Are Harley-Davidson's Sportster 1200 Motorcycles Suitable for Novice Riders?

Is Harley-Davidson's Sportster 1200 a Good Bike for Beginners? Here's What You Need to Know

Even if you’re not a motorcycle rider, you’ve likely heard of Harley-Davidson. While the brand is iconic, Harleys aren't usually the most budget-friendly option. However, some Harley-Davidson models are relatively affordable. For new and beginner riders who prefer a cost-effective choice, the Sportster 1200 stands out. You can find a used Sportster 1200 for around $5,000, making it a reasonable middle-ground option. Note that this model is no longer in production, so you'll have to buy used.

Why the Sportster 1200 Is Beginner-Friendly

Any bike can be a beginner bike if you're dedicated, but the Sportster 1200's relatively low price, readily available parts, and ease of customization make it a solid choice for novice riders. These factors are crucial if you've recently passed your test and are looking to ease into riding without breaking the bank.

Considerations for New Riders

One downside of the Sportster 1200 being out of production is the limited availability of specific models. Performance is consistent across the line, but certain models like the Sportster XL1200 Low, with its 26.3-inch seat height, might be more appealing compared to the 28.9-inch seat height of the Sportster Iron 1200. Seat height and bike weight are important factors for new riders.

Sportster 1200s are heavy, with a 2015 Sportster Iron 1200 weighing around 550 lbs. This weight is noticeable at stops but manageable at cruising speeds. If the weight concerns you, consider alternatives like the Honda Rebel 500, which has a curb weight of 408 lbs.

Longevity and Maintenance

Thanks to the long-running Sportster line, parts for repair or customization are easy to find, making this a bike you can grow with. Proper maintenance ensures the Sportster 1200 remains reliable and enjoyable.

What About the Sportster S?

If you're considering new options, the Harley-Davidson Sportster S might catch your eye. Starting at $16,999, it's significantly more expensive than a used Sportster 1200. The Sportster S features the new Revolution Max 1250T engine, replacing the Evolution engine used since 1984. The new engine is lighter, making the bike weigh 502 lbs. The Sportster S is packed with modern features like Bluetooth and USB connectivity, but its high price might be a barrier for new riders.