EXCLUSIVE MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: New 2011 Sportster 883L SuperLow

Redefining the Sportster ride

By Genevieve Schmitt, Photos by Wes Allison

When I was approached by Harley-Davidson in early July to test ride exclusively a new Sportster called the SuperLow for 2011 model year, with a name like that I envisioned a ground hugging, peg scraping Sportster, very different than the already “Low” designated Sportsters, the 883 Low and 1200 Low. Turns out the SuperLow isnt that much lower in actual seat height measurement, but because of a complete overhaul by Motor Company engineers in steering geometry, wheel and tire sizes, and suspension tuning, the SuperLow feels lower to the ground and, for the first time, I feel like Im sitting “into” a Sportster as opposed to “on top” of it as is the feeling with many of the classic Sportsters to date.

Genevieve Schmitt is the first online journalist to spend a day exclusively test riding the 2011 Sportster 883 SuperLow. Harley-Davidson knows this is an important motorcycle to attract women to motorcycling and to its brand.
The new 883L SuperLow replaces the 883L Low for 2011. Genevieve is wearing armored Silhouette jeans by Shift. Her review is found in the Apparel Product Reviews section of WRN.

Sitting into a motorcycle allows for a feeling of a low center of gravity, an important quality for women just learning how to ride. A low center of gravity gives the rider a feeling that she is one with the motorcycle as opposed to feeling like an appendage of the motorcycle. Feeling part of the motorcycle allows a rider to sense “rider input” from the motorcycle immediately creating interaction with the bike that leads to faster learning of the skills required to ride a motorcycle proficiently.

The SuperLow has an overall lower appearance and Genevieve appears to be sitting “into” the bike.

Knowing a bike with the name SuperLow would attract the fastest growing demographic of new riders, women, Harley-Davidson called me to be the first online journalist to spend an entire day by myself with the SuperLow exclusively putting on 150 miles riding the canyons, freeways and coastal roads of Southern California.

Lets start with seat height, a spec so important to women riders as they like to be able to reach the ground for maximum control of the bike. The SuperLow is 25.5 inches, which is the actually .2 inches higher than the 2010 883 Lows 25.3-inch seat height. But like I said, the bike feels lower so lets not mince fractions of inches here. The SuperLow is 20 pounds lighter than the Low weighing a manageable 563 pounds.

Genevieve demonstrates how the 25.5-inch seat height on the Sportster SuperLow fits with her 30-inch inseam and 5-foot 6.5-inch frame. At her height she has a lot of leg room left, so women much shorter should be able to stand flat footed.

Many women say they feel Sportsters are top heavy. That feeling is eliminated thanks to a new bucket shape seat that cradles the riders butt so she feels like shes sitting “into” the bike. In addition, the handlebars and front-end geometry render the front end more solid with a much better fit to the bike giving the rider a feeling of being more in control overall therefore less likely to drop the bike.

The SuperLows bucket seat provides good lumbar support and the narrow nose lets short riders reach the ground by scooting forward.

Amazing how subtle changes affect ergonomics. Check out the comparison photos of the handlebars on the SuperLow (left) and the 883 Low (right). The SuperLows bars are similar to the Lows but the bend is slightly flatter and wider rendering a more rider friendly reach. To me, they feel like they are in just the right place for a variety of sized riders to feel comfortable.

The new “Easy Grip” handlebars on the SuperLow.

As you can also see in the SuperLow photo above on the left, the bike has the larger 4.5-gallon Sportster fuel tank—same one as on the 1200 Low—rather than the peanut style 3.3 gallon on the 883 Low. Harley-Davidson specs say the SuperLow averages 60 mpg on the highway and 45 mpg in the city. When my trip meter indicated 100 miles I started get antsy to find a gas station. Then I reminded myself that the SuperLow has a generous fuel capacity and that I could probably go at least 150 miles before the low fuel light illuminates on the control gauge. Limited time did not allow me to run the fuel to that point.

This shot shows the ergonomic triangle really well—the riders three points of contact with the bike—the reach to the bars relative to the seat, and foot placement relative to the seat.

The most noticeable and pleasing qualities of the SuperLow come when you ride it as the new front end specs create a completely different Sportster feel, a more linear ride as the marketing notes indicate; thats really the best word to describe it. A significant increase in trail on the front end of the SuperLow, now measuring 5.7 inches, means the bike tracks better, rolling forward more precisely. For comparison, trail on the 883 Low is 4.6 inches, and on the 1200 Low its 4.7 inches. Trail is the horizontal distance from where the tire contacts the ground to the where the angle of the steering axis intersects the ground.

