Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycles have been produced since 1957. While keeping the same fender, frame, tank, and suspension design of previous (1952-1956) models, the HD Sportster replaced previous model flathead engines with an overhead four-stroke, 45-degree, V-twin engine. The 2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster 883, Sportster 883 Custom, Sportster 1200 Roadster, and Sportster 1200 Custom are “Made In USA.” They compete with the BMW F 650CS, Honda 599, Kawasaki Ninja, Suzuki V-Strom, Triumph Speed Four, and Yamaha FZ-6.
The 2004 Sportster 883 Custom has an overall four-star user rating and is ranked 20th of 47 comparable touring cruiser models ranked in Motorcycle.com. It consistently rates four stars in all categories: performance, quality and reliability, ride and comfort, and value. The 1200 Custom rates four stars in all categories. Users rated its performance a 4.5.
The 2004 Sportster has a standard length of 90.1 to 90.3 inches. The dry weight of the 883 model is 555 pounds and 558 pounds for the 883 Custom. The dry weight of the 1200 Custom is 554 pounds and 557 pounds for the 1200 Roadster.
The Sportster 883 and 1200 Roadster have a ground clearance of 5.6 inches, while the 883 Custom’s and 1200 Custom’s ground clearance is just 4.4 inches.
Sportster models come equipped with aluminum 19- and 21-inch front and 16-inch back wheels and have a 60- to 60.4-inch wheelbase.
The 2004 Sportster uses a steel-frame construction. Models come standard with a rubber-mounted, 1442cc, 45-degree V-Twin and a five-speed manual transmission.
The Sportster 883’s engine displacement to weight is 1.59 cc with 51 lb-ft of torque. The 883 Custom’s engine displacement is 1.58 cc with 51 lb-ft of torque. The 1200 Custom’s and 1200 Roadster’s engine displacements are 2.17 cc with 79 lb-ft of torque.
The Sportster digital instrumentation is standard and includes a speedometer, fuel level gauge and temperature warning light, trip odometer, and service reminder. A navigation system, GPS, tachometer, lap timer, oil pressure gauge, trip computer, and shift light are not standard equipment on Sportster.
Exterior covers, driver foot pegs, front and rear fender and a rear fender rail, hand grips, and a kick stand are not available on the 883.
Sportsters are built for sport. Amenities such as cruise control, CD, radio, CB, keyless ignition, intercom, and padded handlebars found on touring and cruiser motorcycles are not found on Sportster models.