Like the rest of the motorcycle industry, the boys in Milwaukee understand the attraction of rejecting the gleaming, polished status quo and going against the grain. After all, isn’t that what built the company in the first place? To morph the entry-level Sportster Superlow into the sinister Iron 883, designers installed a classic Sportster peanut tank in place of the low and lean Superlow tank, dropped the handlebar, shortened the fenders, and fattened up the seat. They also shrunk the airbox, relocated the license plate and taillight to the side, and then painted just about everything black, keeping certain bright metal highlights on the engine and cast wheels.
If you want your Sporty to look like you’ve snuck into back-alley chop shop and pulled an all-nighter with a cutting torch and spray gun—rather than a shiny parade pony—this is your ride. Functionally, the Iron 883 is all Sportster, with a willing 883cc air-cooled engine driving through a wide-ratio five-speed gearbox and, importantly, rubber engine mounts to help quell vibration.
Likes: For only a modest price surcharge, the Iron 883 really "baddens" up the entry-level Sportster image.
Dislikes: The short, pocketed seat prohibits the rider from adjusting his or her riding posture for comfort.
Verdict: Like the Rolling Stones' raw, hammering 1966 song "Paint It Black," the "painted black" Iron 833 just plain works.