READER MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: 2009 Harley-Davidson Nightster 1200

By Susan Yelle, Fullerton, California

Susan's height: 5 feet 4 inches
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Susan on her 2009 Nightster, which she says is great even without any custom details.

After taking the motorcycle safety training class, my girlfriend and I went out looking at bikes. Hondas, Suzukis, Yamahas—we saw lots of bikes. But she was steering me toward a Harley, so we went to the Harley dealer and I sat on a 2009 Nightster 1200. It just felt right. Im 5-foot-4, slightly overweight, and with my boots on, I can touch the ground just fine. I didnt want to buy a smaller bike, then have to sell it and buy a bigger bike, so I was determined to just start big.

With its low center of gravity, I find the Nightster very easy to handle. It turns easily and has good brakes and lots of power. My hands are kind of small, so I had to get used to the slightest turn on the throttle making it go—when I twisted my hand slightly to turn on the right turn signal, the bike would jump forward a little. But with practice, I have learned not to do that! I needed lots of practice riding on my Nightster because at 1200cc, its a powerful bike. It now has about 500 miles on it, and Im getting very comfortable on it. And I like the fact that I can keep up with my friends on their “big” bikes!

I love the look of my bike. It is gorgeous, and I get lots of attention while riding it. My bike looks so good that I dont even want to buy any custom parts for it. All I need is a little black rack on the back fender for carrying small stuff. I am so glad I bought this bike. I am turning into a real biker chick. Im always up for a ride.

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5 thoughts on READER MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: 2009 Harley-Davidson Nightster 1200

  1. I took the motorcycle safety course in 2012, passed and received my motorcycle endorsement. My husband has a Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom, so that is what I rode. I got used to the 1200 and decided I didn’t want anything smaller. I spotted the Nightster and fell in love. I found my 2008 Nightster aka Aaron. This bike just fits me. I am 5 feet 8 inches and have pretty long legs so I love the forward controls. Mine came with drag bars, and Vance & Hines Side Shot exhausts. I love the sound and, of course, love the fact that my husband was a little jealous my bike sounded better.I love the feeling of being one with my bike. It isn’t too heavy for me and my bike goes where I want it to.

  2. I have a 2007 Sportster Nightster 1200 (same color as yours!) and was relieved when you mentioned the nervousness regarding that jackrabbit feeling the throttle has. You’re right- the power combined with small hands makes it weird to get used to. The Sportster supposedly as a pretty light clutch pull for a Harley but I found it un-rideable without installation of an Easy Pull clutch assist: made riding the Sporty so much easier for me.

  3. I have a Nightster and being only 5 feet with small hands I couldn't reach the tun signals so I bought turn signal extensions. They just stick over the old ones. They work great. I also put on a Reach Seat [from Harley-Davidson, –Editor].

  4. Great article! Thanks for the write-up/review of the Nightster. It is so helpful to get feedback on a bike from someone who actually owns the bike and rides it regularly. BTW, it is a real looker – congrats!

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