For certain age groups, Harley-Davidson represents the ultimate bike – a high-quality investment that continues to perform trip after trip. Younger demographics that have less brand allegiance have approached Harleys with a tepid attitude. After a few years of slumping sales, the long-time motorcycle brand decided to retool its strategy and announced its plan earlier in July, right in time for the company’s 115th anniversary.
For the first – and perhaps most crucial – part of their progression, Harley-Davidson revealed four new models. While the new bikes will diversify the brand’s lineup, the company’s plan further targets:
- A younger, most cost-conscious demographic
- Customers who would otherwise go for a Ducati or BMW
- Riders who would like a second bike
Covering three types, the new models include four 500-cc to 1,250-cc middleweight platform bikes:
- Pan America 1250: Part of the popular Adventure Touring line, this model is geared toward on-road overland travel and on-off use and is expected to debut in 2020.
- Future Streetfighter: This 975-cc model is strictly a street bike, albeit with an updated design. Like the Pan America, it’s slated for 2020.
- Future Custom: Another 1,250-cc model, this bike blends classic and modern design themes while being relatively compact overall.
- Livewire: Previewed four years ago, this electric bike will be the first to appear, with sales to the public starting in 2019. This concept, considered an advancement in motorcycle design, has already gotten a significant amount of buzz and will see additional electric models launched through 2022. Design wise, this no-clutch, twist-and-drive model will be lighter and smaller, offering more cost-effective operation. Its ease of use is expected to attract a larger swath of potential riders and for more experienced customers, the bike will give a reliably fast yet quiet ride.
By comparison, existing Harley models average around 1,700-cc and weigh about 1,000 lbs.
Long-time customers should not get discouraged; “More Roads to Harley-Davidson” hasn’t forgotten about the brand’s core demographic. Along with the developments listed above, the company plans to improve and advance its Touring and Cruiser models.
Outside the U.S., Harley-Davidson is also targeting expanding markets in India and other parts of Asia with small-displacement models. Going back into its lengthy portfolio, the company will produce a 250-cc to 500-cc bike, specifically for riders in this part of the world.
However, Harley-Davidson isn’t pouring all its resources into new models. As a way to improve the brand for existing customers, the company has been changing its dealership experience, including creating a more unified network for consistent pricing and services between locations. The company also plans to partner with more ecommerce providers to continue expanding its digital presence.
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