Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Sportster Great Cruiser Beginnings

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Harley Davidson Iron 883

Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Sportster Reviewed

Not long ago, the motorcycle market along with the economy took a dive for the worse, and thank goodness we’re moving out of it. During this economical hit rider budgets were tightened or disappeared completely – which also meant the postponement of buying that new dream motorcycle. Harley-Davidson responded quickly to the lower avail of funds introducing a new Sportster their Harley Davidson Iron 883 for just under $8000.00 while also creating the possibility for younger newer riders to join the Harley party.

An old school style in a new school ride providing the owner a platform for creative customization, the Iron 883 is part of the Harley-Davidson Dark Custom series. It’s completely blacked out – no chrome and no apologies exclaim Harley. The Sportster models have stood against the grain since their introduction in 1957, when the modern rebel culture was being bred from restless veterans and hot rod pioneers. Sportster motorcycles became the starting point for many legendary choppers of the 1960s, while also getting pumped up for championship dirt racing and dare-devil stunt riding in the 1970s.

Harley-Davidson Iron 883

Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Sportster Reviewed

After my ride their claims were underlined – it’s really a perfect entry bike but still it’s “all that”, all Harley! The pipes on the straight cut shorty dual exhaust give the distinctive Harley-Davidson V-Twin sound. Its handling is an ease as a result of a few combined factors – its light running weight – just 260 kilograms/ 565 pounds and drag style handlebar creating a wide turning radius perfect for urban riding! It’s low to ground making the weight even more manageable; a one-piece solo classic seat with a height of 26.9 inches /68.3 centimetres fitting the lone rider. But don’t worry about refusing friends requests to join you, a passenger seat and a backrest in complementing colour finishes can be added via HD’s accessory selections.

Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Sportster  Creates the Possibility for Younger Newer Riders To Join The Harley Party.

Additional features that I appreciated are its side mount license plate holder, the front fork gaiters, solo saddle, duo muffler exhaust system and brake/tail lights incorporated into the rear turn signals. And similar to the Nighttrain, sadly no longer in production, I’m a fan of the blacked out de-chromed design! Evidently, Dark Custom motorcycle riders have the youngest average age for Harley-Davidson buyers – my preference a sign of youth?

The instrumentation is simple but supplies all the data you need to pilot the bike. A handlebar mounted electronic speedometer with odometer, time of day clock odometer, dual trip meter, low fuel warning light, engine diagnostics readout and led indicator lights.

Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Sportster Reviewed

Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Sportster

From the point of key on and twist of the throttle you feel the Iron’s responsive handling. Moving off you’ll note it’s smooth clutch effort gets you rolling fluently. The durable carbon reinforced drive belt drive contributes to this smoothness most certainly (no chain maintenance!). The power from the 883 motor can be best described as modest which is another reason this makes it a great entry-level bike. A broad torque band gives it decent “around-town grumble”, but sorry, experienced riders with a fondness for speed will be let down as it doesn’t encompass that torque feel the usual larger models. Furthermore you’ll be riding with a sense of confidence and security knowing braking is proficient by way of a front duo piston disc brake calliper and single piston disc in rear.

Harley-Davidson Iron 883

Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Sportster

As to ride comfort, urban commuting reasonably efficient, as long as you avoid city rough spots. The Iron 883’s reduced-travel rear shocks and thin seat do not filter rough road surfaces very well. Longer distance travel you’ll need to plan for plenty road side stops and stretches. The Iron’s tighter and tougher design compromise riding position and larger (or longer) riders will feel cramped. My modest five-foot-six height and the forward position of the foot pegs after a 711 kilometre stint resulted in next day discomfort in the buttocks region. But it’s these same features that make the Iron 883 best suited for short riders. Additionally through the purchase of a better seat and perhaps the use of the AIRHAWK cushion, long distance cruising on the Iron 883 will certainly become more adequate.

It holds 12.5 litres in the tank supplying a claimed fuel economy of 5.23 L per 100 kilometres city and highway 3.92 litres per 100 kilometres. Certainly not a big capacity tank yet that’s the trade-off you make for weight reduction.

MOTORESS Summary

When you get yourself into the saddle of the Iron 883, you’ll own a motorcycle that looks like a much pricier item than it really is. It’s a super fun and easy bike to ride. You’ll enjoy it for use around town or short cruises to bike meets or with your friends; with great rider handling features while truly delivering the authentic Harley experience, for under $10,000.

Accompanied with style and attitude plus, the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Sportster delivers plenty of power for the city scene; entirely accented with that poignant Harley sound that distinguishes you from the rest.

In Big Blue Pearl; Ember Red Sunglo or Black Denim paint you’re off to good beginnings on the Harley-Davidson road the Iron 883!

Is the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Sportster for you?

If you’re on a budget but want the true Harley product, this is the bike for you. If you are in-seam challenged and new to motorcycling, this will give you more satisfaction for a few years than you’ll have contemplated. You can accessorize it; customize it – you won’t get bored with the look. If you like minimalist style the Dark Custom design will fit perfectly with your personality.

Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Sportster features and highlights:

  • Rubber-mounted Evolution 883 cc V-Twin Dark Custom powder-coated engine
  • Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
  • Dark front forks with gaiters
  • Dark belt guard and front fender supports
  • Dark 13-spoke cast aluminium wheels, 19-inch front / 16-inch rear
  • Dark mid-mount foot controls

Dark low profile front fender
Dark chopped rear fender with combination rear stop/tail/turn lights
Chrome staggered shorty exhaust with dual mufflers
Optional Harley-Davidson Smart Security System

Visit Harley-Davidson for the complete Sportster Iron 883 specs

*photography credit : Mondo Lulu


MOTORESS director, Vicki Gray is a basic and advanced motorcycle instructor – certified for over 25 years. She is a motorcycle licensing examiner and has instructed, examined and licensed riders for European and North American road racing schools.


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