I had rented a Harley Davidson (hd) iron 883 from a rental in western Mumbai called rebel rides. It was a fairly smooth experience getting my hands on the bike to begin with considering my impatience to set out on a much awaiting cruising experience towards Gujarat. A couple of my friends and i started off with a iron 883 and a re classic 350 (not quite a competition to revel over :p) but that was the best combination we could afford at that point..Lol
Having two bikes with completely different riding dna between a set of crazy bikers meant frequent swaps and regular stops. Naturally each one of us was looking forward to the longest possible time on the iron 883 due to our sheer excitement of the hd experience.
Coming to the bike and how it faired, we chose a fairly good stretch of road towards a parsi native called udvada on western coast of Gujarat. There wasn't much to rate the bike over riding conditions considering how good the roads were. Some the key elements that made us take note while riding included the looks, acceleration, riding position, split turn indicators, braking, gear shifts, engine heat and mileage.
Lets have a look at them one by one:
Looks: as much as it looks like a low-fat ripped version of what Harley Davidson bikes have come to be known for, the sleek yet fuller looks did manage to turn quite a few heads along our way. We could also feel that swiftness thanks to its thin profile compared to the "fat boy" cruisers of the world
Acceleration: its a no brainer to expect that quick adrenaline rush from an engine pumping 50 bhp and 70 nm of torque. It never disappointed us while trying to overtake long wheelbase trailers or just to feel that gust of wind. It has one of the best combinations of a quick pick up followed by linear acceleration as you throttle it harder
Riding position: the seating felt a bit upright for a cruiser followed by a near cramped comfort the pillion. That reminds me, we got a custom pillion seat on our iron 883. So there were those occasional moments of helmets banging on sudden twists of the accelerator..Lol. The bike did feel more apt for a single rider experience.
Split turn indicators: this is not a path breaking feature but nevertheless we found it quite convenient to have a switch each on either sides of the handle bar compared to the dual control ones on Indian bikes
Braking: the braking was good considering large discs on both wheels but the fear of burning out brake pads on persistent usage kept us from going too fast. This fear was primarily instilled by rental guy who warned us against half compression as both brake pads and clutch plate are supposedly quite fragile to withstand abuse in typical Indian traffic conditions
Gear shifts: gear shifts were relatively short yet at times we had challenge finding neutral. The fact that it sits right between 1st & 2nd gear makes it tricky to get the sweet spot right at all times
Engine heat: true to a heavy 883 engine, there is noticeable heat coming off the engine that makes slow manoeuvring in city traffic a painstaking experience. However it is almost negligible while cruising at a decent speed (read 80 kmph) on highways as the wind cuts the heat from roasting your legs.
Mileage: this was a quite a surprise as we managed to clock close to 21 kpml on our end-end trip. Quite a decent no. For an 883 cc engine in Indian conditions
Ok so at the end of it, would i recommend it people considering owning an iron 883 in India, maybe yes, may not. It is certainly not the one you would want to ride in city traffic everyday but could be a worthy companion on those longer smoother nirvana rides.