HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORTSTER 883 (1993-on) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"A basic, budget way into Harley ownership"

Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review - Riding

"A basic, budget way into Harley ownership"

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

The Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster is a basic, budget way into Harley ownership: that possession prized by anyone whose idea of heaven is a long, straight, American highway and for whom Peter Fonda remains the ultimate role model. The Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster is not the greatest cruiser in the world: it lacks power and performance in virtually every area, but it is a Harley and it’s affordable to most. Lay back and enjoy the Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster's ride.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

Weighing 251kg but offering just 50bhp, the Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster is a lot of motorcycle to move. At slow speeds you can really feel its weight, too and handling out on the open road isn’t razor sharp either. Ground clearance is a problem if you tip it in too far, the brakes are just about ok and the gearbox, whilst predictably clunky, does the job. The Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster's punch is great in town but it’s too low to see over traffic.

Engine 4 out of 5

The Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster's engine is lardy, lumpy and laborious, unfortunately. However, sharp and sleek aren’t what Harleys are about: they’re about burble, gurgle and chilled-out trundle and the Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster can do all three. The carbed, 883cc Evolution engine has masses of grunt low down but wheezes at it approaches the ton mark. The engine’s now rubber-mounted to reduce vibrations.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

There’s no question over the build quality: Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportsters are tough. Finish is superb on everything from switchgear to paint jobs. Harley offer a good aftersales service and technical back up, which is reassuring and, whilst Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportsters have a reputation for being “agricultural”, like tractors, it takes a lot to destroy them.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

Harleys are not cheap and buying the Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster is the way most fans of the marque can get a foot in the door. You can get more bike for the money elsewhere but that’s not the point: these machines are legendary. Once bought, like all Harleys, Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportsters hold their value very well and, if you buy a used model, chances are it’ll be well cared for and have a plethora of extras already added by an earlier, passionate owner (which may, or may not, be a blessing). Find a Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster for sale.

Insurance group: 11 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

This is the basic Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster but Harley provide loads of extras, enabling you to customise it to your needs. Standard Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster has a single seat, low bars and a basic dash. The foot controls are mid-mounted, so not too extreme, and the clutch lever action’s been lightened to save aching wrists. Transmission is belt drive.

Owners' Reviews

28 owners have reviewed their HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORTSTER 883 (1993-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORTSTER 883 (1993-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3.3 out of 5
Engine 3.6 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.0 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.9 out of 5
Equipment 3.3 out of 5
1 out of 5

Harley headache

23 November 2017 by Lee wilkins

Best features it's a very good ornament with lots of new parts Worst it's badly made breaks down a lot and I mean alot I wouldn't recommend it to my worst enemy

Ride Quality & Brakes
1 out of 5
It's best it's best when tucked away in my garage not being used and forgotten about. That way I don't have to put up with any hassle with it. Out of sight out of mind. pillion yeah right no one will get on that death trap.
Engine
4 out of 5
I like the engine it works but has a drink problem And its my wallet that pays for it habbit power varies as it's been tuned so many time I don't know what's normal running for it. So comparing it to a moped it has more power when it works
Build Quality & Reliability
1 out of 5
Let's just say Lego holds together better. 2 respays lots of rust. New ecm New throttle body New front loom New throttle controls 3 new supertuners Brakes rebuild. New belt guard New Speedo housing 5 times 're tune. And still having issues
Value & Running Costs
1 out of 5
Only had it's first at 1000 miles not sure if it will last till it's next one at 5000. Running costs very high at present because it's over fueling needs to be tuned again.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Its side stand so when it decides to breakdown it allows me to stand back with my hands free and point and shout at it. Yes a good poncho that covers the whole bike when riding in the wet as mine dosent like rain it cuts out as I have been told it sucks up water into it's crank case. Tyres are good they seem to work getting u back from the dealer ok.
Buying experience

Dealer and I paid cash of £10700 Best money ever spent on an ornament Advise from trading standards buy on finance then u can throw it back and cancel the direct debit.

