Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Older brother for Sportster

I have been getting increasingly pissed off whilst my bike has been off the road waiting for parts to do a chain conversion. Matters came to a head last week and so I did the obvious thing - I brought a spare Sportster.

I've often thought that it would be handy to have two bikes so that I always had one on the road. Common sense would say that the second bike should be some cheap reliable hack - like a Japanese 250. But then again I've also often thought that it would be cool to have a project bike to fuck around with - this would just have to be a Harley. So I put the two ideas together - and brought a second Sportster.

It was an impulsive buy but not as extravagant as it may sound - this was a very low mileage 1989 XLH1200 model that had been stored for some time. It is distinctly tatty and needs a bit of tidying up. It also is festooned in "Live to ride. Ride to live" crap that will have to go. Along with the hideous buck-horn bars and pannier supports.

On the positive side it is of an age when chain drive was standard - so my recent experiences of belts snapping won't be repeated. On the negative side it is of an age when the four speed gearbox was still to be updated. These are agricultural at the best of times, but I suspect that the clutch on mine is shagged anyway. There seem to be any number of false neutrals but I can never actually engage the real neutral !

This makes riding in town 'interesting' to say the least. But on the open road it rides very nicely - and differently from my 2003 XL883R/1200 conversion. It certainly made the bank holiday Southend run without any problems - and even got a few admiringly looks for its old school / lived-in 'vintage' charm alongside the gleaming weekend-only bikes of some of the HOG-types

Despite having all sorts of plans - apart from sorting the transmission - I'm resisting all temptations to mess about it without it too much until I get the other one back on the road. Watch this space ...

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