Introduced first in 1957 by Harley-Davidson, the Sportster continues to be a beloved motorcycle for both the entry-level and budget-minded consumer. While the bike was first plagued by engine vibration issues, in 2004, a vast array of changes were made, and they turned many critics into fans and solidified the ranks of the loyal masses. The 2005 models take the 2004 innovations and improve the value-priced bike even more.
The Evolution 883 engine of the Harley-Davidson Sportster was overhauled in 2004 to dampen the massive vibration that was a source of complaint by many customers. This was done through the use of rubber mounting. The 883cc, air-cooled, 45-degree, V-Twin engine also boasts new cylinders and heads with larger fins, which improve cooling. Service reliability has been improved by adding oil jets to the pistons, keeping operation smooth. Mounted on such a relatively light bike, the engine seems powerful, increasing performance and enjoyment for the rider. The 42.8 horsepower and 41.5 lb-ft of torque produced by the 883 translate into direct power. The carburetor handles fuel flow, while ignition is electronic, providing reliable starting in most weather conditions. The classic staggered dual exhaust and oval air-cleaner cover stay true to styling roots and provide adequate performance characteristics. The 3.3-gallon fuel tank is also the same shape and size that fans will remember; however, with a range of only 100 miles, riders will find themselves frequently refueling during long road trips. The five-speed manual transmission features a final belt drive, keeping maintenance to a minimum. Shifting is heavy and deliberate, and hand controls have been improved to reduce clutch level effort.
The 39-mm traditional front fork allows 5.6 inches of wheel travel, while the dual coil-over rear suspension allows 4.1 inches of travel, absorbing bumps and potholes underneath the Harley-Davidson Sportster with ease. The suspension system provides the beginning rider with a comfortable seat in the cockpit while clocking highway miles. The low seat height of 27.3 inches will be satisfactory for most riders, while a lower seat is an available option. The single seat is what we have come to expect from the Sportster 883. The low-rise handlebar and mid-mount foot controls place the rider in a slightly hunched but comfortable position. The Sportster 883 maintains a classic stance, due to the 19-inch wheel in front and the 16-inch (150-mm) rear wheel. Road feel is solid and controllable. Beginning and experienced riders will find the 11.5-inch front and rear disc brakes responsive and powerful.
The basic instrument panel on the 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster provides all of the needed information in the form of the electronic speedometer, odometer, resettable trip-meter, and diagnostic readout. Indicator lamps are in place for oil pressure and engine diagnostics. Riders will be very pleased to find that self-canceling turn signals have also been included.
The 2005 Sportster is offered in four vibrant colors: Vivid Black, Brilliant Silver Pearl, Sierra Red Pearl, and Chopper Blue Pearl, and an optional security system is available. Three variants of the Sportster are available, and customers seeking more power will be delighted to know that a 1200cc engine is an option, in addition to a 150-mm rear tire, two-up seating, and a 4.5-gallon fuel tank. For a value-priced motorcycle, the Sportster 883 comes standard in a remarkable package, and with the option of adding Genuine Motor Parts and Accessories, this entry-level bike from Harley-Davidson is sure to remain popular for many years to come.