By Marissa Baecker
If you bulked up over the winter, plan on trimming down and exploring a new, lighter method of motorcycle touring with the 2014 Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow 1200T.
The model officially launched at the infamous two-wheeled gathering known as Bike Week in Daytona Beach, FL in March. Amidst a sea of raked out, polished chromed and roughed up leathers, the SuperLow caught the eye of cruiser enthusiasts for its fully equipped touring personality right off the lot.
Let’s face it, most cruisers are the heavyweights of the motorcycle ring, particularly attractive to couples riding two-up. Pack them full of clothing and essentials for a two week trip and you will need some muscles, stamina and maybe even some pre-trip personal training to make your way through the countryside.
After riding the Atlantic coastline behind the bars of a 1700cc fully loaded luxury tourer, sitting in the saddle of the 1200cc SuperLow was refreshing. Load up the two lockable, removable saddlebags (add an optional sissy bar and luggage rack as docking points are already in place) and this torquey (70.8 ft. lbs. at 3500 rpm) 600 lb. powerhouse is still as nimble as a Yogi.
Sportster has always been popular with the ladies and with the newly crafted ergonomics of the SuperLow, ladies will be lateral trading if not trading up.
With a carved out narrow nose seat (still ample back side room where you need it), 4.5 gallon peanut tank, a narrow frame and just 25.5 inches to the ground, those that have been riding shot gun are going to want to grip the barrels of these mini-apes for themselves.
New mini-floorboards with scrape pegs may add leg support and riding comfort but the longer-legged will curse them every their shins smack the boards when coming to a stop. The taller rider may consider a move of the mid-mounted controls or plan on the scenic route into the sunset where frequent stopping is optional.
A quick-release removable windshield snaps perfectly to the forks shielding the bar-mounted single, back-lit, black analogue speedometer with digital tach and gear indicator. LED lights offer high beam, neutral, low oil pressure, turn signals, engine diagnostics, low fuel warning, low battery and optional security system warning lights. Self cancelling signal lights are easy to reach and clutch and brake levers smooth for smaller hands.
Enough about comfort and style. Open that throttle and the SuperLow’s (or rather the SuperLight), signature air-cooled Evolution 74.3 cubic inch twin engine, produces 78 ft lbs. of low-end torque, and enough pep in your step to leave vehicles coughing in your wake.
This is the same engine first introduced by the motor company back in the 80’s. Evolving from the Shovelhead and Ironhead engines, the fittingly named Evolution (aka the Blockhead) proved to be a reliable and powerful advancement in Harley-Davidson history.
The chain driven five-speed transmission prefers the higher RPMs. Gearing up any lower than 3500 RPM will put you in neutral as opposed to second gear. Harley’s prefer an open throttle to ease that signature ‘clunk’ of the up shift.
Gone are the skinny tires and in with the beefy Michelin Scorchers as standard equipment. A 120/70 ZR-18 59W on the front and 150/70 ZR-17 69W in the rear. The overhauled brake system has increased the standard rotors from 292mm to 300mm and added more powerful front and matching rear 34mm piston calipers. ABS are optional.
The closed loop exhaust system moves this trademark rumbler to an eco-friendly path by monitoring and continually adjusting the air/fuel mixture thereby improving emissions.
The only thing left is to load up, dial in the rear suspension and head off into the sunset.
MSRP $14,499 for black; $14,879 for colors and $15,149 for two-tone.