Originally Posted by Christina70
Hey everyone, I got my 2008 Sportster XL1200 Custom one month ago. I've never owned a Harley before, only Honda's. I noticed it's extremely "jerky" mainly in 1st gear going slow. I know it's a 1200cc and doesn't like to go slow. But, it just seems to be a little too "jerky" , more than normal. What could be causing that?
My 48 does the same, and I think it is normal or at least common for Sportsters. The reason is first of all that there is a lot of slack/backlash in the transmission. Not the drive belt, but the gearbox and primary chain. Unfortunately H-D accepts poor workmanship and large variance in tolerances, and this adds up. To give you an example, if you want to adjust the primary chain to reduce slack, you have to take into account that the two shafts are not straight so you must adjust the chain where they have the most distance from each other. The fact that H-D even has to put this in writing is embarassing, but unfortunately that quality level is fine for them.
The issue of jerkiness is amplified by the nature of the engine that has the well known uneven firing intervals, and Sportster engines have relatively low inertia which amplifies that property even more.
Check and adjust the primary chain and the belt drive if necessary, following the correct procediure. It will probably not do much difference, but it is the only thing you can do.
If H-D bothered to reduce the tolerances the Sportsters would be less jerky and have less piston slap noise, and last longer, but that is not going to happen due to cost. It seems H-D reduced their quality dept. and used the money on the marketing dept. instead.
Maybe some will say that their Sportster is smooth, and that might be so if they are among the lucky ones where the tolerances happened to be in the acceptable range. Thats the nature of tolerances.