News from Oakland Harley-Davidson

Fitting Your Sportster To You: 2 Common Problems

Posted by Oakland H-D Contributor on Mar 30, 2017 11:47:12 AM

The Sportster model has been around since 1957 and it's no wonder why it's still around. It is one cool motorcycle. People are often drawn to the Sportster for it's size and stripped down look. A lot of people fall in love with the looks of the bike. They love the test ride. They can't wait to get it home. But after the first couple of longer rides they might discover that they feel a little cramped or a little stretched out. Like any motorcycle, it's important that your motorcycle fits your riding style and body style in addition to your lifestyle. Let's explore a few facts and the P&A products that will best suit your needs as a Sportster enthusiast - no matter what size rider you are.

Sportster Facts Vs Fiction

FICTION: Sportster’s are for “girls”

FACT: 75% of Sportster bikes are bought by male riders

FICTION: Sportster’s are designed for shorter riders and don’t fit tall riders

FACT: The average height of a Sportster owner is 5’8”

The reality is that Sportsters offer huge style, diverse models, and tremendous value. If you like the style, size or price-point of a Sportster model then check out some of these Genuine Motor Accessories that will help you find a comfortable riding style. 

24078_17LIT_PHX_161440.jpgFitting your Sportster to You

Once you have selected a Sporty, it's time to find the right handlebar, seat and foot controls to best equip your ride to your personal dimensions. Sit on the motorcycle and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are your feet flat on the ground?
  • Are you comfortably reaching the handlebars?
  • Do you feel cramped?
  • Are you in control of the bike?

Where to start

  • The seat is the easiest place to begin customization. If your feet do not touch the ground try a Reach seat. If you feel cramped try a Tallboy seat.
  • The seat impacts reach to the ground and reach to the handlebar. If you are not comfortably reaching the handlebar after adjusting the seat position try a Reach or Tallboy handlebar.22684_17LIT_PHX_161440.jpg
  • In order to find the right solution you should try out a few different combinations of products.

2 Common Problems

Problem: You feel like you are in tight quarters, placing strain on your joints and restricting movement. A knees-high position puts added pressure on your back bone, and can interfere with the handlebar in full-lock turns. Your riding position quickly becomes uncomfortable and distracting when racking up the miles.


  • SEAT: The Tallboy® Solo Seat (52000209) moves you up 2.0” and back 2.5” to give you a more commanding and relaxed position at the controls. This simple change alone may be the remedy for time-in-the-saddle leg cramps. 
  • HANDLEBAR: The Tallboy® Handlebar (55800580 Chrome, 55800587 Gloss Black) places your hands in a neutral position and stretches your arms to reduce the bend in the elbow.
  • FOOT CONTROLS: Extended Reach Forward Control kit (50700030) allows tall riders to stretch out and enjoy the ride longer and more comfortably.Foot Controls.jpg

Problem: You do not feel comfortable or confident in the saddle. The foot controls are difficult to reach, and your lower back hurts from stretching to the handlebar. When stopping, you can barely touch the ground, and when backing into a parking space, you have to pull yourself forward to turn the handlebar.


  • SEAT: Super Reach® Solo Seat (52000207) immediately brings you closer to the controls. The cut-down design and narrow nose significantly reduces the seat height so you can plant your feet with confidence.
  • HANDLEBAR: Relax your elbows and reduce the reach to the controls by adding a Reach® Handlebar (56021-04B). This addition will bring the controls closer to you for increased comfort and confidence when maneuvering in tight quarters.
  • FOOT CONTROLS: If you love the look and riding position you get with Sportster models equipped with forward foot controls but you are not comfortable with the long stretch forward add a Reduced Reach Forward Control Conversion kit (50700026, 50700010). This provides a foot-forward boulevard style without having to strain to reach the controls.

See? There are options for any size rider to make that Sportster ride that much more comfortable. No need to go it alone, though. Schedule an appointmentwith our Parts experts and let's get you fitted to your motorcycle.

Schedule Your Appointment with a Customization Specialist

*Information found in Harley-Davidson Parts & Accessories Spotlight Training Materials

Looking for more inspiration? Check out this collection of articles about Customizing Your Harley-Davidson Motorcycle.

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Topics: Oakland H-D News, Parts & Accessories, Motorcycles, Current Rider

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