3 out of 5

Sell or keep? Can't really decide...

24 July 2017 by Ged Whitney

The finish is pretty good, but its the low speed handling and uncomfortable seat that disappoints most. Also the clunky gearbox.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
Interesting brakes. just about do the job at the front, the back one compensates. Low speed handling is almost dangerous, these are not designed for "our" roads, long runs in a strait line are what they are really for, without speed bumps or really tight bends. Even the 883 is a bit too heavy for city traffic, the heavy clutch doesn't help either. Best on the "open road" (go find one).
Engine
4 out of 5
Noisy mechanically, not so bad as old British stuff I had in the past, but irritating after a bit. That heavy clutch, and the clunky gearbox take me back to the dark ages... Only 50HP? They could get by with 3 gears really. Not sure if I really like the belt rear drive, it works well, but looks a bit naff.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Nothing actually fell off, but plenty sounded like it might.... The paint is good, as is the chrome.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
Not brilliant on fuel, and the tank is a bit undersized, and the "California" style filler is a pain, with that obstruction just inside the top.... (to stop you putting diesel in it?). Spares are seriously overpriced. Service it yourself or mortgage the wife....
Equipment
4 out of 5
Its nice to look at, Harleys always are nice to look at. Buy one to stand and look at.....
Buying experience

I got mine off my cousin, I'm not talking to him right now....

5 out of 5

Me and Harley McGee

23 July 2017 by Balchie

Riding makes me smile. Sitting and looking at it makes me smile. The exhaust sound makes me smile. The workmanship makes me smile. I like to smile. All good here.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
Forward controls are a must.
Buying experience

Bought privately with 4000 miles for $2500. Tons of chrome, custom paint, just serviced, runs great and its a Harley.

4 out of 5

Early clutch failure 2016 Iron 883

05 September 2016 by The Rev

Early clutch failure, not covered under warranty. A wapping additional £650 after a a few hundred miles.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Slightly still back end but I got used to it.
Engine
5 out of 5
Lots of pulling power, no need for high engine revs to pull away smartly.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
The build quality of the bike is very good, hard to mark it down even though the clutch failed after just 330 miles.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
A bit steeper than I expected for a first service.
Equipment
5 out of 5
I like the single clock with the ability to thumb through mileage, trip meters time and gear/RPM.
Buying experience

Good, lost of help but could have been better.

3 out of 5

Fun for first bike, for about 6 months.

30 November 2015 by Nigel palmer

Looks cool, crap brakes no power for overtaking.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
You feel the bumps in the road, only single seat.
Engine
3 out of 5
No power, soon get bored with the bikes performance.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
1000 mile service not cheap, but ran a lit better after run in period.
Equipment
5 out of 5
ABS and alarm standard , so was keyless ignition.
1 out of 5

Horrible bike to ride.

26 October 2015 by Stan

My first and last Harley which I bought earlier this year. Beautiful bike with great image and great sound ruined by poor brakes, lack of grunt, peg scraping in easy turns and painful to ride for more than 20 minutes.

Ride Quality & Brakes
1 out of 5
Rock hard painful ride. Poor squishy brakes. Navigating roundabouts without scraping pegs is a challenge.
Engine
4 out of 5
Lovely noise but little a 833 cc. Too much torque at low end does not make it easy to control in slow traffic. Too little torque higher up the rev counter to overtake.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Solid build.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Expensive for what it is, but values keep well and I sold it at the same price as I paid for it.
Equipment
1 out of 5
No fuel gauge as standard (an expensive optional extra). No ABS - not even sure if it is an option. I hated having one lock for ignition and another for the steering lock.
Buying experience

Bought second hand from dealer, with a year's warrantly and new tyres thrown in.

