To be brutally honest, while we savoured the chance to be the first to test the model in Malaysia, we were expecting a bike with all the trappings of the Sportster tradition. We prepared our minds and especially bodies to brake harder, steer harder, grit our teeth and clench our butt cheeks.
But as soon as the engine fired, it’s apparent of how serious the Motor Company pays attention to perhaps its most important model in the Asian market.
Yes, it looks the same externally, however, the new XL883N (H-D’s model code for the Iron) is vastly more accommodating compared to its predecessors. Brakes, handling, comfort from the suspension, engine character have all been updated.
The bike accelerated off the line as soon as the clutch went out, not in the manner of an uncontrollable wild-horse stallion, instead in a smooth, smooth take up. Deceleration was super smooth too.
The brakes were as good as any bike’s with optimum power and feedback. Big change!
The best change of all was to the suspension. Figures remain the same: The front has 91mm (3.6 inches) of travel, while the rear has a scant 40mm. Harley’s engineers worked around these limitations and delivered an amazing ride, very close to that of a well-setup naked bike.
Tune in to the full review of this bike. Do head over to Harley-Davidson Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru for a test ride. I bet you’ll be surprised too!