Specifications for the Harley Davidson Sportster XL 883 Custom

Updated April 17, 2017

A narrow frame, affordable price tag compared to other Harley models, and classic design made the Sportster XL 883 Custom a long-standing option for those interested in the mid-sized cruiser motorcycle market. As of 2010, the 2009 XL 883 Custom marked the most recent motorcycle of this exact model. Capable in a city setting and nimble on curvy roads, the XL 883 Custom produces high torque and power for spirited riders.


The Harley Davidson Sportster is the longest continually produced motorcycle in the illustrious brand's history. In 1957, the first Sportster XL rode onto American streets. In 2010, the Sportster remained a staple in the Harley line up but the company did not decide to bring the XL 883 Custom model back after 2009.

Engine & Transmission

Powered by an 883cc, air-cooled, four-stroke Harley Evolution engine, the 2009 XL 883 Custom produced 55 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500rpm and had a top speed around 110mph. The Evolution motor had a bore x stroke of 3 inches x 3.81 inches, 8.9:1 compression ratio and a displacement of 53.86 cubic inches. A belt driven transmission delivered power to the 5-speed gearbox. Engine waste exited through chrome staggered shorty exhaust pipes with dual mufflers, which created a deep Harley sound. Fuel reached the engine through an electronic sequential port fuel injection system.

Technical Specifications

Without gas, the XL 883 Custom weighed 256kg. but when the 4.5-gallon fuel tank was full, the cruiser motorcycle pushed 268kg. The narrow frame was 90.3 inches long, had a ground clearance of 4.40 inches and wheelbase of 59.8 inches. Harley Davidson stated the seat sat 26.5 inches off the ground with a 81.6kg. rider on top and rose to 28 inches without a rider. Maximum oil capacity was 2.8 quarts. Front tire dimensions were MH90-21 and 150/80-16 in the rear. The 2009 MSRP was £5,199 when coloured black and up to £5,618 for a custom colour.

Suspension & Brakes

Harley recalibrated the suspension for 2009 adding low-profile rear shocks. The front and rear suspension upgrades helped create a comfortable ride. Dual-piston brakes slowed the front wheel while a single piston slowed the rear.

Aesthetics & Features

According to Harley Davidson, the 2009 XL 883 Custom got 60mpg on the highway and 45mpg in the city. The front rim made from chrome and laced steel brought classic curb appeal while the newly designed lighter rear rim was made of silver accompanied with slotted disc cast aluminium. A narrow but strong mild steel tubular frame allows the Custom model to cut back and forth on the road with ease compared to larger cruiser motorcycles. Other features included a low-profile front fender, one-piece seat, powder-coated engine, forward foot controls and chrome low-rise handlebars on a pullback riser.

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About the Author

Sean Russell has been a freelance writer since 2007, with experience featuring retailer product on blogs, creating press releases, SEO and publishing to the writing style of hundreds of websites. He graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing and business, and achieved a California Real Estate license. He also enjoys motorcycling.