View Full Version : Opinions on a new Harley

07-28-2005, 06:27 AM
I'm planning to buy an Harley in September. I've ridden off and on since I was younger, but primarily small dual-purpose bikes.

I'm looking at the 06' 883 custom, partly because I would almost consider myself a newbie, but also because I plan to pay cash and aren't yet ready to fork out more dough.

I'm 5'11", 210 lbs, and I plan to use the bike to commute and for weekend trips. Do y'all think the 883 would be a good bike to start off with? I can probably squeak out the cash for a 1200, but it almost seems cheaper to punch the 883 out to 1200 when I'm ready.

Also, I'm located in the Austin area. If anyone around here is reading this post, do you have any opinions on Central Texas HD and South Austin HD?

07-28-2005, 06:38 AM
Hiya hyak, welcome to HCG!!!

My advice is to rent an 883 and see if it gonna be something you will be comfortable on for a trip or commute. Yeah, you can turn it into a 1200 later, but make sure its something that you want to dump money into later on first before dropping any cash. Good luck!

07-28-2005, 09:42 AM
Tony's right. I rode an 883 from '90-'95. It was fine for anything less than 200 miles but still not quite what I wanted. I understand the cash flow issue. I would suggest that if you can make the additional payments, go for a bigger one. I'm 5'11", 190. Wife is 5'6", (in '95 was 125 :D ) and still it was cramped. I did add the highway pegs and that helped.

I'm on a RoadKing now and by God I wish I had just bit the bullet and bought it in the first place. All that travel time without kids and I squandered it!!

07-28-2005, 11:56 AM
I bought an 04 XL 1200 C. My use is about like yours. From 04 on, the Sportsters are a new critter! Mine has the Harley charm (noise/sound) without the vibes (shakes). The last two years have been satisfying.

I'd vote 1200, over 883, if you plan on upping the cc's. If it is economy(MPG), go 883. If/when I upgrade to a bigger bike, the 1200 is staying. It is too good to give up. I can't see anything being able to replace it for anything other than touring.

BTW, I average around 50 MPG in town. On the hi-way it is closer to 60


07-28-2005, 01:45 PM
I'm 6'2", 210 lbs. I rode a '77 XLH as my everyday ride for 8 years, mostly solo except for around town. I put 42k on it before putting it in semi-retirement. I rode lots of 200 mile days and several 350 mile overnighters. I never really gave it much thought.

I feel certain that I would have no problem getting one of the rubber mounted '04+ bikes, putting on a windshield and riding 500 mile days solo.

Personally, I'd get the 883 and upgrade to a 1200. For the price difference, you can put together a 1200 that will run circles around a factory 1200.

07-29-2005, 01:54 AM
Thanks for all the replies. I think I will go with the 883. I wouldn't mind taking some longer trips, but mostly I'll be riding it to work and through the Texas hill country on the weekends, might be a fun bike on the twisties with its size.

07-29-2005, 05:16 AM
hyak, you won't regret it. As I said, I owned one for 4 years. HOOAH!!

08-15-2005, 04:26 PM
I bought an 04 883c and I'm happy with it. I wish it came with higher gearing for highway use though.

08-15-2005, 04:51 PM
Welcome hyak to HCG.

The renting of the model your looking for is a great idea.

I have not studied the Sporster but I understand that HD has made great improvements in this model over the last couple of years. Can't say what the major differences are between thr 05's and 06's but at this time of year you should be able to get a great deal on a 05 as opposed to the 06.

Kagan, Wife is 5'6", (in '95 was 125) man you have a great way with words.

08-16-2005, 01:11 AM
I went with the 883 and am 5'9" / 170lbs. I will say that you will eventually not be satisfied with the 883's power, but punching it out to a 12 is definitley cheaper than buying a 1200 stock.

I bought my bike + the conversion for less than $9,000. I believe the 12's go for $10,000 and up.

But, in the 883's defense. I was riding back from NYC to Mass with a fella on an 883 and I was having a hard time keeping up. So either he was lying to me or I don't ride as hard... :lol:

Either way, the Sportster is a superb bike. My wife even "gave me permission" to buy a better bike......but I don't think such a machine is made. The Sportster it is!

Best of luck and welcome to HCG!

08-16-2005, 03:45 AM
I just sold my '05 883 and I will tell you, it lacked the power to keep up with the bigger bikes. You'll want more power for sure.

I agree with the folks that suggested test rides! Try out the 883, the 1200 and while ya there, give the Dynas a shot, just so you know for sure where your money is going.

