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Sportster® Buying Guide

Sportster® Buying Guide Articles from Pfaff Harley-Davidson®

Since its introduction in the 1950s, the Harley-Davidson® Sportster® has been one of the most iconic Harley® bikes on the market. It’s the perfect sportbike for those looking for lots of style, power, and smooth handling. Not to mention, these bikes are built with a sturdy frame and a hefty braking system so you have better handling and more control. So how do you know if the Sportster® is right for you? It may be difficult to narrow down your options from among all the great Harley-Davidson® models.

While we’d be happy to have you join the Harley-Davidson® community on any of these bikes, let’s focus on the Sportster®. As a classic H-D® motorcycle family, you’d be part of a long and rich history of innovation.

Take a moment to learn for yourself what makes these models so special and when you’re ready to see the latest models up close and in person, stop by Pfaff Harley-Davidson® in Richmond Hill, Ontario. We proudly serve the areas of Vaughan, Markham, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, and Peterborough, Ontario.

History of the Sportster® Family

1957: the year of the Sportster®. It was in this year the first Sportster® model was introduced by Harley-Davidson®, featuring the Ironhead overhead-valve engine with twin-spring rear suspension. It was designed to attract younger audiences with a more powerful engine and faster acceleration so these new riders could enjoy a sportier bike better suited for speed. Over the years, the Sportster® received periodic upgrades to improve the high-performance standard: the engine has received a few upgrades, constantly increasing power and efficiency, from the initial 900cc Ironhead to today’s 1200cc Evolution® engine.

By the time the early 90s rolled around the Sportster® models received a transmission upgrade from four to five speeds and the new millennium saw a multitude of internal and external upgrades to start off 2000 the right way. Some of the most recent upgrades include a more sophisticated and edgier design for today’s modern riders, as well as a wider variety of Sportsters® to fit a number of riding needs. And all this time, the Sportster® community grew and grew. More and more riding enthusiasts became fans of the Sportster® for its power, versatility, and style. This enthusiasm has been passed down from generation to generation, making the Sportster® family one of the most beloved and sought after motorcycle lineups from the Harley-Davidson® factory.

Sportster® Models

Today’s Sportster lineup consists of five different models: the Superlow, the Iron 883, the 1200 Custom, the Forty-Eight®, and the Roadster™. At one end of the spectrum, you have the Superlow, built for flawless performance and handling in the narrow city streets. The lower set frame may be a little difficult to get used to at first if you’ve never ridden a bike like this before, but it ultimately provides better balance and a lower center of gravity to keep you grounded and more confident. The 883cc air-cooled Evolution® engine gives you the power you’ll need and the comfortable cockpit and emulsion rear shock with screw adjuster will give you the easy riding experience you’ll want.

On the other end, you might be more interested in the Roadster® if you’re more about muscle and power. The Roadster® cranks up the engine power with the 1200cc air-cooled Evolution® engine while still giving you total control with 43mm front suspension, inverted forks, and dual disc front brakes with floating rotors. Not to mention it provides head-turning style with slammed handlebars and new gauge. If the extremes are too much for you, try out one of the other models for a happy medium.


Still not satisfied with the model you start out with? You’re in luck. Harley-Davidson® is well known for its customization options and one of the benefits of starting with a model from the Sportster® line is that you can pull on decades of parts and improvements. Whether you’re looking for a performance, style, or efficiency upgrade, there’s a part out there waiting for you to use. In fact, the 1200 Custom is specifically designed so you can make all the improvements and adjustments you want. Start off with blacked out parts for an edgier look and let the Harley-Davidson® factory know what custom-style paint job you’d like to see on your ride. From there, talk to your friendly Harley-Davidson® professional about the other improvements you can make to your bike, either before it’s finished or after.

Harley-Davidson® has spent the better part of a century consistently improving the Sportster® lineup and finding new ways to innovate their design. And during that time, the Sportster® family has amassed a number of motorcycle enthusiasts, creating one of the most iconic motorcycle groups to come out of the H-D® factory. Down at Pfaff Harley-Davidson®, we have some of the most recent Sportster® models in our showroom right now, so when you’re ready to see them for yourself, stop by our location in Richmond Hill, Ontario and take a look at our Sportsters® for sale. We welcome all riders from the areas of Vaughan, Markham, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, and Peterborough, Ontario.