The bike feels securely planted to the pavement as I cruise down the road. This is due in part to new Michelin Scorcher 11 radial tires, a 120/70 on the front and a 150/60 on the rear, designed specifically to enhance the handling of the SuperLow. New wheels were designed for this bike as well, an 18-inch front and 17-inch rear, combined with the new tires contribute to the revamped ride on this Sportster.

The specially designed SuperLow tread pattern includes a cutout of the Harley-Davidson bar and shield logo cosmetically adorning the edge of the tires.
The Split 5-Spoke wheel design is unique to the SuperLow model…for now.
Another factor contributing to the improved ride is the increase in suspension travel. I was riding on the freeway at 70 mph in the HOV lane when a sign indicated a steel plate ahead. The HOV lane broke from regular traffic going up a ramp preventing me from seeing the pavement ahead to anticipate this bump in the road. Sure enough there it was in front of me, too close for me to react and brake. I brace myself as I ride over this “plate” at 70 mph, which was actually a large flattened speed bump. Boomp! The generous 4.26 inches of travel in the Showa front forks and the 2.12 inches of travel in the rear coil spring shocks gobble up that bump without jarring me out of the saddle as I was expecting.

Pre-load on the rear shocks is adjustable. Have a trained technician adjust them if needed.

All this firm and precise handling gives me confidence to lean the SuperLow over in the corners more than I normally do breaking through my comfort zone. Im quickly deterred on the lean on more than one occasion when the little metal tab sticking out from the foldable footpegs comes in contact with the pavement sooner than I expect. Sure I could lean and let the tab scrape and do its job, but like a lot of riders, that split second contact startles me for the moment. While the tab is there to protect the footpeg and help it fold when it touches the pavement, to me the tab touchesway too soon limiting my lean angle.

Metal tabs attached to the end of the footpegs are about 1 inch long.

Other than on those really tight corners where I scrape the peg tab, the sweepers are where the SuperLow shines. I enjoy pushing on the handgrips as I countersteer the bars sweeping gracefully through the soft S turns. This way and that way and this way and that. The smooth “go right where you point” handling is due to the aforementioned new front end geometry, wheel and tire design, and suspension tuning—development that comes out of lessons learned when engineers created the racy flat-track inspired XR1200X Sportster. While the bikes have two completely different missions, the goal of finding just the right balance of these specifications is the same making the SuperLows ride noticeably better over existing Sportsters.

The SuperLow has some of the same components as its Sportster cousins including the chrome, staggered shorty exhaust pipes with dual mufflers, the silver powder-coated engine with polished covers, and chrome oval shaped air cleaner cover.
Same gauge found on other Sportsters featuring two trip meters, clock, low fuel light, and engine diagnostics readout.
The 883cc V-Twin Evolution fuel injected engine and 5-speed transmission on the SuperLow are the same that powers existing 883 Sportsters.

Since I ride 6 speed motorcycles most of the time these days including my own touring bike, the Street Glide, while cruising on the SuperLow between 70 and 70mph I keep pushing up on the shifter with my toe to doublecheck I was in top gear. Indeed I was in top gear, 5th. Im used to Harleys 6th gear Cruise Drive that lowers rpms when cruising at higher speeds.

That said, having not ridden an 883 in awhile I was pleased with the power this middleweight possesses coming off the line as my riding buddy and I race through the gears in an effort to dart back to our starting point to return the bike on time. It also handles smoothly at cruising speeds. I never feel the bike lag or become underpowered.

I keep envisioning myself touring on the SuperLow. Yes, I’d need a windshield; yes, I’d need forward mounted pegs to stretch my legs; yes, I’d need saddlebags and yes…well, that’s about it. Got the bigger fuel tank to accommodate longer distances between fuel-ups. Got a comfy seat. I’d just keep my speed around 70 mph as over 70 I feel engine vibration transfer to the footpegs and mirrors. I did not feel it in the handgrips. Over 70 the images in the mirrors resemble a blurry photo. I can make out how far the car is behind me in the next lane, just can’t decipher what type of car it us, say an SUV or a truck. When my speed backs down to 70, the blurriness disappears.

To mitigate the buzzing in my feet, I rest my thick rubber soles on the pegs instead of placing the peg in the recessed part of the sole where the sole is thinnest. This is a rubber-mounted engine, but the “smaller” middleweight size and coordinating XL chassis have their limits.

