Sportster 883 for regular commute on interstate highways?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by supahman, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. supahman

    supahman Adventurer

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    hi im new to the forum.

    Sportster 883 for regular commute on 75mph interstate highways with windscreen and wearing a full face lid - is it bad idea? I'm thinking how's the turbulence at that speed and how strong will it accelerate from 60 to 80.
    #1
  2. Witness

    Witness Me

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    an 883 will ride all day at those speeds, and the turbulence will depend on your set up

    more importantly will be the suspension and the seat, they both suck from the factory and would be the first things I would upgrade
    #2
  3. argentcorvid

    argentcorvid Some Guy

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    The suspension can be upgraded cheaply by swapping out some shocks from a Road King. They are usually available lightly used from ebay for <$80 a set, due to RK owners upgrading theirs. they are a little longer, and are air adjustable; most people run them with no air added though.

    on acceleration, you won't have any problems there. even though it's the smaller engine, it has plenty of torque and is geared a little different to make up for it.

    I like my Sporty, it's a 1200 though. There really isn't that much difference between the 2 sizes. I took mine on the Lake Superior Circle tour, which added up to ~3000 miles by the time I got home. I had the RK shocks, the Harley-Davidson Quick detach windshield on it, and some Saddlemen bags on it. I didn't have any (comfort) problems. the only mechanical problem I had was a broken clutch cable, which I am reasonably sure was the 11 year old original.
    #3
  4. scapegoat

    scapegoat Pushin forward back

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    Bad idea? What have you been riding previously.
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  5. Dave in Wi

    Dave in Wi Long timer

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    Solid or rubber mount? From my memories of my solid mount Sportster, I did not like taking it on the freeway. There was a lot of vibration and the mirrors were useless. It was much happier on back roads at 45 mph.

    I had a removable windshield and it did make for a lot of buffeting on the highway. But that will totally depend on the size & type of windshild you have. My dad actually mounted a National Cycle plexifairing on his Sportster Custom it worked great for him.
    #5
  6. the Pheasant

    the Pheasant Been here awhile

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    I'v never ridden a Harley... But I have seen a few of them going very nicely along motorways, including a no-screen Sportster (otherwise unidentifiable in the rain and darkness) on the M25 west of London on last Friday night. The rider was holding a steady 85-90 mph. Seems to me motorway riding is one of the areas they should be good at.
    #6
  7. trashbox

    trashbox Adventurer

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    I have a solid mount 883 and I honestly have trouble not speeding. It seems happiest (vibration wise) around 75-80 in 5th gear. Still get >50mpg and with a mustang seat I can ride all day long. Love the bike for what it is. I don't use a windscreen either. Tried one and hated it.

    The vibration of a solid mount doesn't bother me. In fact, I kind of like it. It feels like a "motorcycle" to me. I realize that "motorcycle" feeling is different for some people.

    If you're buying new go to a dealer and rent one for the day. I'm told they'll apply the rental fee to the purchase of a new bike. Either way you'll know before you buy one. Before I rode mine I was extremely skeptical (the whole Harley stigma thing).
    #7
  8. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

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    I had one, but it wasn't an 883. It sucked. Footpegs are in the wrong place (they were mid mount). It was slow, uncomfortable, didn't stop for shit, and was a truck around corners. Borrow one for a day before you buy one, chances are, you won't buy one after you ride one for a while.
    #8
  9. scotty918

    scotty918 Been here awhile

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    +1
    #9
  10. sweetwater

    sweetwater Been here awhile

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    I had an '88 883 that I rode for almost three years in all weather conditions, sans car, 100 mile a day commute. It did fine on the highway in spite of solid mount and 4 spd tranny. When I got a commuter car I punched it out to 1200cc and kept racking up the miles while slowly turning my interest to other types of bikes. Bottom end had close to 70,000 miles when I sold that bike and it was still a good ride for me at the time.

    More specifically, you asked about windscreens and helmets. In winter I wore a Simpson fullface or Bell fullface and I could mount/remove "police screen" (Like an older FLHS or FLHP) in under 10 minutes for the really crappy winter weather. I wore my Langlitz jacket and sometimes ski bibs. Wish I had a photo handy, you guys would bust out laughing at the puffy bibs.

    Keep in mind, I was younger and snotsicles didn't bother the girls I hung around...I wouldn't go that route again, but I wouldn't trade the experiences for anything.

