Unique among Harleys, the Sportster engine and transmission are in one case, whereas the so-called Big Twins have a seperate transmission case. Pre 1986 Sportsters featured iron heads and are called (DUH!) Ironheads. '86 to present are the next generation Evolution, or Evo, Sportster and feature alloy heads and a 5-speed transmission. The most recent models feature rubber-mounted engines.
Sportster-based motorcycles have dominated flat-track racing since the late 1960s. Many early choppers and customs were built from Sportsters, as well as land speed record bikes.
Calling a Sportster a "girl's bike" or "Shortster" may result in a visit to a dentist.