HARLEY-DAVIDSON XR1200 (2010-2012) Review

Published: 05 November 2009

"Based on the 2009 XR1200, the XR1200X has vastly improved, multi-adjustable suspension"

Harley-Davidson XR1200X

"Based on the 2009 XR1200, the XR1200X has vastly improved, multi-adjustable suspension"

  • At a glance
  • 1202cc  -  90 bhp
  • 45 mpg  -  120 miles range
  • Insurance group: 11 of 17
    Compare insurance quotes now
  • Medium seat height (795mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Based on the 2009 XR1200, the XR1200X is slightly more sports biased than the sports biased XR1200. Confused? Don’t be. All you have to think about is the X-model has vastly improved, multi-adjustable suspension that makes a difference when riding 187kg of American muscle on our roads. It also comes in a menacing black paint scheme with black exhausts. Engine spec remains the same as the XR1200. Just remember Harley’s idea of sports bike performance is nothing like a 600-1000cc sports machine produced in the past 20 years.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The addition of Showa pig piston forks and piggyback shocks puts the accomplished XR1200 onto another rung of the handling ladder. There’s a lot more feedback from front and rear wheels and the front end feels considerably more settled on the brakes. At the same time it is supple enough to rubbish the Queen’s crumbling highways. This means you can actually wring every last drop of performance from the XR1200X and make use of it. Or simply enjoy the slow revving nature of the bike with an improved, polished even, ride quality.

Engine 3 out of 5

The air-cooled 1202cc is all torque – 74ftlb of it – with not a lot more horsepower to top off the lowdown punt, but then it is based on the 1200 Sportster but with higher compression and upswept, high volume 2:1:2 exhausts (see XR1200 review for full details). 

Build Quality & Reliability 2 out of 5

The Harley-Davidson chassis range is slowly but surely getting updated. Better brakes and suspension figure highly, as per the XR1200 and XR1200X. But somewhere along the line H-D have forgotten about the simple things like why is the clutch cable flapping in the breeze; why are the footpegs and foot controls so chunky-ugly yet so loose, and so on?

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

By being a Harley-Davidson, a sporty one at that, Harley fans will rave about the sub £10k price of £9170. But this figure is up £925 on the basic £8245 XR1200, and even with the superb Showa suspension this is no justification for the higher price tag. If Harley is serious about swaying sports bike riders to ride Harley, it has to do better in all areas. Find a Harley-Davidson XR1200 for sale.

Insurance group: 11 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The XR1200 scores 2 out of 3 for equipment in its review because of its very basic spec. The 1200X nets another mark because of the very capable – very desirable – Showa suspension. Compare and buy parts for the XR1200X in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

2 owners have reviewed their HARLEY-DAVIDSON XR1200 (2010-2012) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your HARLEY-DAVIDSON XR1200 (2010-2012)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A great everyday bike with a bit of character.

29 December 2015 by Paul

Tick over is too lumpy at traffic lights. Indicator switches on both sides is mad because you have to have to let go of the throttle and brake to be able to turn right!! Self cancelling is great and should be on all bikes so that seems to conform to... Read more the philosophy of HD 50% right is good enough. The lack of attention to detail is the biggest annoyance. Bought the bike because the gearbox on my R1 went bang and couldn't resist sending it to Kevin Stephenson to get more power out of it, big tick on the power front but I don't have enough will power and would lose my license if I rode it every day. Bought the XR because it is slow but still good fun, would recommend it to anyone with a fast bike that needs an everyday ride that's still good fun and handles great. It's a bike that doesn't force you to go fast but it will surprise you if you pushed it. Will kick on even when you short shift. This bike is all about the engine and suspension.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Got the X version and the brakes and suspension are first class. Very relaxing to ride and will corner as fast as you want. Needs a steering damper to cope with fast sweepers that have a few bumps!
Engine
4 out of 5
Apart from the lumpy tick over it's got great usable power for everyday use, Can go surprisingly fast in the rain as traction is very predictable. Spin up the back wheel on the R1 and you could easily be off, do it on the XR and it's survivable. Short shifting away from the lights will leave a lot of other bikes revving their nuts off just to keep up.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
Frame is just starting to go rusty and wiring is a mess so is bound to go wrong. Cable routing is arcane and seems to be an afterthought. In general it has a very low amount of engineering design or was designed by an apprentice/trainee. This bike is built to go wrong.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Haven't had it long enough to be able to judge. Simple pushrod V twin should be simple enough to maintain, has electronic ignition and hydraulic tappets so it should only need oil and grease. Not enough power to wear out tyres.
Equipment
3 out of 5
No fuel gauge and you have a choice of clock or trip but not both together. It's bare bones. For this type of bike why not have an old fashioned dual seat like the aftermarket Corbin dual seat as standard, it's not a racer, it wouldn't ruin the looks and would make the bike better if you had friends which isn't something Harley seem to think their owners have. Headlight is crap, a real old fashioned candle in a beer bottle, My 41 year old Kawasaki H1 has a better headlamp and that's got a 25W tungsten bulb.
Buying experience