The clutch pull is the same as the other Sportsters; minimal effort is needed to pull it in.
The reach to the brake and clutch levers is also the same, fine for average sized hands.
I had a choice of colors for my test ride and I chose this two-tone off-white and orange, Birch White/Sedona Orange is the official name. Matches my Harley mesh jacket. If I were in the market for a Sportster this would be it. I don’t care that it’s the smaller engine Sportster, the 883 versus the 1200. The comfortable seating position and incredible improvement in handling characteristics make this a downright fun bike to ride, and for beginners, an easy motorcycle on which to learn to ride and become a skilled rider.
Specs At A Glance: 2011 Harley-Davidson Sportster 883L SuperLow
Displacement: 883cc
Seat Height: 25.5 inches
Weight: 563 pounds in running order
Colors: Vivid Black; Cool Blue Pearl; Merlot Sunglo/Vivid Black; Birch White/Sedona Orange
Price: starts at $7,999 for black
Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
WRN Recommendation:
The SuperLow changes everything you ever thought about the Sportster 883 as an entry-level motorcycle. No more top heaviness that lends itself to the dropsies. The overall low feeling and easy maneuverability of the SuperLow give new riders a greater chance at success in feeling confident on a Sportster. This is one Sportster you may not want to trade in.    

75 thoughts on EXCLUSIVE MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: New 2011 Sportster 883L SuperLow

  1. Thank you for the great the article. I am under 5 feet tall and bought a 2011 SuperLow for my first bike. I am having difficulty taking off as it is pretty torquey at the start. Also I need to reduce my stretch on the foot controls. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated on how to reduce take off torque and leg stretch.

    1. Hi Tracy,Reducing the stretch on mid controls is tricky. You may need to search for an aftermarket peg or mini floorboard that brings it back an inch or so.As for the take-off torque, you can control your takeoff by mastering the friction zone. Remember, you are controlling how fast the bike takes off by how quickly and how much you release the clutch lever. This simply takes practice.If you are struggling with this and don’t feel safe, I highly recommend a smaller cc motorcycling to learn on. The 883 is a pretty big engine that can easily get away from an inexperienced rider. It’s best to start small and master your skills before moving up to a more powerful bike like a Sportster.Wishing you the best!

  2. Before I bought the 2017 883L SuperLow, I had a 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 636R. Though the Harley is a lot better to ride than the Ninja, I don’t have the need for speed from the Ninja. Riding the Harley is unmistakably speedy too, and I feel a lot safer riding the Harley fast on back roads. And it is fun too! Mostly it is awesome for mountain cruises—5 stars for that! It’s not big or heavy, it glides as you do. The 883 is the choice for all categories, male or female. It is not a “girl ‘s bike!”

  3. I am a new rider and have been looking for the perfect bike for a few years. I am 5 feet 1 inches so I thought about bigger bikes. I have to say when I saw the SuperLow I didn’t realize it was even a Sportster. I thought with the tank and the wider forks it was a bigger bike. Didn’t have that Sportster look. It is so comfortable. Being tall I had to put forward controls on it and move handlebars up but now she’s perfect. Couldn’t be happier with my 2012 SuperLow! Love, love love!

  4. The handlebars are too high. It forces my arms to bend at the elbow and at the wrist. This limits my riding to a couple of hours before fatigue. It also reduces confidence when making quicker turns and creates a large pocket of air at the torso when running on the highway. The HD catalog or site doesn’t provide options in handlebars for this model. I think this SuperLow may be the redheaded stepchild of Harley or Davidson.

  5. My wife (5’2″) bought a 2011 Harley SuperLow Sportster. We just looked at the new Fat Boy Lo and the Slim. These bikes are supposed to be lower, but she is so short that her legs cannot touch the kickstand. My question is, is there any other seat that will bring her closer to the controls and place her lower to the ground? We have been looking at the Mustang seat with the backrest. Would that help her any?

    1. Hi, Kent—This is a common problem for shorter-than-average female (and some male) riders. Luckily there are plenty of aftermarket options to remedy it! To name just a few, the “Heels Down” seat from Saddlemen, which works for Sportsters, moves the rider lower and forward. Harley-Davidson offers a Reduced Reach Forward Control Conversion Kit that repositions the forward-mounted footpegs and foot controls up and back by two inches, while the company’s Reduced Reach Seat for the Sportster SuperLow moves the rider about half an inch forward. You might also check out this article about the pros and cons of changing out a motorcycle’s shocks in order to lower the seat height. Finally, another great place to ask this question is the WRN Forum, where you might receive advice from other Sportster SuperLow owners. Good luck to you both!

  6. I took a 2012 for a spin just around the dealer parking lot. I immediately saw the difference…but it was my understanding that there are differences between the 2011 and the 2012/13 SuperLow. I had a 2005 883 Low and had a hard time balancing it and backing it up. I am 5 feet and weigh about 110 pounds soaking wet! I really liked the 2012 but are you saying that the first year for the Super Low was 2011? I am still shopping so any info you can provide will help me.