Good luck!

08-16-2005, 04:21 AM
I just sold my '05 883 and I will tell you, it lacked the power to keep up with the biker bikes. You'll want more power for sure.

I agree with the folks that suggested test rides! Try out the 883, the 1200 and while ya there, give the Dynas a shot, just so you know for sure where your money is going.

Good luck!

I agree with Bike Babe.
I had an 04 1200C and it was a great bike! Not as comfortable as I wanted. I had trouble keeping up on the highways with the group I rode with all bigger bikes. I would rent first and also check out the Dynas it is a great bike. I find the handling on the bigger bikes easier than on the sportster. Get one you really want right out of the chute rather then trading 4 or 5 months later. It cost even more that way.
Just my 2 cents :D
What ever you decide be safe and have fun. B)

08-16-2005, 05:08 AM
My wife and I got a used 883 early last year and it was too damn small. after 100 miles in the SoCal heat and high winds, we found ourselves literally wiped out.
I got myself a 97 Heritage Springer and we can ride two up all day long and not be as wiped out as we were on the sporty.
Then we fixed up the sporty for her. She only started riding it last week but she's diggin it.( Yeah! It's mizdoes ride now!)

08-23-2005, 09:02 PM
I'm 5'11" and 200 pounds. Had a 1200 for 7 years. Bike was way too small. The 883, for a guy over 200, is going to be even worse. The problem is not the engine size alone, as the frame, foot placement, height...everything, are reduced. I would recommend the 1200 at a minimum. Even still, I would (and did) put forward controls on the 1200. If you can afford another $20 per month, upgrade to a softail. I know you said you wanted to pay cash outright, but a couple dealers in Michigan were financing at 3% - damn near no finance at all. You can join a federal credit union and get loans for 4 1/2 % (I just did to buy another bike). Just my two cents. Whatever you get, enjoy!

08-23-2005, 11:57 PM

1200 Sportster may be too small for two-up, but it isn't too small for us 6+ foot solo riders. 1200 Sportster will run rings around a soft-tail. And eat them on the twisties.

It is all rider style. If you need some cuddle on that pillion, that is extremely fine. Me, I want no one there. I think it has been decades since I dumped a bike, I want no one there, if I ever do it again.


08-25-2005, 09:29 PM

I appreciate the opinion. I agree the 1200 is not too small for a solo rider. I rode a 1200 for years and have had a fatboy for 3. I disagree about the 1200 "eating up" the softail though. I personally top out and hit the curves much better on the fatboy. The lower center of gravity probably is the main reason. As for "cuddle", sorry, none here. Both my fatboy and my 1938 hardtail knucklehead are solo seats, though I have an extra pillon pad I stick on for the wife when she's in the mood. No windshields, or full face bull shit on mine, never had and never will. You're right, its all about riding style and comfort, some people just like the handling of diffferent size, weight and height of bikes. Thats why I agree that hyak should either rent or borrow a couple different styles before buying. my .02


08-25-2005, 10:26 PM
Opinions are like bungholes, everyone has one and some are stinky, here is mine, at 6-2 220 any Sporty is too small for me. I owned a 2005 xl1200c for exactly 29 days before getting a bigger bike. An 06 Sporty xl1200c lists at 9600 in black, for 12200 you can get a dyna 06 with a 1400 big v twin and a 6 speed tranny!!! That's only 2600 dollars, and with a little like you can maybe find a 05 leftover dyna with a discount!!

Happy shopping



08-27-2005, 03:15 AM

Top end means something on long straight roadway. But, I never use that anymore. Must be the age factor. Still say I have no trouble keeping pace with an 88 and give them problems in the twisties.

Like Harley-Ray say, there are opinions. Some years back, I would pursue this further. But, I am mellowing out, both in debate and riding style. I haven't even seen what my top end is with my 04 1200C. I may have seen 90, or 95. Maybe one day I'll put it on a track and find out. The roadways are no place for that, with my bike.


08-27-2005, 01:34 PM
I have a 1200xl and love it, put many miles this summer, and neve got tired. I did rejet, out on a new aircleaner, and se11 slip ons....rides great sounds great,looks great. I had a dyna, went down to the sportster after trying an 05. Saved a ton of money, which I threw back into the bike.
Good luck in your choice, my vote would be go with the 1200. B)

08-27-2005, 02:46 PM
i've been told that there's a gearing difference between the 883's and the 1200's.
hot setup is suppoesed to be, get a 883 and put 1200 jugs on it.
cheaper and faster they say.

wish i could tell ya by experience...