Comparison test Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom against Yamaha XVS 1300 A Midnight Star


Comparison test Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom against Yamaha XVS 1300 A Midnight Star

Comparison test Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom against Yamaha XVS 1300 A Midnight Star

Through thick and thin

Would you rather drive a fat Japan cruiser or fulfill your wish for a sporty Harley for the same money? Two quite different ways of gliding over the country with pleasure.

It’s quite an interesting couple that wander through the narrow streets
the small port town of Torri on Lake Garda. He, a stout fellow with a fat belly of tank, pushes a fat wheel between two sturdy fork tubes. Between massive
Triple clamps stuck a large headlight. The elbow-strong bends of the mighty two-cylinder flow into a shiny chrome stovepipe. The armchair-like seat with the sprawling rear section is also remarkable. A real cruiser. The XVS 1300 A Midnight Star isn’t even the largest member of Yamaha’s cruiser family.
She, however, holds back elegantly. A delicate figure of sinewy stature. Filigree frame tubes clasp a nostalgic, long-stroke V-engine. Two slim fork tubes lead an even slimmer wire spoke wheel. The tiny headlight looks shy. How fake it looks
small tank, behind which a seat and bunks for the pillion are hidden and, it seems, leaves little space for the 150 mm rear tire. The
Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200, also dubbed Custom because of the 21-inch spoked wheel at the front and the 16-inch light alloy disc wheel at the rear, is difficult to assign to a category.
But what actually brings this apparently so dissimilar couple together? It takes a closer look to identify serious similarities. In terms of engines, for example, the two have the same cylinder configuration with displacements of 1304 (Yamaha) and 1202 cm3 (Harley) close together. The same applies to the power output.
The XVS 1300 A nominally has 73 hp. Six hp less, 67, gives Harley for
the Sportster 1200 Custom. When it comes to the cost price, the two don’t give each other much either. On top of the 10,792 euros for the Japan cruiser, you have to add just under five hundred to get a Harley in black.
Technically, the two differ just as much as they do in terms of appearance. The Yamaha is much more modern. Your engine only displays the accurate cooling fins as an admission to the classic styling of the guild. The short-stroke cylinders are actually water-cooled, and each camshaft operates four valves per cylinder with low friction via roller rocker arms. In view of the noise-insulating water jacket, who is surprised that you have to listen carefully to see whether the twin is after you press the button
actually whispering to himself. Two balance shafts are supposed to eliminate vibrations of the 60-degree V2, which they succeed perfectly. The engine vibrates very gently at every speed, the suppleness is reminiscent of an electric drive.
The subject of load change reactions
Yamaha’s technicians are good too
get it. The two walks gently-
cylinder via injection to the gas, the XVS glides effortlessly without jerking, even at speeds just above idle
there. Even considering the 307 kilograms, her measured 74 hp are enough for cruising. Even from low speeds, the twin pulls powerfully on the toothed belt, so that gear changes are mostly unnecessary. If not, the gear pairs can easily find each other.
Harley’s Sportster series is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Reason enough to give the air-cooled bumper 45-degree V-engine an electronically controlled fuel injection and a modified Bowden cable guide
the clutch to the shift in something
bony but perfectly functioning gear to facilitate. On Click
the Sportster is right at the point, shaking and shaking that the mirrors tremble. Their vibrations massage hands, feet and buttocks equally.
A pleasure as long as you don’t turn the engine over medium speeds. Then gentle oscillations turn into tingling vibrations. Yes, the Harley is alive! And how, because in terms of revving pleasure in combination with great torque, this V2 sets standards not only for Harley. With 40 kilograms less fat on the ribs and, according to the test bench, only two horsepower weaker than the Midnight Star, the Sportster Custom gets going more easily and sprints faster. Not quite so her thing is leisurely gliding at the lowest speeds. The V-Twin acknowledges this with an uneven engine run and somewhat rough load changes.
The Custom prefers it to be faster. When gentle turns and curve combinations-
Ations come into play, it is in yours
Element. The narrow tires, the tight tubular handlebars, the tight knee joint and, ultimately, the comparatively low weight all contribute to making the Sportster like to tackle corners more briskly. The good handling plays a role, the Harley easily falls in an inclined position, which, in contrast to the Yamaha cruiser, has its limits much later. The somewhat soft fork of the Sportster responds properly, but the two struts lock up early, which is even more pronounced in two-person operation. A passenger doesn’t have much to laugh about anyway. The narrow, backward sloping pillion seat offers little support, and on the far in front-
He cannot support himself properly when the footrests are moved.
Two passengers are far better off on the XVS 1300. Even the pillion passenger sits almost like in the executive chair. And because the front and rear suspension is very comfortable and well-damped, it can also glide comfortably and relaxed over bumpy country roads. With his legs spread wide, the wide tubular handlebar between his arms, the driver on the Yamaha feels like in the driver’s cab of a truck. All the more surprising is the handiness with which the fat part juggles through combinations of curves. Without resistance, the Trumm tilts and straightens up again with little effort. But with the
Nimble Harley to stay in close contact is almost impossible. Even with moderate
The running boards crunch ugly across the asphalt.
So you take it a little easier, which also goes better with the brakes. So the heavy Yamaha
appropriately delayed, must not only be bravely tackled at the front, but also with
assistance can be provided for the rear brake. A completely normal process at
a low cruiser, the wheel load of which shifts less when braking. The same applies to the Harley, whose single disc brake at the front has a little more effort to work powerfully.
Much care and attention-
do not require either. Your low-maintenance toothed belt drive is a clean affair. Nobody has to get their hands dirty. Check the air pressure in the tires every now and then, which is an easy exercise with the narrow spoked wheel and the angled valve in the rear disc wheel of the Sportster Custom. Then check the oil level. This works with the Harley because of the dry sump lubrication and the dipstick in the
separate oil tank also easy.
Keeping the heavy Yamaha in balance and at the same time looking deep into the sight glass is quite nice
shaky affair. The cruiser driver doesn’t even have to take his hand off the handlebars in order to be able to enjoy the elegantly flat
To switch the speedometer back and forth between time, total and two trip meters. But basically they are
all of this only measured on small things
the big differences in character
between the fat Yamaha XVS 1300 Midnight Star and the thin Harley Sportster 1200 Custom.