    Rent one for a day, see how it goes, keep an open mind to what other bikes might make the best tool for this "project". Lots of nice ones right here on ADV :D
    #10
  11. Birdmove

    Birdmove Long timer

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    Yes, an 883 will do just fine. And I way prefer the mid controls rather than the forwards. I've had two Sportsters. A 1984 XLX 1000, and a 2006 XL883. The 2006 I took on a mostly back highway 4 day trip and riding solo I got 62 mpg. Normal city riding would be more like 45-50. I stupidly sold the XL883 when we moved to hawaii due to shipping costs. Mine was stock except I traded the huge Sundowner seat for a dual seat from a Custom model and I found the riding position perfect for my 5' 10" self.
    #11
  12. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    Not all 883's are the same. Stay away from an XL883L. It only has 24 degrees of lean available.

    The XL883R is good at 32 degrees and the XL883N (Iron) is alright at 29 degrees.

    2007 is when they went F/I. Find and buy one you will not be disappointed.
    #12
  13. studad

    studad Been here awhile

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    +1 on the Road King shocks... My 04 didn't have them, but I put them on my 09 and it made a huge difference... Both bikes wore mustang vintage seats with driver backrest (the same seat for both bikes, I had them a year apart) and that seat was absolutely the shit for those bikes. But the RK shocks pretty nearly made the mustang obsolete. A windshield helped a lot, but I preferred the clean air without, only using the windshield in cold weather. The driver backrest kept me from fighting the wind.

    Both my mine have had forwards, and both of them needed mids. The bikes are very happy on the highway at those speeds, even two up and loaded with luggage. Fuel mileage is excellent (over 50) and maintenance is SUPER easy.

    I'd say go for it. As a matter of fact, I have one in the flea market right now that would be perfect for you!
    #13
  14. blackSP

    blackSP 62 6c 61 63 6b 53 50

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    Dude, you made me laugh, seriously!
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  15. madmn73

    madmn73 n00b

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    My wife has a 2011 HD Superlow. She loves it. The bike has forwards, and windshield and I changed the overdrive pulley to a 32 tooth sprocket. The new sprocket dropped the RPMs by 500 or so at 70-75 MPH. The lower RPM's make a world of difference on the highway, especially with Vance and Hines exhaust.
    #15
  16. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    I had a flight instructor who rode an 883 all over the country and, I think, had over 100k miles on it. Seemed to work for him. Egronomics are all wrong for me.

    My XB12XT has what is basically a souped up sportster 1200 motor and it's plenty smooth and friendly on the freeway. In fact the last little bit of buzzing doesn't go away 'till I'm north of 4k rpm (about 85mph+).
    #16
  17. Clint Taurus

    Clint Taurus Been here awhile

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    DO IT
    ride the piss out of it then upgrade to to something else...it's the American way
    #17
  18. supahman

    supahman Adventurer

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    2007 and up 883 so I guess those are rubber mounted. My riding experience were limited to small cc dual-sport bike mostly in city traffic only. I have tested FZ6, Buell Lightning and recently I rented HD softail which I tried it on I10 while we had our holidays in Louisiana - it has a windshield but only shoulder tall when I'm seated on the bike and I was wearing a 3/4 lid - with this setup I find the turbulence exhausting at 70mph and being on interstate at rush hour the overall experience was a bit stressful. Which made me think if wearing a full face helmet and having taller windscreen makes a difference. BTW I prefer the ergo of mid control.

    Reasons for picking 883:
    - high resale value
    - classic appeal (timeless design/aesthetic) - if i decided to keep
    - easier/lower maintenance (as i have read)
    - V-TWIN
    #18
  19. studad

    studad Been here awhile

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    2007 and up is Fuel Injected. 2004 and up is rubber mounted.

    If you hadn't found it yet, see the sportster thread here

    It's mostly good looking bikes, but there is a little info in there too. The XL forum has tons of info, but there is SOOOO much "Hey, does this look cool?" and just BS over there. What you'll get here, by comparison, is a lot of people who ride motorcycles, kind of know their shit, and aren't afraid to bash a harley when they see one. :D
    #19
  20. studad

    studad Been here awhile

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    And you talk about ease of maintenance... I was blown away the first time I serviced mine. Check the belt tension (not clean and lube chain, service shaft or anything, just give it a push for tension check). Pull the hose clamp off the oil drain hose. Drain the primary. Check primary chain through its little window. close it all up and fill with oil. It was like a half hour and there wasn't much of anything else I could have done, even if I wanted to. Ok, maybe an air filter check.

    Resale on them is pretty incredible, as you'll see in your search. If you buy wisely initally, there is no way you'll lose. My 04 was purchased in 2009 for $3200. I put about 6k miles on it and sold it a year later for 4500. Kept the windshield, sissy bar, and seat off it as I knew I'd have another sportster one day. About a year later, I have another Sportster and everything bolted right up. Love it!
    #20