course when I was in the Navy and I have had many individuals out there that never rode who are now doing great on many different bikes.

    I believe someone already said this but practice, practice, practice!!

    Nothing makes up for experience in riding:newsmile063::newsmile045: