Drag site icon to your taskbar to pin site. Learn More

2009 Sportster XR1200 vs 2009 Griso 8v Conclusion

Monday, April 20, 2009
Harley-Davidson Sportster XR1200 vs. Moto Guzzi Griso 1200 8V
We agree to disagree. Waheed says he'd pick the Griso 8V, while Hutchison maintains that the XR1200 is the bike for him. Looks like they both win.
So what do you get for the extra $3500 it costs to own a Moto Guzzi Griso 1200 8V over the Harley-Davidson Sportster XR1200? Well, if you think its quality, you’ll be sadly mistaken, as both motorcycles feature a fit and finish that is on a level commensurate with their price tags. They’re also equally matched in terms of manufacturer-provided warranties, with both standing behind their product with a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty.

Although on paper, the Guzzi’s hard numbers best the Harley’s, in the real world these bikes are well matched in terms of outright performance. Sure the Guzzi’s got more ‘oomph in the engine department, as long as you rev it out that is; with its low rpm torque curve the XR definitely gets a jump on it off the line. The Guzzi’s higher-spec suspension components deliver a smoother more controlled ride which gives it the nod in the suspension department; however the XR is more agile and composed in turns as compared to its Italian competitor.

So what bike should you choose? Well that rests more than anything on the type of motorcycle rider you are, but here is what we’d pick if it was our dollar bills:

Adam Waheed, Road Test Editor:

Here at Motorcycle USA we’re fortunate enough to ride most every new motorcycle in existence. And it’s truly a great time to be a motorcycle rider as the number of amazing new machines on the market is mind boggling.

If you think about it for a moment, in way motorcycles have become narrowly focused in terms of design, almost becoming niche-specific tools for certain riding applications. Look at a new sportbike for example as they are designed predominantly for use on the racetrack. Same goes for a cruiser as it is engineered specifically for hitting the boulevard. And this is why I love the Griso because it’s such a versatile motorcycle.

First off it looks awesome. Its styling manages to synergize the best of a retro classic yet at the same time uses contemporary performance components. Sure it’s not as insane as a 400-pound sportbike but it still has enough performance to keep my mind occupied plus it’s comfortable enough to ride around every day. If there were one street bike I had to ride for the rest of my life the Griso 8V would be it.

Ken Hutchison, VP Motorcycle USA:

With its powerful engine and nimble handling manners the Griso 1200 certainly impressed me. In fact the new Griso represents Moto Guzzi’s best effort to date and I’m really surprised at just how good of a motorcycle it is. However, for me I just really dig the Harley-Davidson. Not only does it look and sound the part, but for once this Harley has the cornering prowess to back it up. I’ll take mine in Mirage Orange Pearl please.

Recent Street Bike Reviews
The SYM T2 250i is a bit out of place among the sportbikes of this test, but it's MSRP makes it an alluring option for entry-level riders. Will it's performance warrant the money saved?
Ducati’s Monster 821, Suzuki’s SFV650 and Yamaha’s FZ-07 battle it out for top honors in our Middleweight Sport Twins Shootout.
Ducati, Moto Guzzi and Triumph scramble head-to-head in MotoUSA’s Scrambler Motorcycle Shootout.

Login or sign up to comment.

