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AC_genius 25th February 2014 09:05

Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Beauty in the Beast
 
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Beauty is an ephemeral state of mind with a rather feminine association so I tread carefully when I associate beauty with a bike from the macho Harley Davidson stable. Nonetheless, it was this sheer beauty that first connected me this beast. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my 2014 Harley Davidson Iron 883.

Now I have dreamed and lived bikes all my life. I distinctly remember my first love being the Hero Honda CBZ and the uphill task of convincing my father how a bike is an ideal gift for the 18th birthday. Somehow it clicked and that is how a biker was born. Fast forward next 10 years of Job, marriage, kid and business travels where I kind of lost my Biker ego. In the interim, I still enjoyed riding occasionally including a 3 day passionate affair with a stunning black CBR 600RR in UK but things were not the same.

So arise the prodigal itch of that lost but thankfully not dead biker ego and I am reborn!

The frantic search for a suitable stead covers showrooms of every known motorbike maker in India. Part of the confusion arose because of my equivalence towards the hardcore super bike and the more relaxed cruisers. So essentially I went to every Yamaha, Honda and Kawasaki showroom in NCR and flirted with their models in hope of a connection. Sadly, I always ended up being too logical and my potential list kept getting shorter. Then there was the day...

I was in Chandigarh IT Park and paid an unplanned visit to the Harley dealership there. Quick discussions led to a test ride on the Iron 883 and before you know it cloudy weather turned beautiful, there was fragrance in the air and all such incidental perceptions of falling in love :) But I withheld signing up for I needed to be sure. It took a couple of months of deliberation and dreaming with another test ride to convince me to go and so I did. A long wait of a couple of weeks and I was back in the showroom to take delivery of a gleaming Amber Whisky Iron 883.

Unfortunately I was too exited to click any pictures during delivery but here are some from later. Cheers to all the explicit and implicit bikers out there hiding in common folks.

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Living with the beast

Let me start by being candid, the concept of living with the beast really frightened me to begin with. It is not easy dealing with a 260KG machine capable of speeds over 150 Km/hr (Disclaimer: Can’t confirm personally as my bike is still in run-in phase) over our blessed Indian roads. My family was being their conservative best with the occasional question mark look of are you sure of what you are getting into.

I persevered and glad to share those were just initial jitters. The ownership experience has been richly rewarding and the beast has become a constant source of excitement and fun in my life. Our first real ride was from Chandigarh to Gurgaon where I had at least 20 encounters with people trying to enquire about the bike with a few even trying to have a conversation on the busy highway at a speeds over 80 km/hr. Clearly not all attention is welcome.

Before I share detailed rides and experiences here is a summary of 1 month with my dream come true.

What works –

• The look of IRON 883 in amber whisky is drop dead gorgeous
• The HOG experience and camaraderie is phenomenal
• V-Twin roar is pure music plus the Screamin Eagles make it sound like a true beast
• Very professional and helpful staff at the Himalayan and Capital Harley showroom/ workshop in Chandigarh and Delhi
• Comfortable ergonomics and good to munch 100s of kilometers on
• Sheer number of parts to accessorize and define the bike of your dream
• Good overall build and finish

What could work better -

• While still in run-in, I would have liked more feedback from the brakes
• Missing ABS despite its size and power
• Costs on some parts are unjustifiably high
• Potential to get uncomfortably hot during city start-stop traffic commute
• Risk of a unwelcome folks sitting, touching and fiddling with your parked ride

Now that I have been living with my beauty for a good month I have started to understand the joys and quirks of living with a Harley. I am herein sharing my experience of riding over 500 km and the additions done.

The Additions

I once read that the rarest Harley is a stock one. I for one had no intention to break that code so in come the changes. The list of shiny bits I added is as follows

• Pillion Seat – While the Iron is meant to go solo, as a doting husband the investment in a pillion seat is definitely worth it for function and aesthetics. It is a good fit but have to say a bit uncomfortable for the pillion over long distances.

• Footpegs – When I took delivery of my bike the 2014 parts were yet not available. Necessity is a mother of invention so with a bit of tinkering with my pseudo-engineer mind and help from a local parts dealer I was able to fabricate some working pillion foot pegs. Total cost including labor of just Rs 500/- Most rides are solo so thinking of retaining these for now.

