Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycle Reviews on Cycle Insider (17)
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2005-04-29 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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2002 883 Sportster with 15,000 miles and not a drop of oil on my garage floor. I use regular 87 octane gas and change the oil every 4,000 miles. The only mechanical failures were front turn signal light bulb and highbeam indicator bulb. I replaced them, but only found bulb from an H-D dealer for $3.00! I finally replaced my Dunlop OEM front tire after 14,000 miles. Man those tires last! I had a new one installed for $91... what a deal! So it vibrates a little, I Love It!
- Steve, San Dimas, California

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2004-01-25 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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I've owned my XLH for 6 months now. Bought it used with 3100 miles. I love commuting on it I ride about 250 miles a week. The bike runs perfect with no problems except the occasional exhaust cough. Most mechanics tell me its normal because Harley leans out the carbs to pass federal EPA standards. Go with your feelings and get one! Price or the Style! On The Bike that rescued Harley Davidson in 1957 from The Brits and Japanese!
- steve davis, san dimas, California

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2003-08-26 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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Boy, from reading these other reviews, one can sure tell that Sportsters tend to polarize the ownership experience. You either despise 'em or you adore 'em. I guess I'm in the latter category. In September 2002 I re-entered the biking game after an 18-year absence (I'm 47). I had always been infatuated with Sportsters as a kid, but they were far out of reach financially and had a pretty sour quality reputation. When I decided to buy another bike last year, I researched Triumphs, Hondas, Yamahas, Moto Guzzis, and a bunch of others, but my thoughts kept gravitating back to the Sportster. It wasn't perfect, but it just pulled at my heart strings. I didn't particularly care for the paint treatment on the 2003 models, but my dealer had a nearly perfect glossy black 2002 XL 883 with less than 2000 miles. I bought it and rode it all last winter and spring. The Sporty was a superb country lane cornering machine, it sounded beautiful, it leaked not one molecule of oil, it was ridiculously cheap to insure, and it looked marvelous. The downside was that it was really vibey at speed, so freeway riding was quite uncomfortable. Yes, the rocker boxes tended to spit oil out their breather tubes when you got on the throttle, and this oil dripped from the air cleaner onto the rear pipe's heat shield. The first time this happened it freaked me out, but I learned to take the air cleaner cover off every other ride and wipe it out. No problem after that. I loved that Sporty, but I needed a touring machine. I traded my black beauty on a new Electra Glide in March. The 'Glide is great, but that Sportster will live in my memory as the best bike I ever owned.
- Ben, Beaverton, Oregon

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2002-12-20 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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I really like the Sportster. The vibration would be bad if I wanted to have a lexus. I've done two 12 hour days (Dover, NH to Slippery Rock, PA) and did not feel the machine was too small or underpowered. The HD aftermarket has enabled me to make it into a comfortable ride. No mechanical or electrical problems. (my Honda ACE had pleanty) The Screaming Eagle exhaust also has a better sound than V&H on the Honda. If you are worried about image the only big twins that laugh at a sportster are those that rolled off the trailer.
- hochreiter, Dover, New Hampshire

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2002-12-17 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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I just turned over 10.000 miles on my 2002 XLH. The bike is everything I wanted and then some. Handles and runs great. I just performed the 1200 conversion and I litterly have power to burn. There are a few things that must be done immediatly. The seat must be replaced as soon as possible, and the air cleaner and pipes as well. Then customise to your hearts desire. I would recommend this bike to anyone.
- Ben, Tracy, California

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2002-10-20 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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Put a deposit on one of these great new machines at one of the larger dealers in Denver. Bike promised within a month. Dealer called me to tell me it was in....I was of course excited and looking forward to the delivery. When ready to write out check after getting all the bs about the warranty etc, was told it was $3000 more than contract. Then told there was some "confusion" about my order. Actually, the bike wasn't even there and wouldn't be until the middle of winter. Just wanted to sell me a more expensive bike. This "bait and switch" stuff is sickening. Would be interested if you had similar experiences. I found my bike for the same price at another dealership, and this time got some honest people to deal with.
- joe, denver, Colorado

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2002-10-18 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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I purchased an "02" 883 XL in September. I have put about 3000 miles on it since then, commuting about 80 miles daily on Southern California freeways.I was astounded at how gutless it was on my initial ride home. But, I quickly had the carb jetted, put on a screaming eagle breather kit, and added slip on exhaust. Now it goes like a raped ape. Sure it leaks oil at the carb, thats called blow-by, and its a result of driving at to low of RPM's. Its not a big twin, but thats not what I paid for either.
- Ron D., Alta Loma, California

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2002-09-30 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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Rode this 883 sporty for a few weeks,,it was a loaner from a buddy who also bought a Soft tail,he was gonna sell me this contraption..thew handling is ok,,the power isnt there,the ride sucks ape nuts and Harleys still shake too damn much,,cant recomend for a decent ride,its a poser bike that even the guys on the big twins laugh at!! I wound up buying a 1999 Suzuki marauder,much better bike for less and will blow the doors off the sporty!!
- John C, Shaftsbury, Vermont