Superhawk   August 20, 2012 02:54 PM
Although this is a good comparison, the conclusion is a bit perplexing. As a Griso owner (2009 8V) and having ridden and ridden against the XR, there isn't any doubt which is the clear winner. Having been a dirt track fan since the early 80's, the XR was something that I thought had been ignored too long by HD. I was excited by initial blurbs that appeared and then shocked by the announcement that it was heading to Europe. Well, that problem rectified, it still does nothing to make sense of this comparison. The Guzzi's fit and finish; fasteners, braided-steel brake lines to placement of the oil-cooler and on and on. It all makes good mechanical sense. Two big jugs hangin out there in the breeze - where they belong. Just below, the oil radiator getting all the air one possibly could AND serviced by twin high-output oil pumps. No doubt Guzzi having access to it's own wind-tunnel has helped in this area. And GOD forbid you get caught in the rain on your XR - because when you do, you'll lose a whopping amount rideability and power from the engine, thanks to that forward facing airbox intake. WTF HD? Who's idea was that? This conclusion makes no sense at all unless someone is already in the tank for HD. Take any XR you want. I don't care if it's Danny Eslick's racer, my Griso will stomp it's ass. My buddy's 1250 V-Rod can't even get a leg up on me and it's got a bunch more go than an XR. Aside from being a very capable ride, one word has always come to mind when riding the Guzzi - Intuitive. How it does what it does as well as it does, I'll never be certain. But I'm certain is a superior animal to the XR, all day, every day.
Smokey3214   December 13, 2011 07:23 PM
Reeeaaallly? Come on guys. Let's add a little reality. I've ridden both bikes. The MG will leave the Harley in the dust and everyone knows it. Come on.
Blackrat62 -Quality  August 22, 2010 08:47 AM
To suggest the quality of the two bikes is similar is delusional - the Harley XR1200 has rust on the exhaust and 'furry' fasteners brand new in the showroom here in the UK - shockingly bad quality for an expensive bike. The Guzzi has stainless all over it - even the airbox screws which are hidden under the seat - vastly superior. Both are fun to ride and I tested both before buying the Guzzi - largely on comfort, fuel range, styling and quality of finish.
gary kressler -xr1200 owner  April 28, 2010 10:12 AM
my xr1200 has a bad slow speed driveability problem any solutions
Beryl Cahoon -Author  April 14, 2010 02:49 PM
It's nice to see that some of the old timers are keeping us posted on the 60"s and 70's models.
David -Griso 8V  January 27, 2010 09:33 PM
The griso 8v is the most fun I've had on two wheels. Masses of torque, i often dont bother down shifting to pass cars, even on the highway at 110km/h, just crack the throttle a tiny bit more....unless the road is really calling to you, then really open it up, and hang on, as the speedo goes way past legal real quick. I am accustomed to the 5500rpm boost and dont even notice it....too busy watching for coppers!! This is one seductive bike to ride. I also like to sit and watch it from down the street..or rather the punters walking around it gaping! Somebody asked about the heat from the Harley...dunno, but a fair amount of heat is apparent at traffic lights here in Australia, its not uncomfortable, and vanishes as soon as you move off. Somebody said the Griso was slow getting away from the lights...I've pissed off R1 and R6 riders bigtime, i used to do the Ninja 900s easily in my Breva 750, so the Griso will masacre the Ninjas!
corey slieker -griso vs Xr1200  December 30, 2009 06:02 PM
I own the baby brother of the 1200 Griso (only 850cc).I added a termignoni pipe, re shimmed the rear shock for improved compression and rebound dampening, as well as re valved and re shimmed the front forks, total upgrade cost about $1100 US.
This bike only makes 80 hp, but on a tight road completely pisses all over an XR1200. (I have riden this bike as well). The XR definetly has more poke, eg better top speed then my 850.

The comments in the article state "nothing solid touched down", well frankly you aint trying hard enough. 2 sets of hero pegs an a worn out side stand attest to the Griso's cornering ability.

Sorry boys but HD's are a dime a dozen (eg comon as muck), very nice but nothing special.

The XR is an excellent bike, and is the only HD i have seen and ridden that i actually thought about buying. But for styling, quality of finish, quality of components (Brembo wheels, brembo brakes, braided brake lines, ZF Sachs mono shock, Aprilia quality front forks), the extra cash is worth it.
Chuck -XR1200 and Yamaha  November 23, 2009 09:38 PM
I rode a Yamaha Virago back in the 80's in college and loved it. Never had a problem. Since Yamaha was my first bike, I had a hard time not buying another. When the XR1200 came out, I checked it out at my Harley dealer and was really impressed. I bought a black one and had a Super Trapp exhaust put on, which took 30lbs off the bike, a Power Commander V off road DynaJet, and the bike really flys. I love it even more than my Yamaha now. In summer the engine heat is not an issue; just wear pants, which you should anyway. I love its retro Evil Knievel style. It has the roar, power and speed to move me down the road in a nimble hurry, and I'm definitely the coolest looking dude at the stoplight.
Massilian -Moto Guzzi Griso 8 V  August 9, 2009 09:04 AM
I own one for over a year now and ride it in the Provence hills (I live in Marseille - France). My previous bike was the 4 V 1100 version which I kept only 6 monthes. This is the most interesting bike I have owned since the original Triumph Speedtriple. It is... different ! Not just the awesome looks, though it sure draws a lot of attention. I can't imagine comparing it to a Harley Sportster, except for engine size and both having much too small tanks. (The Guzzi feels more like a cross breed between a Buell and a Ducati...) You do need a bit of time to get used to it. I did right away ride the Griso with a big smile, but it took me a while to feel really at ease with the powerful kick in the rump above 5500 rpm, that's when the bike remembers it's italian and delivers a strong Ducati feel. It reaches the red zone in no time. Things happen very fast and it is big and heavy, not a 600cc supersport. Good news, the chassis is very rigid and the brakes are great. Which means it's great fun but you better know what you are doing.
Dale -XR1200 heat issue  August 4, 2009 05:13 PM
This is in reply to Eric's May 20th post about the H-D XR1200 being over hyped. Eric, I was tempted to buy one after taking a demo ride at Bike Week. I really liked the handling, ergonomics and engine. But I worried about the heat coming off the engine. The Daytona weather in March was mid-70s, yet I really felt the heat around my legs/ thighs during the 4-5 mile demo ride. Not awful, but I worried about what it would feel like while riding during the summer months. Oddly, in all the reviews I have read, no one mentions the heat issue. ( I have also noticed the absence of comments about engine heat issues in other bike reviews, involving other models. ) What was the air temperature when you first noticed the heta as a problem? Thanks.
Noel Dunnavan -Sportsters Then & Now  July 31, 2009 09:49 AM
First off: I'm an old dude who's been riding bikes for over 50 years;
some Harleys, BMW's, Norton's, Triumphs, Hondas, Kawasaki's, Suzuki'z, Yamaha etc. I've owned and maintained at least a couple of each of these brands over the years, and the only one I kept for over 25 years was a 1966 XLH Sporster 900 Iron head. It was my first V-Twin Harley that I ordered new from the factory and rode through the blossoming years of my youth to adulthood. I'll never forget it and the many great times, old girl friends and trips I took on that old beast. It was a good bike, basicaly reliable and reasonably fast for its day. It forced me to learn how to maintain it and "wrench" on bikes from early-on. It didn't stop or handle particularly well, always vibrated like the cobs of hell and got damned hot on summer rides etc. Still, it was a genuiine American made machine and the only "foreign" part on it was the Bosch voltage regulator. Compared to todays Sportsters, it was mediocre in most respects. The new bikes are smoother, quieter mechanically, get better fuel mileage and burn little oil. Even from new, the old Sportys had a thirst for 50-WT
at about 350~500 miles/quart. Valve adjustments every 12,000~20,000 miles, oil filters (tank-mounted) were an option.
The big difference between bikes of the 60's and the bikes of today are basically these: reliability, better functionality (handling, braking, speed and enduarance) less maintenance and better build quality. However, having said that, the older machines could be owner/rider maintained, rebuilt and generally coorced into mobility with the simplest of tools and without the reliance on a dealership
for technical assistance.
I currently ride a metric machine due to its refinement and better engineering design. However, its been my experience that nothing Metric' possesses either the personality or endearing qualities that make many people ride Harleys and nothing else? One's choice of machines is a very personal 'thang'; one that reflects as much about and individuals' philosophy of life as their financial commitment to what is basically, an expensive hobby.

Noel L. Dunnavan
Tool Engineering
The Boeing Company
English Eddie -Try one, you might like it.  June 27, 2009 11:38 AM
I took a test ride on the XR and grinned all the way round, so much so that I bought it there and then. I cannot compare it to my GSXR 1000, two totally different bikes, I bought the XR for SMILES per hour, the GSXR is for miles per hour. The GSXR will mainly be used on the track now and the XR in the real world. The XR has a full Remus exhaust system on it and sounds awsome. I never thought I would see the day when I bought a Harley, I did, and I am glad I did.
Dave E -One more thing  June 13, 2009 03:56 PM
While I don't care what you ride, I do care about people (not the hardware) that spout off the typical drival that the Milwaukee play book pushes. I've included some with my comments that I reply with. "When are you going to get a "real" bike"........."If you have your pink slip with you let's see who has the"real" bike. "You're just jealous you don't own a HD"......."No thanks I already have a riding lawn mower at home" "You're just jealous you can't afford one"...... "Yeah I guess that I need to make more then 200K a year" "Why do you need all that power"........ "Why do you ride a lawnmower"? "My Harley gets more chicks then your rice burner"......."So you have to depend on a material object to get women?, That my friend is just way too sad" "Why don't you want to support the USA"
Dave E -Echoing most of the same sentiments  June 13, 2009 03:43 PM
The one area that I do not however is that why doesn't HD just create something new and innovative. The VRod failed IMO, and they had to go to Porsche for the engine. The rumors of them resurrecting the Nova V-4 design is intriguing. I'd love to want to buy a HD but I just am not satisfied with old designs and old technology at the core of their product. Yes I know that have a market niche, but what dollar driven company would want to sell more? Honda sells 29 times the vehicles HD does. HD actual makes more profit off it's licensing for clothing then they make profit from selling their bikes.
andyc -griso  June 7, 2009 02:39 PM
has anyone ridden an eight valve griso? did your hands go numb? is it to flat low down? can you overtake traffic on torque alone? is the top end rush pointless? i might get a griso but its a lot of money to spend to find its not quite right so owners give me some feedback cheers.
Neil -XR1200  May 29, 2009 07:12 AM
I rode an XR at Daytona after riding a Buell XB12SS (long) and I liked em both. I had also tried the 883 Iron which was nice for what it was, cruising around town. But the XR blew the Iron right off the street. My brother rode ahead of me on the XR while I rode on the Iron and he just rode off into the sunset and I could not catch him. My ride on the XR; I had no complaints. It had a better seat and riding position than a stock Sportster, way better suspension, more power in a Buell kind of way and was just plain enjoyable. Sure, I could compare it to my old VFR 750 or my FZ1, but it is not trying to be those bikes. For what the XR is, I thought it was fantastic. Yeah it is pricy, but then, Ducatis are as well. It is the best Sportster ever made. With everything made in China these days, we cannot complain. Any one bike is not trying to be the other one. - As for Eric above, the CBR1000RR is bloody uncomfortable as are all the racer replicas and I've test ridden em. I'll take the XR any day. bigdealneil@yahoo.com
Christian -Dont worry about what the guy next to you rides.  May 28, 2009 01:43 PM
Let me start by saying that I can respect everyones views on bikes but come on give it a rest! People shout Harleys suck,others say jap bikes are cookie cutter machines,who cares!riding is about just that the joy of riding.Harleys are overpriced? My 07 cbr1000 was $4800 a year to insure!!!!my 08 nightster was $375 a year through the same company with higher coverage! Lets look at the total owning costs and it will tell a different story.For thoes who call harleys owners hardcore badass wannabees then what should we call the people who ride thoes jap rockets? maybe Valentino Rossi wannabees? and to buy a Harley for pure status! OH DEAR WHO WOULD EVER!!!! wait thoes same people who will buy a $25000 Ducati 1098r when a 08 cbr1000rr will do the job better for a little over 10 grand!MABYE ITS THAT DUCATI NAME!!! because it isnt really a better bike is it?.However the Ducati does have more soul,doesnt it? kinda like a Harley only in a different way. Anyway,why dont you all just enjoy the ride and when you see that guy on that Harley,Ducati,or that Honda just give them a nod and remember that we are all brothers who ride,only our taste in what we ride is different.PEACE OUT TO ALL RIDERS! P.S. right now I ride a 07 yamaha warrior and its a SWEET! :)
Eric -The XR1200 doesn't live up to the hype  May 20, 2009 12:57 AM
I got my XR in January and only put 300 miles on it after the snow melted, mainly due to the riding position being uncomfortable and the heat problem before I sold it. I think the riding position is uncomfortable because the footpegs makes my legs bow outward from the narrow tank to outside of the wide engine cases and gave me thigh cramps. The catalytic converter under your right foot cooks your shoe in stop and go traffic, and the heat radiating from the engine at a standstill is terrible. The upside down forks aren't adjustible and in my opinion are too soft for hard riding, but do well on well maintained roads. The clutch pull is way too heavy and in traffic you arm gets tired quickly. The gas cap doen't lock and the sidestand is very akward to put back down. I only got 90 miles to a tank until the low fuel light came on, and that was conservative riding because I didn't have the engine broken in. I'm glad to have gotten rid of it, it didn't live up to the hype the motor company and the media gave it. If you ride a small displacement Jap bike or a normal Harley model, the XR will be a blast. I've ridden a large variety of bikes, from a DT50 to an NSR250 to a Goldwing and many many more and the XR fails to impress. If anyone disagrees, just check how many are being listed used on ebay or cycle trader with less than 300 miles that have been discarded by their unimpressed owners for proof. I paid $11,300 for it and I traded it in on a new 2008 Honda CBR1000RR that cost $9,999. I think I got a lot more for my money with Honda...
Big Ron -XR 1200 - Sportbike owner test ride  May 18, 2009 10:35 AM
The local Harley dealership had a demo day this past weekend so I took the opportunity to ride the XR-1200 and these are my thoughts. The seating position is comfortable however the seat is not; it feels like you are sitting on a brick. The foot pegs initially felt a little awkward in there placement until I realized that the issue was that the shifter and rear break needed to be adjusted downward to accomodate my inseam and the sportier riding position. Handling was good, really good and the bike felt light in motion however not as light as my ZX-10R. The brakes are good. The engine had plenty of torque and pulled nicely through the rpm range; I didnt red line it as it was a new bike and not broken in. As I left the shop the acceleration initially caught me off guard going through a roundabout as the torque is on demand. The exhaust note was awesome! Overall the bike is QUICK but not FAST, let me explain. I rode it through a local canyon at 80-85 mph that I would typically run at 120 mph on my Z. Since it is naked the elevated wind and noise gave me the same rush as the rocket but 40 mph slower. The big difference here is that I am less likely to go to jail or end up dead on this bike because I will not be going as fast. It accelerates quickly and you still get the rush, just not the topend speed. Around town it is more comfortable than my Z because of the riding position and the reduced pressure on my wrists. In my opinion this is a good street bike; just plan on getting an aftermarket seat.
Jason -Sad Harley Owners  May 12, 2009 08:26 AM
I second jackal. I have ridden a Harley and it certainly vibrated much more than a Guzzi. Maybe the newer model (8v) Guzzis are rougher? I don’t have a problem with people owning Harleys (however misguided I think they are), what I do have a problem with is: 1. The noise. I live near a main road outside Sydney, Australia, every weekend these heaps of rubbish riding out of the city to the mountains for the day, make all this noise. Why can’t they put a decent exhaust system on their bikes? The sound of a Guzzi or a Ducati has that “basso” strong beat, Harleys sound like a fart in the morning after a night on the piss with a late night Indian curry thrown in! 2. Harley owners beat on about having “real” bikes all the time. Harleys are designed by a marketing department, not by engineers!! How can they be “real”? “Real” bike riders in the 50s and 60s rode performance bikes (Triumphs, first Harley Sportster etc), today they wouldn’t be riding some slow old bike like a Harley, they would want the fastest thing on the block (i.e. Ducati 1198, Suzuki GSXR1000 etc). About the only thing to admire about Harley is that they have a fantastic marketing department, selling out of date, over priced boat anchors to people who have such a low self esteem that they need attention and rebel against society. Harley must be laughing all the way to the bank.
jackal/oo -Bad? guzzi  May 11, 2009 03:44 PM
learn to ride a Guzzi properly before you try to write about one --guzzis do not vibrate like a harley
JL Mealer -All Bikes Feel "special"  May 10, 2009 10:16 AM
All bikes feel special in their own way. From a gutless Kawasaki 400 to a Yamaha XS1100s torque feeling back end drop, back on up to just about any harley Davidson's power band. The V Max stands out with pure wet your pants power when throttled and the Triumph Rocket III is nothing but power fromt he moment you kick the engine over and it barks to life. The Guzzi is a good bike with a special, "I am on my way home" feeling.... That's how I perceive it anyhow. Personally, my Rocket III is the best cycle I've ever ridden, but I would like to own a couple of girl bikes in the 1200 cc range asap. Hell... Maybe I ate too much fish yesterday and don't know what I'm talking about.
John D -Guzzi Bad?  May 2, 2009 05:04 AM
I'm a Guzzi owner riding a Cal Vintage, not a Griso, but anyway, I don't get the comment about expecting the Guzzi to be "bad", as in not good. I think Guzzi get's slammed too often by those that never owned one.
joe -nice comparo  April 29, 2009 07:46 AM
Thanks for a good well written article comparing simular bikes. Like some of the respondents I have been riding longer than i want to admit. I started when everything on the market waas a standard and a touring bike was one that had a windshield. I like the nostalgia bikes like the bonneville, and have had several of them. The look of the XR is great. I liked the xlr (correct me if i got the letters wrong) that came out about 8 years ago and now they have the pipes right and a boost in performance. Good job to the motor company. As for the Guzzi it's sexy. I have not gotten to ride one but it looks good and has some performance to match. Neither of these bikes is a long hauler and need to be looked at for what they are, week-end fun bikes. If you want to travel accross the country get a wing. If you want to do the coffee shop jump - coastal rides, these look like the ticket.
javajoe -i love 'em all!!!  April 28, 2009 05:58 PM
i, like many of you, have owned several foreign bikes, both british and japanese..i've always wanted an italian bike such as a guzzi or ducati..i was considering a griso before i got my current '08 FXDF Fatbob..i love my fatbob and even rode it brand new all the way from arizona to sturgis..however, i could never own too many bikes and could easily park an XR 1200 or Griso in my garage..i just want one of everything just for the diversity..life's too short to quibble about loyalties to brands..it's about having fun in whatever package it comes in..yea, don't forget the fun part.
David in Oregon, fmr. MCUSA Contributor -Commentaries  April 28, 2009 01:33 PM
