5. Harley-Davidson XR1200 Sportster, 2008-2013

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Introduced in 2008 in Europe, the Motor Company brought the flat-track homage XR1200 stateside for 2009, and kept producing them through 2013. Nobody but us magazine guys, apparently, were interested in a Sportster with standard ergonomics and sporty suspension that was fun to ride around curves and even had its own AMA roadracing class.

Harleys don’t really go on sale, so $7k for a nice one of these (less than what you’d pay for a new Street 750) will no doubt prove to be quite the bargain as the American Public snaps to its senses and these semi-rare bikes become collectible. In the meantime, it’s a great, comfy, easy bike to just tool around upon. The best one is the 2011 XR1200X (pictured), with Showa Big Piston Fork, adjustable remote-res shocks and big Nissin dual discs up front.

2011 Harley-Davidson Sportster XR1200X Review

Ducati Monster 1100 vs Harley-Davidson XR1200 Review

  • Alexander Pityuk

    The 2010 VFRs are one of the best second-hand offers on the market today. You get tons and tons of awesome bike (sadly, literally too) for a very reasonable price. But god help you if you get to crash one. Those numerous plastic panels with impeccable paintwork from honda cost a fortune!

  • Ted

    “One consolation of living beneath where the rich and powerful do bite and snarl and snap them up, though, is snarfing up delicious morsels as lightly masticated ex-bikes settle gently toward the ocean floor.”
    I was objecting to the bottom feeders lead in, until I read the above quote. If you made that up yourself Mr. Burns you should get an MO literary award, at least a very large bonus. Pure genius. Love it. Thanks

    • john burns

      thanks, Ted, my computer has an “auto-metaphor” function. Or is that a simile? I didn’t invent bottomfeeder when it comes to vehicles, though.

      • Does it make metaphors about autos? Can you get a moto-metaphor function?

        Man, if I had something like that, I’d be as happy as a guy with um, a thing that…made him…really happy.

  • Old MOron

    Sigh, you MOrons are supposed to help me narrow down my list, not expand it.

  • Robs

    As a recent adopter of a well-cared for 2006 R1200GS, I agree with your #3! For $7K, I got a bike with 40K, all records and updates, huge Micatech panniers, crash bars, lighting upgrade, etc. I keep checking Craigs for used parts, and see that 05-10 GS run right around the $6-8K range. Total BMW convert now…will probably own these twins for the rest of what is left of my life =)

    • Emptybee

      I’ve been riding BMWs for 30 years now and have yet to buy a new one. Let someone else take the depreciation hit!

  • Doug

    I guess I’ll throw away my 98 R1………..

  • Born to Ride

    Sorry John, but I’m not gonna give you the XR1200x on this one. I looked, and looked, and looked again for a reasonably priced used XR after seeing them race at Laguna the last time. Not a single one in good shape with low miles for under 9 grand. Dealerships all wanted over 10Gs for prime examples. The absolute cheapest I saw one (a year ago) was for a salvaged “Bill of Sale only” craigslist murder-bait, and it was for the 7 grand you claim to be able to easily obtain one for.

    Otherwise, I agree with pretty much everything else. Also, resent being called a bottom feeder for my bargain seeking tendencies…

  • Archie Dux

    Not disagreeing with any of the choices, even if I might have chosen a few different ones. But none of these are “bottom feeder” bikes, even by the loosest definition.

  • Infadel Macgee

    I’ll still stick to my 97 TL1000S which by the way used to out accelerate my friend’s Triumph 1050 Speed Triple with no trouble , even after he got the arrow exhaust and PC3

  • Craig Hoffman

    Great article! The metric cruisers as a group depreciate like mad. Probably the best pounds for dollar value out there is a Kawasaki Voyager. 900 pounds of lightly masticated used bike for often less than 9 grand. That is only $10 a pound – LOL

    The Honda VFR is a helluva a bike. A friend has one, they sound fantastic with an aftermarket exhaust and respond quite well to the exhaust/Power Commander treatment, with a really nice effortless loads of power everywhere on the tach appeal. The big VFR is a poor man’s Motus. Speaking of Motus, I imagine those will drop in value. Waiting to see on that.

  • major tom

    If those are bottom feeders I guess my tastes are subterranean.Like my 00 Triumph Sprint RS, best steering, torqueiest, most comfortable 50+MPG bike around. And it’s got a centerstand

  • ADB

    “Now, brand new EBR SXs are all over the interwebs asking about $10k.”

  • Cole

    EBR…? Really? What about the Aprilia Tuono RSV4 APRC? It kills the EBR and the Super Duke… all while in rain mode for that matter… put it in track mode? no contest…