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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!

Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA

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  • 1 Post By Bones667

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Old 6 Feb 2015
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Harley Sportster for Chicago to Panama

Hey all. I'm pre planning a trip for August of 2016. It seems that there aren't alot of cruiser style bikes that people suggest. Am I a lunatic to think a Harley xl883 would work? I've taken a 150 cc Honda 2500km through vietnam, and can see the appeal. Just wondering if a cruiser is stupid of me
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Old 6 Feb 2015
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Hi Patrick and welcome,
These people would probably say it is fine and given their experience I would challenge anyone to disagree with them.

Peter and Kay Forwood on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. World's Most Travelled Motorcycle.
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Old 6 Feb 2015
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Harleys would be better than a lot of so called adventure bikes out there, reliable and capable of high mileage. A sportster tank will only give you about 80 miles between fill ups though..
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Old 6 Feb 2015
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Cool Touring on a Harley Sportster

Yup. You could do it!! Your comfort level might depend on what year model it is. In 2004 Harley redesigned the Sportster and rubber mounted the motor. Much less vibration especially on the 883. Also the later models had bigger gas tanks and can make 150 to 200 miles before you walk. :=) Set it up with the right seat, backrest, highway pegs, then set back and enjoy the country. There are several people here in our Harley group that can tell stories all day about their "Iron Butt" rides on their Sportsters.
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Old 7 Feb 2015
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And bring a tow rope so you can help all those guys with broken down KLRs.
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Old 7 Feb 2015
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...and don't let anyone tell you they can't venture off pavement:

The RotoPax tank is my solution to the small fuel tank.
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Old 7 Feb 2015
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Agreed, a well set up Sportster can travel well, even off road.

I would shake it down pre trip to make sure it's truly comfortable for 10 hour days. Carefully scrutinize seat and bar position .. and all ergos. The ergos are the only real problem I have with HD. I do fine on Buell, not so much on HD, but the newer Sportster's are best of the bunch as a travel bike, IMHO.

Go through the fasteners and some hardware bits and up grade the junk nuts/bolts and Blue Loc-Tite key assemblies.

Not sure about sourcing tires, but should be there somewhere.
Get rid of all the extra chrome bling and crap.

Carry a spare belt ... and know how to change it. The new Super Kevlar belts are super strong so probably never use your spare ... but nice to have.

Harley's are pretty tough bikes once everything is tightened up and checked.
Should do 20,000 miles or more before needing any major service if it starts out in like new condition.
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Old 9 Feb 2015
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You all are the best! I was starting to get a bit put off after looking through the first few pages of threads and didn't see anyone talking about them. My trip isn't until 2016, so I'm sure I'll have plenty more questions for you guys! Thanks again
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Old 9 Feb 2015
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In the past I've done a bit of European touring on both a HD XL 883R (2002 model) and a 1450 dyna street bob (2007 model). In my opinion the 883R was the better all rounder and was averaging around 150 miles per tank. The Sporty is more upright with wider flat tracker type bars as standard so it handled more like a normal MC than a cruiser. I fitted a small rack for tent etc and had a set of soft throwover panniers and off I went... The only mods I did to the bike was a standard stage 1 tune with free flowing Airbox, 2 into 1 pipes etc..

The belts are normally good for about 60K miles of tarmack but a mate of mine lived in the country with a lot gravel tracks and broke 2 belts in 3 years! luckily the dealer replaced both under warranty

I've also toured on my Yamaha fazer 600 which is a far better touring bike than both my previous HD!

Oh.. and the Harley is also quite heavy to pick up if you drop it like I did


Last edited by Bones667; 9 Feb 2015 at 13:11. Reason: typo
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