    1. Yes, the SuperLow as introduced as a new model in model year 2011.

  7. This bike is great. Got it in January 2013. I am 205 pounds, 5 feet 6 1/2 inches tall. Fat guy, but good looking. Love to have great food and wine. Forty years old. Got back into riding. I rode back when I was 12 on a 250 Yamaha Virago. First bike for road back when I was 17 to 19. Now at 40 I did not want a big heavy bike and speed was not a big thing. I love the bike and love the way it feels in the turns and sitting at the lights. Not hard to hold up at all. Great job HD! This is a bike I will ride for 50-plus years or so. I do love the Slim. This SuperLow will get me ready for the Slim.

  8. I saw this bike more than a year ago at my local dealership while my husband and I were looking at parts for his Harley. I fell in love. My husband tried to get me to buy it that day but I said no I’m going to wait. I was surfing the Internet one day and saw a picture of 2011 883 SuperLow, orange and white, and again I started thinking about getting it. The next day I was talking about it and my husband called our local dealership and the bike was sold. My heart was broken. The next few weeks I searched and found one in WV online and calle. Got approved to buy and got insurance and went the next morning to get it. Drove more than five hours one way and put her on a trailer and brought her back. I am 5-feet-3 and she fits me like a glove. Thank you Harley-Davidson for making this bike for me.

  9. Hope to own one some day and enjoy long rides.

  10. Most of the comments are written by women. I am a 5-foot 2-inch male, going on 65 years of age and I absolutely love my 2012 Harley-Davidson SuperLow. For my short frame, this bike fits me like a glove. I am an inexperienced rider. The last bike I owned was a Honda 65 back when I was 19 years old. The SuperLow has all the power and acceleration you’ll ever need. The engine has that great Harley rumble to it, and it’s responsive and comfortable for me. It may be the first and last Harley I ever need, unless my wife decides she wants one too!

  11. As some others, I walked into the showroom and my heart stopped when I saw this bike; it was Merlot red with blacked out Vance and Hines exhaust. It is my first motorcycle and I love it. Every time I walk by it in the garage, my eyes linger over its sheer sexiness. I also love how I am sitting in to the bike instead of hovering over the top of it. I would have to add to the pigeon toe effect that another reader commented on… it’s the only thing I will have to change on this bike. Something must be done with the foot pegs because I feel like I’m trying to bow my legs around the tank to position my feet properly on the pegs, ironic since the tank is so narrow comparatively speaking to other bikes. My husband doesn’t understand what I mean so it must be the length of my legs (I’m 5 feet 4 inches and he’s 6 feet 4 inches) that causes this awkwardness. I think I’m going to add blacked out Lindby highway guards to it as well.

  12. What a great article. I found it really easy to understand the technical descriptions and the pictures were great. Thanks for all the good information.

  13. I learned to ride nearly three years ago and once I was off my 250 I bought the 883 SuperLow. I have had my 883 for just over one year now and couldn’t be happier with the bike. It is so comfortable, easy to ride and has been a great intro Harley for me. I’m 5 feet 5 inches and find the height perfect as I can touch the ground easily. Now that I have more confidence riding, I absolutely love the bike and can’t wait to get out on it on the weekends. I even now choose a destination during the week and tell my husband that’s where we are going on the weekend.

  14. Thank you for a really comprehensive review of this machine as I am considering buying my first Harley.

  15. I love my SuperLow. I am 5-foot-3 and this is my first bike. Love, love, love it! Would absolutely recommend it.

  16. Let me start out by saying, I love my 883 SuperLow! I learned to ride in a motorcycle safety course. After that my seat time as a solo rider was far and few between. I rode a Softail without incident, but when it came time for my husband and me to financially invest, we purchased a Sportster 1200C, the intent being that we could, for now, both ride the motorcycle and when we were ready to buy a second one for my husband, the 1200 would be for me. Well, as mentioned in the article, the center of gravity, that feeling of “tipsies,” made me uncomfortable. I am 5 feet 4 inches and at slow speeds just never was able to get that comfort I felt I needed to be a competent rider. When trying to explain how I felt to my husband (who has been riding motorcycles since he could sit up), I just got “the look.” Needless to say I forwarded this article to him because it says it all! So now I have my 883 SuperLow and I absolutely love it! It handles superbly. It is comfortable just the way it is, but of course had to put some Screamin’ Eagle exhaust pipes on it, and as a beginner solo rider I don’t think there is a better motor out there. Go for it ladies, you won’t be disappointed. Great job Harley! Now, if you could only lower the price of your clothing.

  17. Thanks. This review has been very very helpful! I am 5 feet and struggling to find a bike that fits. I am looking at the 833L but now I’ll look at the SuperLow too.

  18. Love my 2011 883 SuperLow. First bike! I love that I can reach the ground, no extra lowering needed. Feel comfortable riding it, and looks great too! Looking forward to riding season again.

