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2008 Harley-Davidson 883 L First Impressions


by Pascal Bastien ,

The 2008 Sportster 883 L smartly completes the American manufacturer's lineup of small motorcycles. It has been specifically designed for riders who want to sit lower on a bike. Harley-Davidson engineers modified the Sportster's seat and suspension to lower the ride height by 46 mm. The 883 L offers improved handling and a more user-friendly riding experience thanks to a seat that stands only 698 mm above the ground.

It's not a women-only motorcycle; this mount is also an excellent choice for beginners and those who want to refresh their skills after a long hiatus. Moreover, it should not be mistaken with the Custom version which features a slightly higher seat and forward-mounted footpegs. The 883 L is actually one of the lowest riding motorcycles in the industry. According to Bill Davidson, Director of Product Development at Harley-Davidson, the Sportster 883 L exists because hardcore fans asked for it.

Uncommon riding position
The slightly sporty, somewhat uncommon riding position is characterized by mid-mounted footpegs and encourages the rider to push the bike a bit more in corners. The 883 L is easier to lean and the shifts are steadier. This position also offers the rider the possibility to lift the rear wheel when the road deteriorates. Thank God, because the ultra-dry, short-travel suspension is not really suited for Quebec roads. Limited travel combined with a soft damping system is not a great recipe. This bike is no doubt very comfortable on the roads of Ontario or the U.S., but out here in La Belle Province, it's not a good fit. While the front fork is up to the task, the rear shocks fail to deliver a smooth ride over bumps, potholes and dilatation joints.

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