Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 883R Reviews

2007 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 883R from Aruba

Model year2007
Year of manufacture2007
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2010
Acceleration marks 10 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 8 / 10
Handling marks 8 / 10
Braking marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.9 / 10
Distance when acquired5 miles
Most recent distance8200 miles
Previous motorcycleBuell Blast

Summary:

Fun to ride, and reliable, cheap transportation

Faults:

There have been several corrosion problems with this bike. Mirror posts and horn are rusting. The black paint on the front forks flaked off in several small patches, and HD would only replace one front fork under warranty.

After almost a year, the new fork is still in good shape, leading me to think that the factory shocks had a bad paint job.

I covered the patches on the bad shock with bullet hole stickers, seems to be holding up fine.

Always garage kept, and washed once a month.

General Comments:

Due to the wide handlebars, this bike has a large turning radius; pulling in and out of parking spaces sometimes involves backing up a couple times.

My only real complaint is all the holes in the seat that I guess are for comfort ventilation. After riding in the rain or washing, I have to push on the seat and gradually force the water out, so that no mildew or rot gets into the padding inside the seat.

Do all my own oil changes, and after over 8000 miles, this bike has never been serviced except the front shock replacement. Even still on the original tires! Bought in 2008 as a dealer leftover, got a deal! Added a Custom Chrome luggage rack that mounts on the license plate rack and fender, so I can carry small items.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st December, 2010

2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 883R from United States of America

Model year2005
Year of manufacture2005
First year of ownership2007
Most recent year of ownership2009
Acceleration marks 9 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 9 / 10
Handling marks 7 / 10
Braking marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired6300 miles
Most recent distance10200 miles
Previous motorcycleHonda Honda CL 360

Summary:

The Sportster is a thrill to ride and looks sporty

Faults:

So far only normal maintenance items have occurred, rear tire replacement, primary chain adj., belt adj. and reg. oil changes. I have the shop manual and have easily performed all the work myself.

The only beef I have is the back shocks seem a little weak (high setting). With my wife on back we bottom out every now and then. I'm 230lb and she's around 150lb. I bought it used and the people were bigger than us. So the shocks are either spent or I'm asking too much of the bike. The dealer said the shocks were OK. May we're just too heavy together and need a bigger bike?

General Comments:

I like the flexibility of the smaller bike. I don't take trips farther than 150mi in a day.

My friends all have bigger bikes and I'm usually quicker off the line, and I also like the acceleration from the Sporty.

I get the question "when are you going to get a bigger bike?" all the time. I've ridden bigger bikes, I have the money, but can't get too excited over them. Actually I would like to keep this bike and maybe get a cruiser, but I'm not sure how much use it would get.

I'm ready to ride it for a third season. I'm retired and have the time to enjoy it when the weather is nice.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th January, 2009

7th Feb 2010, 06:01

Hi.

As far as the shocks are concerned, you don't need a bigger bike. The stock rear shocks are just weak and keep bottoming when I (200 lbs) take my wife (140 lbs) for a ride.

Progressive Suspension makes replacement shocks for the 883R (2005 on; Model 412-4065B, fully black version), which can be had for less than $250 a pair on the net.

Ioan (Switzerland),'05 883R.

2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 883R from United States of America

Model year2005
Year of manufacture2005
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2007
Acceleration marks 6 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 6 / 10
Handling marks 7 / 10
Braking marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired120 miles
Most recent distance4500 miles
Previous motorcycleHonda CB450SC Nighthawk

Summary:

It's not cutting edge technology, but then that's not why I bought it

Faults:

Front brake master cylinder required rebuilding at 2500 miles, and was recalled by the factory.

Diaphragm in carburetor became torn and required replacing at 4200 miles.

General Comments:

I bought an 883R brand new in 2005.

This is my first Harley after several Japanese bikes. It's no crotch rocket that's for sure, but that's not why I bought it.

It's as if it comes with a built in people magnet. At stop signs and convenience stores, people stop to comment all the time. That in itself makes this a fun bike to ride.

New from the factory, the exhaust is way too quiet. In fact embarrassingly so. And it had the notorious "carb farts". That is, when accelerating from a stop, the carb would backfire for a moment. Beyond annoying, this was dangerous if you were pulling out in traffic and the bike would hesitate until the carb cleared.

I purchased Harley slip ons, a Kuryakyn Hyper Charger air cleaner and jets. I installed them myself and was very pleased with the result. No more carb farts, increased power and a more "Harley" sounding Harley. Not loud during normal operation, but when I get on it, it screams.

Gas mileage was about 45 MPG from the factory, and dropped to about 42 MPG with the changes.

The air cleaner does weep a little oil from the crankcase ventilation, but it's more of an annoyance then a problem.

With the rubber mounted engine, vibration is almost unnoticeable until you get above 75 MPH or so.

I have a hard time keeping myself from smiling every time I ride it, almost to the point of looking like an idiot riding it.

I have heard stories that beer gutted, grizzled Harley riders would give me a hard time about riding a "girls" bike. It hasn't happen. In fact one day while at a stop light. I hear someone yelling "hey". I look over and it's a hard core looking guy on an old Harley. He wanted to know what the "R" in 883R stood for. (It stands for Roadster). I took that as a compliment that he was interested enough in my bike to even ask.

Probably about the only complaint that I have with it, is that it is cold blooded when it's first started up in the cold weather (I ride all winter long as long as there is snow or ice on the streets).

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th July, 2007

22nd Jul 2007, 22:18

I have an update on mileage this weekend. With my girlfriend on the back, I got 55 MPG on the highway!

3rd Sep 2007, 21:41

Sorry chief. The 883R was inspired by the XR flat track racers, but R stands for Roadster. Look it up.

26th Mar 2008, 18:02

Hey there...

I have a 2006 883r.

I agree with everything you said here... down to the detail of the carb fart. I had a crank position sensor replaced and it helped a lot, though it still happens time to time... again... usually in first gear off a light or intersection.

Cold blooded... yup... exactly.

Girl bike.. I laugh because I bought mine from a female rider, and when the people in my office found that out... they never let up. (also... FYI... none of them ride.)

And yes. the R stands for Roadster... 2007 (I think) is the last year they made that model in 883 size to boot...

And as a last bit of info... I have been looking at new machines (just looking... not buying) but they all seem so low to the ground... I checked it out and a salesman said that the R in the older "dirt track" looking bikes make them much easier to lay on to turn a corner, because it has more clearance.

Anyway... take care...

Average review marks: 8.0 / 10, based on 3 reviews