Bought from Billau Motorcycles who were great, shipped the bike to me when they said they would.

5 out of 5

The XR1200X is a blank canvas for your dream bike

08 December 2009 by cjgarvin

First, let me say that I'm mildly pissed off Europeans got this bike first. I'm in American street racer and we had to wait a year to get the first "American" XR1200. But, I eventually got mine and I love it. As a former Yamaha owner, I had to learn... Read more that all Harley's are bone stock, with tons of room for modifications. The average Harley owner here in the States spends $10,000 additional in performance modifications to their engines, breaks, body ect because that's what Harley Davidson is all about--customization-- to make your bike uniquely different than everyone else's. My XR1200X is a kick ass bike that likes to brawl and won't get tired and never lets me down. The low end torque is fabulous and it's meant to race strongly around street corners at 55MPH--with short spurts of 110 to 120 MPH until I hit another turn. It's a flat track race bike for the street--that's all it is. It's not a cross country 150MPH bike. Get a VMax if that's what you’re into--but no one in St. Louis, MO USA has beaten me racing around the streets on my XR1200. No one! Not BMW, not Yamaha, not Honda, which are all outstanding bikes, but all fall to the bikes launch torque in tight city streets. Yes, those bikes can scream by if the straightaway is a little longer, but by the time they catch up, I'm carving the turn and torqueing out again--just like in flat track. At a stop, the bike's idle will pull you forward in 2nd gear without stalling! My friend who rides a Honda CBR 1000RR was amazed by that. Stage 1 performance modifications I recommend to get the most out of your XR1200X or XR1200 1) Get the SUPERTRAPP XR1200 2:2 MEGAPHONE Exhaust SYSTEM. Your bike will sound like a muscle car! It is also 20 pounds lighter than the stock HD exhaust and squeezes 12 more horses out of your engine. 2) Get the Power Commander V fuel injection system by Dyna Jet along with Auto Tune. Dyno charts prove this will give you 15 more horses and more torque at the higher RPM ranges, plus improved my gas mileage. More advanced mods: Have your Harley dealer install Screamin' Eagle® Performance Valve Spring Kit (18013-03A) and Screamin' Eagle® Tappets (18572-07) Both of these beef up my engine for high horsepower/high RPM applications to 7000 RPMs. Follow your owner’s manual break in procedures to the letter! Use 93 octane fuel. After the initial 1000-mile break in, use Screaming Eagle synthetic engine oil. Before riding, let your bike warm up for three or four minutes without revving the engine. I have and do all these things and take pride in riding my XR1200X motorcycle.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Read all 2 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2010
Year discontinued 2012
Original price £9,595
Used price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 90 bhp
Max torque 74 ft-lb
Top speed 125 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 120 miles
Specification
Engine size 1202cc
Engine type Air-cooled, pushrod, 4v four-stroke V-twin. Five gears
Frame type Tubular steel double cradle
Fuel capacity 13.25 litres
Seat height 795mm
Bike weight 260kg
Front suspension Fully adjustable
Rear suspension Adjustable for preload and compression damping
Front brake 2 x 292mm discs with 4-piston calipers
Rear brake 260mm disc with single-piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70 x 18
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2008: XR1200R released
2010: XR1200X released

Other versions

XR1200R: the bike the XR1200X is based on

Photo Gallery

  • Harley-Davidson XR1200X
  • Harley-Davidson XR1200X
  • Harley-Davidson XR1200X
  • Harley-Davidson XR1200X
  • Harley-Davidson XR1200X
  • Harley-Davidson XR1200X
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