Review originally posted by By Scott Faulkner of the Sentinel newspaper
Straddling the Harley I blipped the throttle and grinned from ear to ear. I could almost have belted out 'I am Iron Man!' as I roared away for some two-wheeled fun on this aptly named bike. Indeed, this mean-looking Iron 883 could have been styled for Ozzy Osbourne - for there's nothing that quite embodies the rock 'n' roll spirit more than a Harley Davidson when the sun's out.
Confession time. I've always fancied the kind of fringed leather jacket favoured by Brum's Prince of Darkness in his Black Sabbath days, and this is the kind of machine on which I'd only look semi-ridiculous wearing one (I'm still scouring eBay).
This dark, moody-looking Goth - resplendent in matte black with chrome kept to a minimum - is a fine looking machine. Don't just take my word for it. After posting a picture of my latest mechanical steed online, the comments ranged from 'badasssssss!' to 'motorcycle pornography'. Although perhaps a little more troubling, one lady called it 'the prettiest bike I've ever seen'.
Pretty?! I could almost hear the gnashing of teeth of a thousand marketing executives in Wisconsin at such a slur on this factory bobber. Listen up, Flora on facebook! This steel horse is not a bunch of flowers or a floaty Topshop frock - even if Harley deigned to call one of its five available colours Black Denim - it's a circle ticket to Harley ownership.
When cruising on this Sportster – for riding at between 50 to 70mph is what this Iron does best - It's a loud, visceral experience and you do feel a bit of a rebel. A bit mischievous even. Or as our Ozzy would shriek, 'Now the time is here/For Iron Man to spread… fear!' Well, maybe in my film-addled imagination. And there's no denying the brand is sprinkled with a bit of devil-may-care alchemy and cool.
Escapism from the daily grind is why many of us ride, and for a little under £8k – or £99 a month plus £1,500 down you can turn on, tune in and drop out. Stratstone Harley-Davidson in Chapel Ash is offering a £600 deposit contribution if you take finance, and dreamers can live the dream for about £9.6k with rider training and all the right-looking gear thrown in.
So, what of the ride? I found the suspension pleasingly stiffer than I was expecting, while the single disc brakes front and back, with ABS, inspired confidence. I also liked the keyless start with a proximity fob. But one time I used the key for the steering lock - and was able to drive off! I also would've liked a petrol range gauge, although a warning light comes on when you've got about 20 miles left in the peanut tank. Also, I'm not a fan of having indicator switches on both grips.
And you may want to switch the single tuck and roll seat for something that would allow a pillion, but that's the beauty of this simple bike – it's a blank canvas and easy to customise, although aesthetically I like it as it is.
If you're straining the throttle and wishing it had six gears and more than its 50-odd horsepower then quite simply you're on the wrong motorcycle. Past 70mph and the Hog will shake and grumble like you're plucking an eagle's feathers, while some riders will squirm as the pegs grind on asphalt on tight roundabout turns.
This is lazy riding at its best without worrying about the omnipresent speed camera vans. One man's underpowered is another's more than enough. Plus if you're mechanically minded you can free up more horses from the fuel injected and air cooled 883cc V-twin engine.
This awesome-looking bike is made for the lifestyle market, the new rider and the returning biker as it has simple controls. It would also suit many women owing to the low ride height but as a taller rider, I couldn't quite get comfortable when I took it on a 120-mile cruise up to Sandbach in Cheshire, with a return on the M6 straining my forearms and back. However, much shorter trips to see my friends and family were a pleasure; I liked its low-down torque in the first couple of gears, and relative manoeuvrability for a Harley when filtering through traffic.
Whenever someone talks about Harleys invariably they allude to the so-called potato-potato engine noise. I just don't hear it on the Iron, man! Instead, Geezer Butler's down-tuned bass floods my helmet as I clunk it into gear and roar off.
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