The first time I watched the television advert for Harley-Davidson’s Iron 883, I was instantly sold. I wanted to cruise around empty industrial areas wearing an open-face helmet, designer sunglasses and jeans. That’s how Harley-Davidson works; it has become a master of selling the lifestyle its motorcycles promise, rather than the machine itself. Despite being larger and less attractive than the chisel-jawed model I saw on television, when I finally got to throw my leg over the Iron 883 for the first time, I actually did feel a sense of freedom as I cruised my local Café strip. Despite remaining largely unchanged since its inception, the Iron 883 remains popular – partly thanks to an entry-level $14,995 (+ORC) price tag. There have been some changes for 2014; the Iron 883 has been fitted with ABS, updated hand controls and the H-D Smart Security System with proximity-based keyless ignition. The extras have seen $745 added to the price (up from $14,250 2013), but it's money well invested.
The Iron 883 comes in anti-chrome Black Denim, as well as other funky colours including a wild Hard Candy Voodoo Purple Flake and the tested Sand Cammo Denim , which gives the Iron 883 a new personality – less menacing and more stylish.
The name Iron 883 refers the capacity of the aircooled, V-twin Evolution engine. Until the Street 500 and Street 750 models arrive later this year, the 883cc unit remains the baby of the Harley- Davidson range.
It uses a metric, cubic centimetre moniker, instead of the standard cubic inch. The engine’s 71Nm of torque (claimed) peaks at 3500rpm, which doesn’t put it in the same league as the 1690cc 103B engines powering the big V-twins. But it can still pull along at low revs in all of its five gears.
Despite being fitted with a basic suspension package (front forks are conventional non-USD units) with minimal travel for a slammed look, the Iron 883 is a good little handler, thanks in part to its Michelin Scorcher tyres.
It will attack a series of twisting bends with enthusiasm, and as long as you don’t expect supersport handling – or hit any potholes – the little Sportster will behave itself. It’s not until you start asking the question through tight and twisty sections that the suspension and single brake disc are pushed a little too hard. Another tip is to plan your trips carefully: the peanut tank only holds 12.5 litres of fuel.
Reuniting with the Iron 883 reminded me why it remains a great entry to the Harley-Davidson legend. It's a lot of style for your money and the size makes it easy to manage for those stepping up to their first large-capacity motorcycle.
Cylinder head OHC
Bore/stroke 76.2 x 96.8 mm
Compression ratio 9:01
Fueling Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection
Power Not provided
Torque 71Nm @ 3500rpm (claimed)
Final drive Belt
Frame material Tubular steel
Frame layout Cradle
Front: 39mm non-adjustable telescopic fork,
145mm of travel
Rear: Twin shocks with preload adjustment,
54mm of travel
Wheels Cast aluminium, 13-spoke
Front: 19 x 2.5 Rear: 16 x 3.0
Tyres Michelin Scorcher
Front: 100/90R19 (57H)
Rear: 150/80B16 (71H)
Front: 292mm disc, two-piston floating caliper
Rear: 292mm disc, single piston caliper
Weight 255kg (wet, claimed)
Seat height 735mm
Max width Not given
Max height Not given
Fuel capacity 12.5L
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