  19. Many thanks for the excellent review and comments on this bike. I bought a Rebel 250 six months ago to learn to ride on and have spent the last few weeks trying to decide which grown-up bike I should buy. WRN has been a lot of help. I bought my 883 SuperLow yesterday! Can’t wait to pick it up and start riding.

  20. Just learned to ride this summer. I’ve been looking at this bike since my husband bought a Fat Boy a few months ago. Riding gives me the feeling of such freedom. Wish I could have convinced my husband to do this years and years ago. The more I ride, the more I want to ride.

  21. Thought I loved the SuperLow when I had test ride, but I fell in love with a 2007 XL883L. It just seemed to fit right and I preferred the handling. I’m 5 feet 3 inches and the XL still fits, feet flat on ground. SuperLow is a great first bike for those who have just passed their test. I was used to a 600 Honda Shadow so I had some idea of the size and weight of a Harley, but it just goes to show that you should give everything a good try before you buy. The XL is the bike for me.

  22. I learned to ride in 2010 for the first time every on a Honda Rebel 250cc and put approximately 400 miles on that bike. In May 2011 I purchased this same bike and, at 5 feet 5 inches, I love it. It’s taken a little getting used to the heavier weight (500 pounds vs. 300 pounds) but it wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined. Originally, I thought the foot pegs were going to be a problem because they force your toes inward, toward the bike, but now I don’t even think about them. Thank you for this review. This bike fits me perfectly.

  23. This is my first street motorcycle I’ve ever owned or ridden. I always thought it was for someone else. Call it a mid-life crisis or call it time but I decided that I wanted to do something different and after my son purchased a motorcycle I decided to as well. As soon as I sat on this bike it felt right. Truly being a beginner it has given me the confidence to move forward and enjoy something different and exhilarating. When I ride this bike it makes me feel comfortable and confident. I am 5 feet 6 inches and 135 pounds. I can’t imagine anything more! I’m glad I found a true fit.

  24. I have been riding about five years, starting with an 883 and working my way up to a Softail Deluxe for 2 1/2 years. Although I loved the bike on the road, I always had trouble in parking lots and backing it up. I am 4 feet 11 inches tall. I finally decided safety amd confidence were more important than keeping my ego in tact. So much fun when people would comment on a little lady like me riding such a big bike. Sigh… I was thrilled to find the new SuperLow 883 and purchased it a few days ago. My bruised ego will recover and I will have many happy hours on the new bike!

  25. This is the best and most thorough review of the SuperLow I have read to date. I appreciate the side by side photo comparison of the handlebars.

  26. My husband bought this bike for me last year. We had gone in to the dealership for a part for his bike and saw it on the showroom floor. I got on it and much to our surprise I could touch the floor with both feet. I am 5 feet 2 inches tall. We purchased the bike on the spot. We have since gotten a lower seat and are now getting ready to lower the shocks because I cannot keep both feet flat on the ground. I plan on getting different boots, ones that have a thicker sole. I have enjoyed practicing riding but I know I will enjoy the bike more when I can comfortably place both feet flat and get out on the roads.

  27. I got my license 10 years ago. Haven’t ridden in years because bikes were too top heavy, and big. So I started riding last year with a Honda Rebel 250. I have been looking for about a month now for my next upgrade. Every bike out there looks like a man’s bike, big, black and bulky. That all changed a couple of weeks ago when I spotted the bike pictured above, the Birch White /Sedona Orange 883L. I fell in love the instant I saw it. I bought it last week and picked it up last night. I love everything about this bike. It’s perfect for me, a woman who is 5 feet 5 inches and about 140 pounds. The only flaw is that the footpegs need to be pushed forward about 5 to 6 inches. Seems you cannot walk forward with your feet while creeping in traffic. Costs about $450 to $500 for a kit to be installed. Other than that, I couldn’t be happier with my new bike. Hope everyone else loves it as much as I do. Thanks!

  28. Thank you for this review. My husband rides, and I have wanted to for a real long time. This summer I plan to take the first step and take the rider safety course to get my license. I’ve been holding back for some time because I am weary of the beginner stage. Something everyone obviously has to get through. We all have to start somewhere, after all. I hope to be able to get a bike shortly after taking the course, and this article told me pretty much everything I’ve been looking for. Thanks!

  29. My wife started on the 250 V Star (09). We just put our deposit on this exact bike she is excited and I for her. She can now keep up with my Street Glide. Happy and safe riding to all. Picking it up Friday.

  30. I just purchased one in March and absolutely love it. I had a 2001 Sportster that we tried to make a Hugger, but it was too top heavy. This bike, the SuperLow, has great balance and so easy to handle. Being small (5 feet) I’ve had great difficulty finding a bike that fits. This one does. I love it! Thanks Harley.

