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Harley Davidson Sportster 883 (93-on) Review

Harley Davidson Sportster 883

Harley Davidson first introduced the Sportster series back in 1952 with the K-model. The series is still one of the most famous in the biking world. One thing that these bikes are known for is being quick, maybe not as fast as a sports bike, but definitely more agile than your regular everyday ride. Harley has maintained their high performance standards that were present throughout the inception of various Sportster series.

The History of the Sportster

The Sportster series was called the K-model when it was first started in 1952. It gained its name in 1957, thanks to the new engine that shared the same name. Between this time and 1986, Harley introduced various new engines and models. In 1986, the Sportster 883 was given it’s full name after it’s engine that offered 883cc horsepower.

The Sportster series has undergone various crucial changes over the years.   Some of these changes include the introduction of fuel injection in 2004, that eventually became a standard in 2006. In 2004, the other major change was the addition of the rubber mounting on the engine. Two Sportsters that are popular till today are the Sportster Iron and the Sportster Super Low.

The XL883 series

The two major popular outputs from the 883 series are the Sportster XL883L (SupoerLow) and the XL883N (Iron). Both bikes share the same 883cc engine but they offer completely different riding experiences. Many riders share the opinion that choosing a bike pretends on your build and riding choices. The general consensus is that the SuperLow is meant for cruising on the highway while the Iron is more suitable for riding in the city. The Iron also looks more modern and slightly more sporty but the low ground clearance may be hard for city driving. Depending on your height, you might find the SuperLow to be tiny and feel a little cramped but that depends on your preferences.

Today we will be taking a look at the Sportster 883 Iron.

The Sportster 883 Iron

Although both bikes are equally good, the Iron is more popular among riders.  Both bikes are considered to be perfect for beginners who are learning to handle big bikes. The Iron has a more modern look and is perfect for city driving and open road cruising at the same time.


The Iron and the rest of the 883 series aim to blend the looks from the bikes of the past and perform according to current biking world standards. Unlike other models that are available today, the Sportster has a deep history and Harley is looking to remind you of that. These bikes look tough and are tough. They have an excellent finish and the latest models often offer blacked out version to make you look more stylish. Everything from paint jobs to switchgears has been perfectly made.

The big advantage of buying Harley bikes is that they are customisable. This bike is more suited for bikers that want to tweak their bikes to completely meet their riding needs. Harley also offers excellent after sales support to help riders get more comfortable.

The 2016 version of the bike comes with a new look, thanks to Harley’s senior designer, Dais Nagao. The new design also comes with comfier seats, to make it more suitable for long distance riding. It also includes new pipes, mufflers, air filters and lighter wheels. The main performance aspects of the Harley are the same as the engine, transmission and frame have remained unchanged. Research has shown that most Sportster owners are new to brand and a significant number of them are aged 18-34. Overall, the latest Harley Sportster 883 can tear up the roads like the old boys but has the spunky, modern look to appeal to the current generation of riders.


The Iron is a heavy bike and you can feel the weight when driving slowly. The Iron has an engine that is identical to that of the 1200cc Sportster but only dimensionally. Top speed for the bike is around 80mph, which some riders might find it to be lacking. It offers a smooth ride, especially with the newer suspension. Even the newer suspension is more suited for hard riding but it’s a good start for beginners.

The newer models of the bike have avoided the clunky gearboxes and the heavy clutch pull. This makes it a more appealing bike for women to cruise around in. The Sportster Iron has a single front-brake disc that works effectively. Company executives have said that the bike is meant for the modern rider and the powerful engine torque is meant for this. The chassis of the bike is also user-friendly. The gears have also been improved throughout the years.


The Harley Davidson Sportster Iron XL883 is the perfect bike for beginners or experienced riders who like to customize their rides. As mentioned before, it mixes modern looks with old school power. The bike is affordable to most, especially those who want to get the renowned brand in to their garage. It isn’t meant to compete with the higher models, it is meant to be a simple ride for those that dream of a long highway road.


Harley Davidson Sportster 883 (93-on) Review was last modified: May 10th, 2019 by Alan Charnock