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Harley Davidson Iron 883 vs Triumph Bonneville T100: Comparison review

Harley Davidson Iron 883 vs Triumph Bonneville T100: Comparison review

Snapshot: Harley Davidson and Triumph Motorcycle are out with there classic reenactments, the Iron 883 and Bonneville T100. Both these fantastic looking machines that are high on style and are open to a world of customization to support individuality. We take them out on a brawl to see what separates them.

Harley Davidson, no matter what model name you bring to the table, has been the definitive ‘go to buy a big bike get one of these’ for past years in India. Tastefully styled and gladly accepted for their popular V-Twin sound, Harleys are a motorcyclist’s dream, but recent years have given all these big power cruisers lots of options. Lighter and more agile, these competitors were able to unhinge but still unable to attract customers who really wanted a Davidson. But can Harley’s lack of significant upgrades against much modern and feature packed rivals still something that Harley enthusiasts persevere? How about pitting it against its greatest opponent, the new Triumph Bonneville T100? We picked up both the 2017 models and put them in the arena to battle.

Design

Just looking at these two standing side by side will definitely split opinions. What do you prefer, simplistic beauty of a British parallel twin or the powerful metal beauty of an American V-Twin. Triumph has preserved the simplistic design of the age-old classic Bonneville that the entire world adores. Take a look at those fake carburettors, T100 has fuel injection, and those retro clocks, they include a lot of digital data, and those polished engine cooling fins, even though there is a liquid cooling system. The design team has magnificently kept classic parameters gelling perfectly well with new T100. Even those two exhausts, right from the header to the muffler is back from history books. Very intriguing, isn’t it!Now turn your attention towards to the brawny Iron 883. Black has been poured all across, the head light, exhaust, engine and alloys generously exuding one strong image. The gauges on the Harley are simplistic with a single analogue speedometer and other information as a single line digital display. So the beauty pageant is a draw here but slightly in favour of the Iron. It’s your pick, the svelte classic Bonneville, or the strong man Iron. The Iron 883 is just the more special looking motorcycle that grabs more eyeballs than the plain sailing Bonne.

Engine and performance

This parameter is absolutely miles apart. When it comes to performing on tarmac, the triumph is clearly the winner with way more grunt and to top is a Traction control system for even more daredevilry under the safety umbrella. It has a 900cc liquid cooled parallel twin engine that makes 54bhp at 5,900rpm that is harnessed by a 5-speed smooth shifting transmission and quickened by ride-by-wire throttle. It has 80Nm peak torque pulling a lighter 213kg (dry) which makes it much quicker and faster than the heavy Iron. Its opponent here has a calm 883cc air-cooled Evolution series V-Twin that is as genuine as it gets in a Harley Davidson. It is not behind on paper, with 70Nm of peak torque at 3,500rpm, but 247kg (dry) pulls it back thanks to its visual bits. Straight up ride these side by side and you will suggest Triumph wins by a country mile here, but there is a catch. There are two kinds of rider groups for these two machines. Take note, the Triumph will do quick, smooth and fast, the Iron on the other hand will do easy, effortless and fast. Triumph’s quick responses from the engine mean on-off throttle responses give a sense of urgency. Iron 883 is extremely creamy just as you leave the clutch making it ideal for cruising around town and showing off your 50 grand hot rod paint job. But if you want the one with power and arm snapping acceleration, the Bonneville whips the Iron 883 to the ground.

Ride and handling

As the engine states performance for one and ease of use for the other, ride and handling are defined by confusing variables. Saddle on the Iron 883 and where you expect a softer ride, you notice your teeth shattering on uneven patches. And when you expected that the Bonne will be harsher because of its superior performance, its ride is much more plush and forgiving. Iron 883 is part of the Sportster series and hence for Americans sport means ‘no suspension makes sporty’. Nope, it does not. And when you know you have to pose around on your tastefully crafted V-Twin Harley with custom made bits, stiff ride is a no go. Bonne on the other hand deals with both smooth fast corners and uneven back roads with much ease. It is a mix of soft and hard suspension setup to tackle most road surfaces and owners will be happy to take it out for long journeys with more confidence. Even being a pillion is rewarding on the Triumph, especially when you know it has more safety aids. Harley is an extremely cool looking motorcycle and riding that off-beat V-Twin must have been softer to match the entire appeal of this gorgeous machine.

Verdict

This brawl comes down to a split opinion. Harley lovers will still be pulled towards the Iron 883 because of its drop dead looks and that iconic V-Twin rumble. It looks nicer and has enough grunt to keep you trundling around town on weekends. If Harley softens that harsh ride, it will become very difficult for you to decide between the two of these classic re-enactments. But the exciting performance, loads of features and a plush ride stands the Bonneville T100 as the marginal winner. It is cheaper than the Iron and will pull quicker in 3rd gear than the Harley in 2nd, just take a test ride to experience it yourself. If you want looks and drama, Harley holds its torch high, but for everything else the Triumph just trumps it easy.

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