HELP - Street 500 or 2004 Sportster 883 - Harley Davidson Street Forum - Street 500 and 750
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post #1 of 4 Old 09-11-2017, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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HELP - Street 500 or 2004 Sportster 883

Iím in my mid-forties, been riding on the road legally for 29 years and have owned 34 motorcycles in that time Ė but never a Harley. Iíve ridden everything from scooters to superbikes and am at the stage where I simply baby my bikes (I recently got 20k kms out of a set of sports tyres on my Ducati 900ss). Iím six foot tall and around 110kgs. I use my bikes only to commute the 60km round trip to and from home to Brisbane City which consists of 7km highway (rarely do you get above 80km/h) and the rest is 60km/h zones and heaps of lane splitting. Having also been a postie I have no problems handling any bike in any conditions.

Due to budget and preferences, Iím looking to get either a second-hand Street 500 (no second-hand 750ís in Aus) or a 2004 onwards Sportster 883 Ė my $7k budget restricts this to really only 2004 models and I DONíT WANT a 1200. They both fit about the same and both need a drag bar/clip-ons and forward controls.

Iím leaning more towards the Street because itís newer (less wear and tear issues) and has a lighter clutch action (remember this is for commuting) however I love the sportsters simplicity and old school charm of being air-cooled and having a carb in place of injection - although this brings me back to the Street being newer with less ongoing things to do due to age.

Has anyone owned the Sportster AND the Street who can comment on the ride-ability of both in the commuter world where there a lots of stops and starts and clutch work. Power is not an issue especially when you apply the power to weight ratio and the fact that I donít (and never again will) need any more power than what the 500 has to offer.

Iím looking for someone who has maybe gone from an 883 to a Street 500 who can fill me in on their thoughts of the Street over the 883 or the other way around.

Important notes
Power is not an issue Ė Iím a commuter (both bikes will do over 130kms) and even with all my riding experience and track days, I still canít hit the limits of a Ninga 250.
I donít want a 1200 Ė theyíre no good in traffic.
I wonít be looking at trading up to a big Harley at any time.
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post #2 of 4 Old 09-11-2017, 08:25 PM
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HELP - Street 500 or 2004 Sportster 883

Go street with your budget

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post #3 of 4 Old 09-12-2017, 05:50 PM
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I'm afraid you might feel a little cramped up on the 500 at 6' tall, especially with drag bars. The foot pegs are way forward compared to a sport bike or even a 'traditional' layout -- took a while to adjust and I still get hip cramps (I'm only 5'6"). Be prepared for your knees being above the tank. It also makes it harder to adjust your position on the saddle since you don't have as much leverage to get your rump off the seat.

Most 500cc motor cycles provide more than adequate power for all real world situations. The Revolution X engine has a wide, easy to ride power band, but the peak out put is low. I'd guess in the low 30s-- for comparison, my 500cc v twin can-am quad produces 54 HP. You'll only see the tail light of that Ninja 250. That being said, the only time I feel the urge for more power is when passing on two lane highways. It doesn't perform as well as my past 500s (anemic engine, high weight), but I'm quite happy with mine. The fuel injection is pure joy. The Street is by far the most refined, easy to live with engine I've owned. Brings back nightmares of the Triumph Daytona 500 with the single Amal monobloc (I take that back. I think it was an Amal Concentric) and it's temperamental nature. Mine has produced a consistent 66 MPG (28 KmL).

I've been riding 54 years (70 years old) and this is my first Harley. I Chose the 500 because it seemed like a modern Honda VT500 Ascott, a bike that I loved. In many ways it is just that and meets my needs quite well. Aggressive, peg dragging days are in my past -- the Street fills my need for the joy of just riding.
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Last edited by ButterSmooth; 09-12-2017 at 06:07 PM.
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post #4 of 4 Old 09-12-2017, 06:28 PM
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Considering your audience around here, we're going to be biased towards the Street 500.

I have an xg750 that I use as a commuter bike. My commute is about 17 miles (27 km) each way. Most of that is divided four lane road or optionally lightly traveled two lane paved roads. Only the last couple of miles being in suburban traffic. An xg500 would handle that just fine, as would the Sportster.

The next thing you need to consider is that you are going to need some mods to either bike to get what you are looking for. I am guessing that you are probably looking at $1,000 USD for the mods to a stock xg500:
1) Forward controls for the xg500 are available from third parties, but not from H-D and not cheap.
2) Being 6 feet tall you will probably want the tall boy seat for the xg500.
3) Drag bars are available for both bikes and you might get lucky and find them on a used bike.

How much of your ride will be truly stop and go traffic? It doesn't sound like much. The Sportster may have more problems with that than the liquid cooled engine of the xg500. If you are able to maintain any amount of forward motion, though, I wouldn't think it would be an issue.
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