• Engine Guard – I personally have seen some rather horrific accidents so felt the need of an engine guard as a good safeguard against accidental falls and serious front impact. Preferred the chrome one as it stands out against the backdrop of the black engine components.

• Exhaust – The exhaust note from a Harley is pure bliss to the ears. Nothing like the V-Twin rumbles to lift your spirits. The stock exhaust on a Harley while good feels like it is missing something. The first thing I noticed while riding was that engine sounds louder than the exhaust note. A lot of internet research and chat with friendly neighborhood HOG members helped me narrow down to the Screamin Eagles. A major credit card swipe and in come the 2014 street cannons. The end caps weren’t available when I bought these but I am personally starting to like the minimalistic look without them.

Needless to say they sound heavenly without being a nuisance on long rides with better bass across the rev range. The price is on the higher side but functionally they are completely worth it. The intake and electronic bits are all stock and function flawlessly.

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Ownership Experience
Here is the 500 Km detailed review of the beast detailing my ownership experience broadly across 4 categories of looks & aesthetics, performance, handling and HOG experience.

• Looks and aesthetics –

1. Overall: Aesthetics is a very subjective interpretation but I have to say I just fell in love with the shape and form of the Iron 883 specially the right profile. The new Amber whisky color is a delight. Iron’s dark cruiser image beckons the old school black is black but the new color is a pleasant deviation that highlights the form and contrasts well with the dark engine. The chromed exhausts add just the right bit of shine to the image.

2. Front profile: A rather personal observation that the bike's front profile looks a tad bit lean and I am going ultra critical here to exemplify a near blind and definitely deaf man may not recognize the Harley coming straight on. While lean goes with the overall image my heart warrants a more impactful front.

3. Rear Profile: Best profile for all the people you drive past on the highway playing the Harley V-twin concert. Looks stupendous and in motion even when parked. The 150/80 profile tyre adds weightage to “I am a Rockstar in hurry!” sight for the lesser mortals on the road.

4. Side Profile: Iron is meant to pose from the sides, period. The peanut shaped tank and exhaust give a menacing look on the road. The length and form really come alive to build a phenomenal road presence. The left side looks a bit more humble but offers a glorious view of that mighty V-twin engine.

• Performance

Let me jump the numbers and statistics here and share what matters most...every single time I twist that accelerator I have a mile wide smile and a beautiful music filling my helmet from the growling exhausts. The 45 degree Evolution V-Twin engine has amazing torque and adequate power for our Indian road conditions. Let’s be honest this can never match outright power of any decent sportsbike. Any Harley can be easily humbled by power-to-weight ratios but at times life is enjoyed strolling and not sprinting. Pretty sure a 150+ km/hr stroll on this is good to get the adrenaline going on any junkie.

• Handling

I was pleasantly surprised with the handling of the Iron 883. Frankly after having ridden several performance bikes, I was expecting to ride a blue whale where only a bout of wrestling could result in a turn. Despite its weight, I found the Iron to be surprisingly nimble. The steering geometry and weight distribution makes it quick on turns and effective in nudging through city traffic. It stays planted on highways at high speed and reasonably good to keep long ride bodily pains away.

The only unsatisfactory side is the suspension. For Indian road conditions it is quite hard and effectively every single bump over 5mm is transferred straight up your backbone. Another quirk – You need to be weary of speed breakers as it is prone to kiss the ground if you are anything but gentle over them.

• Harley Owners Group

At the risk of being biased, I would have picked a Harley for the HOG experience even if they made scooters lol: It is a fine community of individuals and a awesome networking forum. The rides give you a chance to meet some rather unique characters and enjoy the way the bike is meant to be ridden.

Enjoy and more to come...

sriramv.iyer 25th February 2014 11:31

re: Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Beauty in the Beast
 
Congrats! Wishing you many miles with fun ahead!

I have to say that the HD really looks jaw-droppingly (forgive my non-English words) beautiful in this color!

AC_genius 25th February 2014 15:05

re: Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Beauty in the Beast
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sriramv.iyer (Post 3377598)
Congrats! Wishing you many miles with fun ahead!