5 out of 5

2013 Sportster Superlow - continuous smile from ear to ear.

12 August 2015 by JTHOG201MT

I have ridden a number of motorcycles in the past. Yet the ride of my Sportster is superior and exhilarating.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
I have ridden my bike from Malta to Naples and back, via Sicily, for a total of 1745km. As a rule, fuel top up on every 100km, yet I rode 500km straight without any particular physical complaint.
Engine
5 out of 5
I am very satisfied with both performance and power delivery. On Italian autostradas, my average speed was 130km/hr, taking it to 160km/hr when overtaking. However, I did 175km/hr with no problem on the A3 to Naples.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
The average servicing cost is about €250 and Harley-Davidson parts are on the higher side of the scale, in terms of cost and quality. Yet consumption is very reasonable and efficient.
Equipment
4 out of 5
The 17lt fuel tank is a blessing. However, the bike should include a tachometer and gear indicator as standard. (Harley-Davidson have included the gear indicator as standard in the 2015 version)
Buying experience

I paid €11,200 for my two-tone bike, brand new. The purchase experience was extraordinary, nothing like I ever experienced before with other brands. You must appreciate that first time registration in Malta is expensive and that is included in my purchase price.

4 out of 5

It's a Harley, can't say more than that.

20 July 2015 by Harrison

I have ridden a multitude of bike types (2007 Bandit 650, 2010 GSX-R 600, 2005 Triumph Speed Triple to name 3) so I am used to different riding styles some serious acceleration and tremendous handling. The Harley however has none of this and when I'm not on it my brain keeps telling me to get a different bike, I even spend half my time looking, but when I'm on it that all goes away and I think "why would I want to get rid of it?" I think anyone who goes into buying a Harley expecting Japanese or European character will be deeply disappointed, but take one for a test ride with an open mind and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Ride Quality & Brakes
2 out of 5
The ride quality from the forks is great until you hit a pot hole or need to negotiate a speed hump or take corners with a bit of vigour, clearly none of the designers/engineers from Harley have ever seen a European road or a poorly maintained one. Given that Harleys are heavy bikes, even the sporty, you would have thought that twin discs on the front would have been a given. I also have a quibble with ride height, I have an issue with scraping the foot pegs, but again it was never designed with that as a concern. However I am thinking about jacking up the rear end.
Engine
5 out of 5
Power and performance have much to be desired, but thats not what a Harley is about. It chugs along beautifully and if you open it up it is surprisingly responsive. I have V&H Short Shots (in chrome) which create a torrent of tonal abuse for you and anybody within a mile, which is just superb.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
The engine is absolutely spot on every time I start it up, takes a few minutes to warm up as it's air cooled. The vibration is noticeable which I don't think its a bad thing, but it caused one of battery cables to come loose which caused the bike to misbehave, once it was tightened up the bike went back to normal. I have had a problem with paint flaking off and rust spots appearing but properly cleaned and treated this was quickly halted from spreading. Took it to the dealer and they said would investigate but never heard anything back from them.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
Servicing costs are high, even if you maintain the bike and very little work is done, but most dealerships have a flat rate (barring any surprises) so you know how much it will cost (£300 for the 10k). Fuel economy is great if you ride it like a "Harley" but if you decided to go for a high rev bender on country roads it sups fuel like it was 90's prices.
Equipment
3 out of 5
The range of OEM accessories available is huge, but the online catalog is a little bit hard to navigate, some parts may work on one but not on another, so be careful and always read the description. There are loads of third party after-market parts too which are the same or similar to the OEM so shop around and you might find a bargain. Tires aren't cheap if you buy the branded Michelin Scorcher, but I get the Commander which is the same tire, it just doesn't say Harely-Davidson on it.
Buying experience

Bought new from the dealer (Leeds Harley) the team were great, answered all questions I had but seemed surprised I didn't go for any of the deals. The after sales began well, but I have had a few problems since then however this is not a place to review a dealership.

5 out of 5

My best friend!

