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The Harley Iron 883 Takes Harley Davidson Back to the Basics

And we’re here to tell you why that’s a great thing!

There’s a new kid on the block – the Harley Davidson Iron 883. As we first laid eyes on it, we saw that it was filled with… nothing. The Harley 883 is as elemental as a bike can be. This bike consists of 545 lbs of steel and engine. There’s no windshield, no stereo, and absolutely no fuss.

Another big part of the looks of the Harley Davidson 883 is the height – or rather, lack thereof. With its low-profile seat and slammed suspension, it doesn’t exactly stand tall in the landscape. But the low height of this bike, combined with the raw look makes it look absolutely badass. Of course, this bike comes in a variety of colors; for instance: “Hard Candy Chameleon Flake,” “Bonneville Salt Denim,” and “Wicked Red,” though, my personal favorites are the “Industrial Gray Denim” and “Black Denim.” These two colors are just perfect next to the blacked-out look of this bike.

The heritage of this bike is also on point – it falls perfectly in line with the first of the sportsters that rolled off the production line in the late 1950’s with their overhead valves. This engine was so good that it was kept in production until the mid-80’s with little-to-no modifications. The engine has, of course, undergone some improvements over the last couple of decades, making it more refined and durable. Durability especially matters on the Harley Iron 883, because where most bikes get new engines – or at least new and more horsepower – the Harley Iron 883 still feels like it’s stuck in the 50’s. It is rather slow – something you can easily feel if you’re up against other bikes in the same range.

For instance, the Harley 883 is almost a second slower from 0-60, than the Yamaha Bolt R-spec, which is roughly the same price. So don’t expect to be able to pull away from anyone anytime soon. But to be honest, the only time you would feel slow is when pulling away from other riders. Harley Davidson geared this engine in such a way that it feels like you’re accelerating quickly. They did this by gearing the motor higher than most other engines, making your accelerations longer (and louder). This does put a bit of extra strain on the engine, but I’d dare to say that it won’t be a problem since the engine is quite robust.

When checking out the Harley Davidson Iron 883, there was one thing I couldn’t get my head around; how much money to set aside for my chiropractor each month. And I’m not even joking here. Sure, the engine has gotten rubber dampening through the years, the shocks have improved, and the seat is more cushioned. BUT, I could easily imagine that a lot of riders would complain about getting their asses kicked on a regular basis. There will always be those that say it’s “authentic,” and “part of the experience,” but in my book, there is a big difference between authenticity and discomfort. I think it should be possible to make a bike like the Iron 883 that’s not quite as hard to drive.

There are a couple of things that you can’t take away from the Harley Davidson Iron 883, however; for starters, it’s a lot of bike for the money. In fact, it’s dirt cheap – and it looks stunning. In my opinion, this is the best-looking bike that money can buy. I wholeheartedly believe that to get a more badass-looking bike, you need to look towards the forty-eight or the breakout, which are 2300$ and 10000$ more, respectively.

I genuinely think that Harley Davidson has put a lot of effort into designing this bike, despite it being the second-cheapest in the line. I mean – come on, where else will you find a bike that looks as good as this, for less than ten grand? And let’s not forget – whichever issue I may have with it (I think the suspension is too hard and the engine is too weak) since this is essentially a 60-year-old bike, there are thousands of spare parts available to tweak it if you like. Want more power? Tweak the engine. Your butt hurts after a few miles? Slap on some different shocks.

I think that a lot of people can enjoy this bike straight off the line, but I also think that even more people will spend countless hours tweaking it to their exact liking because it’s simple and affordable with the Harley Iron 883. One thing is for sure: if it were up to me and I had to look at a bike in the driveway every day, I’d choose the Harley Davidson Iron 883 over the Bolt R-spec in a heartbeat – even without any shocks at all!

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Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…

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