I have to say that the HD really looks jaw-droppingly (forgive my non-English words) beautiful in this color!

Thank you and I can second that thought :) Initially I was tempted get black but when I saw this in flesh there was no doubt. The color brings out the contrast with the dark engine components beautifully.

GTO 26th February 2014 14:49

Re: Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Beauty in the Beast
 
Thread moved from the Assembly Line to Motorbikes. Thanks for sharing!

getsurya 26th February 2014 16:09

Re: Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Beauty in the Beast
 
Quote:

I would have picked a Harley for the HOG experience even if they made scooters
Congratulations, AC Genius! That is one good write up for a splendid motorcycle.

The colour is awesome and compliments the overall character very well.

The above statement in quotes had me in splits and am glad you are enjoying the HOG!!

Happy Motoring and wish you miles of riding pleasure!

More pictures with details can be motivating others like me clap:

Shubz 26th February 2014 16:42

Re: Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Beauty in the Beast
 
Congratulations sir! Welcome to the HOG family! :) Wish you tonnes of miles of "Niggle free/Leak free" experience! clap:

For the pillion - I would strongly suggest, go for the back rest - It is worth every penny spent.

I have done Blr - Goa - Blr with a lady pillion - Trust me, without that piece of blessing a.k.a Backrest - the ride would have been hellish for the poor lady. But with that contraption on - it was pure bliss - there was no complaints of fatigue or clinging on to the rider at highway speeds.

The Amber Whiskey looks gorgeous in the bright sun!

mobike008 26th February 2014 17:46

Re: Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Beauty in the Beast
 
Congratulations AC_Genius, thats a wonderful story told in a crisp and interesting manner. The bike looks gorgeous and this color suits the Iron 883 very well.

We both seem to have bought our respective rides around the same time considering our odometer readings are on similar lines.

Btw, how much was the bike on-road and what was the cost of accessories added? Did you add the Screaming Eagles as well?

Wish you many safe miles on your beauty !!

Quote:

Originally Posted by AC_genius (Post 3377447)
Our first real ride was from Chandigarh to Gurgaon where I had at least 20 encounters with people trying to enquire about the bike with a few even trying to have a conversation on the busy highway at a speeds over 80 km/hr. Clearly not all attention is welcome.

Iam imagining this scenario rl:and it can happen only in India..:D

AC_genius 26th February 2014 20:21

Re: Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Beauty in the Beast
 
Thank you folks for the kind words :thumbs up It has been a pleasure riding and writing about this beauty or shall I say beast. The base package was 6.71L + insurance + road tax. The accessories price are as follows and excludes the 12.5% VAT.

1. Engine Guard ~ 16K
2. Pillion Seat ~ 7K
3. Fabricated Footpeg 500/-
4. Screamin Eagle ~ 33K

Yup Screamin Eagle included clap: These are the 2014 Street Cannons. Mines are missing the end caps which are a 8K more.

Haroon 26th February 2014 21:08

Re: Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Beauty in the Beast
 
Congrats on a beautiful bike. Indeed, you have gone in for some of the most basic & functional accessories for the Sporty (sorry Harley Tax:)). And yes, I second Shubz on the passenger backrest. Would also be worthwhile to change to a SE air filter since you have already changed the pipes.

Wish you many many miles of enjoyable motoring. Ride safe

TheDevil 26th February 2014 23:17

Re: Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Beauty in the Beast
 
Harley really needs to get ABS for it's sportsters. I mean, if ones paying such a premium for a bike isn't a bare minimum safety feature necessary? At least allow it as an option, for some extra!? Sad to know how seriously our safety is taken by them.

predatorwheelz 27th February 2014 07:41

Re: Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Beauty in the Beast
 
Congrats on getting the best looking Harley this side of a million bucks! I've been a fan of the Iron 883 for its minimalist looks, and the Amber Orange shade seems to present a new angle to the good-looking bike. As Haroon said, you've added some basic and functional accessories to the bike, essential for converting it into an everyday ride rather than a poser. Do keep updating the thread from time to time. We want to be privy to the long-term ownership experience.

