When one door closes, another opens. Never a truer word can be said as we prepare to say goodbye to Harley-Davidson’s beloved Iron 883 and 1200 lineup and usher in the next generation Sportster S.
With Harley-Davidson recently announcing the upcoming arrival of the new Sportster S in the Australian market, we’ve taken some time to enjoy the outgoing Iron 883 and appreciate its simple and fun nature.
The Sportster first appeared in the Harley Davidson lineup in 1957 and has been a staple in its model lineup ever since. Originally launched as the XL, the original Sportster was powered by a 55 cubic inch OHV V-twin.
These days, the current iteration of the Sportster lineup is simply known as the Iron 883 and is powered by an 883cc V-Twin that produces 33.5kW of power. Paired with a 5-speed gearbox, it has a unique character, not only in its styling, but also in its driving characteristics.
Unlike some of its larger V-Twin siblings, the smaller-capacity engine and gearbox isn’t as smooth as you might expect. What it delivers is a raw driving experience, and the more you’re willing to put on, the more you’ll get.
The gearbox takes a bit of getting used to, as you need to spin the bike a little harder and rev up the revs to get a little more performance from the Iron 883. Once you’ve adjusted yourself. at that, all is well.
While the Iron 883 sits at the speed limit with minimal fuss, if you want a little more enthusiastic driving you’ll notice the extra effort required to get the gearbox and engine to work.
Physically, the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 is the dud of the brand’s full-size bike litter. But there is an advantage. With a length of 2.185mm, a seat height of 760mm and a wet weight of 256kg, it is more agile, which makes it fun to throw around the corners and really adds to its charm.
With flat bars, center-mounted controls and an upright seating position, the rider gains maximum control and confidence when riding the Iron 883, whether in the urban jungle or on lonely winding country roads. .
This size and sitting position is probably what made many new Harley-Davidson riders love the Iron 883, as well as those returning to two-wheelers. It’s an easy-going bike, a great commuter, and adapts well to the hustle and bustle of the city.
With its smaller and narrower stature, the Iron 883 is perfect for dividing lanes and easing traffic, while retaining all of its Harley-Davidson style and attitude.
That said, the Iron 883 is also ideal for cruising in regional areas. Power is good without being overwhelming, and it’s a lot lighter in the corners than some of the larger bikes in the Harley-Davidson lineup. Overall, it’s just a lot of fun.
The Iron 883’s fuel capacity has always been a bit of a joke among the Harley crowd, with its retro-modern peanut fuel tank holding just 12.5 liters of go-go juice.
To be fair, we still managed to get from the lower central coast to Cessnock quite comfortably, getting a little over 200km on a tank of fuel.
The suspension on the Iron 883 is favorable. The steering is also reasonably straightforward and there is a 30 degree lean up front. The 39mm Showa forks also do a good job. Dual shocks at the rear allow 41mm of travel, which is pretty reasonable.
Braking works well, with dual-piston fixed calipers and a floating front rotor up front, while the rear has a solid rotor. This rear setup looks a bit spongy.
Available with blackened trims, the 2021 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 comes in four color choices, including Black Denim (as tested), River Rock Gray Denim, Deadwood Green and Snake Bite Venom.
The Iron 883 represents the entry level in Harley-Davidson’s mainstream bike offerings, with prices starting at $ 18,250 each way. This creates a conundrum, considering that the entry point for the Softail lineup is at $ 21,495.
In case you missed it, Harley-Davidson should replace the Iron 883 and Iron 1200 that make up the current Sportster lineup. The brand will switch to the new Sportster S at the end of this year.
For us, that marks a loving farewell, as the 2021 Iron 883 is an easy-going bike, and it’s a good starting point for many riders. So if you want to get one of the last remaining Iron 883s, make a quick trip to your local Harley-Davidson dealership.
Our test bike was provided by Harley-Davidson Australia. To learn more about the 2021 Harley-Davidson Iron 883, contact your local Harley-Davidson dealer.