Harley-Davidson XLH 883 Sportster

Road Captain USA

2001 Harley Davidson Sportster XLH 883 Hugger – Product Review

Posted on July 14th, 2008 by Diana Green

Where to begin?  I love this bike!  She is a cute little bugger, and she runs great.  She is dependable, fuel efficient, and stylin’!

The XLH 883 is known as a “hugger”.  I am not entirely sure what that means, but the bike is a lowered version of a Sportster.  It is just the right size for many women or men of smaller stature.

  The seat height is only about a half-inch below a Low Rider, and is actually a half-inch higher than the current Softail Deluxe.  Its overall length and wheelbase are only about 5 inches shorter than your average big-twin, so don’t let “small” make you think it is a mini-bike!  Think of it as super-easy to maneuver around the garage!

The bike is about 200-250 pounds lighter than your typical Harley cruiser or touring bike.  It is very easy to maneuver, and is very fun to zip around town.  It has a higher center of gravity, so when you “dip,” you actually dip.   It should be a carnival ride!  FUN – FUN – FUN.

  Of course this has its downside too.  When riding on a windy day or across a bridge with strong cross-winds, the bike gets thrashed around like a dinghy in a hurricane!  It can be a workout riding this bike, but then who’s going to complain about building up arm muscles and dropping a couple of pounds?

Even though my bike is going on 8 years old, she is just coming into her prime.  They say it takes 5000 miles just to break them in.  Well she just crossed the 7000 mile mark Saturday.

  I have her serviced every spring whether she needs it or not (LOL).  She got the 5K treatment this May, and I had to get her a new battery.  Oh horror!

  A new battery is the only “repair” I’ve ever had to do…I should go screaming to find the “lemon law” police.   This bike is solidly reliable, and has been professionally tuned by Custom Cycle Machine in New Castle, Delaware.

The 883 cc motor is powerful but not too powerful.  She’s got some serious pick-up-and-go, but she doesn’t run super-hot like the new 96 cu inch V-twins on 2007 and later models.  It’s a win-win situation especially for a new rider who might be tentative about too much power.  She is carbuerated, so a little warm up time is needed to get her running in the morning.

  I just let her run while I check her over and get geared up.  She also has a tendency to spit a little oil out of the airbox when she is run extensively at high rpms, but its no big deal.

The best part about my Sporty is the fuel economy.  She has been getting 70 miles to the gallon!  Yes, that is right — we gassed up yesterday at 106 miles and she only took 1.5 gallons.  You might think that it is a disadvantage only having a 3-point-something gallon tank, but the fact of the matter is that she doesn’t need a bigger one.  I can go 200 miles without even thinking about a fill-up.

  I use HALF as much gas in my bike as I do in my car (which gets a pretty darn good 35 mpg)!  If I was going to keep her, I’d throw on a luggage rack and use her as a daily commuter and to run errands around town.

Altogether, my 2001 Harley Davidson XLH 883 is a fabulous bike!  She has several chrome accessories including the engine guard, oil tank, clutch brake levers, upper lower belt covers and sprocket cover. She also has a Barnett steel braided teflon coated clutch cable that made it easier for me to pull in the clutch than the original 2001 cable. Jay says if you throw on apes or drag bars and cool exhaust you would have a stylin’ chopper, but I like her just the way she is!

  She was a fabulous beginner bike for me, and I am sure that she will do right by someone else that will love her as much as I do.

If you know someone who is in the market for a great bike like this, check her out at http://delaware.craigslist.org/mcy/753129412.html  or email editor@roadcaptainusa.com

5 Responses to “2001 Harley Davidson Sportster XLH 883 Hugger – Product Review”

This bike is very low to the ground and has very little rake in the front which means she can turn on a dime. You can switch lanes in traffic in the blink of an eye. It’s a blast to ride!

I hate to call it a mini bike, but it’s fun to ride like a mini bike!

The one thing about the Sporty I won’t miss is the top-heaviness. Because of it, there are plenty of bikers who will say a Sportster is actually a harder bike to ride. It is a fun bike though, and the big twins just don’t have the low end torque like the Sportys.

There’s always a trade-off.

I love sportys. This is no secret to anyone who knows me or reads my blog..lol

Back when I started riding, a sporty was a man’s bike just for those reasons listed above.

topheavy, torguey and fast.

That being said. Take a sporty thru the tight twistys quickly and live to come out the other side upright.

while I have done it on a friends sportbike quicker and nimbler..it didn’t seem as much fun or require as much panache..

To me the sportster provides a more raw visceral experience

That’s riding.

Btw. The vin for my 88 sporty is tattooed on my chest.

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