On a different note, you certainly have a passion for the heavyset adjectives. Ephemeral state of mind, prodigal itch, incidental perception, subjective interpretation - makes for roadblock readinglol:.

gthang 27th February 2014 08:25

Re: Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Beauty in the Beast
 
@AC_Genius,

Congratulations. Welcome to the HOG.

Nice color with some nice additions. The Street Cannons look really good.

Try turning the rear suspension to Mid setting. Changes the ride quite a bit.

Cheers

Ride Safe.

dkaile 27th February 2014 09:17

Re: Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Beauty in the Beast
 
Congratulations AC_genius and welcome to the Harley fold. Wishing you many happy and safe years of riding with your steed.

Those new Screamin Eagle design sure looks a little funny. I really like the old slash down ones which gave character to the bike. I just hope they have not tinkered with the classic note of the SE's to confirm to newer specifications and made it subdued than before. Screamin Eagles is the best choice in the Sportster 883 category as shriller ones like the V&H's sound better on the 1600cc engine. Though I see that now there is a vast difference in price in the one's I procured (at 23K) and this one which works out to nearly 41K with end caps. This 'Harley Tax' as they call it gets on your nerves sometimes but then you gradually learn to live with it. If you plan many pillion drives then a 'removable' sissy bar is recommended. I am in the process of fabricating one for which you may refer to my ownership thread here - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/superb...ve-review.html . However 883's look best without any pillion seats. I have called in an extra seat nut kit from JP Cycles so that I can easily remove/reinstall the pillion seat at my leisure and I plan to keep it solo pretty soon.

You are also right in your observation about the suspension. Do try to adjust the rear suspension with a simple 'kauva' plas that i used to set it at its stiffest setting. On potholed roads the suspension is definitely jarring but on highway roads riding a Harley is pure bliss. Regarding going in for SE Intake filter, you might require a remap or fuelpak for proper results. Just buying the normal SE Highflow filter is a 10K affair but the original Harley remap kit is damn expensive. People tend to go in for V&H for that. And half of them drive without any remap for just the SE's high flow kit. It is only with the Free Flowing kit that a remap is absolutely essential to prevent any damage to the engine. So keep researching as I have done.

Keep updating and ride safe...

trumpcard 27th February 2014 10:56

Re: Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Beauty in the Beast
 
AC_genius congrats for the Harley! Plus I think I know where you live as I keep coming there quite frequently :p so hope to see you and your mean machine soon.
P.s. Sector-51?? ( don't want to divulge more details on a public forum)

Shubz 27th February 2014 12:30

Re: Harley Davidson Iron 883 - Beauty in the Beast
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by gthang (Post 3379268)

Try turning the rear suspension to Mid setting. Changes the ride quite a bit.

Ride Safe.

This is one thing I am keen to try on!

Quote:

Originally Posted by dkaile (Post 3379286)
Those new Screamin Eagle design sure looks a little funny. I really like the old slash down ones which gave character to the bike. I just hope they have not tinkered with the classic note of the SE's to confirm to newer specifications and made it subdued than before.

You are also right in your observation about the suspension. Do try to adjust the rear suspension with a simple 'kauva' plas that i used to set it at its stiffest setting. On potholed roads the suspension is definitely jarring but on highway roads riding a Harley is pure bliss. Regarding going in for SE Intake filter, you might require a remap or fuelpak for proper results. Just buying the normal SE Highflow filter is a 10K affair but the original Harley remap kit is damn expensive. People tend to go in for V&H for that. And half of them drive without any remap for just the SE's high flow kit. It is only with the Free Flowing kit that a remap is absolutely essential to prevent any damage to the engine. So keep researching as I have done.

Keep updating and ride safe...

DK sir - The funny look is because there are no end cans. The one's with end-cans do look a stunner.

Regarding note - Don't think you will be surprised to know it is indeed subdued compared to the earlier models with SE.

Fuelpak - Harley folks don't speak too high about. They talk more about Supertuner (may be marketing bias)

there is something called XiED by DK Customs (US) which changes the closed loop fuel mixture on your Iron engine from the stock 14.6:1 to 13.8:1 making it run richer. (The caveat to this - you may end up losing engine warranty though) :) (Harley bond!)

My personal opinion - if Warranty is high on anyone's agenda - Stick to what comes out of Harley stealers!


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