Why is it so "necessary" for both HD loyalists AND their detractors to be so dissonant? I have ridden 400,000 miles over 28 years, mostly on Beemers and Japanese stuff, and recently owned a WIDE GlIDE (yep, a cruiser, Heaven forbid). Some of it is, to me, the smaller and smaller niches that the OEMs have developed to fill every place in the market, and I think that the points made by those who remember so-called Standard Bikes is entirely accurate - they may not be the masters of any one role, but they are usable over a pretty wide variety of riding. If anything, both of the bikes reviewed here are biased more for sporting use than those bikes of yore. I say, just be grateful that we can still have choices in our country, at least, so far. Sadly, I can see a time when our government and the insurance industry might not be quite so willing to oblige us. Can we all just get along? =)
Stray Bullet -Ain't motorcycles great.  April 28, 2009 11:53 AM
I love Harleys!! I’ve seen some that are absolutely stunning. They are fun to ride too. Sure there are other bikes out there that do just about everything better but Harley’s are an American icon. I think they are nostalgic to ride as well. It reminds me of the days of cruising the boulevard with the 50’s and 60’s cars. I, myself, have only rented Harleys. I had a blast because I knew what to expect out of them. I’ve owned German and Jap bikes for 45 years. Every one of them out performed and was more ergo friendly than the Harleys from the same year. But I always loved to check out the “new” line of Harleys every year. Now comes the rant. I don’t understand the “Harley Genre”. Since I don’t understand it, I make fun of it. The leather saddle bags and rear-less chaps always amuse me. Is it today’s iron horse and cowboys? Some of the mini-helmets are quite ridiculous to look at. The law in their respective state requires a helmet so they rebel a little by wearing that beanie. Think how out of place you would look wearing the chaps, beanie helmet, and putting leather bags on a hayabusa. The last part of the carnival is the loud pipes many Harley riders put on their bikes. It reminds me of putting baseball cards in the spokes of my bicycle when I was a kid. It has the same effect too!! Lots of noise and no power enhancement (to speak of). I was told by a Harley riding friend that he likes to get the neighborhood dogs barking and irritate people on the road. They say “Loud pipes saves lives”. I think knowing how to ride safely saves many more lives than loud pipes could ever take credit for. And don’t get me started about “formation riding”. But I love Harleys. As a matter of fact, I love motorcycles in every aspect.
Big Ron -Dennis T  April 28, 2009 07:30 AM
Good comments, I agree that the FZ (had an 06'), Monster and the Triple are a tremendous performance upgrade from both of these bikes. The performance of those three bikes does teater on the edge of sport bike and may still scare alot of new riders; that is why I typically recomend a used SV-650 to new riders. You can pick up a used one pretty cheap, greater commuter, lots of fun, easy to ride and a less horse power than the 600-750 cc sport bike.
Dennis T -Thanks  April 28, 2009 06:54 AM
Big Ron - that's a well written rebuttal and I agree with most of your points. I also think that there is a need for decent standards and that was the measure by which I judged the XR1200 when I rode it. When compared to even an lowly SV650 it loses out on both fun and practicality! If you throw in a Speed Triple, Monster, FZ1, etc it's simply hopelessly outclassed and ludicrously priced. (FWIW, those standards are not "heavy and slow"). It clearly isn't either a sport bike or a cruiser, so what is it's appeal if not purely nostalgia, looks and that "Harley mystique"? Maybe you are right that I have a certain level of distain for Harleys - probably due to a combination of the prices, general level of competence compared to competition, the "lifestyle" and the shameless marketing to sheep aspect. I should be more grown up I know, and accept that there is room for all types on two wheels. As long there are articulate, informed people like yourself willing to counter with sensible, balanced comments (instead of the "Why do you hate America" nonsense) maybe I'll get there in the end!
Big Ron -Dennis T - Rebutal  April 27, 2009 10:23 PM
Dennis, My point was that not everyone wants a sport bike; alot of people are intimidated by the performance but they are not ready to SETTLE for a cruiser; therefore they have the option of getting a Standard. I have a buddy that bought a triumph 675 two years ago and it has less than 1,000 miles on it; he is scared to death of the thing. Unlike me, not everyone wants to zip through the mountains in the triple digits. Most standards are heavy and slow, you rode it, how does it compare to the other standards? That is the real question, we already know it wont compare to a sport bike, its not supposed to. Is your dislike for standards or just Harleys? I had a fatboy, never had any issues with the bike and put 7K per year on the bike during a 6-month riding season. The big problem I have with these bikes is the price; with the lack of technology, why are they so expensive, both of them? As far as Style, these bikes will appeal to the 30+ crowd that doesnt want the cruiser "look" nor do they want to look like they are going through a midlife crisis trying to relive their glory days. My wife would prefer that I have either of these bikes over my current Z; she definitely isnt into the Harley thing nor does she want me to wrap myself around a boulder. The value of the Harley is that they do not depreciate at the rate of the Jap cruisers; I didnt say that they were better. The stratoliner is the best cruiser I have ridden, hands down. I think part of the reason they retain there value is the lack of innovation; they dont change the bike drastically from year to year therefore there isnt a perceived dropoff in performance or value over time like the sportbikes. This has changed over the last three years. The 88-ci, 5 speed bikes dropped in value alot after the introduction of the 96 ci, six speed bike; alot of the 88's are now on craigslist. Harleys also retain there value because of there attention to detail. The Victory is a good looking bike from a distance but it looks cheap when you park it next to a Harley, the blinkers, the dummy lights, the plastic, etc... I have not ridden either of these bikes and probably wont because they do not fulfill my needs; sport tourer or a bagger but I would not hesitate to purchase the one that I thought provided the most "quality, value for money, innovation, comfort, speed, handling, ergonomics and fun." Lastly, I read your comments before writing the first time which is what prompted me to write in the first place. I dont feel the need to "fit in" or appear to be a "bad ass"; bad assumption on your part. As far as looking cool I am much larger than my bike and I appear to be humping a baby elephant everytime I get on it, definintely not getting any style points there. Its up to everyone to decide for themselves what they will get the most satisfaction from riding.
