Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster 72

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Power: 66 bhp
Seat height: Low (28.0 in / 710 mm)
Weight: High (545 lbs / 247 kg)


New N/A
Used £6,700 - £9,500

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The new Harley ‘72’ is a blinged/tarted up custom – the idea being a full-on. Early ‘70s-style custom (hence the name) but on the 1200 Sportster platform rather than the more usual big twins. It works, too.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The ergonomics are roomier than you expect thanks to the roomy riding position provided by its high bars and forward, highway pegs. At the same time it drives and handles well enough, too. The combo of skinny 21-inch front hoop and low rear somehow isn’t too skitish – more light and manageable. The forks are basic, but don’t seem it and the shortened shocks give a crud-ish ride, but it’s nothing to complain about.


Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Small block 1200 is unchanged from other Harley-Davidson Sportsters and familiarly free-revving and friendly – easy to get on with, just about punchy enough and willing, too – just don’t expect ‘conventional 1200’ levels of performance…

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Quality is up to Harley’s usual high standards with deep paint and chrome and rugged build oh, and by the way, that stunning ‘big flake’ metallic red paint is gorgeous in the flesh and set to be rolled out through Harley’s range. We can’t wait.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

OK, the ‘72’s no long haul bike and it’s also, still, a tad ‘girly’. But overall the ’72 is fresh, sparklingly pretty, well-equipped and detailed as standard, has plenty of sweet touches and a decent ride at a tempting price that’ll appeal to a broader range of riders than expected.


4 out of 5 (4/5)

The specific inspiriation is choppers of the ‘60s and ‘70s. A key element is the ‘peanut’ 2.2 gallon tank (filched from the Sportster 48). After that is mostly predictable ingredients: a 21-inch, ‘skinny’ front tyre, lowered rear end, high bars and lots of chrome.

But where Harley’s pulled it off for me is by going the extra yard with the details: the sexy white walls, the circular air filter cover (which reminds of Harley’s big twins of the ‘80s), the fab graphics and logos and, the masterstroke, the ‘big flake’ chunky metalflake paint.


Engine size 1202cc
Engine type Air-cooled, 45º V-twin, 5 gears
Frame type Tubular steel cradle
Fuel capacity 7.9 litres
Seat height 710mm
Bike weight 247kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload only
Front brake Single disc, two-piston caliper
Rear brake Single disc, two-piston caliper
Front tyre size MH90 x 21
Rear tyre size 150/80 x 16

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 41 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost -
New price -
Used price £6,700 - £9,500
Insurance group 12 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 66 bhp
Max torque 70.8 ft-lb
Top speed 95 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 72 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2012: Model introduced

2017: Model Discontinued

Other versions


Owners' reviews for the HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORTSTER 1200 (2012 - 2017)

1 owner has reviewed their HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORTSTER 1200 (2012 - 2017) 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 SPORTSTER 1200 (2012 - 2017)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Engine: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Value vs rivals: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Equipment: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
4 out of 5 72
25 June 2012 by Nihonjin

Got one of these after having a Kawasaki Ninja 1000cc and a BMW GS before that. Wanted something less nutty than a rice rocket so went for one of these after trying loads of different bikes. Brilliant fun to drive. Just did my first long-ish trip on it, putting about 400 miles on over a weekend. I'll say it needs a more comfy seat, but otherwise was great. Loud enough that even the white van man brigade make room for you. Still new, so can't really vouch for reliability, but using it for my daily commute as well, so will see how it copes with that. So far though, a solid thumbs up.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
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