Clash of the Legends: Unraveling the Rivalry between 1200 and 883 Sportsters

Compare the iconic Harley-Davidson Sportster models, the 1200 and the 883, to discover their differences in engine size, performance, handling, and overall riding experience.
Clash of the Legends: Unraveling the Rivalry between 1200 and 883 Sportsters

Harley-Davidson Sportster: A Tale of Two Engines

The Harley-Davidson Sportster has been a staple of the American motorcycle landscape for over six decades. Introduced in 1957, the Sportster was initially conceived as a smaller, more affordable alternative to Harley's larger touring bikes. Over the years, the Sportster has evolved significantly, but it has always retained its essential character as a lightweight, agile motorcycle with a distinctive V-twin engine.

Today, Harley-Davidson offers two main Sportster models: the 1200 and the 883. Both bikes share the same basic design, but there are some key differences between them.

Engine Displacement

The most obvious difference between the 1200 and the 883 is their engine displacement. The 1200 has a 1202cc engine, while the 883 has an 883cc engine. This difference in displacement translates into a noticeable difference in power and torque. The 1200 produces 73 horsepower and 74 pound-feet of torque, while the 883 produces 50 horsepower and 51 pound-feet of torque.


The difference in power and torque between the 1200 and the 883 results in a noticeable difference in performance. The 1200 is significantly faster than the 883, both in terms of acceleration and top speed. The 1200 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds, while the 883 takes about 6 seconds. The 1200 also has a higher top speed, with a claimed top speed of 120 mph, compared to 100 mph for the 883.


The 1200 and the 883 have very similar handling characteristics. Both bikes are lightweight and agile, with a low center of gravity. However, the 1200 is slightly heavier than the 883, and this can make it feel a bit less nimble. Additionally, the 1200's longer wheelbase makes it slightly less maneuverable in tight spaces.


The 1200 and the 883 offer similar levels of comfort. Both bikes have a relatively upright riding position, and the seat is well-padded. However, the 1200 has a slightly more plush suspension than the 883, which can make it more comfortable on long rides.


The 1200 and the 883 are priced very competitively. The 1200 starts at $8,699, while the 883 starts at $7,499. This makes the 883 a very attractive option for budget-minded riders.


The Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 and 883 are both excellent motorcycles with a lot to offer riders. The 1200 is the more powerful and faster bike, while the 883 is the more affordable and fuel-efficient option. Ultimately, the best Sportster for you depends on your individual needs and preferences.