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Old 22nd November 2015, 19:03   #1
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Default Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review

My sincere greetings to all fellow BHPians,

One look at this classic Harley Davidson Superlow model is all that is needed to recognise the influence of classic street bike styling. The horizontal seat, large fuel tank and circular lights are all borrowed from previous-generation motorcycles. A lack of fairings on either side expose the 45° V-twin, Sportster Evolution engine and gives a clear view of advanced HD motorcycle technology. The overall attention to detail adds a sense of sophistication and makes this Sportster stand out. By creating an ergonomically sound riding position, Harley helps you to ride with comfort whether commuting or traveling long distances. There is room for two in the saddle and this added weight does not affect the bike’s maneuverability significantly.

So said, I am here to give you my first experience buying a Harley Davidson, from Spice Coast Harley Davidson Cochin on 21 October 2015.

I had gone for the Harley super low because this is the only Sportster bike that has been the subject of continuous product development and improvement for 60 years. The sportster has been in continuous production since 1957.

The XL883L is a low rider, looks very compact and loads of chrome. This bike is from the CKD(completely-knocked-down)models sold in India. India is the second country where Harley-Davidson has CKD assembly operations outside the US, after Brazil. In 1991, Sportsters finally got the five speed transmission they so richly deserved, rubber-mounted engine and belt final drive on the 883 Deluxe; by 1993 belt drive was on all the 883s.

Important Specification to take note of before you decide to go for a XL883L:

Ground Clearance -100mm ( the under-cradle frame ) hits an average Indian road hump!
Rake (steering head) (deg) - 31.1
Trail - 145mm ; good road handling.
Tires, Front Specification -120/70 ZR-18 59W, one of the best premium low profile tires in the market
Tires, Rear Specification - 150/60 ZR-17 66W ( same as above )
Fuel Capacity - 17L ; nice big tank for a long journey. Recommended 91 octane or higher fuel (R+M)/2.
Oil Capacity (w/filter) - 2.6L; pay attention to the service interval and type and grade. Make a note in your owner's manual.
Weight, In Running Order - 255Kg ; remember this bike is heavy and there is no reverse gear. You will find it difficult to sit and pushback!
Displacement - 883 cc
Fuel System - electronic sequential port fuel injection (ESPFI)
Gauges - handlebar-mounted electronic speedometer with odometer, time-of-day clock, dual tripmeter, low fuel warning light, low oil pressure light, engine diagnostics readout, RPM/gear display, ABS light, LED indicator lights.
Security system includes immobilizer and siren - Not included as standard equipment.
Colours - White hot pearl/Blue hot pearl ; Brilliant silver pearl; Vivid black.

Purchase experience:
To make a booking you need to make a down payment of INR 50,000/- So be sure of the choices you make and the costs to get this bike on road. You will get a refund if you decide not to go ahead with the purchase, but there will be some deduction by the dealer. So be careful what you are going to commit to. The bike is expensive and has a market depreciation. You will have to do the full and final payment once the bike is received at the showroom. You may be given a weeks time to arrange the final payment. The Company will give you a bumper to bumper insurance which is very important to make any damage claims. The Bike will need a few extra fittings before taking the new bike for registration.

The Dealer does not do the registration, the day you drive out of the showroom. So take your bike to the RTO straight away.

You will immediately need a one-piece front engine guard, confirm the fuel tank is full, good riding helmet, gloves, thick jeans and good pair of shoes to protect your feet from flying road debris. Should you need a special ownership registration number plate, speak to the dealer and he will guide you how to go to the RTO website and select the number listed for auction for the current week/month. This is very important before you get the bike outside the showroom. You have to carry your Valid ID, original driving license, address proof. All in original and make copy of them too. You will have to visit the RTO to present the bike for inspection and then go to the RTO office to sign some documents. Use the agent of the Dealer to get your bike registered. You may also like to do some kind of Religious puja for the bike @ the showroom. So make your preparations. I had placed one yellow lime in front of each wheel and pushed my bike over them.