Dennis T -Missed the point Big Ron  April 27, 2009 07:54 AM
I think that if you read the comments - instead of making assumptions about motorcycle niche products -- from myself, Raymond, etc, the problem is not that this bike is not a good sport bike. It's not a good motorcycle, period. It may have passed muster in the 80s, as you say, but now it's heavy, slow, uncomfortable and generally - like all Harleys - atrocious value for money compared to competing products. I understand nostalgia, patriotism, herd mentality, the desire to appear to be a badass, the need for conformity and approval... none of those things are valid arguments to support buying a sub standard product though. This has nothing to do with cruiser / standard / sport bike issues though and to assume that would be to miss the point. It's about quality, value for money, innovation, comfort, speed, handling, ergonomics and fun. Those are all areas in which Harley's fall woefully short. I'm not a "hater" just truthful, pragmatic and unblinkered.
Big Ron -Not a supposed to be a sport bike  April 26, 2009 09:06 PM
This bike is a standard, not a cruiser and not a sport bike. If you think back to the 70's and 80's, before the emergence of the modern sport bike most bikes were standards; CBR 750, 900, etc... They handled well (not great) and were generally a blast to ride. Good for commuting and ok for canyon carving. This bike isnt supposed to compete with your R-1; its competition is the Ducati Monster and a couple of the triumphs; all of which are a blast to ride. I have owned Harleys and Sport Bikes (currently have an 05' ZX10R) and enjoy them both to the point that I will keep my current rocket and pick up a Dyna this spring. Riders from the sport bike and cruiser communities seem more focused on bashing each other than enjoying them selves. Go ride the other bike and dont expect it to ride or perform like your bike; they have a different intended purpose and they are both good at fulfilling that goal. The point is don't be a hater; ride what suits you and don't bash your neighbor because he doesnt.
He said it -Truth  April 24, 2009 01:48 AM
Harleys... I dunno,i beleive america is capable of making a better bike than that. The japanese can build a good cruiser an a wicket sportsbike. Americans can only do one,well so far. An dont even start with buells. Il stick with that harleys are for posers an bikie gangs who dont know or dont want to beleive that there is something better to ride out there. An im no american hater, far from. I beleive some of the best cars ever made were muscle cars that came from detroit. Raw,powerful,and a handfull. Just the way a real car should be ;)
Dennis T -Duly noted - thanks  April 23, 2009 08:46 PM
Totally my bad - yep I used a bad word and you're right.... Best(ish) behavior from now on...
MCUSA Staff -Dennis T  April 23, 2009 02:54 PM
The post was 99% great, but we have a policy of deleting any profanity on the comments. The "Thanks Corporal USA and Iron Butt 54hemorrhoids" comment was great, just remember our site is for everyone, so keep the language network television not HBO.
Dennis T -Wow - I was deleted!  April 23, 2009 02:25 PM
I guess if you speak too much truth you get wiped off the boards! I think I did use the S word regarding Harley's so maybe that was it? Well, without any further swear words I will reiterate my previous point.. Having ridden countless Harleys I don't "have to ask", I do "understand" and that's precisely why I would never buy one. I do feel sorry for Iron Butt doing so many miles on his Harleys - genuinely - to spend so much time in the saddle putting up with vibration, sloppy handling, poor engine response and uncomfortable ergos just to draw some weird lemming like satisfaction from the 14 letters on the gas tank? You have been missing out on modern, capable, fun, comfortable bikes that would increase your abilities, adrenaline output and grin factor beyond measure. I'm not sure that the superior smirk that Harley ownership seems to deliver is worth missing out on all that!
Billy -Eric  April 23, 2009 10:48 AM
For your information I always did and always will make an educated decision based off a thorough evaluation when ever I purchase any big ticket item. It is this very thorough evaluation which leads me every time to decide against Harley. As far as Harley riders, all you have to do is read their posts in order to make a judgment on where their “evaluation” comes from; it comes from clever marketing and BS that was piled on to them by "the motor company".
Eric -harley extremism  April 23, 2009 07:38 AM
There seem to be two sides to this coin. On one side are the harley extremists who believe that anyone who rides anything other than a harley is guilty of high treason. On the other side are the riders that refuse to even consider a harley because they assume that they are as reliable now as they were back in the AMF days. What happened to the days when consumers would go out and look at every bike that matched their needs and then made an informed decision from that information. I have ridden virtually every motorcycle that harley currently offers (including buells) but they do not suit my riding tastes or personal style. The only one that I've ever badly wanted is the v-rod and other bikes with the same engine. I loved the street rod but it was always too much money than I could justify spending on it. In short, get over your preconceptions and choose a bike based on your needs not because of brand or national loyalty. That being said, don't buy an inferior product because of brand loyalty, it only encourages that company to continue producing inferior products.
