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I’m in the Australian market for urban cruiser and shortlisted my next future bike to HD sportster iron 883 & Yamaha Bolt Spec-R

After researching online review and test riding both bikes I have decided to go with 883 if I could resolve couple of my concerns,

-reliability : would HD have reliability issue compared ever so reliable yamaha?
-Front & rear suspension: is there a way to soften the suspension that HD will recognise and not void warranty?
-ground clearance: again, is there way to shift foot pegs keeping the HD factory look that HD will recognise and not void warranty?
-brake: would better branded brake pads change how they bite?

I want that extra comfort but most of all I don’t want to change , swap anything that wont void warrenty.

Thanks guys please help me out getting into my first Harley Davidson.
 

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The 883 is an extremely reliable motorcycle that matches any motorcycle on the market. Mechanically all Harley Davidsons are extremely reliable.


The only issues related to Harley's tend to be potential electrical problems with all of the accessory lights, stereo, and other add-on options as that is where virtually all warranty work occurs according the the motorcycle publications I read. This is overwhelmingly related to the large Harley's like the Road King and Classic because they tend to have the most electrical accessories. Harley is not unique with this problem as it's common with all brands.


The 883 doesn't come with a lot of electrical accessory options. A new Harley Sportster is ready to go for well over 100,000 miles without any anticipated problems occurring so long as routine service is provided for the bike. It's been over seven years since I purchased my Sportster ('07 XL50 1200) new and all it's needed is the normal service and oil changes. I've not heard of any Sportster owners having any significant problems in recent years. It's pretty much a saddle-up and go motorcycle.


Is there a reason why you're not showing any interest in the Street 500 or Street 750?
 

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Good question about not showing any interest in the 500 or 750, i'm also curious about this. Maybe it will have me interested in the 883. :D
 

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Good question about not showing any interest in the 500 or 750, i'm also curious about this. Maybe it will have me interested in the 883. :D


As both a Sportster and Street owner I really appeciate both motorcycles. They each offer a unique riding experience and are distinctly different. While I can ride either it seems the Street is more fun on my local canyon and country riding while the Sportster is my preferred choice for long road trips. With my riding being about equal in both categories it would now be hard for me to just have one and not the other. This sort of takes us to the "biker" credo:


If you have room in the garage you need another motorcycle.
If you don't have room in the garage for another motorcycle then you need another garage.
 

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My understanding is only the 500 is being imported to Australia.

I assume you have some of the same manufacturers importing or manufacturing in Australia that we have here in the States.

Arnott makes some really nice shocks for the Sportster. That will soften up the rear.

You already have the best forks on the market up front. Best way to handle the Showa Forks is to have them valved differently if you want it softer. This will increase the front end absorption greatly. However if you are worried about pogo that is a simple heavier oil to cure.

Up here in the States not many HD shops can valve that Showa front end. I usually end up at a metric shop that handles showa.

Reliability is fantastic on these machines. While the Old AMF years still have people speaking of pushing you Harley to the event, that has not existed for almost 3 decades now. Though you will want to do the fluid changes on schedule, not that anything bad will happen if you go over, but lubrication is to damnn important and to damnn cheap to skimp out on.......

There are tons of options for foot controls. In the USA these will not in anyway affect the warranty. I know they ship to Australia, but don't know if they have stock in a bonded warehouse there or ship from the states. But jpcycles.com has tons of stuff for the Harley Sportster you can spend as much as you want on it....
 

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My understanding is only the 500 is being imported to Australia.

I assume you have some of the same manufacturers importing or manufacturing in Australia that we have here in the States.

Arnott makes some really nice shocks for the Sportster. That will soften up the rear.

You already have the best forks on the market up front. Best way to handle the Showa Forks is to have them valved differently if you want it softer. This will increase the front end absorption greatly. However if you are worried about pogo that is a simple heavier oil to cure.

Up here in the States not many HD shops can valve that Showa front end. I usually end up at a metric shop that handles showa.

Reliability is fantastic on these machines. While the Old AMF years still have people speaking of pushing you Harley to the event, that has not existed for almost 3 decades now. Though you will want to do the fluid changes on schedule, not that anything bad will happen if you go over, but lubrication is to damnn important and to damnn cheap to skimp out on.......

There are tons of options for foot controls. In the USA these will not in anyway affect the warranty. I know they ship to Australia, but don't know if they have stock in a bonded warehouse there or ship from the states. But jpcycles.com has tons of stuff for the Harley Sportster you can spend as much as you want on it....
Changing the suspension affects the handling of the motorcycle and typically for riding on the road the stiffer the suspension the better the handling characteristics. I wonder why people want a softer suspension. A softer front fork suspension is probably going to result in the motorcycle "pushing" going into a turn and the Street 750 already has a minor push going into a turn (according to my partner that's a road racing expert) so why would someone desire this reduced turning capability. Under braking going into a turn the motorcycle will "plow" more with softer front suspension. Not something I'd want.

I will note that on all motorcycles I've owned I've always increased the stiffness of the rear suspension (because it's easy to do). I would never want it softer than what the factory provides.
 