Showroom tradition:
It is a tradition of the Harley Davidson showroom to celebrate your bike delivery with a cake cutting ceremony. I was surprised but very happy to see all the available Spice coast Showroom staff present and celebrate with me the handing over of the keys and first engine startup by the owner.

Purchase price:
The on road cost of the bike was around INR 9.75 lakhs.

Parts and accessories:
You will immediately need a one-piece front engine guard and battery recharge tender and attached recharge pigtail harness. The accessories sold by the showroom are OEM, at times they have discount sales. Most of the parts are coming from the US and Taiwan. Be sure you check the parts fit the bike, by checking the year of manufacture and model. The parts are of improved quality control and design integrity of the parts is worth mentioning. Any modification on the bike should be crosschecked with the service manager who can give the quote with details of parts and costs involved. Parts are available from a wide network of official and independent dealers, which makes this motorcycle an ongoing rolling success. It is my personal opinion, get a feel of the bike and get around a bit before you give in to sales staff trying to sell to you add-ons. My riding experience.

Controls and Indicators:-

Keyed Ignition: The automatic-on headlamp feature provides increased visibility of the rider to other motorists. Be sure headlamp is on at all times. To start, switch off/run on the bike to run, the fuel pump will prime, note that the N green indicator is ON, fully pull clutch hand lever in against handlebar grip to fully disengage the engine from the gearbox and only then press the start engine button. Retract the side stand, swing the handle bar left and right to confirm the handle bar is not locked. Depress the front brakes to confirm it works. Slowly turn throttle control grip, the acceleration is phenomenal. Depress the gear lever fully down and slowly engage clutch. The clutch casing only contains a small amount of chaincase lubricant, approx 1Liter. It is important not to use half clutch in traffic, failure to do so will result in a burnt clutch plate assy. So you need to be paying attention.

To reduce rider fatigue on long trips, a spring-loaded throttle friction adjustment screw is at the bottom of the throttle grip clamp. The riser-mount speedometer has an electronic display with an odometer/trip meter, gear/ RPM, time of day, trip A and B, engine diagnostic interface and indicator lights for low oil pressure and low fuel. Steering-head layout of my bike has been upgraded to that of XL1200C, the triple tree thus gives the rider a relaxed cruising position. I have installed handlebar clamp to raise the height and reach. My hands are now more relaxed and less stretched out.

The hazard warning switch is located above the electric starter switch. This system allows a stranded motorcycle to be left in the 4-way flashing mode and secured until help is found.

Gearshift pattern: 1st down, lift or press the gear shift lever 1/2 of its stroke to get the neutral, 1 up from neutral is 2nd,3rd,4th and 5th gear.

Brake system: The front brakes are very sensitive and the rear is not so. Avoid sudden pressure on the brake levers as it could lead to disk brake locking & bike skidding. All this could happen in seconds. Maintain lower speeds on this heavy bike when going towards a bend or road intersection. Especially when approaching busy town and village roads.

Chassis: Mild-steel tubing makes up the double-downtube, double-cradle frame. Remember to lift the under cradle at the front and rear interface where 2 frame members come together.

Jiffy stand: be very careful to ensure the bike stand is lifted back and secure before you begin your ride, carefully move over humps as it could damage the jiffy stand retaining spring which is even lower to the bike’s under-cradle. The Bike is quite heavy, 256Kg. So be careful when you try to stop at the side of a road that is not flat. An inclined road can very soon tilt the bike to the side and suddenly the bike will fall down. So you need to be sure where you slow down, be sure the surface is not inclined or has loose gravel or mud.

Front suspension: The 39 mm, cartridge-type forks run as standard. Easy-fill fork cap has been installed as an upgrade. The damping effect is very soft and dives very quickly when you apply the front brakes. So be careful when going over humps or step up road or floor edge. I have replaced the front wheel rim and tire to fit a Michelin Scorcher “11” tires, 100/90-19 BW tire along with a new fender. No change to electrical, throttle, clutch and front hydraulic brake line was required.
Stock front Axle, was reused in the front wheel upgrade.

