2022 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Review [Air-Cooled Sportster]

2022 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Review: Urban Motorcycle

Harley-Davidson’s long-running Iron 883 is one of those elemental motorcycles that keeps things simple, delivering a sporty cruiser experience in an unintimidating package. That has made it a popular entry-level Sportster model for the past 13 years.

Rider ergonomics play a big role in the confidence level of a new(ish) rider, and getting one’s boots to the pavement is priority one. The 2022 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 has a sub-30-inch seat, though that doesn’t change much when you settle yourself on the bucket-style tuck-and-roll solo saddle. That is hugely welcoming. So, too, is the compact overall rider triangle. With a slightly forward-leaning riding position that inspires a sporty attitude, the reach to the bars is comfortable—not far, not high. The mid-mounted footpegs are neutral, rather than delivering a feet-first, stretched feel.

Riding the Iron 883 around town is a rewarding experience. You immediately feel cool because you’re on a Harley-Davidson. It doesn’t matter that it’s not a big-inch Softail. The non-two-wheeled crowd doesn’t know that—they recognize the brand, the look, and the sound. You, too, are now part of the H-D culture, and it doesn’t take that much effort. Shhh, no reason to spoil the image.

With a broad and muscular torque range, the air-cooled V-twin is easy to launch off the line. The five-speed transmission has a robust thunk on engagement and works smoothly if your shifts are deliberate. I did hit false neutrals a couple of times on upshifts due to sloppy footwork. The clutch lever requires a satisfying squeeze, but it’s not overly heavy.

Around town, riding takes little shifting. The V-twin’s 54 ft-lbs of torque mean you simply twist the throttle to hurry through that stale-lighted intersection, or roll off and take advantage of the meaty engine compression braking when traffic is dawdling.

Suspension travel is limited—a tradeoff for catering to shorter inseams—with 3.6 inches in front and just 1.6 inches in the rear. Surprisingly, the Iron 883 is a decently comfortable ride, even in Los Angeles’ sadly maintained streets. While there’s no adjusting the 39mm front fork, and just spring-preload tweaking in the rear, the dual shocks do a nice job of soaking up the dips and irregularities of the road. Credit the high-profile rear Michelin Scorcher 31 for helping to cushion the harsh bumps and, lest I forget, the 19-inch front wheel rolls over potholes like a champ.

When speeds increase, the 2022 Harley-Davidson Iron 883’s suspension reaches its limits quickly, keeping you in check in urban areas. The Iron 883 doesn’t engender hurrying, though. While I appreciate the grunt that allows me to get out in front of the queue when the light turns green, I am happy to cruise along at a moderate clip enjoying the local bustle and color.

The handling is responsive without being too quick; it’s nicely predictable—perfect for the intended audience. Experienced riders will know how to take maximum advantage of the Iron 883, as it takes some body English to turn the bike at speed. There’s enough cornering clearance and grip from the Michelin Scorcher 31 tires for a sporty ride should you happen upon a smooth stretch of winding tarmac, though you will scrape your pegs on tight, slow turns.

There is a single 300mm disc up front to handle braking duties, and initial engagement of the pleasingly substantial lever is just right—nothing grabby, just a linear response as your grasp tightens. While the brake and clutch levers are predictably non-adjustable, the reach is not extreme. The rear brake is a great supplement to the front, helping you come to soft stops.

ABS is an option we always recommend, though the $819 tariff is steep. Oh, and there’s also an inflation-driven $600 “Surcharge” that H-D is tacking to this year’s $11,249 MSRP.

The 2022 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 is a good candidate for surface road commuting duties thanks to its easy handling, predictable engine response, and ergonomics. With a claimed 51 mpg and 3.3-gallon tank, the narrow bike will snake through congested roads and keep your filling station stops to a minimum.

Although the 883 is stable at freeway speeds, the suspension is a limiting factor that will keep you in the slow lane if your local freeways are as rough as those in Los Angeles. Also, the upright seating position doesn’t work well at speed, as it’s hard to get a good grip on the tank with your legs at a 90-degree angle.

At 564 pounds, the Iron 883 is not light. Fortunately, maneuvering at slow speeds is encouragingly manageable. The bike’s weight is carried low and, with the shorter seat height, it is not a handful.

The 2022 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 has the old-school pure-motorcycle look pegged. Holding down the fort as the air-cooled Sportster line is fazed out, its twin shocks, peanut tank, classic staggered pipes, and ultra-cool side-mounted license-plate paint are an appealing picture, and the solo seat says you’re going it alone. It’s a great package that inspires a sense of freedom.

Photography by Don Williams


2022 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Specs


  • Type: Evolution V-twin
  • Displacement: 53.9 cubic inches (883cc)
  • Bore x stroke: 3.0” x 3.811” (76.2 x 96.8mm)
  • Maximum power: 54 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
  • Maximum torque: 54 ft-lbs @ 3750 rpm
  • Compression ratio: 9:1
  • Valvetrain: Pushrod; 2vpc
  • Fuel system: EFI
  • Cooling: Air
  • Lubrication: Dry sump
  • Transmission: Five-speed
  • Primary drive: Chain
  • Final drive: Belt


  • Frame: Mild tubular steel
  • Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 39mm fork; 3.6 inches
  • Rear suspension; travel: Preload-adjustable emulsion shocks; 1.6 inches
  • Wheels: Black 9 Spoke w/ machined highlights
  • Front wheel: 19 x 2.15
  • Rear wheel: 16 x 3
  • Tires: Michelin Scorcher 31
  • Front tire: 100/90 x 19
  • Rear tire: 150/80 x 16
  • Front brake: 300mm disc w/ 2-piston caliper
  • Rear brake: 260mm disc w/ 2-piston caliper
  • ABS: Optional ($819)


  • Wheelbase: 59.6 inches
  • Rake: 30 degrees
  • Trail: 4.6 inches
  • Seat height: 29.9 inches
  • Fuel capacity: 3.3 gallons
  • Estimated fuel consumption: 51 mpg
  • Curb weight: 564 pounds
  • Colors: Black Denim; Gunship Gray; White Sand Pearl

2022 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Price: $11,249 MSRP

2022 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Review Images