Billy -Captain USA, Iron Butt 54yold  April 22, 2009 08:30 PM
Typical thin skinned little Harley wimps who hate to hear that there are other people out there who do not share in the same obsession with Harley Davidson. As if there is anything you can do on a Harley that you can’t do twice as well on another make of bike. Oh and don’t forget the same old, brain dead, tired saying…ahh your not American if you don’t own or want to own a Harley. Please, if Harley’s were actually made from parts made entirely in America then maybe there would be a shred of relevance to your lame attitude. Captain USA-“Why do you hate America?” No one said they hate America we just dislike Harley riders like yourself who think they are captain America just because they made a mistake in their motorcycle purchase, besides people like you probably drive a Kia or Hyundai. Iron Butt 54yold-“ "If you have to ask, you will never understand". Get a life” That is the same thing I tell Harley riders every time they ask me why I ride something other than a Harley. I don’t hate America I just hate the fact that a Harley is the best motorcycle America can make when I know America can do much better; America leads the field in so many areas of technology and manufacturing but when it come to motorcycles… well lets just say it’s sad.
Iron Butt 54yrold -HD envy  April 22, 2009 07:39 PM
I am not sure what people in this country have become, but they are not the militant war mongers I grew up loving. John Wayne is really dead and every new generation becomes less and less American like.... I have ridden every bike Harley makes and most more than 50K miles. My current stable has almost 120k on them and yes they look new, ride better than new and are worshiped lovingly every single day. Man and Machine is not about sewing machine comfort, but the over coming of indulgences to test ones metal on the edge, every edge. On a 1973 Sportster I made a single journey of 14,500 miles in a single trip with zero problems. Cornering in more than who has the lowest lean angle. It is the sensatioin of riding at ones best after becoming one with the machine. I am 54 and still ride like I stole it.... Not so for many young crotch rocket riders who still feel out of place in the desert heat, Minnesota cold, Alabama tornado's or just with life it's self. HD represents the pursuit of self knowledge, hence "If you have to ask, you will never understand". Get a life..
Captain USA -To all the Harley haters  April 22, 2009 06:12 PM
Why do you hate America?
Dennis T -Thanks Billy  April 22, 2009 12:26 PM
I think everything I said holds true, but thanks for putting me right on the bike sales issue. Apparently, I bought into the conventional wisdom that Harley is the #1 bike seller in the US.
Billy -Dennis T  April 22, 2009 10:09 AM
I agree with you fully Dennis except for one point. Harley does not sell the most bikes in America by a huge margin or even by any margin. Honda sells more bikes in America than Harley. As a matter of fact Honda sells almost as many bikes in America as Harley sells worldwide. Harley sells more –heavy weight cruisers than Honda, but not more motorcycles. This is a common misunderstanding that Harley likes to play-up to their advantage.
Dennis T -Harley Mystique  April 21, 2009 08:16 AM
First off - Harley sell more motorcycles in the USA than anyone else by a HUGE margin. They have deep pockets, enormous advertising budgets and a rabid fan base. This means that the results of ANY test or review need to be filtered somewhat. No magazine or web site will commit financial suicide by trashing a Harley, losing advertising or alienating such a devoted fan base. Fair enough - we are all pragmatic people and understand the realities of life. In all fairness Harley's have improved immeasurably over the last 20 years - to the point that they are now only ten or fifteen years behind the Japanese and Italians. Like Raymond's brother's bike - most Harleys indeed ARE worshiped but seldom ridden - look at all the five year old bikes for sale with less than 5,000 miles ferchristsake! I have ridden the XR 1200 and found it heavy, underpowered and uncomfortable. It handled OK for a Harley - that's a huge caveat though. It is a great looking bike - harking back to the mighty XR-750 dirt track dominating bike. If you buy it for nostalgia and looks that's great. Don't ever confuse it with a modern sports bike though - or even with useful, comfortable transportation.
Raymond Fulton -Harley Davidson  April 20, 2009 04:58 PM
I have owned a 2007 H.D. 1200 Sportster roadster for over a year and I have a few observations to report. My first bike was a Honda CB 160 I got second hand from my brother, simply put a beautiful machine. That led to more machines from Japan until finally my brother bought a H.D. glide and seemed to worship the thing,seldom riding unless it was a special occasion, and never allowing me on the thing, sure that a paint scratch would result. The bike I have sits in the garage even on nice days here in Florida( more than 200 per year). The bike is lousy on performance, the engine heat is better than a bonfire, the brakes are grabby, and it really vibrates composite tooth filllings loose. And put that with the extras the dealer suckered me with(wheel insurance) and crap that made me wonder what they were thinking(alarm system that runs the battery down in 4 days). To anyone believing Harley's bull---t, ride and see for yourself. At that crappy seat that numbs your butt in less than 100 miles, a poorly designed fuel tank, undersized and hard to fill at the pump, and a suspension they should be slapped serious over. I want just half the money I've made in payments and its theirs again.
Marshamallow Butt -Harley seat comfort?  April 20, 2009 01:40 PM
The review states: "Yet the seat is super plush and helps counteract the suspension’s jarring effect, making a hundred mile trip more than plausible. " Are you kidding? I've test ridden one and the seat is a thin plank, as can be seen in the photos. Everyone else that I know that has ridden one agrees. Just makes me wonder if you are so wrong on something simple like this, how the rest of the review is valid.