One of the great truths about motorcycles is that almost nothing is decided on paper. With a longer wheelbase, more generous rake and trail measurements and a 108-pound weight disadvantage, you might think the Sportster would be left in the Bonneville's dust at every bend in the lane. Far from it. Although the Bonneville does enjoy certain advantages when ridden briskly down racer roads, they're not nearly as pronounced as the spec sheet makes them appear. True, the Triumph turns easier and is more nimble than the Sportster, but many Bonneville pilots complain of poor front-end feedback when the bikes are pushed hard, and, yeah, I'm one of them. Part of the problem is the bowling-ball hard, stock front tire, and another is the willowy front end. Upgrading the suspension and tires can rectify the situation easily enough, but in stock form, I think the HD has a slightly more planted feel and provides a little better feedback. Both bikes will wallow when pushed hard, but that's what keeps aftermarket suspension manufacturers' kids fed. On that same topic, ground clearance shouldn't be much of an issue no matter which bike you're on. By the time either one is dragging the hard parts, you're moving at a pretty good clip. If that's a problem for you, I'd suggest either buying something sportier or purchasing an aftermarket peg relocation kit.