How Low Can Harley Go?
If you’re “height-challenged,” don’t have much of a new-bike budget and always wanted a Harley-Davidson, you’re in luck. The Sportster 883 Low might just be your two-wheeled ticket to Harley-riding heaven.
The Sportster series is 100 percent Harley-Davidson. And the 2010 883 Low, along with its nearly identical dark twin, the Iron 883, reduce the H-D experience to its simplest form with the brand’s most basic motor, an 883cc, 45-degree, air-cooled V-Twin.
Both 883 models boast seat heights (26 3/8 inches) one the lowest in the Milwaukee-based bike maker’s 2010 lineup.
The 883 Low also boasts the absolute lowest MSRP from Harley in 2010. At $6,999 in color Vivid Black, no other Harley model can go lower than the 883L.
The extra $290 it’ll cost you to get one of the three available color schemes – Scarlet Red, Brilliant Silver Pearl or the Flame Blue Pearl, still keep the 883L’s price below the 2010 Honda Shadow RS’s $7,799 tag. If that doesn’t make you do a double take, you haven’t been paying attention. Spoke laced wheels are an additional $460 option.
About 2200 rpm, 883 cranks out about 46 ft-lbs of torque. That’s equal to 95% of peak torque (48.5 firstname.lastname@example.org rpm) right at the time you have fully released the clutch lever!
This healthy dose of torque right off the bottom shouldn’t be inferred as some type of drawback, but it’s conceivable a new rider might need a short period of acclimatization in order to get comfortable with the Harley’s engine characteristics. Especially when pulling away from a stop.
Otherwise, power and throttle response are smooth and linear. Furthermore, the Twin feels like it has enough power in reserve to pull a taller top gear above what feels like a short-ish fifth gear in the five-speed box.
Nevertheless, the Sportster still has enough power on tap that overtaking at freeway speeds isn’t a matter of taking your life in your hands. The 883L feels at ease in the 80-mph range.
The 26-inch seat height will make planting both feet easy for even the shortest riders, but its overall size can make taller riders feel crampled. And with only 3.9 inches of ground clearance, dragging hard parts early is a peg-grinding reality for the 883 Low.
Entering intersections with even a moderately aggressive lean angle will result in the left-side footpeg feeler, or the underside of the lower exhaust pipe, meeting the pavement sooner than you might expect.
The limited suspension travel also means some harsh jolts over rough pavement, sharp-angled cracks and bumps in the road. Ride quality is pleasant over road surfaces that are in reasonably good shape, but choppy pavement will have you shopping for aftermarket suspension or more comfortable seat in short order.
There are a couple negatives in having a bike with such compact dimensions, but the 883 Low’s saddle height and tight rider triangle might also make it the ideal ride for lots of people out there. It’s a good bet that a many riders of the fairer sex interested in two wheels will find this Harley-Davidson’s overall package very appealing.
It may be low, even tiny to some, but the 2010 Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 Low offers decent performance and big-bike styling that overshadow its small-bike features and even smaller price tag.
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