12 June 2015 by HD883Ryder

I bought this bike new and am still riding it, and still minimal issues... 88,000 miles later. I've done an iron-butt ride on this bike, commuted regularly 100+ miles/day, rode 250-300 miles round trip to service calls with tool bag on the back, and have only had to do normal maintenance items. (drive belt, brakes, tires, etc) She has never left me stranded... maybe I'm due?? Well worth the purchase price.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
lots of vibration... wear the enamel off your teeth. Brakes are fine. shifts smoothly, runs well, fast acceleration. Tends to be "top heavy" and cornering is reflected in that. Would not consider this a good choice for a novice rider. Maybe after one burns through a Honda Rebel first.
Engine
4 out of 5
Sometimes wish I had a sixth gear, but I'm a light-weight and this is ample bike for me. This engine has been a champ. No issues and the service tech is always amazed at how clean this engine is inside. I've faithfully changed the oil regularly.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
only weird issues were early on... speedometer @ 2,000 miles, rocker top gaskets @ 7K and the other at 10K.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Regular servicing of fluids, inspection, etc. Tires would run more.
Equipment
5 out of 5
I have a detachable windshield and it's still in good shape 15 yrs later. cargo rack, sissy bar, saddlebag stand-offs... all good. the seat has become torn and worn, however. have not found any heated hand grips that last more than two seasons.
Buying experience

Bought new from dealer... they played some cheap games that left the typical bitterness that causes one to never buy from them again. Would never buy from a dealer again... so many good deals on Harley's elsewhere and at much better prices... financing through a credit union is better deal, too.

1 out of 5

Don't waste your money

27 May 2015 by Gavin Booth

Possibly the worst bike I've owned.

Ride Quality & Brakes
1 out of 5
Ride okay, but brake master cylinders seize (locking the brakes) by about 10,000 miles.
Engine
1 out of 5
Engine management sensors rot by about 12,000 miles.
Build Quality & Reliability
1 out of 5
Rusts within 6 months no undercoat. Hard to find a part that's not rusting.
Value & Running Costs
1 out of 5
Expensive, Harley don't repair under warranty.
Equipment
1 out of 5
Basic equipment.
4 out of 5

07 XL883R

19 July 2014 by 07sporty

Stepped off a Triumph 1050 ST on to my sporty. Not the fastest or best handling bike in the world. But in real terms it has enough power and handling for A roads B roads even motorways. Will cruise along at eighty no sweat. The seat is quite literally a pain in the a**e, 100 mile fuel range and you will want to get off it. Changed for a sundowner saddle, now you can ride all day no probs. The paintwork is generally top quality,The orange is so deep when I chippeed the mudguard I only had to use laquer to repair it.It's a shame the same can't be said about the paint on the swinging arm and belt guard. Reliability wise can't fault it. Never let me down,easy to home maintain. very few specialist tools required,just bare in mind that it's imperial not metric in the main. Having owned 20+ bikes in 30+ years ridding, I have kept my Sporty the longest. I think that says something about the all round abilities of the bike.This one is a keeper.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Can't be compared to the Japs

22 December 2013 by markyvespa

I bought mine during the hot summer months of July 2013, a 2008 Fuel Injected 883R. I was riding a Vespa GTS300SS before, which I used to commute to Uni everyday, until I got a car for the colder/rainy days. Having done over 3K miles since I bought her, the Sportster is more than capable of being an everyday ride, providing it is serviced and made sure the simple things are taken care of. It is useless comparing this bike to others for speed, quality, finish etc because it is in its own category! I will say, since buying the bike with 7k Miles, now done over 10K I've spent well over £1K on the 10K service, the usual stuff was done, but the extras were the bearings, front & rear, brakes front and rear, and whatever else I now don't remember. Ownership is not cheap! But I don't care, guess I'm lucky!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
2 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Explain to me why

