The forgotten man and lone 1200 of the Harley range - the understated but appealing XL1200N Sportster. The strangely named Harley Davidson XL1200N Sportster Nightster and the Harley Davidson XL1200C Sportster Custom, each taking the former basic roadster in a new direction.
The Custom receives all manner of chopper style goodies: gallons of chrome, cut-down king and queen seat, wire wheels and such like. But it's arguably its brother, the XL1200N Sportster Nightster, which is the more radical and interesting of the pair.
Although its slim lines, peanut fuel tank and roadster cant remain faithful to the classic, basic 1200, the new XL1200N has got much more of a makeover than either its lines would suggest, or any bolting on of catalog's-full of shiny goodies could allow.
Harley uses for the XL1200N the well-known air-cooled 1199.5cc Evolution engine, which has a 88.90mm bore, and a 96.77mm stroke producing a compression ratio of 9.7:1 giving you about 70-horse power. With the use of Harley's Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection, in short ESPFI, the XL1200N is able to meet any emission standards, and is probably the cleanest bike I seen from Harley.
We pleased to see that the in 1995 adopted full-adjustable sport suspension and brakes had some improvements. Although the basic 883-derived twin loop frame is unchanged, the Sport's bike parts are all up-rated to the highest specs yet seen on a road-going Hog.
At the front, the 39mm cartridge forks, though outwardly identical to the XL1200C Custom's, get reworked internals and are now fully adjustable not only for preload but also for compression and rebound damping. While the combination of a smaller front wheel, longer rear shocks and dropped yokes also sharpens the steering by reducing trail.