2011 Harley 883 SuperLow first ride

Published: 14 September 2010

This is the new shortie-friendly version of last year’s Sportster XL883L and comes with a bigger 17 litre tank, new seat, longer travel rear suspension, new five spoke wheels and fresh paint. It’s powered by the same easy-going, tractable 883cc V-twin as last year’s bike, which is no bad thing. 

Sitting astride the bike, the seat is – predictably enough – very low. At under 700mm (28in) it could even qualify as super low. Riders under five feet tall can comfortably sit astride the bike with both feet firmly flat on the floor and though the bars are high, they’re still a comfortable reach away. They also give a very cool chopper style riding stance, with arms out wide and parallel to the road – very Peter Fonda. 

A bike designed for novice riders must give confidence when ridden at under walking pace. If the steering is heavy or the bike feel unbalanced, a novice will still feel uncomfortable, even if their feet are flat on the ground. Lessons learnt from the nimble (a relative term when talking about big V-twins) low speed handling of the XR1200 have been applied to the chassis geometry of the SuperLow and the steering stays light over the majority of the sweep of the bars. It’s only when the you approach full lock that there’s any hint of heaviness.

For the full first ride report, pick up a copy of this week's MCN, on sal Wednesday 15 September.

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