View Full Version : Difference between XL and XLH models?

3rd December 2006, 18:32
What's the difference between an XL883C and a XLH883C Sportster? I asked the parts department guy at the local H-D dealer and he didn't know either. My title doesn't say, just has the VIN, etc. on it. How can one tell which they have? Or is something to do with what year the bike was manufactured? Just curious, ride safe everyone!

3rd December 2006, 18:33
They are the same if you are referring to a 2002 model.

3rd December 2006, 18:41
Yep, I have a 2002 model. So, what's the letters stand for? XL and XLH?

3rd December 2006, 18:51
Just looked in my 2002 service manual.

XLH designates the standard 883 and 1200 model. There is a XLH 883 and a XLH 1200

The manual designates the Customs as XL 883C and XL 1200C

The Hugger is designated the XLH 883 Hugger

The 1200 Sport is XL 1200S

The 883 R is XL 883R

H originally stood for High Performance starting in 1958 but I don't think it stands for that today.

3rd December 2006, 19:14
I was wondering that very same thing just last week, Rascal! Thanks for asking the question for me.

Any idea, Bert, why the 'H' went away?

3rd December 2006, 21:32
Yeah...when you retire, your kids are grown, and the bike's in the garage as an inch of ice on the ground outside....you just sit around reading the great forums here and asking what ya didn't know!

3rd December 2006, 21:33
Thanks for the information, it was helpful and appreciated!

3rd December 2006, 21:46
Any idea, Bert, why the 'H' went away?
Because XLHForum.net and XLHorum.net don't sound as good :wonderlan

Moved On
3rd December 2006, 22:21
H originally stood for High Performance starting in 1958 but I don't think it stands for that today.
I thought that CH was the high performance designation and H was for the more touring models through the '60s.


3rd December 2006, 22:26
H - varied between High performance and Heavy duty. The early FLH for
example produced 5 more HP than the FL and was used primarily for
touring and sidecar applications


Moved On / My Own Choice
4th December 2006, 12:08
Check out the history section on www.sportster.org it's not perfect and doesn't answer the question completely.

But you'll see different uses for XL vs. XLH vs. XLCH over the years.

They were basically trim levels early in the day. CH standing for Competition Hot or California at times.

Ironically it seems that the XLH was a step up from the XL in early years, but IF the standard models were XLH and the customes were XLs in the same year, that obviously ceased to be true at some point.

4th December 2006, 20:16
Mine's an XLH ('03) and seems to be a kinda base model I think. It has the 13.5" rear springs, mid controls, flat style handlebars and very little of anything chrome.

4th December 2006, 20:40
Why do you say it changes in 02? I have an 01 883 XLH or is it now a XLH 883. IS it not the hugger, must it be designated on the tank as such? I never really thought much about it, I just assumed(MY BAD)toTo avoid all this con fusion I think I'll go out n buy an FLHXI,(NO ITS STARTING AGAIN AAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH)