Harley-Davidson Showcases New XL883 at London Motorcycle Show

First time bikers should rejoice because the new Harley-Davidson XL883 will be available in the UK. An entry level cruiser—costing just £5375, with bare-bones styling, fork gaiters, all-black paint, and drag bars, the 883 Sportster offers a stylish ride and outstanding fuel economy at 60 miles a gallon on the highway. The 883 also rates at 45 m.p.g. in urban driving.

A staple hog since 1957, the Sportster has evolved by leaps and bounds from a vibrating jackhammer of a bike to a comfortable and reliable way to travel. Thanks to the recent use of rubber engine mounts which cushion the rider from the 883cc V-Twin’s vibrations. Until 2004, the engine was bolted directly to the frame, giving the bike enduring epilepsy.

The XL883 kicks in 55 lb-feet of torque at only 3,500 rpm; the fuel-injected engine driving the 590-lb bike smoothly. The bike handles really well for a heavy bike.

The Sportster is a favorite among new riders, women and short-statured riders; the seat is only 28 inches off the ground on the Custom version (26.3 on the Low model). Budget conscious bikers can now add the Harley XL883 among their favorites.

Surprisingly, the new bike offer comes amidst reports by Harley USA of 1100 jobs cut from its workforce after suffering a 58% drop in profits. Sales of motorcycles have reportedly dropped 13.1% in the third quarter of the financial year.

The Milwaukee firm will also cut production by up to 13% in 2009 to 273,000 bikes and cut 12% of its workers over the next two years—mostly production line workers in America.

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