03 July 2013 by BikeMagpie

OK i can not explain why this is a good bike because it is not. Also ride a hornet which is quicker, faster off the mark, better handling, easier to throw around and still be in control and about as comfortable. However! Everytime i jump off of that and onto this im grinning like an idiot, even at low speeds which you cant realy do on the hornet. Once you get some decent tyres, seat that was't just made for show and a open face helmet you can let the good times roll and while you get harleys two a penny these days there is so much you can do to make this bike "yours". All in all a bike that ticks non of the box's yet still a great little bike. On a side note while bike is great the fan club is't. Had some weekend warriors who refuse to talk to me while we were all waiting untill they saw i also had a harley. It dont matter what you ride JUST RIDE!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
2 out of 5
-
2 out of 5

Iron? Must be the seat.

22 April 2013 by jenko1

Dunno why I bought it. I've been riding all sorts of bikes for over 25 years, and suddenly I buy this piece of c"*p. The most I've ever paid for a bike. The newest bike I ever bought. It's awful. It's slow. It's uncomfortable, even after buying Hagon shocks. The brakes are worrying. This is a new bike! Harley should be ashamed of themselves for ever building it, let alone selling it. Yes I know it's "only" 883 cc, but that size of engine a few years ago was a big powerful bike. Compare it to other bikes out there and you see why it's disappointing. It has looks, certainly. The Iron is the best looking bike I've ever owned, but that is it. Nothing else to commend it. The dealer back up is abysmal. The parts are stupid prices. The servicing costs are ridiculous. The warranty is useless. Did I mention that it is the most uncomfortable bike I have ever ridden? I went touring on a 15 year old Armstrong 500 a few years ago, and it puts this bike to shame. The fuel range is ridiculous, only 75miles to reserve. Still, you're more than ready for a break at that point anyway. It is the most disappointing bike ever. Vote with your wallet and buy something else, anything else, just not HD. You have been warned.

Ride Quality & Brakes
1 out of 5
-
Engine
1 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
2 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
1 out of 5
-
Equipment
2 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

883 Iron 2011

14 August 2011 by rewey

A good choice as a first cruiser, goes well enough well geared, looks and sounds superb, mirrors are useless until flipped and foot pegs need moving forward

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Fun Machine for returning Rider

11 December 2009 by snoman1956

The Sportster was my weapon of choice as a 50+ returnee to biking, I have to say I have loved it 9K miles under my belt and no intention of parting company . Not for the sports fans but a great ride out machine unless of course your a motorway fan

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
3 out of 5

Booooooooooorn to be wiiiiiiiiiiiiild!

09 November 2009 by KimLondon

.... ner.... ner ner neeeeeeeeeeer! Okay. This bike is rubbish, but that's not the point. When you ride one of these things you are on the lowest rung of a special ladder to a weird club. You are Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper from Born To Be Wild. You are a rebel, one of a kind. All other Hog riders are your brothers-in-arms. Jodie Kidd rides one too, how cools is that?!?! But as for an actually bike. Nah. Nop. Doesn't stack up too well, though not really bad or anything, just doesn't have the trousers to back up the mouth. Ride? Soft, but takes bends. Just about! Comfy, heavy. It goes like it looks. The engine is a bit of a relic. I mean, it's just shy of 900cc and it ain't ballsy. I did check to see if it took petrol or lumps of coal, but it has some charm where it lacks oomph. Tank? Capacity of a gnat's codpiece. But the world is a nice place from the back of an 883. If you ever get the chance to ride one on a sunny day when the sun is high then go for it, you WILL come back with a smile. It won't get me of my Japanese motor tho...

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
2 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
2 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Tractor? Don't think so!

