Before the Street 750, the Harley-Davidson 883 Iron was Harley’s smallest-capacity entry-level bike, with its unthreatening 883cc engine and compact dimensions making it ideal for shorter riders and those not completely confident handling larger bikes. But the introduction of the Street potentially made the Iron redundant in Harley’s Dark Custom range.
Harley-Davidson Iron 883 v Honda VT750C video review
There are many reasons to be put off the Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 Iron. Its clutch is heavy, its brakes relatively poor, it’s slow steering, the engine is comparatively clunky (as is the gearbox) and the rear cylinder gets uncomfortably hot in traffic – but it does look and feel like a genuine Harley and that shouldn’t be underestimated.
Compared to the Street, the 883 has cleaner lines with its purer, simpler design and the lack of a radiator. Then there’s the iconic ‘peanut’ tank, twin, side-mounted exhausts, classic cut-down rear ‘fender’ and ‘drag’ style bars. If you removed the H-D badge from the Iron you’d still be in no doubt who made it.
Despite its flaws, riding the 883 feels good – and that's what matters most. It doesn't feel like riding an imitation of a Harley – it feels like the real deal. If all that clunk and heaviness puts some off, fine, Harley has the new Streets for them. If not, the original is still the best.