I rode over 20k the first year that I had my 2008 XL883. It took a bit of doing to get it setup for long distance runs. This is what I did.
Progressive shocks on the rear and Progressive springs in the forks.
Mustang Classic touring seat. If Harley makes a Sundowner seat for the Sportster, I'd get one of those instead. I have one on my Dyna and it is very comfortable. Mustang seats take a while to get them broken in.
Risers to pull both raise and pull the stock drag bars back.
Pirelli MT-66 tires - they have a softer sidewall than Dunlop.
Crash bar with road pegs so that you can stretch out.
Fork brace - makes the bike corner like it is on rails and takes away the twitchy feeling that get on Sporsters on rough or uneven road.
If you have any back issues, a seat with a backrest can be a lifesaver. AirHawk seat pads are a nice addition for really long rides, no matter what seat you might have.
The biggest issue with the Sportster when it comes to riding comfort is the short wheelbase. It tends to pitch the bike around a lot. That said, with a little work you can turn a Sportster into decent touring bike. Whatever you do, don't put shorter shocks on it. You need all the travel that you can get to keep the rear end as comfortable as it can be.
Originally Posted by Bedrock
was curious what sportster owners have done to their bikes to make them more comfortable rides? Other than swapping the seat (mustangs seem to be a popular choice), any other reasonably easy mods for instilling a smoother ride?
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