Harley Davidson Iron 883 aka Sportster

Harley Davidson Iron 883

Welcome to the 2022 Harley Davidson 883 Iron showroom review and specification page. I rarely cover Harley Davidson as a brand and manufacturer and I thought why not ‘dig deeper’ and editorialise the post using a new format. What prompted me to write about them was the quite obvious design and corporate evolution. 

It may or may not be obvious that Harley Davidson as a company has tried many things to stay relevant and desirable in the last 30 year or so. Unfortunately they have only managed to follow what others have done – unsuccessfully. Some failures were the Street 500 model, a cheap Harley Davidson and moving manufacturing overseas and there are many more. It completely contradicted it’s marketing for the prior 50 years and big no-no when it comes to maintaining an aspirational brand (due to pricing) above white goods and FMCG categories. Along with it’s model range, failure to innovate the core models and listening only to it’s aging ownership base marked it to fade as a historical footnote. 

Listening to existing customers (aka Hogs) can only make a company successfully for a limited amount of time aka one generation. They have already been sold on the old marketing and branding! Witness the reportable licensing and merchandise sales figures in their annual report. They were at least 10 years late to the now fading adventure motorcycle class, likewise scrambler and cafe racer trends and while they dominated the Cruiser and custom trend it was 20 years ago. It’s once flashy chrome styling is now completely off trend for least 10 years. Mind you they still look great. 

Real innovation by research, including marketing and development will keep the company growing and the last CEO’s legacy was a step ahead of the competition with the Livewire electric motorcycle. The first real electric motorcycle from a mainstream manufacturer. Unfortunately the Livewire brand has been sold off so without an electric motorcycle who can predict how HD will stay relevant.  Maybe if it looked more like a traditional Harley Davidson motorcycle and cost much less than a base model Tesla would have helped. There are signs of a traditional revival though, under their new CEO and Chairman Jochen Zeitz who has brought new contemporary and tighter financials. The company (NYSE: HOG) carries a surprising 10 billion AUD or there about in debt at the time of this post. 

That brings me back to the Harley Davidson Iron 883 formerly known as the Harley Davidson Sportster. The rebranded Iron 883 is the oldest and now cheapest model in the range. You’ll have the dig deep on their website to find it though as I don’t think this model will not last much longer. 

In terms of styling the Iron 883 hasn’t changed much but what has changed is amazing (since the last time I looked at it – pre 2017 update). It’s literally looks like an different model. That said, the update consists of ‘traditional’ parts bin update then blacked out – customisation is it what HD are famous for. I won’t bore you with the commentary on tech specs as it’s the oldest model and it’s got just enough to keep up with 2022 traffic. It is a cruiser so it’s not meant to carve corners so I won’t comment on that either. What I can say is they they should have revamped this ancient model much earlier and lowered the price and piled on some marketing instead a developing the now discontinued Street 500. After all that is what they have essentially done now. 

Overall the Harley Davidson Iron 883 is a good looking motorcycle that is overpriced and to be honest,  the brand at least overseas, is not what it once was. I can understand it’s withdrawal back to it’s home market for strength but the world and riders are changing. Does the Iron 883, aside from the rebranding reflect that? At least it’s a genuine Harley Davidson so worth a look if you can stomach the price rise.

Note: I could go on and on about the corporate history of the company as a case study but I won’t. I also hold shares in Harley Davidson via mutual fund.

 
Harley Davidson Iron 883 (XL883N) Key Specifications (2022)
Engine: 2 cylinder OHV (EFI)
Capacity: 883cc
Power/Torque: Approx 40 Kw @ 6000 RPM 72 Nm @ 3650 RPM
Gearbox: 5 speed manual
Kerb Weight: 247kg
Performance: 0-100kph N/A seconds Approx
Max Speed N/A Kph Approx
Fuel Economy: 12 litre fuel tank
Approx 4 litres per 100km
Seat height: 780mm
Dimensions: L2185 X W850 X H1140 mm
Wheels: 100-90-19F 150-80-16R
Recommended Retail Price: Est $18250 AUD (2022)
 

 

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