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Comparison test Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom against Yamaha XVS 1300 A Midnight Star

Comparison test Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom against Yamaha XVS 1300 A Midnight Star
Through thick and thin

Technical data Yamaha XVS 1300 A Midnight Star

Water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 60-degree V-engine, two balance shafts, one overhead, chain-driven camshaft each, four valves per cylinder, rocker arm, wet sump lubrication, injection, Ø 40 mm, regulated catalytic converter, battery 12 V / 18 Ah, mechanical actuated multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, toothed belt.

Bore x stroke 100.0 x 83.0 mm

Cubic capacity 1304 cm3

Compression ratio 9.5: 1
Rated output 53.5 kW (73 hp) at 5500 rpm

Max. Torque 106 Nm at 4000 rpm

landing gear
Double loop frame made of steel, telescopic fork, Ø 41 mm, two-arm swing arm made of steel, central spring strut with lever system, double disc brake at the front, Ø 298 mm, double-piston floating calipers, disc brake at the rear, Ø 298 mm, single-piston floating caliper.

Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 16; 4.50 x 16

Tire 130 / 90R 16; 170/70 R 16

Tires in the test
Bridgestone Exedra G 721/722, back “G”
mass and weight
Wheelbase 1690 mm, steering head angle 57.3 degrees, caster 145 mm, spring travel f / h 135 /
110 mm, seat height * 720 mm, weight with a full tank * 307 kg, payload * 206 kg, tank capacity 18.5 liters.

