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