Just like back in the ’70s Street Chopper will again be playing around with and testing a few new bikes. Like Steve Stillwell, Brian Brennan, and other past editors of this magazine, we’ll be showing you chopper riders some alternatives for your daily commute and maybe even a new model bike as a foundation for customization.
The first bike we are testing is the Iron 883, which by chance is the least expensive of Harley-Davidson’s line. When I first started riding this bike I found the handling to be precise with a rake of 29.6 degrees and 4.60 inches of trail. It was nimble and the handling felt like a BMX bike when compared to my ’10 Dyna.
The light weight (559 pounds) of the Iron made the bike really fun both on the freeway and canyon carving. I liked the mid controls and most who ride old bikes will too. I was not cramped and the position felt much better than other Sporties I have ridden with forward controls.
I also dug the 26½-inch seat height and lowered shocks. For being 2 inches lower than a stock Sportster, the Iron didn’t bottom out as much as I thought it would.
I have in fact scraped the bottom of the frame on steep driveways and speed bumps and rightly so with the ground clearance being just a tad under 4 inches. The Iron 883 looks good sitting that low and I think most who usually ride rigid bikes could easily deal with the limited travel and lowered stance.
Other standouts in the looks department are the 13-spoke mags, which I have an affinity for, the blacked-out motor, and overall simplicity of design the Iron has. It truly is the best-looking model H-D makes in its stock form.
Harley’s average mpg of 45/60 was right in tune with what we have gotten so far making this one economical bike coupled with the $7,999 price tag. I just wished it had a bit more power for the money. Don’t get me wrong, the 883ci engine had good power, I just always wanted a bit more when running through the gears. Also when the bike was reaching more than 70 mph, the engine sounded like a sewing machine on meth. I think it may be time for Harley to shove a six-speed transmission in it.
After riding the bike around for a few hundred miles I did have a few personal complaints. Being 5-foot, 10 inches, and 200 pounds, I found the bars very low and like most OEM handlebars, they had too much sweep, which made my wrists ache after a bit of time in the saddle. Speaking of saddles, the stock seat made by rump numb after riding about 30 miles. The shape of the seat seemed to put unwanted pressure on my tailbone. I am sure that most of the readers of Street Chopper would be changing the bars, risers, and seat almost immediately, so this should not be an issue when deciding to purchase this bike. All in all, this bike would be a great low-priced commuter for anybody who is tired of beating up their old bike on a daily basis, or a rider who is just looking for a push and go bike that isn’t all disco looking or a big and clunky bagger.
I enjoyed my time on the Iron 883 so much that we are going to be keeping this bike around as a long-term test bike and we will be customizing it to go faster and look better with all sorts of Harley goodies from H-D’s Parts and Accessories catalog. Look for weekly updates of the progress on streetchopperweb.com and a few follow-ups in future pages of Street Chopper. STC