Sounds like something more than a motorcycle review going on here. My 1988 XL 883 had 5K miles on it when I purchased it, now has 19K and has not leaked a drop of oil nor given any other serious problems.
My 1200 has 25000 miles on it now and I have not had any trouble with oil leaks or any electrical problems. There are lemons in every manufacturer line. If I had it to do over again, I would buy another 99 1200 again in a heartbeat.
I Had a 2005 883CUSTOM XL and had nothing but problems from day 1.
They redid the whole top end at 2000 miles, always spittin and sputtin.
SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL!!!
Harley did not want to hear my problems after purchasing the bike.
Also had the gaskets changed, can't say how many times, and new plugs every 1000 miles.
What a shame I waited 40 years for a HARLEY!!!
Now I went to a metric bike :) :)
I have an 883 also, and have had none of the issues described in 29,500 miles. Passing other vehicles is not a problem. Although an 883 is not as powerful as so many rocket bikes, it has adequate power; can pass vehicles far faster than any of the three cars that we own.
Other than a failed battery cable and a defective oil pressure switch, my 883 has not needed anything more than normal maintenance since I bought it new. It is as reliable or better than any of the 12 bikes that I have owned, including two BMWs.
I have a 1999 883 Sporty and have had no such issues. In the past 3 years I have put 30K miles on it. All I have done is the normal scheduled work - everything else is still stock.
I live in New England, and ride the bike in 40 degrees to a hundred, and WILL say that the engine seems to like the cooler weather better - though braking is reduced as the temps drop.
If I ever slow down long enough to get any modifications done, my thoughts were to get a 2-1 exhaust to let it breathe a little better, and maybe buy a brighter headlight bulb that current stock. I was also thinking about a Mustang seat.
All in all, I have been very very happy with this little pig. No oil burn or leaks. Those used to high RPM bikes need to understand that lower RPM bikes are different beasts entirely.
I bought a 883 custom on July 5 2007 new. On September 8 07 it has 2976 miles on it. Problem free.
The bike is fast on take off; it will pass a car in a flash. I have changed to Vance & Hines short staggered, and took off the breather plate and replaced it with the screaming eagle so there is nothing on the bike that says Sportster or 883.
I stopped at a poker run that just finished, and was tickled to see most of the folks checking out my new sporty as it roared up. I don't think they or most anyway even knew what it was with the full tank (not peanut) and the spoked front wheel on the customs. Man those new pipes sound good!
But Harley Davidson will never turn a wrench on my bike. I bought it there and those folks are just rude. They act like they're doing you a favor selling you a bike. They're nasty with bad attitudes.
I have a 2007 Sportster 883XL. No such problems.
By the way, 2007 was the first year they used fuel injection. Sportsters also have motor mounts with rubber to hinder vibration. No oil leaks. Close to 60 MPG, too.
Faster than bigger Harley's. I can't say enough good things about it.
I think what we have to remember here is that comparing a Honda to a Harley is impossible; all Harley motors were designed in the early 1900s and have been only slightly revamped over the last 100 years, while Honda and other japanese companys will completely redesign their motors using the newest tech as much as every year.
I have owned many motorcycles; Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, BSA, Trimuph, Harley, Vespa, and more, and each bike brings somthing different to the table.
I love to hop on a vintage BSA and ride a short while, and when I ride with friends on a long ride or I need to get somewhere quick, I ride my Honda, I don't think you should buy a Harley as your only bike, but if you want to show off to the girls, the Harley gets the job done.
I love my 2007 Harley Davidson Sportster 883 low rider!
Black with a lot of chrome! Lots of power! It holds its own with the big boys! First rides bottomed out a lot, but clicking the rear shocks up a notch did the trick! Rides great! I'm 5-9 210 pounds and feel really comfy on this low rider. This is my first bike and I love it!
Palolohog from Hawaii
I have two bikes; a 1982 Yamaha Virago 750 and a 1999 Harley Sportster 883 Hugger. I love them both.
The Yamaha is black with lots of chrome, and the little 750 twin will run circles around the 883 Sportster and most 1200 sportsters while it's at it. The Yamaha is easier to handle, even though it's the same weight as the Sporty.
But when it comes to looking cool, my cinnamon colored and chrome laden Sportster 883 takes the cake. The 883 engine seems as fast as the 1200 Sportster my friend rides. It has ample power for passing or cruising the highway at 70 plus. The pipes sound excellent!
Oh and by the way, it gets 62 mpg suburban driving and on a highway trip it got 71 mpg. The guy that sold me the bike told me it did and I said: "Yeah... sure..." now I'm a believer... I've put 3000 miles on the 883 and never had any trouble. It's a beautiful well made bike that catches everybody's eye.
Marty - Mahtomedi, MN.
I have a 1998 XL883 and have 13900 miles, and the only problem I have ever had was a turn signal bulb went out. I have had it up to 100 mph and no problems with power or speed.
1993 883 XLH with 30,000 miles. Purchased dealer new, Oakland, California. O.K. buying and service experiences (see your mom for patience and love, not a dealer).
Seen most of California before shipping overseas. No issues what-so-ever after replacing a leaking head gasket at 10,000 miles.
The bike has been all over the world now; Jamaica, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, and now the Philippines, where I will sell it before returning to the States (I'm in the U.S. Foreign Service).
The worst experience was at a dealer in CA last year on home leave. Huge U.S. flags planted all over the lot with "We support our troops" signs. I go in, tell them I'm in the service serving overseas and need some parts shipped to my base (Military Mail is same as USPS) and they said - "No."