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XR 1200 - Thoughts from the masses?


texscottyd
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I have an interesting opportunity to pick up a nicely sorted 2009 Harley XR 1200, and was looking for some feedback from the forum.   I recall seeing a couple of members having mentioned owning one, but can't recall who to reach out to directly.

Simple background:  I'm not a 'Harley Guy' but have always kind of wanted a Street Tracker... I've just never been up for building one myself.   A good friend has decided to part with his 2009 XR 1200, and offered me a reasonable deal for first right of refusal.   It's been nicely upgraded, only 5K miles, two owners from new... never wrecked or abused.   It has the long Ohlins piggyback shocks, upgraded X model forks with Andreani cartridges, and a spectacular Termignoni exhaust; otherwise is mostly stock. 

It would be a third or fourth bike (depending on how you count), so I'm not concerned about commuting, day-to-day practicality, etc...    Mostly, I'm just looking for something fun and different. 

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So, what do you all know?  

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Take it for a ride - see if you bond with it. I had 3 sportsters over the years and there is something very visceral about the firing order. Kind of like an old rotary engine on a bi-plane, not cutting edge but something that I like.

I have not owned that model, but that is the top of the food chain for sportsters.

I have also had the big Harley's which I am no longer a fan. Heavy, scrape things, etc.

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1980 Yamaha 850 Triple (sold). Too many bikes to list, FJ-09 is next on my list
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Thanks @Lone Wolf - A ride is definitely next step before making a decision.   The current owner said basically the same thing... ride it before you get too serious:   "You'll know pretty quickly if you love it or hate it"  

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4 hours ago, texscottyd said:

I was looking for some feedback from the forum. 

 

3 hours ago, Lone Wolf said:

Take it for a ride - see if you bond with it.

 

3 hours ago, texscottyd said:

The current owner said basically the same thing... ride it before you get too serious:   "You'll know pretty quickly if you love it or hate it"  

My thoughts exactly, you can read reviews and get input from previous owners but there is only one way to see how YOU fit and feel about it.

With the current economy I can't afford to own and maintain more than my current 2 bikes.  I alternate riding both, so they get almost equal mileage requiring tires and oil changes at close to the same interval.  They take completely different size tires so keeping spares on hand is more expensive and takes up more space in the garage.  The VFR is more expensive to insure and gets lower fuel economy and they both require premium.  They both need to be setup ergonomically to suit me with handlebars, seats, wind screens etc.  I cant imagine having the time or money to outfit and maintain even more bikes to the same level and be able to give them all equal road time.

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***2015 Candy Red FJ-09***

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The exhaust is probably worth $2k!

Flat trackers are kool.

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1968 Triumph Bonneville 650
1971 Norton Commando Roadster
2002 Harley 1200 Sportster
2003 Honda ST 1300
2016 FJ 09
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Brian

You can't ride them all equally.   Luckily 3 of mine run the same tires and are all farkled / set up to fit me.  My RD and XL1200S are both down right now but even if they ran I'd still minimize mileage on them due to their features and limited usability.

Space and time are, as expected for those of limited means, are my biggest associated issues.

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On 10/28/2022 at 4:02 PM, betoney said:

With the current economy I can't afford to own and maintain more than my current 2 bikes.  I alternate riding both, so they get almost equal mileage requiring tires and oil changes at close to the same interval.  They take completely different size tires so keeping spares on hand is more expensive and takes up more space in the garage.  The VFR is more expensive to insure and gets lower fuel economy and they both require premium.  They both need to be setup ergonomically to suit me with handlebars, seats, wind screens etc.  I cant imagine having the time or money to outfit and maintain even more bikes to the same level and be able to give them all equal road time.

That’s an interesting topic.   I suspect that everyone will have a different ‘right answer’, based on their personal situation.   I don’t ride enough miles now to be overly-burdened by maintaining multiple bikes:  5K miles a year across a couple of bikes means I’m still only changing one or two sets of tires & doing a couple of oil changes.  I tend to just order parts & supplies as I need them, so spares inventory isn’t a real concern.   

My insurance doesn’t seem to change much as I add more bikes.  Adding full coverage for the new Speed Twin only added $112 a year to the bill; presumably since you can only ride one bike at a time.   Inspection and registration is additive, but at about $100/bike/year, I can ignore that one.