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The 500 model street will be released in Australia in Feb according to the latest info.
That would certainly be a determining factor for someone that wants a motorcycle this year as opposed to next year.
 

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Changing the suspension affects the handling of the motorcycle and typically for riding on the road the stiffer the suspension the better the handling characteristics. I wonder why people want a softer suspension. A softer front fork suspension is probably going to result in the motorcycle "pushing" going into a turn and the Street 750 already has a minor push going into a turn (according to my partner that's a road racing expert) so why would someone desire this reduced turning capability. Under braking going into a turn the motorcycle will "plow" more with softer front suspension. Not something I'd want.

I will note that on all motorcycles I've owned I've always increased the stiffness of the rear suspension (because it's easy to do). I would never want it softer than what the factory provides.

I agree. But I would imagine local roads with large holes might benefits from softer suspension.

I personally have a thing about pogo so I generally increase the fork oil weight.
 

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I agree. But I would imagine local roads with large holes might benefits from softer suspension.


Softer suspension simply means the motorcycle bottoms out quicker and more often. If I recall correctly the Street 500/750 only has about 2" of rear suspension travel so how quick do you want to not have any suspension left at all? When the rear suspension bottoms out it's bone-jarring and not something I enjoy at all.
 

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Softer suspension simply means the motorcycle bottoms out quicker and more often. If I recall correctly the Street 500/750 only has about 2" of rear suspension travel so how quick do you want to not have any suspension left at all? When the rear suspension bottoms out it's bone-jarring and not something I enjoy at all.

No it does not. Using a softer suspension in an overloaded situation would mean that. But on the front fork travel a softer suspension will travel up quicker and return quicker. Unless it is overloaded. Then it bottoms out. On a Showa front end the valving can be adjust for retract and return time dampening. By softening those two times get faster. That is different than load capacity which is primarily the carrying spring. And that is all different than pogo, which is front wheel up and down oscillation frequency and amplitude.

Rear shock I hear ya. Real fix for them is gas charged mono shock. Or throw on a kidney belt and hard tail the thing. Lol
 

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isn't this more a conversation about dampening than it is about stiffness?

It has to be both since they both affect the other. Increase the spring forces and you make stiffer if everything stays the same. But increase the spring force because you go almost three bills and the ride and dampening may stay the same.
 

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Tuning suspensions is a science of its own. Much of the science is tested and perfected on race tracks. But race bikes have an advantage in they have a narrow band of use and many variables for wide street use are fixed in racing. For instance bike loading rate. G forces expected to be encountered. Which make solutions easier to calculate than on a wide use bike faces street conditions.
 

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Tuning suspensions is a science of its own. Much of the science is tested and perfected on race tracks. But race bikes have an advantage in they have a narrow band of use and many variables for wide street use are fixed in racing. For instance bike loading rate. G forces expected to be encountered. Which make solutions easier to calculate than on a wide use bike faces street conditions.
Absolutely correct which is why, even with extensive street riding experience, I don't tend to do much to stock suspension other than tightening up the spring load on the rear suspension which helps prevent bottoming out. I've not personally experienced bottoming out the front forks as they have over twice the travel typically when compared to the rear suspension. Typically bottoming out is far more likely for a dirt rider than on the pavement which is why dirt bikes have far more travel than street bikes. Bottoming out in racing or in pleasure riding is never a good thing.

This really is a science as dampening and spring load work together. I can understand that some might want a "softer" ride but it's been my experience that the factories offer the "softest" recommend suspension to begin with. When I've changed the suspension I've always gone stiffer with damping and/or heavier spring load as opposed to going softer because of this. If people take the time to notice there is a spring load adjustment on the rear suspension and it always comes from the factory at the softest possible setting. The reason is simple. The factory wants to provide the "softest" ride possible to start out with. The only adjustment is to make the rear suspension stiffer by increasing the spring load and that's the only way the factory recommends going. In custom builds the one thing I focus on is having a big enough spring (spring load) and enough dampening so that the motorcycle doesn't bottom out.
 
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Reliability is fantastic on these machines. While the Old AMF years still have people speaking of pushing you Harley to the event, that has not existed for almost 3 decades now. Though you will want to do the fluid changes on schedule, not that anything bad will happen if you go over, but lubrication is to damnn important and to damnn cheap to skimp out on.......

There are tons of options for foot controls. But jpcycles.com has tons of stuff for the Harley Sportster you can spend as much as you want on it....
Funny how haters describe modern day Harleys as oil leaking and unreliable as they were in the AMF era, decades ago. That is a stereotype that probably will be cited by metric riders for eternity.
As noted by others, you can't go wrong with a Sportster when it comes to reliability. Change the fluids on occasion and ride.

Agreed, one can buy parts enough out of aftermarket catalogs to completely build a Sportster, so foot controls will be no problem.

Many of the guys over on the XLForum have changed the rear shocks to longer versions, which will give you a little more suspension travel. There is also a sticky thread specifically dealing with how to tune the Sporty suspension.
 
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