Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Sportster - Fusing throw back design with modern performance
Trevor, from Milwaukee, has been on to let us know that the Harley machine march is still on as it adds more new machinery to its Sportster line with the introduction of a new Iron 1200 Sportster model. The latest of the new motorcycles adds to the company’s big gee-wiz plans to introduce over 100 new bikes. They seem to have this one in the bag!
Since their introduction in 1957, Sportster motorcycles have been repeatedly reimagined, both in the hands of the ‘Motor Company’, as well as in those of the bikes owners. We’ve seen the Sportster as a bobber, as a chopper, as a scrambler and, of course, as a café racer. We’ve seen it as a hero on flat tracks as well as on drag strips and short circuit racecourses. The Sportster is as an accessible an entry point for first time riders as much as it’s a custom off one cruiser.
“Since its inception, the Sportster has offered the perfect combination of size, power and character that makes it appealing to so many different riders,” said Brad Richards, possessor of an awesome beard, and Harley-Davidson V.P. of Styling & Design. “A Sportster is a relatively easy bike to strip down and reinvent. What we’ve done to create the new Iron 1200 as well as the Forty-Eight Special is what Sportster owners have already been doing with their own bikes for generations.”
New fuel tank graphics distinguish the Iron 1200 from the standard model. They combine bold color stripes with a proud and formal typeface using colour and graphic elements originally popular in the pre digital and totally awesome 1970s.
“The art on these fuel tanks reflect contemporary trends we are seeing on custom bikes and in design in general. There is a new trend to make a move away from more complex and intricate art to a look that’s very simple and clean,” said Brad while stroking his magnificent and perfectly groomed beard. “It’s also important to note that these graphics respect the shape of the fuel tank and in the case of the Sportster, that tank shape is a classic design element in its own right.”
The Iron 1200 Sportster recipe starts with power. An all original 1202cc Evolution 1200 V-Twin engine delivers a staggering 36 percent more torque, that’s 73.0 foot pounds versus 53.8 in the more modest 883 Evolution engine that powers the Iron 883, it being the original ‘urban brawler’ in the Sportster family.
Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Sportster - How do I look?
The new Iron 1200 brings more punch to the street fight and more power to blast away from green lights, stop signs, yield signs, unmarked junctions as well as supermarket car parking spaces. It also has a lot more mid-range to muscle through traffic and irritate the living daylights out of Fireblade riders as we dash from red light to red light on the morning commute. Yes indeed, more power means more ability to annoy more riders of ‘real’ motorcycles.
The satin-black Mini Ape handle bar is an essential element of the garage-built chopper look that adds instant attitude. This two centimetre diameter handlebar offers a 22 centimetre rise, an 82 centimetre spread and a nice comfortable 16 centimetre pull back. This last one opens the rider triangle with an assertive fist-in-the-wind posture. It also makes the rider look so much more than comfortable when offering their left handed, one fingered opinion, on the class act that some of the car drivers we share the road with get up to as they lay down yet another totally awesome torque rich overtake…
The gloss black speed screen framing the headlamp is a classic West Coast, that’s California and not Connemara, styling influence that amplifies the attitude of those cooler than cool tall bars. It’s intended to offer some element of wind deflection at speed but it also provides a space for easy personalisation. Meanwhile the fast-back Café Solo Seat flows to the rear fender (that’s a mudguard to you and me) and is shaped to help the rider stay on the bike and in position when the mighty torque of the Evolution 1200 kicks in.
Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Sportster - A Twisted Cherry?
A classic 12.5 litre Sportster fuel tank features those previously mentioned multi-colored striped graphics that wrap around the tanks profile. The dark engine finish helps draw ones eyes back to the bright tank graphics. The new fuel tank paint color options include Vivid Black, Twisted Cherry and Billiard White, always contrasting with that Vivid Black speed screen. We somehow suspect that one of Brad's team got a ‘Billiard White’ into their now ‘Twisted Cherries’ which left them ‘Vivid Black’ somewhere along, what must surely have been, an exhaustive design process…
The entire powertrain has been styled with a popular color: black. Black upper and lower rocker boxes, black exhaust, black muffler shields, and black timer, black primary covers and black derby covers. Chrome pushrod tubes and tappet covers offer the only brightness in this moodiest of styling jobs and they particularly highlight the V-Twin engine shape oh so wonderfully. The Iron 1200 is finished with a pair of, once again, all black nine spoke wheels with a 19 inch offering up the front and a 16-inch one in diameter down the back. There is, of course, a solid black belt guard and a black rear sprocket.
The bike comes with the new Harley-Davidson Smart Security System as standard. All bikes brought into Ireland will feature an anti-lock braking system. The second one, we find, is more than helpful when one is about to torpedo into the back of a people carrier as you’re so distracted by your own hilarious antics through traffic and the afore mentioned Fireblade riders rapidly diminishing sense of humour.
The Iron 1200 Sportster is available from both Waterford Harley-Davidson and Dublin Harley-Davidson. Call Alan on 051 844 200 or Derek on 01 464 2211. Both are happy to take trade ins and organise finance. Each dealer will have a demo available.