Harley-Davidson has been producing the Sportster line of cruisers since 1957.
Harley-Davidson has been producing Sportster cruisers since 1957, the longest in Harley history. The Sportser 883 Custom was introduced in 1999. The Sportster 883 line of cruisers are entry-level Harley-Davidsons, but the New York Times calls the Sportser “the Harley for people who want a stylish ride that gets 60 miles a gallon on the highway.” Harley-Davidson dropped the 883 Custom from their lineup for the 2010 model year.
The Harley Sportster 883 Custom had an 883 cc, air-cooled, fuel-injected, V-twin-cylinder engine with two valves per cylinder. Harley-Davidson called this engine the Evolution. Bore and stroke were 76.2 mm by 96.8 mm and the compression ratio was 8.9:1. The Evolution engine generated 53 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and had a maximum torque of 55 ft.-lbs. at 3,500 rpm.
The 883 Custom had a six-speed (one down, five up) transmission. A belt final drive transferred power from the engine to the rear wheel.
Harley-Davidson built the 883 Custom around a stiff, narrow steel frame to improve handling. The telescopic front fork and two rear shock absorbers provided suspension. A single 292-mm hydraulic disc with a twin-piston caliper in the front and a 292-mm hydraulic disc with a single-piston caliper in the rear handled braking. The looks of the 883 Custom were enhanced by the one-piece rider/passenger seat, forward-mounted foot controls, a chrome headlight, shorty-styled chrome mufflers and low-rise handlebars. Instrumentation on the 883 Custom included a speedometer, odometer, clock and dual tripmeter. There were also indicator lights for low fuel, low oil pressure, low battery level, neutral, high beam and turn indicators.
The Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 Custom was 90.3 inches long with a wheelbase of 60.4 inches. Seat height on the Custom was 28 inches with a ground clearance of 4.4 inches. The dry weight of the cruiser was 565 lbs. and fuel capacity was 4.5 gallons. Harley-Davidson claimed the Custom got 60 mpg under highway conditions and 45 mpg in city riding. For 2009 the Custom was available in four solid colors or five two-tone color combinations. The suggested retail price for a new 2009 Sportster 883 Custom was $7,999 in black, $8,279 in color, $8,444 in two-tone and $8,644 in a custom color.