22 July 2009 by Tazz74

I have just bought an "883 Iron", that has been treated to a stage one and a set of Vance Hines Short Shots and what can I say? ITS FANTASTIC! I am amazed by the sheer number of people who ask me about the bike and seem drawn to it. Having ridden Japanese bikes for many years I can honestly say that I have never had so much fun on a bike. Looks amazing, sounds like the wrath of God and puts a smile on my face every time. I'm converted, Harley's Rule!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Bulletproof

25 April 2009 by brucieg

In 8 years and 17000 miles (24500 miles on the bike now) ownership of my 883 sportster hugger, I think I am well qualified in giving my opinion. In all this time, she has proved bulletproof, and the paint and general finish still looks like new. She is still on the original battery from 1997, in the winter she starts up every 2 months without complaint, and get this when I originally got her, rode her for 5 months before laying her up for winter, the next spring at service time got a call from the dealer telling me there was no gearbox oil at all period! I probably ran her for 5 months without gearbox oil and guess what, that gearbox is still running sweet to this day! Try that on your Jap bike! In 8 years of ownership, I only had 2 major problems, namely a battery terminal had corroded and perished, and this year the throttle cable snapped. Both wear and tear items and no big deal to sort out. The handling is safe and secure, sure it's no sportsbike but then it's nowhere near as bad as non Harley people like to make out. Brakes take some getting used to, especially 2 up, but you adjust to that fairly quickly. But the best bit is that engine. It may not be that fast, but it wasn't designed to be. To sum up, if you are thinking of buying a Sportster, go for it you will not regret it!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Why on Earth

28 July 2008 by bigbol

Well i've just got the Harley 883, 1st 100 miles coevered and love it. It's basic, it's not fast, but it looks good. For leisure riding and nipping out and about i cant fault it. As for heavy, not noticed but then again i do also ride a Z900.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
3 out of 5

Ideal first time Harley

19 June 2008 by 01partsman

After owning an 883r for several months now I have discovered them to be great fun. It vibrates your teeth out at anything above 60mph but that takes a back seat when your flying around on one, grinning from ear to ear. Just needed a new exhaust system to make it an even better bike as the stock ones strangle the sound and performance. An Ideal first time Harley and an ideal first bike too.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
2 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
2 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

pmcman68

08 March 2008 by pmcman68

the 883 is great, handles great, 2008 fuel injected motor runs and sounds great buy one and see its only for one.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

hired 883

11 January 2008 by merv007

I hired the low version of the 2007 883 for a day over the summer, because that's all the dealer had available. Overall was very impressed, it was much faster than I expected it to be, pulls very hard in the first few gears, and if you keep the throttle open it gets up to 90mph in no time, with still some more to give (105mph sounds about right). Was very surprised with the easy handing considering the weight of the bike, though on the low model the pegs touch down in slow, tight corners.(but im sure the standard version is fine as you can visibly see how much higher it sits) Apart from that I couldnt fault it, the sound from the standard pipes is very impressive, even on tickover. I will definitely be buying the R version soon.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

understated 883

26 December 2007 by robvstar

the 883 is a very underated machine, ok it does not have tyre ripping performance or the ride quatiliy of its bigger brothers or of the competition, it is a basic bare bones bike that chugs along with the HD heart beat, coming from a tweaked and tuned xvs1100 you can feel the lack of power but it still has ample to waft you along all day at motorway speeds, and is comfy enough for a full tank in the saddle and there is little worry of losing your license. It has better ground clearance than its bigger brothers but still not massive and the pipes will be the first to touch down if you get spirited, the brakes are best left in the bin and replaced with something that works they just about haul up the bike from motorway speeds with prodgius amounts of rear and is the bikes and any HD's down fall apart from maybe the Vrod, loads of bits out to make it your own and for short riders the low and custom are great bikes this is my 2nd sportster and 3rd HD, would i have other marquees? with out a doubt and they too would be the custom style, often imitated and often bettered by the Japenese but they still a great little bike

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
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Engine
3 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
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Equipment
3 out of 5
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5 out of 5

Love it.

