Harley-Davidson first produced the Sportster in 1957. Prior models (the “K” series, which included the Model K Sport and the Sport Solo) used a side valve engine (Flathead), whereas the Sportster uses an overhead valve engine (Ironhead). The Ironhead was later replaced in 1986 with the Evolution engine. From 1957 through as late as 2003, the engine was mounted directly to the frame. This made the bike slightly lighter overall, but greatly increased the vibrations the rider received from both the engine and the road below. Harley corrected this issue by switching to rubber mounts in 2004, which helped deal with the butt and hand-numbing vibration of previous models.
The Sportster is very dear to my heart. My first motorcycle was a 2001 Sportster 883C, black with drag bars and forward controls. I loved its simplicity, heartiness and beauty, but it ultimately turned out to be a difficult bike for me to maneuver, despite my well-intentioned friend insisting that I just “manhandle the [email protected]”! After dropping “Jesse” twice, I had to admit that it was a bit too much motorcycle for me and had to sell her after a few years. Despite my unsuccessful experience, the Sportster still remains one of my favorite Harley-Davidson models.
Improvements came in 2016, when the company addressed the suspension by implementing a new emulsion technology (a mix of both oil and air in the chamber) for the twin rear shocks. While still not offering a completely smooth ride, the new Sportster does take the edge off of the spine-jolting that resulted from every pothole and obstacle in the road. Additional comfort comes from a tuck and roll seat, providing more padding where it is needed most. Harley also added cartridge technology to the forks, allowing for more precise damping.
Style changes are minimal, focused mostly on utilizing black accents like the 9-spoke cast aluminum wheels; floating brake rotor; stamped air cleaner cover; mufflers and muffler shield; belt guard and front fender trim. Bullet-hole design on the exhaust header shield and the new seat round out the upgrades for style.
With its compact profile, mid-controls and narrow, peanut tank, the Sportster of 2016 gives riders a nice feeling of control. This bike is perfect for riding around town, where it excels with quick shifting and lots of power. With its small mirrors and narrow bars, the Sportster is easily maneuvered through freeway traffic as well. Taking this bike out onto open roads can be a joy, but twisties are a bit of challenge because of the bike’s lack of cornering clearance.
With all these improvements, Harley-Davidson is once again targeting the novice/new rider market with the Sportster, which has long been touted as the company’s entry-level motorcycle. However, this bike can be just as fun for experienced riders to take out on the road.
• 883 cc
• Five-speed transmission
• Air-cooled Evolution V-Twin engine
• 3.3-gallon capacity fuel tank
• 545-lb dry weight; 564-lb. wet
• Michelin Scorcher tires
OC Motorcycle has a beautiful 2016 Sportster in red available for weekend adventures. A staple of their rental fleet, the Sportster is a bare-bones, solid motorcycle that provides any rider with a fast and solid ride in town or out in the canyons or open roads of Southern California.
OC Motorcycle is your premiere source for rentals, service and sales in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Corona Del Mar, Huntington Beach and all of Orange County! OC Motorcycle is now an authorized Moto Guzzi and MV Agusta dealership in addition to already offering the most diverse line of used motorcycles including Harley-Davidson, Indian, BMW, Ducati, Triumph, Honda, Kawasaki and more!