First produced in 1957, the Harley Davidson Sportster series has grown to become a perennial favourite in the motorcycle world, updating year-on-year to keep ahead of the curve. And, with the Iron 883, the range isn’t afraid to show off its classic roots.
Clad all in black, the Iron 883 cuts a minimalistic and old-school look that Harley Davidson themselves proudly refer to as a “raw, aggressive throwback”, an undeniably appealing phrase for those looking to buy a Harley Davidson Sportster and participate in the brand’s rebellious attitude.
Along with this dark aesthetic comes a host of interesting features that Harley have been constantly improving upon, with the current iteration of the Sportster’s trademark Evolution V-twin engine packing an 883cc punch on the Iron model.
First made for the Harley Davidson in 1984 as a replacement to their ageing Shovelhead engine, the Evolution has since secured the brand as one of the most sought after companies for your biking needs, and constant tweaking over the years has given the engine a great durability.
Harley have also been upgrading the security of your bike, with their 2013 model now featuring a hands-free fob that will activate and deactivate your bike’s power function as you approach or leave it.
The 883 has always been a fantastic entry point for the rider looking to get into the world of Harleys, boasting easy customisation and a new braking system that provides a marked increase in stability for riders not used to the naturally heavier handling of these iconic kings of the road.
Some history on the Sportster range
When looking to buy a Harley Davidson Sportster, you’re not simply buying a motorcycle; you’re purchasing an entire culture associated with that vehicle.
The Sportster range – which includes the SuperLow, the Iron 883, the 1200 Custom and the Forty-Eight – was initially produced to compete against a British invasion of lighter, leaner and sportier bikes that were posing a threat to the Harley Davidson company, who were still languishing in older builds from the thirties.
The frame of the Sportster worked as a fantastic alternative to larger bikes, with lowered front and rear suspension and a lower seat creating a more comfortable experience for the biker.
And, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that there are some striking similarities to that first 1957 model and today’s Iron 883. There’s still the same seemingly aggressive, yet ergonomically sound design, and a similar appeal for the shorter rider.
The differences lie in many smaller places, with improved cooling systems and a more reliable framework. The Sportster range represents a bike that has been tweaked to near perfection over its 56 year existence.
While these minor tweaks do mean that the company can on occasion struggle to keep up with brand new entrants to the track, the lack of a complete overhaul means that Harley can focus on perfecting the model they have and offering little luxuries to the package, with a vastly superior paint job and a varied array of customisation options sweetening the deal.
In the face of rapid change from the Japanese import industry and other bike manufacturers creating a new breed of sleek and stylish models, The Iron 883 proves that old adage that slow and steady wins the race, being part of a range that has eked out a rolling set of improvements instead of a complete overhaul.
And, as the Sportster series continues to shift units, it’s a strategy that sees no sign of stopping.