  31. I really like it. I am only 5 feet tall and it sounds like I will be looking into getting one. Thanks.

  32. My brother-in-law bought one of these. I sat on it and fell in love. If I didn’t still have payments to make on my Softail, I’d probably go for one. The only thing I don’t like about the bike, though, are the handlebars. My wrists can’t take that position well. I would much prefer the old style bars that pull back a little. The bike is the perfect size to feel comfortable with and sitting into the bike is a huge plus. I had a Sporty 1200 Custom Low. The seat setup killed my back and I had to give it up. I really miss that bike, and this new lower set up feels great!

  33. I am a new rider. I have now purchased the Birch and Sedona SuperLow 883. Love, love, love it! The weather is not cooperating this spring to allow me to get out as much as I want, but my goal is to be ready for my 1,000-mile check by the time we take a bike trip to Wisconsin in June. The bike is easy to handle and my confidence level rises every time I ride. I will be using this bike to travel to work (40 miles each way) this summer. I am hoping that the gas mileage is as good as what is stated. I also have fairly small feet, like some of the previous reviewers, and found myself resting my feet on the metal part of the pegs, but I am getting used to relaxing a little more and using the whole peg. So far it appears to be the exact bike for me and I am having a blast being on my own as opposed to being two up on my husband’s Fat Boy.

  34. I have a 2009 883L and the hardest thing to deal with is the smaller gas tank. Wish that I had the bigger one now. Love the bike. I do wish that the foot pedals were just a bit farther forward as I smack my shins on them when I go to put my feet on the ground when I stop.This review was awesome. Thank you for taking the time.

  35. Taking the Riders Edge course in June. This is the bike I want, in blue. Love this bike!

  36. This is just my style; has to be black and chrome. Getting one of these babies when I complete my driving motorcycle lessons. Love it.

  37. When I saw this bike in the dealership, I gravitated toward it. I have a 2007 1200 Sporty XLC and I definitely feel like it’s top heavy and high center of gravity. I felt this way with the 2009 883 Sporty as well. I’m considering moving into the Dyna or Softtail model so that I can become one with the bike, but I really like the look of the Sporty. I love the reviews and may take it out for a test ride. Thanks for the input!

  38. I have been thinking about getting a bike. Haven’t ridden in years because I don’t like the way they fit me. This looks like the perfect bike. The article gave me all the stats I need to make a good decision. Thanks for doing all the leg work for me.

  39. I started to ride at the age of 48. First time on a bike ever. I started out on the 2007 Sportster 883 Low. I did drop the bike a few times and hated how top heavy the bike felt and looked. I then went to a 500cc Buell Blast and rode that for a summer and did much better. It gave me the confidence I needed. I then rode my 07 and had no problems. There were a few things I really wanted to change about my 07. A bigger gas tank. I was not fond of the peanut gas tank look and a smaller front wheel. When I saw the new 2011 883 SuperLow, I knew it was for me. I test rode one the week it came out and had it in my garage in two weeks. Had to wait for a black one to be delivered. I love how it handles. I love how it looks. I love riding it. I don’t care that it doesn’t have much lean. I have nothing to prove. I’m now 51 and ride my bike with great joy, along side my husband of 29 years. Thank you Harley, for 2011 SuperLow. It is just what I wanted.Linda

  40. I got this exact bike for Christmas. I had looked at the 2010 883L and it didn’t feel “perfect.” When this model came out, I went to the dealer to try it and it was a better, more comfortable fit (I’m 5-feet-6). I bickered with my husband about purchasing and he kept giving me a hard time. Turns out he bought the bike and had it delivered Christmas day for me by Santa. Awesome! My only complaint is that I have small feet and reaching the brake and clutch are hard because the pedals are so wide. I usually ride with my feet on the metal part instead of the rubber. Other than this, I love this bike!

  41. I went out and bought this bike January 2 before ever reading anything about it. With the winter weather slowing down my riding time I have only been out a few time so far. Now that I have read the review I highly agree that I chose the right bike for me. I do feel a part of the bike and not sitting on a perch like a bicycle.The reach on the brakes amd clutch are a little wide but I am getting used to it with my small hands. Love the wider tires and forks. The color — perfect for me. Merlot. They knew the ladies would like that. I work in the wine industry, so it called to me. I agree that the redesign will make ladies keep this bike a bit longer than its predecessors. I will be excited to get out on the road when the temps go up and the rain stops.

