The first Sportsters were
introduced in 1957. By 1999 the Sportster name was still very much in
evidence, the lineup consisting of the Sportster 883, Sportster 883 Hugger,
Sportster 1200, Sportster 1200 Sport, Sportster 1200 Custom and the new
Sportster 883 Custom.
The Sportster models have had the longest production
run of any Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Perhaps this can be attributed to the
Sportster's racing heritage or its affordable price. Or perhaps it is
because Sportsters provide a torquey, about-town ride. But one thing is for
certain: Sportsters have always held their own, pumping Harley-Davidson
authenticity through every valve, cylinder and exhaust note to the delight
of all Sportster enthusiasts and riders.
Additions to the Sportster family
are always welcome and for the 1999 season along came the XL883C Sportster
883 Custom. The look of its custom styling features, the sound of its
883cc-powered Harley-Davidson engine, and the feel of its longer front end
and forward controls create a great motorcycle for tremendous value. Great
news for all those riders who want to join in the Harley-Davidson experience
and who want to be part of the Sportster scene.
Borrowing styling cues from its
Sportster 1200 Custom cousin, the Sportster 883 Custom boasts longer front
forks and forward foot controls which not only look great and enhance riding
comfort, but also give
the bike a more radical riding
profile. New sleek drag bars, a chrome bullet headlight incorporating a
quartz halogen 55-watt low beam and 60-watt high beam, and a sporty two-up
seat add to its stylish custom flair and give the bike a little street-racerstyle.
The turn signal lights are self-canceling, the seat height of the bike is a
comfortable 27.56 inches (70.0cm) and the ground clearance is 6.7 inches
(17.02cm). The rear suspension, which is a recalibrated version of the XL883
Hugger rear suspension, supports two-up riding comfortably. The Sportster
883 Custom features a
solid disc 16-inch (40.6cm) rear
wheel and a laced 21-inch (53.3cm) front wheel. Finishing touches include a
On all Sportster models, a new
sealed tail light unit helps to prevent internal condensation and possible
malfunction, and there is an accessory-ready hookup. Where once there was
hard wiring, this is now replaced by a circuit board, making tail light
servicing easier. These overall design changes further enhance the bike's
durability. The small tank's 3.3gal (12.5lit) maximum fill-up could be a
little limiting especially on a long run, even though the miles per gallon
return is an average 53mpg (83kpg).
Twelve months warranty with
unlimited mileage is provided when you purchase the machine and the service
intervals are at the first 500 miles (800km) and from that point onwards
every 5000 miles (8,000km).
The Sportster 883 Custom was
first introduced as a mid-year 1998 model to European markets in January
1999. Its designation for the European markets is different - there it is
known as the XL53C.