I’ve always been a fan of the Harley Davidson Iron 883, mainly for its looks and affordability. My only concern with owning one of these Harleys has always been the power or lack thereof. Let's be honest, the 883cc motor will only do so much. To fill the gap left by the 883, Harley has introduced the Iron 1200; a reasonably priced motorcycle with a larger displacement and therefore more bang for your buck.


Street cred and a bit of badass


What sets the two motorcycles apart, besides the larger capacity Evolution 1200cc engine on the bigger Iron, is aesthetics. The Iron 1200 comes with mini ape bars, which grabbed my attention; they give the cruiser some street cred and a bit of badass, which are two things I always look for in a bike. I wasn’t too excited about the foot controls on the new 1200; being as a tall as I am, the foot controls are positioned in a way that makes them come into direct contact with my shins, leaving them battered and bruised. Personal issues aside, the close pegs take away every ounce of badass gained by the handlebars. A more relaxed foot forward position would have done the Iron 1200 more justice.


While we’re on looks, I found the Iron 1200 a little on the boney side of things. Those who know me well will tell you that I like some meat on my cruiser, as do most men, but the Iron let me down with its slim frame. Of course, body shaming is frowned upon these days, so I had to keep my observations to myself since this was only the beginning of our relationship.


I almost felt like less of a man, overwhelmed by all the vibrating and shaking.


Riding the Iron for the first time, I was taken aback by the way she vibrated. I had heard stories of Harleys being predisposed to this but I was never ready. I almost felt like less of a man, overwhelmed by all the vibrating and shaking. It took spending more time with the Iron between my legs to get comfortable with this. It isn’t an engineering flaw that these bikes vibrate the way they do; it’s actually in their DNA because they’re intentionally made this way, some folks prefer it that way and some don't—but each to their own.


The new Iron may carry a bigger motor but you really need to stoke it to get the most out of it, at which point you will see just how gluttonous it is when it comes to fuel consumption—you’ll find yourself visiting more tanks than you bargained for. With the added thrust, I found that the1200 struggled to shave off speed after giving it a fistful—the front brake just felt feeble when put to the task.


A complete shut down of all systems


Things were going considerably well between us, and just when I thought we were making some real headway in our relationship, the Iron tried to kill me. What a way to end things. I was on the highway, cruising in 5th , when I made the prompt decision to switch lanes because the car ahead of me was slowing down. Taking a quick glance at the mirror, I dived in! The vehicle in the lane I was dashing into was approaching fast, but I knew I would make it and outgun it. For a few seconds, things went as I had predicted until the Iron went dead on me—I mean a complete shut down of all systems, with Mr Speedy coming at me fast from behind. Fortunately for me, the driver in that car was alert and managed to quickly switch lanes and avoid mowing me down.


After coasting across three lanes, while being dodged by other fast approaching vehicles from behind, I managed to bring the bike to a stop in the yellow lane. This was not the way that I expected my experience to end. I managed to get her running again and nervously limped to the Harley Davidson dealership, on Rivonia Road, to return her home before any further attempts on my life. 

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