Rear Shocks: Are replaced with part number mentioned in the bill. The rear Michelin Scorcher “11” tires, are upgraded to 160/70B-17 BW, on the stock 17inch alloy rims. . The superlow xl883l is configured for solo operation. If you choose to add a passenger and/or cargo to the vehicle, the ride quality may be compromised. You may adjust the rear pre-load to match the added weight.

Rear View mirror: is well placed and the objects in the rear do not shake when on the ride. Adjust mirrors so you can see a small portion of your shoulders in each mirror. This will help you establish the relative distance of vehicles to the rear of your motorcycle.

Comfort: The handlebar, seat and mid foot control pegs are well placed to give you a good riding posture. A lighter feeling, highly manoeuvrable front end with wider lock-to-lock steering. The seat is not very well built . The seat foam, cover is not ribbed and need to be upgraded to take you for a serious long ride. If you do carry a pillion passenger, they can instantly find the most supportive position in the saddle by resting on the well-positioned folding foot peg and back rest.

Engine: The V-Twin engine has a lot of clatter at idle and riding. The heat from the engine is unbearable when the bike is slow moving or stationary at traffic signals, wearing a thick jeans and natural leather boots is the right gear to use when riding the bike. The top cam and tappet sound almost disappeared on replacing the stock exhaust. The first 500KM is very important so keep the rev and acceleration within the 2000RPM band, not to exceed 60KM/hr or rev the new bike.

Exhaust system: closed loop exhaust system, delivers heart-pounding performance which is the trademark Harley-Davidson rumble. The durable mufflers with exhaust shields, a catalyst and mini heated oxygen sensors that improve emissions and driveability.

What I dislike and need to upgrade:
1. Engine heat generated is a serious worry, as this is a air cooled engine.
2. 10cm, ground clearance is very low, to increase the under cradle height is an urgent requirement.
3. A battery charger, 5 Amps is highly recommended as the bike battery will only begin charging if the RPM is over 2000! A battery charging pigtail fitment is a must.
4. There is no storage for tools, documents and other riding gear.
5. No USB port to connect a phone or GPS device.
6. No ABS as standard equipment.
7. Very expensive spares and workshop service charges.
8. A 2 year warranty, is extended if you buy their ICICI 1st party insurance! any damage is paid from the insurance coverage. It is not covered by Harley Davidson.

I have done a few upgrades, and details are given in the below posts.
Spice Coast Harley Davidson Cochin, showroom delivery pictures:
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-1.jpg

Celebrating the purchase of my Harley, at the showroom:
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-2.jpg

The first cranking of my bike at the showroom:
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-3.jpg

Bike taken for blessing to
Kannamaly church - St.Antony's church:

Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-4.jpg
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-5.jpg

Bike battery tender and recharge pig tail attachment:
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-6.jpg
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-7.jpg
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-8.jpg

Bike lift: EazyRizer
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-9.jpg
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-10.jpg
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-11.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 10th August 2017 at 09:22. Reason: Spacing :). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 26th May 2017, 19:11   #2
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Default re: Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review

Greetings to all,

I have returned form my trip to Cochin, and would like to share my experiences with the Superlow Mod.

1. The ground clearance is an issue and i needed to resolve it to make my travel a bit less stressed with respect to the humps on the roads, and the soft diving of the front shocks when I applied the front brakes.
2. The heat produced by the engine and the exhaust flow being restricted by the CAT inside the mufflers.
3. Rear brakes have been not very effective and also seen the rear brake reservoir developing leaks.
4. Battery storage or shelving for over 3 or more months.
5. Bike lift to carry out required maintenance at home.

