I HAD BOUGHT A 2005 XL CUSTOM 883.
My goodness, what a nightmare from the day I picked it up at the dealer. This was my first bike so I was so excited.
Well from the minute I got the bike, I had MAJOR problems.
It always had stalled when I was doing about 55 or coming to a dead stop. The dealer had the bike more than I did the first few months. I had the screamin eagle pipes put on, and constantly HAD TROUBLE WITH THE JETTING. At 2000 they did the whole top end, then at 4000 it began leaking oil. Back and forth to the dealer. The jetting would foul the plugs every month and NO DEALER would take responsibility.
I called the State attorney office and there is NO LEMON LAW ON BIKES!!! I SAID ARE YOU NUTS, SOME PEOPLE PAY MORE FOR BIKES THAN CARS. IT WAS A MAJOR MECHANICAL NIGHTMARE FOR ME..
Anyways, what a major headache for me. After 2 years of this crazyness, I got rid of it and would never go back. Sure I miss the HARLEY image, but that's all it is. AN EXPENSIVE IMAGE. I went to a SUZUKI CRUISER, and I am so HAPPY now I can't stand it... AND NEEDLESS TO SAY FOR HALF THE MONEY.
2001 883 Sportster.
My bike had 1,900 miles when I bought it. First day of riding, at about 15 to 20 miles, it started back firing and died. The bike would not restart.
After a few hours of cooling down, I went back to my stranded bike, and it restarted, and got me home.
The speedometer set a code 8, which is speedometer overvolt. After calling several dealers, any tech that was willing to give me some input, said it was the ignition module. Pretty low miles for such a major component to go bad. I wish I could go back to points.
Bought a 2002 883R, and at 2800 miles the front valve cover started leaking. The dealer fixed it and all was well for the next 2000 miles, when the rear one decided it was time to start leaking. The bike has 5k miles on it and is paid for, so I decided to do the rear one myself.
The gaskets are $22, so it isn't a major issue. However, I have never seen gaskets that were tight and sealed just start to leak. These are rubber gaskets, so it makes it all the more curious.
The 883R handles like a truck and vibrates at anything over 60mph. Long rides at highway speed are impossible without my hands and posterior going numb.
BTW - I asked the service guy what the deal was with Harleys and oil leaks; he said that people don't ride them enough and any bike that sits will leak oil. I asked what ride enough was, like how many a year; he didn't have any idea. He said that it must just be that I got a new one that had "issues".
Judging by how many brand new bikes were in the service department for repairs, I am guessing that most Harleys have "issues".
I still love my bike, even with the numb butt issue and leaks and all.
Next bike is going to be an S&S motor and a rigid frame, and I am going to build it the right way.
So, ride your Harleys or they will turn into oil strainers, and leave a trail like a snail.
I have a 2006 Harley Sportster Custom 883. I just dropped it off for its 5k service. After reading all these comments, I thought I would add something positive. I love the bike! No leaks, low vibration and good performance.
I had a stage one kit installed and some Python pipes at about 1500 miles, and it was a great addition - adding to the sound and performance.
I have been on a few long (500 miles) rides and have not had a problem. Sportsters (the customs) look like smaller Dyna's and allow you to customize them how you wish to make it your bike.
A solid, well designed bike for a great price.
All I can say is Harleys rule. I've seen a lot of Harleys with high miles and long rides, with none to nothing but minor problems. If something's stranded, you just get your HOG membership card out and help comes to you. I am sure past Harleys had their problems, and no manufacturer is going to produce all bikes perfect, but Harleys are hand built and balanced, and they honor any defects.
I had bought my first 2001 Harley Davidson XL 883c with 2,999 miles on it, in April 2010. It was just converted into a 1200, and not even broken in yet. The woman said it was too fast for her. This was great for me, but there was the same problem that everyone else is having or had. Driving it 15 to 20 miles, and it would shut down. Waiting 20 to 30 minutes to let it cool down, and the bike drove great. I thought it was over-heating, so I bought an oil cooler $225.00 (Worth the $$$). This made the bike run better, but not the problem. Yes, it was the electronic ignition module.
Another problem I found, was water in the gear case. The primary gasket was leaking before I bought it. I guess it's true, sitting all these years without driving it isn't good. Replaced that also, without any more incidents. I put over 10,097 miles on it in the past 6 months. I drove the bike everyday (without leakage or breakdown), which proves riding everyday is a good thing for the bike, and your mind. I love it! Recommending it to anyone who reads this. Buying a Sportster 883, or should I say 1200. It's well worth your time, and money...
I have a 2001 883. It broke down in mid ride, about twenty miles out. I was told over and over again, that it was my ignition module, so I replaced it. Today, some days after replacing the part, the bike, once again coughed and sputtered its way to a halt in the middle of a busy intersection. Does anyone have any ideas? Next move?
2006 Harley Davidson XL 1200C.
I decided after 32 years of riding, to try a Harley Davidson, and it was the worst decision I ever made. The worst chance I took. It was nothing but a nightmare. It was a maintenance nightmare, constantly breaking down, one thing after another. If anyone tells you they have had their Harley for many years with no problems, have probably only put 1,000 miles on it the entire time. If you are a person that really likes to ride - do not buy a Harley Davidson. If you decide to get one, good luck, you'll need it. Don't travel too far from home; chances are you will be stranded.
I have 2001 Sportster 883 Custom, and it's been a good bike and a daily driver, doing a 100 mile round trip commute 4 to 5 days a week with no problems, till it hit 22k.
Then it was time to replace a few parts, and I must say I got my money's worth on 10K tires used up to 20k. Note: I found replacing the tires helped with the numb butt syndrome, so change out those stock tires, and that should help. I also noticed it's time for a clutch job at 22k; that's OK with with me.
I have had no leaks (knock on wood), but my tach went bad at 20k, and I suspect a bad wire, or maybe it's just time for a new tach.
I do find it lacks the speed and punch on the highway, keeping up with the bigger bikes, but I'm in no hurry anyway, so I'm gonna ride it every day. It's a sweet ride!