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2003 Harley-Davidson XHL 1200 Sportster (Anniversary) is one of the most beautiful Harley-Davidson motorcycles, especially Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Roadster: cast wheels, low handlebars, Mickey Mouse gauge and a sportish saddle. We were lucky to find such a motorcycle in Moscow, in excellent condition and still on OEM tires. The bike has original chrome kit and Stage 1.

Of course, this is a parade motorcycle, which is not meant for daily rides. Nevertheless, brakes, suspensions and optics need to be improved for comfortable riding in the city.

  • 00:00 Sportster Anniversary Review
  • 01:34 Front wheel removal
  • 01:44 Rear wheel removal
  • 01:54 Rear tire fitting
  • 03:40 Front tire fitting
  • 04:02 Front brake disc installation
  • 05:18 Front wheel installation
  • 05:32 Rear brake disc installation
  • 06:04 Brake pad replacement
  • 06:39 Front caliper mounting
  • 07:10 Rear wheel installation
  • 07:44 Overview

The braking distance is most dependent on tires and suspensions. The brake system affects only the force that must be applied to the lever. The more productive the system, the less you need to push the lever to create the needed braking force on the wheel.

We selected the best grippy Avon Cobra Chrome tires. They are made in England and are relatively inexpensive. Unlike the previous model, the CHROME version runs 10% longer, has a 5% larger contact area and performs better on wet surface. It is not easy to find the original sizes in Russia, so we always order tires from Europe, and they usually come fresh.

We do not recommend installing non-original sizes. The Sportster wheels are narrow, so even a small deviation from the standard will cause problems: the rubber won’t fit evenly on the disc. As a result, you’ll need a lot of weights for balancing, and the profile will be sharp, with a smaller contact area. We had a client who had a Sportster with a front tire 90/90 R21 (original 80/90 R21), and the rubber there did not fit well, and the profile was not good.

For effective braking, the fork should not dive when the brake is applied. We installed Racetech emulator gold valves, which have different resistance at different compression speeds. As a result, when braking, the fork does not dive, loading the front wheel better.

With the front brake system, we decided not to complicate things, especially since this does not make sense with the standard geometry and Sportster weight distribution. We decided to install an enlarged brake rotor, which will significantly increase the braking force with the same pressure on the lever.

An enlarged brake rotor must be floating so that its surface is always parallel to the pads. When heated, the metal deforms, and the movable mount allows the disc to take the desired position along the pads.

The rear brake disc has been replaced for better look. The standard Harley-Davidson disc was in excellent condition. When replacing, we had to heat the fastening bolts well to unscrew them.

New brake pads should always be installed under new brake discs. If you leave the old ones, they will rub the disc unevenly, so further installation of new pads will be pointless.

We work with Drag Specialties, the largest distributor of parts. We also consult on any questions, as well as help to select and install parts on Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

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