Two year guarantee

Service intervals every 10000 km

Colors red, black, silver

Price 10,792 euros

Additional costs 200 euros

Technical data Harley Sportster 1200 Custom

Air-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 45-degree-
V-engine, four lower gearwheels-
Driven camshafts, two valves per cylinder, hydraulic valve lifters, bumpers, rocker arms, dry sump lubrication, injection, Ø 40 mm, uncontrolled catalytic converter, 357 W alternator, 12 V / 12 Ah battery, mechanically operated multi-plate oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, toothed belt.

Bore x stroke 88.9 x 96.8 mm

Cubic capacity 1202 cm3

Compression ratio 9.7: 1
Rated output 49.0 kW (67 hp) at 5700 rpm

Max. Torque 98 Nm at 3200 rpm

landing gear
Double loop frame made of steel, telescopic fork, Ø 39 mm, two-arm swing arm made of steel, two spring struts, adjustable spring base, front disc brake, Ø 292 mm, double-piston floating calipers, rear disc brake, Ø 292 mm, single-piston floating caliper.

Spoke / disc wheel 2.15 x 21; 3.0 x 16

Tires 90-21; 150/80 16

Dunlop D 407 F / D 401 tires tested
mass and weight
Wheelbase 1520 mm, steering head angle 60.0 degrees, caster 119 mm, spring travel f / h 141 /
62 mm, seat height * 715 mm, weight with a full tank * 267 kg, payload * 187 kg, tank capacity /
Reserve 17.0 / 3.8 liters.

Two year guarantee

Service intervals every 8000 km

Colors / prices
Black 11,240 euros

Various metallic tones 11420 euros

Two-tone paintwork 11,720 euros

Additional costs 350 euros

Performance chart

Both engines draw a linear
Power delivery and a full torque curve. Especially good in
Lining is the Harley-V2. A nominal 67 hp, with a measured 71.7 hp it literally surpasses itself. But the larger-displacement Yamaha twin can still increase a bit in all speed ranges and always has torque
something more to offer than the Harley twin. But due to its high weight, the Yamaha cruiser cannot convert these advantages into better driving performance.

1st place – Yamaha XVS 1300 A Midnight Star

Midnight Star
She has a harmonious,
Silky smooth acting engine and a handy and comfortable for cruiser conditions
tuned chassis. And you can enjoy everything as a couple.

2nd place – Harley Sportster 1200 Custom

With the sportiest of all Harleys you can relax
cruising and cornering. The robust, lively engine plays the central role of swinging locomotion.

Scoring engine

just a little less power, however
Much less weight gives the Sportster better performance than the XVS 1300. The Harley’s jerky engine run is smoother
However, getting around is more of a hindrance. In contrast, its robust vibrations have an invigorating effect. Because of its smoothness, the Yamaha V2 collects plenty of points and is delighted
minimal load change reactions.

Scoring undercarriage

First and foremost, the narrow tires are responsible for the Harley’s easy handling. Especially in alternating curves in quick succession, she is the Yamaha, the one on top of that
has little lean angle is clearly superior. The cruiser’s strengths, on the other hand, are suspension comfort and good
Find driving stability. Especially if you are traveling as a couple.

Scoring everyday

The Yamaha offers a relaxed, comfortable place for the pillion rider, and it could take a lot of load if it were lashed down
fewest luggage hooks. They are missing
also with the Harley, as ever
in both the equipment is meager. The dipped beam on the Sportster is also sparse, while the headlight on the XVS almost turns night into day.

Scoring security

With heavy weight on the rear-
Axle both tilt when braking hard-
sung in front to block. It is a mystery why neither the Harley nor the Yamaha is equipped with ABS. The brakes decelerate appropriately for the restrained driving style.

Scoring costs

The costs of the two cruisers are limited. Low-maintenance timing belts and moderate consumption


Best price performance ratio:
A tie because MOTORRAD no longer differentiates from a grade of 4.0, and both test machines are below that. In comparison, however, the Yamaha offers more points for less money.

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