To address the ground clearance:
The XL883L Superlow 2015 has the following wheel geometry.
Front wheel : 2011-2015 rim size=18X3.0; tire=120/70-18;
Replaced with rim size=19X2.5; tire=100/90-19
Rear wheel: 2011-2015 rim size=17X4.5; tire=150/60-17;
Replaced with rim size same; tire=160/70-17
Replaced rear suspension roadster PAM/Labour no.54615-01
Sportster Custom triple tree to fit the narrow profile front tire.
Replaced front fender with custom built 19inch fender.
Complete list of parts is attached:
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Triple tree replacement:
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-3.jpg
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-4.jpg

Rear tire=160/70-17 replacement:

Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-5.jpg

Front wheel rebuild with tire=
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-6.jpg
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-7.jpg
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-8.jpg

After the ground clearance rebuild, bike taken for 100Kms test drive by the same technician who did the rebuild:

Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-9.jpg
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-10.jpg

Some more pics to examine the improved ground clearance:

Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-11.jpg
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-12.jpg
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-13.jpg
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-14.jpg

My first long ride from fort cochin to Alleppey district:

Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-15.jpg
Front fork easy refill cap:
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-16.jpg

To address the heat produced by the engine:
I had to find another set of stock mufflers of my make and model and send it to a company in the USA, called American Custom exhaust systems.
They ask you what kind of mod you want on the exhaust.

I had the CAT partially removed and ordered for a - mid rumble tone baffle.
American custom, did a great job to receive my exhaust do the mod and also polish my exhaust pipes and ship it to me in a very good cardboard box. The American custom, exhausts have been fitted and the heat from the engine has reduced. The baffle too was modified to produce mid-rumble tone, but noticed the sound is too loud, when compared to the stock exhaust.
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-17.jpg
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-18.jpg
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-19.jpg

The Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery has a life of 2 to 3 years, on my bike I used to remove the main fuse and the 2 small fuses when the bike is kept for storage.
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But my battery went bad and stopped to build charging to 12.3Volts. A good charged battery should be around +12.7 to +12.9Volts. The indication that the battery is dying is, starter motor will not prime but will chatter. Should this be the case do not repeatedly try to restart the bike. Get the battery to charge and wait for the battery voltage to reach 12.7v to 12.9v. The battery tender will indicate that the battery is charged (steady green lamp), but the extended charging will increase the current delivery.
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-21.jpg

Should the battery get over heated, you need to stop charging and wait for the battery to cool down. Repeat the charging process. a two day charging is recommended.
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-22.jpg

Test kit to certify the battery is un-serviceable:
Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review-23.jpg

It would be recommended to disconnect the negative terminal from the battery, when leaving the bike for long period of storage.

Last edited by GTO : 10th August 2017 at 09:34. Reason: Spacing :). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10th August 2017, 09:36   #3
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Big Bikes Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 21st August 2017, 16:55   #4
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Big Bikes Section. Thanks for sharing!
Respected GTO,

Thank you for your repeated guidance on how I should make my post presentable.
This is my first individual post and I would like to thank you for your understanding.
I am working in the UAE and my bike is in Cochin, India.
I am trying to raise a family and it has made my post lacking the quality and detail. Kindly forgive me for any mistakes made in my ownership review.
My sincere thanks to all members of team-BHP forum.
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Old 15th September 2017, 18:19   #5
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Default Re: Harley-Davidson XL883L SuperLow : Ownership Review

Hello sir!
Fellow superlow rider here, acquired a used one a year back. It is a 2012 model. Stage 1 upgraded.

Thank you very much for useful info! I now know that the battery charges only after 2k rpm! I wil also buy a battery tender.

The bike looks good in white and black. Put on a wind shield sir. It looks the part and immensely comfortable on rides.

I have looked up a Dunlop tyre size 120/90, 18 inches. Will that not rise the ground clearance without spending a fortune on a rebuild?

Also the front sag is to be corrected in mine. It sags heavy even though there is upgraded springs from Racetech.
2 ways to go about it are:
a. Fork spacers
b. Complete overhaul with monotubes

Please let me know if you think these are useful mods.

Also if at all we want to change the gear ratios, the front sprocket wheel can be swapped to give more time in the lower gears. I think that may reduce the need to half clutch in city rides.

For the rear shocks I am thinking of Hagon's 13 or 13.5 inch nitro shocks.

Dkaile sir, I know you are around! Please opine
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