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Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883 reviews

3.9
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Reliability
3.9
Overall quality
3.9
Performance
3.9
Comfort
3.8

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67 ratings and reviews

Voted most helpful review

Winterhawk

Seattle, Washington

Reviewed on 2005-07-22

Motorcycle reviewed2003 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883

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5.0
This is a great, classic bike for around town. I ride 6+ hours often so the XLH 883 turned out to be way too small and underpowered for me. It's an awesome looking bike but I'd recommend it for folks under 6' and looking for something to cruise around town in. Since then moved on to an FXD!
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
3.0
Comfort
3.0
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Voted most helpful review

Steve

San Dimas, California

Reviewed on 2005-04-29

Motorcycle reviewed2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883

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5.0
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!
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Marc

Suwanee, Georgia

Reviewed on 2004-04-23

Motorcycle reviewed2003 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883

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4.0
My wife surprised me with an early birthday present and it was a used 2003 XLH 883 Vivid Black beauty. This bike was nicely chromed and I have added a bit myself. he bike is a good value, looks good and sounds, well, incredibly awesome. But alas, I have a bad back and sciatica and this is not the bike for me. On short runs, no problems. Bar hopping, no problems. 60 mile runs with a long break, no problems. BUT, a 270 miles on twisty back roads with a few short breaks, I could hardly walk when I got home. Another complaint, and I only have a few, is riding on the highway. Anything above 70 and it asks for a 6th gear. When I ride to the office in Downtown Atlanta, which isn't very often, I keep it at 68 or so and she is happy. If you want a good 'round town cruiser, this is a great Harley to get. If you want to travel, you'll need something else.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
2.0
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Jimi Doyle

Gilbert, Arizona

Reviewed on 2004-03-30

Motorcycle reviewed2000 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883

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5.0
My bike handles great. I have had no problems since the day I bought it new. When I first purchased it, it set for the first year, and didn't go far the second. But this bike performs and handles just as good as most in its class and more. I build custom bikes and I've enjoyed building this one up.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
3.0
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Voted most helpful review

steve davis

san dimas, California

Reviewed on 2004-01-25

Motorcycle reviewed2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883

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5.0
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!
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Ben

Beaverton, Oregon

Reviewed on 2003-08-26

Motorcycle reviewed2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883

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5.0
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.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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skip cooper

baltimore, Maryland

Reviewed on 2002-12-27

Motorcycle reviewed2001 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883

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3.0
I will start by telling you that I have 35 years riding experience on all types of bikes and I have no brand loyalty. I just love motorcycles. The best thing about the 883 sportster is also the worse thing about it. Namely the engine. Its a great engine with lots of low end grunt and loads of potential but by present day standards it vibrates like hell. I find the bike to be painfull to ride at speeds over 65mph for any length of time. Its just as well because the gas tank is so small your not going far anyway. I tried an extended run at 75mph on I95 near washington d.c. and actually pulled off the highway because my butt was tingling so bad that it hurt. There was a BMW dealer right at the exit and I was so digusted with the thing that I rode home on a used BMW K75! If you want to limit yourself to short rides at moderate speeds and enjoy the rewards of hopping up an engine or adding custom features this is a good bike. Just remember that the bike is limited by any modern definition.
Reliability
3.0
Quality
3.0
Performance
3.0
Comfort
3.0
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Voted most helpful review

hochreiter

Dover, New Hampshire

Reviewed on 2002-12-20

Motorcycle reviewed2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883

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5.0
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.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Ben

Tracy, California

Reviewed on 2002-12-17

Motorcycle reviewed2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883

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5.0
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.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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joe

denver, Colorado

Reviewed on 2002-10-20

Motorcycle reviewed2002 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883

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5.0
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.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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