The one glaring hole in my logic is the actual cost of buying a bike, and the corresponding depreciated value over its lifespan.   If you’re financing, that’s a very real monthly cash flow number that’s hard to ignore.  I always pay cash for my bikes, which makes the purchase evaluation very binary: “Yes or No: Is it worth x dollars for me to own this new bike?”   I tend to keep them 10 years or more, so once I own a bike I sort of ignore the purchase investment in further cost/benefit discussions.   Note:  This is an example why I am NOT a good financial investment advisor.  :) 

So, for me the magic number seems to be four:  Two modern, reliable, turn-the-key-and-go bikes; one fun occasional play bike (the role the XR1200 would fill), and one project bike to always be tinkering with in the shop.   Anything beyond that and I’m chasing plugged carbs/injectors, soft brakes, dead batteries, and other general neglect.   

As always, your mileage may vary.  Offer not valid in Ohio… 😀

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On 10/28/2022 at 5:39 PM, piotrek said:

It's a good dilemma to have. 🙂

I recall @fddriver2 had one of these at some point and liked it. It's a pretty good looking machine IMO.

Yes I did/do. I put almost 50,000 miles on one. 

In 2011 I bought a 2009 XR1200 as a retirement gift to myself. A very cool bike and a rolling conversation starter. I bought every accessory available for it. Tank bags side cases and tail bag. Over the course of the next 2 years, I upgraded it to my needs. It has RaceTec forks setup to my weight. The HD Showa shocks. DragSpecialties urethane motor mounts. A Thundermax ecm tuned buy Thundermax at Daytiona Bike Week. A Remus exhaust. Also what is known in the XR circles as the "Scotty Mod" I rode it up the Outer Banks the length of BRP and trips to NC and all over Florida.

The facts about it. 

As cool as it is. It's not really comfortable for a guy who was pushing 60 to travel on.  Not a problem for my 30 year old son. 

It carries 3.5 gallons of gas. At 100-120 miles you better be looking. Not a problem here in the east. Out west.......

At +550lbs and ~90hp it isn't the fastest thing out there. I loved riding it in the mountains of NC. It makes a ton of torque. You can stay in 3rd gear and roll the throttle on and off. It's a hoot.

Now, the reasons it is no longer in my possession.

I bought the FJ under the pretense of traveling out west with a close friend and my premier riding buddy. Who has since decided that his traveling by bike days are done. I was riding the XR off and on, but my eldest son was in desperate need of a reliable bike. So I sold it to him for $1.00 with the stipulation that should he ever decides to move on from it I get it back for $1.00

It now has ~70,000 miles on it and it runs fine. It burns a little oil according to my son. 1/4 of a qt over 4,000-5,000 miles.

He rode it to Barber Vintage Festival with me a couple weeks ago.

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"It doesn't matter who walks in, you know the joke is still the same"  Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. USA

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They can be entertaining bikes.  A few years ago AMA had a race series for them.  Entertaining to watch.

I have no experience with them but they are popular and relative easy to find folks to work on them.  Rode an Indian FTR and the XR 1200 seems similar.  I would have to have at look at both of those if it were me.  What I loved about the FTR was how compact and easy it was.  LOL could never wrap my head around the relatively low reving twin and that it was low RPM power.  At the time it I either had a Kawasaki ZX6R 636 or was not long after I traded it.  So I was used to an i$ that made lots of power at high RPM.  

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Did you ride it? Like it, or not? Be hard to find a bike more different than the FJ in engineering & character. Performance "Hardlys" are a bit of an acquired taste, but have their charms, as well as being great conversation starters. Still love my souped -up Dyna, totally primitive heavy metal riding experience compared to the Tracer.....

Edited by Larz
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On 10/30/2022 at 3:09 PM, texscottyd said:

So, for me the magic number seems to be four:

I think that it's been scientifically proved that the ideal number of bikes in your garage is (N+1) where N is the number of bikes presently sitting in your garage.  Life is too short to dither and put things off and sometimes owning stuff can be as much about "I Want" rather than "I Need" 

So My 2 cents worth is if you want it and the financial implications don't have an impact on other important stuff in your life just do it and enjoy every mile.

P.S. This is from someone who had to re-write the scientific equation as (N equals 1) but it is a fantastic one.

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My eyes are almost as big as my stomach so to speak when it comes to quantity but I do like to dine well.

I've never needed to count calories until I built my garage with shop.  Before 1995 I had space for 6.  Now 3 is a comfortable number, SWMBO didn't mind my ménage à trois....

But now with quintuplets  I need a bigger shop without loosing a cage stall no matter how I try to arrange and discard.  In fact 4 is 1 too many to maintain let alone ride on a widely prioritized basis.

I will pare down to 3 but it's always harder to loose than gain weight!

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