  42. Loved the article. I’m a new rider, looking for a bike, and it was nice for me to find this article, I have ridden on the the back for so long. I don’t know what I was waiting for, but my only concern is that I am a new rider so do I just go out there and buy a new bike? I get all different answers from fellow bikers, but I guess I need to go check this one out, and take it from there. Don’t want to waste any more time sitting on back of someone else’s bike.

    1. Check our Beginner’s guide link on the left margin of WRN as well as our Reader’s Stories section on advice on what to do for your first bike. When you say you’re a new rider, I assume you’ve taken the MSF class. Best thing to do is buy a used 250cc motorcycle to practice on Click here for a list of beginner bikes to consider. Stick with that for a few months until you’re ready to trade up to the Sportster.

  43. I booked this bike. Dealer promised to deliver this machine by March. Thanks everyone for comments. Joining soon for the great experience.

  44. I already have an 883c and customized but unfortunately I must sell as I am emigrating to Colombia in 16 months time. The SuperLow is what I want and I will be eager to acquire it thanks to your convincing and much detailed article about the bike. There is no better adviser than a lady.

  45. Test rode a SuperLow and loved it. Have been out of bikes for about eight years and have now found the bike for me with the SuperLow. The bike rides great and fits just right. No problems with footpegs. Just a great bike, great lines and great sound. Love it. I am going to buy one in March 11.

  46. Thanks for the great review! Went to the local dealer straight away, saw a beautiful, brand-new black Sportster SuperLow, fell in love and signed the sale contract then and there. They had a 2010 Nightster 1200 for the same price, but as Genevieve says, one sits into the SuperLow instead of on top and therefore is so much more comfortable. I need the confidence after being used to the super light BMW 650 xCountry, with an over-average seat height (34 1/2 inches), an advantage in horrendously busy city traffic, when you can look over most car roofs to detect hazards ahead much better. I guess I’m in for a big change. I hope I made the right decision.

  47. I am a new rider and I purchased this scooter. I have been working on my riding and have not been out on the road yet (parking lots and side streets). I love it! Pretty easy to handle rides great. This bike gives me great confidence and it’s a Harley! Looks like a mini bike next to my husband’s bagger, but it is really a great experience.

  48. I test drove the new SuperLow and I really liked it. I too, also had a problem with the footpegs and having to toe in. The dealer said if I had them changed to “male pegs” that would make it better. The SuperLow is about 58 pounds heavier than my Honda Shadow 700 that I ride, but it feels so much less due to the lower center of gravity. A great ride!

  49. I’m a new rider and have been shopping for a bike for a few months. Many of my friends who ride warned me not to get a Sportster. I never like the look of them anyway. I’ve thrown a leg over them many times. I was in the Harley store a few days ago and this bike in the white/orange caught my eye. It was a beauty and I did not initially even recognize it as a Sportster. I’ll ride my Virago 250 for now, but I’m sure the 2011 SuperLow will be my next bike unless they work out the kinks in 2012. I’m glad H-D has been listening to women. This is clearly a better choice than the older models and wouldn’t this one look great with a brown leather saddle?

  50. One warning I would like you to note is the position of the shift peg and to some degree, rear brake pad with regard to the footpegs. These footpegs are of a different design than past 883L or current 1200L designs and for those with short foot length, you may not reach unless you plan on riding with your heels on the pegs. Even then, you will be shifting in a pigeon toed fashion, an odd design. I have brought this to the attention of our local dealer after buying one for my 5-foot 2-inch wife who is riding with her feet on the mounting supports rather than on the pegs in order to align her feet to the shifter/brake (not healthy for the derby cover BTW). Most folks (I believe) ride the stock pegs with their heel dropped around the back of the peg rather than on top correct? Take a look at the shifter side foot peg to shift lever peg alignment and you can quickly see what I refer to. Just a heads up, otherwise she loves the bike!

  51. Thank you for a great review! One question about the speed of the SuperLow, you mentioned it feels great at 70 mph. What about on a long road trip and having to pass on the highway…how is it for getting up to speed? Is the vibration an issue? I think that would bother me. I am going tomorrow to purchase my first motorcycle. I really want to make the right choice!Thanks, Genevieve.

    1. I found that passing another vehicle is no problem as throttle response is strong and crisp. The 883 powerplant has always had a lot of oomph to it. Vibration starts at speeds over 70 mph, and whether it is an issue depends on each person and his or her personal tolerance to it.

  52. Just purchased one and love the fact that it is very different thanthe standard 883 or 1200. I am 5 feet 10 inches. I have read reviews and shopped first. This was the one for me.

  53. It is about time. I have written Harley-Davidson at least four times in the past five years to design something for short people and they sent the letter back to me saying the don’t special build bikes. I am so happy it finally happened Thank you Harley-Davidson.