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2002-08-28 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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3 weeks a go I purchased a new 2002 883 hugger for my wife. It was a left over, so I got a great deal on it. Under powered for me. She loves it. The stock seat gets uncomfortable very quickly. Definately needs highway pegs or forward controls ASAP. It runs great and have had no issues other than it's hard to find neutral.
- rider, worcester, Massachusetts

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2002-08-27 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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Both myself & my wife were looking to return back to riding bikes, We owned Triumphs in the past and were keen to start back into things. We never made it to the Triumph store instead we ended up with a his and hers bare bones basic 883. Sure its got some minor problems, but its no bother to change. The first this is drop the seat is god dam awful. I use a delux touring seat and its really great. The wife uses a similar model with the backrest combination. I have forward mounted controls a bigger tank and small speedway bars. I really love this bike and we have had nothing but smiles from people when we ride together. Its woth looking over.
- Bob & Val, Tasminia, Australia

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2002-08-20 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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I waited 9 months for nothing but headaches. Yes, I am a victim of that Harley image because I had to have one. I got oil coming up into the air filter, rough idle, choppy ride and lethargic pickup. The dealer is of little help. It spends more time in the shop than on the road. If this is what the Harley image is about, than no thanks.
- Albert, Newark, Delaware

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2002-05-16 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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Just bougth this bike. i like everything about it. enuff power for both me & my g/f. its comfortable, responsive & affordable! changed the seat as well
- Michael, Dover, Ohio

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2002-05-15 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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I just bought the 883 sportster about a month ago. First HD after owning 6 japanese bikes. The difference is indescribable. I feel like im on a real motorcycle now. I put new bars, forward controls, se pipes, air box, and rejetted the carb. NOW it runs like an 883 ought to. it also sounds pretty darn good with the new pipes. the factory pipes are a waste of metal and should be changed immediately. As for being considered by some to be a "girls bike"... to that i say BS! I weigh 145 lbs, and this bike has more than enough power and torque for me. If youre a fat old man, then maybe you OUGHT to buy something other than the sportster. but if you like raw and classic styling, strong performance, at a semi-reasonable price, then the sportster is your bike.
- chip, charleston, South Carolina

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2002-05-04 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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If you want a HD and can't afford more than $10k then get an 883. I went Japanese cruiser and rode for 3yrs, 42000 miles. I am glad I went Japanese first. I can compare the two. I now have a HD and won't ever turn down another path. The vibration is not the buzz found on Japanese cruisers, it is a solid throb of the engine. At 75mph both Japanese and HD cruisers need a sixth gear, one buzzes the other vibrates, both are annoying. Having the High Flow Air Filter Kit and Screamin' Ealge pipes (with proper tuning) will reduce (but not eliminate) the stock vibration caused by an inefficiently running engine. The Screamin Eagle mufflers are quieter than a V&H set on a Japanese cruiser. It is not a smooth luzury Jaguar, it is a real, bare bones, nothing fake, American motorcycle.
- Stefan, Seacoast, New Hampshire

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2002-04-30 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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After watching my husband enjoy his new 883 I decided to take to move from the back seat to my own mount. Well I have my own now some 8 months later. The stock standard seat is total rubbish, so the first thing you should do is change it. I have a badlander seat. Drop the peg for foward mounted ones and try and get the service to rubber mount the engine. What you end up with is a very very good all purpose bike. I would suggest replaceing the tank with a bigger one if your doing a lot of travelling out of town. As a woman rider I am over the moon with my 883 and would recommed it to anybody interested in a cruiser.
- Trixie, NSW, Australia

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2002-04-17 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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I originally went to my local dealers for a Dyna, but the Harley tax was too stiff..$1500 over retail and no breaks..So I bought a plain 883 xlh..converted it to a 1200 (using a kit), 29 tooth pulley, balance master kit, knocked out the baffles, yost power tube jet kit, Sundowner seat and Autolite platinum plugs and Amzoil synthetic...Great power, great gas milage, light weight, can cruise at 65-70 mph all day with 50 mpg...best of all I am laughing all the way to the bank. The dealer did me a favor with the Harley tax...he saved me big dollars..I did all the work myself....
- william barroso, miami , Florida

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2002-02-25 2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 Motorcycles View Listings

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I bought my 2002 883 sportster late October and just put on the Screamin' Eagle Air Cleaner, mufflers, rejet kit and WHAT A DIFFERENCE! I had read a lot about how much a power increase I would get but I was pleasantly surprised at how much more fun it made riding the otherwise stock bike. (Oh yes- you will want to replace the stock seat. I put on a mustang wide vantage seat and it is quite comfortable.)
- wayne, oskaloosa, Iowa

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