11 September 2007 by Mr Harley

Bought second-hand with Stage 1 and not so silent SE exhausts. Just 5,000m and I've racked up another 1,000 this month. A great B' road tool. Not the fastest, not the quickest round a corner, but loadsa fun. A few coughs and backfires, but great noise on the road. And the chances are I might even get my money back when i sell it.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
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Engine
3 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
3 out of 5
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1 out of 5

Sportster 883R

11 May 2007 by retro-rog

There is a huge problem with rocker cover oil leaks on these black engines. Mine has been back to the dealers 3 times for this problem alone and its still not fixed. The bike is 7 months old and has been back to the dealers 6 times in total with faults. Buyers be very aware. I'm asking for my money back!

Ride Quality & Brakes
2 out of 5
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Engine
1 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
1 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
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Equipment
2 out of 5
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3 out of 5

Bought new with stage 1, SE silencers, air cleaner, sundowner seat and sissy bar

21 September 2006 by celldaeels

Fun to ride, light and agile but long rides become uncomfortable. Strengths: Best v twin engine around. Weaknesses: Be prepared to have oil sprayed (blowby)from breather in air filter all over engine casings, exhaust and your right leg. This is supposed to be normal!!! Backfires often. Cramped when riding with pillion. Vibration exessive.

Ride Quality & Brakes
1 out of 5
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Engine
1 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
4 out of 5
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5 out of 5

Loads of fun to ride

19 June 2006 by KayL

Being only 5ft tall I seem to find that there are very few bikes that I can ride (I have been riding for 23 years). I have never been a fan of Harleys until I had a seat on one at a bike show and actually liked the uncluttered look of the sportster. I took a test drive and now I have to say that it is the most fun I have had on two wheels for a very long time. I ride mostly on twisty country roads and even commute to work on it. The bike is stable and solid and gives me loads of confidence despite the fact that it is quite a heavy bike. It may not be the fastest bike in the world but it has more "go" than you might imagine. Strengths: Solid and stable and the sportster low is excellent for smaller riders. It looks great and I especially like the solo seat and the minimal look. Weaknesses: It is heavy to push around but luckily is easy to manouver at slow speeds. The side stand and the alarm system are a bit awkward until you get used to them.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
4 out of 5
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Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1993
Year discontinued -
New price £6,395
Used price £3,100 to £20,000
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost £240
Performance
Max power 50 bhp
Max torque 51 ft-lb
Top speed 105 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 15.4 secs
Average fuel consumption 43 mpg
Tank range 115 miles
Specification
Engine size 883cc
Engine type 4v V-twin, 5 gears
Frame type Steel cradle
Fuel capacity 12.5 litres
Seat height 760mm
Bike weight 251kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake 292mm disc
Rear brake 292mm disc
Front tyre size 100/90 x 19
Rear tyre size 150/80 x 16

History & Versions

Model history

1985: Harley-Davidson XLH883 Sportster introduced. Numerous tweaks during the next few years, including gaining belt drive and five speed transmission (rather than four). Discontinued in 2003.
1987: Harley-Davidson XLH883 Sportster Hugger: higher bars and lower seat height, otherwise like the standard model. Similar updates to basic model. Discontinued in 2003.
1990: Harley-Davidson XLH883 De Luxe model launched: same basic spec but with higher bars and dual seat as standard. Discontinued in 1992.
2001: Harley-Davidson XL883R model introduced with a 2-1 exhaust, black engine and new (dual) seat. Later gains spoked, cast alloy wheels.
2003: Harley-Davidson XL883/L Sportster introduced with rubber-mounted engine, lower seat and a lighter clutch. Also, 883C Custom model launched. All 2003 Harleys have the company’s centenary badge on them.

Other versions

Harley-Davidson XL883C Sportster: Custom model, with 17.5 litre tank, redesigned seating position and wider rear tyre. Less ground clearance than standard model and considerably more expensive.
Harley-Davidson XL883L Sportster: The current, basic model.
Harley-Davidson XL883R Sportster: Similar to the basic, L, model but with added graphics, alloy wheels, twin front discs and other tweaks.

Photo Gallery

  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review
  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review - Engine
  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review
  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review
  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster motorcycle review - Side view
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