  54. This article makes me want to go to my nearest Harley dealer and compare the 883 Low to my 2000 Kawasaki 800. It sounds like I may be wanting to purchase a new Harley, we’ll see!

  55. I just saw the SuperLow at my local dealership this weekend. I am 4-feet-11 and actually sit flat footed on this model. Wish I would have known about this model before July because I just purchased a Sportster 1200 Low on July 5th which I am still not flat footed on. I had a Dyna Low Rider, which my husband had to lower enough to get me to touch the ground but not flat footed. We ride a lot so when I corner on nice curves I was grinding my frame which scared me enough to go down to a Sportster. It’s been almost a month and I have just over 2000 miles on it and loving it. Thanks.

  56. This bike is just like the old regular Sportster 883. As a woman, it offends me that this bike is aimed at “beginners” and women. Yes, I am a woman and yes, I have an Iron 883. However, Sportsters are faster, handle better and are set up for more aggressive riding than Big Twins (which is also why I think it’s dumb when people say they trade up for more power, more cc’s does not equal more power, get on the line with a Sporty and a Big Twin and see who wins that one every time). Harley should offer lower seat heights in all bikes. Sportsters are top heavy because they are supposed to be more aggressive. Women should educate themselves before getting into a Sportster just because that is what Harley all of the sudden thinks they should market them to. Look back when HD first started making Sportsters, marketing all about the power and aggressive handling…nothing about price or short people. It’s sad that HD has now lumped the Sportster into some “sub-par” cheap bike class instead of marketing if for the greatness that it is. So many women are unhappy with the Sportster because it is not the type of bike they wanted to begin with! Why not force the Heritage Softail more…..that seems to be popular among the women. Bottom line, yes I ‘m a woman, but yes, I am offended that this bike is always aimed at women and newbies. If you want to ride on a couch, buy a road couch.

  57. I have thrown my leg over this bike. It is a great bike for my 5-foot 1-inch 28-inch inseam frame. I would need to bring the handlebars forward and put an extension on the kickstand as I cannot reach it. I am on the verge of buying this bike. However, in reading other reviews, the lean clearance is making me pause. Should this be a deal breaker? If Harley-Davidson would offer their buy back incentive for this bike, I would buy it in a heartbeat but if the lean angle is truly an issue, resale value is a concern. Any thoughts?

  58. Just bought my first Harley after riding a different make for many years. I had rented Sportsters, mostly the 1200, and would drop them because of being top heavy. I am 5 feet 7 inch and still like to be really low for I feel in total control and as they say ” riding in the bike not on top.” My purchase was a 2008 883 Low and I must say I totally love it! It is my mini touring bike…windshield, hard bags and I just had forward controls put on. Wish I had know that this new 2011 SuperLow was coming out although I see my next purchase to be a bigger bike. Thank you Genevieve for your review and Harley-Davidson for keeping women in mind!!

  59. I also had an 05 XL883L as my beginner bike and that lasted all of 11 months because of the comfort factor. I rented a Low Rider once and afterward I found I was more comfortable on the Sporty and it felt more like a sportbike. I ended up buying a Low Rider and trading the Sporty, which was sad yet I felt like I needed more range and more power. I have a friend who’s looking to move up into chrome and she was interested in the 1200. I think I’ll steer her in this direction.

  60. Harley-Davidson should lease so when you are ready to move up it would be easier! I need more than just a test ride to decide!

  61. Great review and pictures. Looks like Harley has finally really made a “ladies Spotrster.” Every Sportster I have ever ridden has been top-heavy, including my old 1984 1000cc Roadster. This sounds like the motorcycle many women have been waiting for. Lucky Genevieve for getting to spend a whole day riding one! Thanks for the informative review.

  62. I owned an 05 XL883 for all of 18 months and NEVER felt totally comfortable on it. I definitely had the feeling of sitting “on top” of the bike and that top heavy sensation was a bit unnerving at times. If I had been lucky enough to have had this Sportster when I first started riding, I doubt I would have sold it and traded up quite as quickly! I am sure this motorcycle will be a big seller, especially with women riders. Way to go Harley-Davidson and congratulations on a very well done review Genevieve!

  63. As the former owner of a 2003 883L the top heaviness became an issue as I am only 5 feet 1 inch tall. Even after taking a chunk of cushion out of the stock seat and trying to lower seat height even more, the ride on the 883L was difficult on long trips due to little or nil shock absorbing in the suspension. Two other issues was the hard clutch pull (I had a clutch assist installed to make it easier) and the engine heat on my right leg/thigh (OK in fall and spring but a real drag in heat of summer). Glad to hear that Harley-Davidson is addressing the issue of an ergonomically correct V-twin Sportster for women. I will be seeking out this new SuperLow at my nearest Harley dealership.

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