Now I’m going to be totally honest here. I’ve never been the world’s greatest fan of the Sportster. I’ve never really felt comfortable on it and maybe that’s why when I was asked to ride the 883 and give my thoughts, I wasn’t really that excited.  How could I be… its Harley-Davidsons 2nd smallest motorcycle they have on the current production line and its only 883cc.


Yes, I was wrong again and I would soon find myself forming a little emotional bond in the short time I spent riding it. The 883 isn’t the biggest Harley-Davidson you would come across, in fact, its low almost too low for my liking, with a seat height of only 77.5cm and a street weight (wet) of 256kg. Sure, sounds like a lot, but I promise it feels at least 100kg’s lighter due to the low center of gravity.


The engine, which is obviously an air-cooled 883cc V-twin still has that authentic raw Sportster sound. Even with the matte black stock exhaust pipes, you know there is a soul inside that enthusiastic engine, just begging to be let free with a set of aftermarket pipes.  Get on the throttle and you would be surprised with the rideability of the bike. Power comes on very smooth and linear and there is nothing to really catch you off guard. The fuel injection is smooth and crisp.  This makes the 883 probably one of the most beginner friendly bikes in their lineup, also this is probably one of the most sensible bikes to own if you will be using it as a commuter, especially in a City like Cape Town.


You can’t help but notice how nimble the Iron really is. This is all due to the new forks and pre-load adjustable rear shocks.  I actually found the standard settings pretty well damped and relatively sporty for my riding style. The bike held its lines through the corners well, but you do have to keep in mind with the low ground clearance that scraping your footpegs is all part of it.  Coming back to my riding ergonomics, it’s not the most comfortable if you are a tall rider, although I never felt out of place.


From and instrument point of view, You have a single speedometer with a trip meter and low fuel warning lights. Self-canceling indicators are standard on the 883 and actually work very well.

At the end of the day, you aren’t going to be winning drag races on your 883. It’s not the point of the bike.  While you do have a torquey 71 nm engine, its best traits are to, short shift and just cruise. The 883 is also probably THE best platform if you are serious about customization and browsing the web you will find all sorts of creations , from bobbers, trackers and even scramblers.


I can’t help but feel that the little 883 moved me in some way or another. Maybe it was awesome paint or maybe it was just a reminder of what motorcycling is all about, the wind in your face.


The 883 Iron starts at R125 000 and for more info, check out Harley-Davidson