Harley-Davidson Announces 4 New Bikes

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.

New Bikes

close-up of leather motorcycle gloveFor 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.

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4th Annual MDA Benefit Ride & Concert

Trantolo & Trantolo, LLC and TSI Harley-Davidson present the 4th Annual MDA Benefit Ride & Concert on Sunday, July 15, 2018. This annual event is back at it’s original venue, Sun Valley Beach Resort in Stafford Springs.

Ride, Rock & Make a Difference for the MDA of Connecticut!

Purchase Tickets

MDA Tickets Tickets are $30 in advance and include the scenic motorcycle ride and admission to the concert. They can be purchased at:

  • The Law Offices of Trantolo & Trantolo
  • Four Seasons By The Lake at Sun Valley
  • TSI Harley-Davidson
  • Yankee Harley-Davidson
  • Sheldon’s Harley-Davidson

Join the Ride

Don’t miss your chance to take part in the largest one-day charity motorcycle ride in Connecticut! The scenic motorcycle journey to Sun Valley is police-escorted and will leave from three satellite locations:

 

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Indian Chieftain Elite vs. Harley-Davidson Street Glide CVO

On March 1st, Indian released their 2018 Chieftain Elite bagger motorcycle. Following its release, some enthusiasts began comparing this motorcycle to Harley-Davidson’s Street Glide CVO. Just how similar are the two touring bikes?

Legendary Motorcycles

Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycles are two of the oldest motorcycle manufacturers in the world. As America’s first motorcycle company and oldest continually running manufacturer respectively, many riders can identify these brands on sight. Longtime enthusiasts know they can expect solid bikes from both Harley-Davidson and Indian, which is why we’re taking a closer look at how these two new models stack up to each other.

Chieftain Elite Specs

Touring bikes have extensive storage for luggage, making them a great asset for longer trips. The Indian Chieftain Elite has many modern features that riders new and old can appreciate, including:

  • Thunderstroke 111 49 V-twin engine
  • 6-speed transmission
  • Surround sound audio
  • Bluetooth® connectivity
  • Customizable touchscreen split display
  • Pathfinder LED lights

Bagger bikes can be very heavy – the Chieftain Elite is 827 pounds without gas in the tank! Also, weight increases when riders add their belongings to the saddlebags. The extra pounds can make this model more challenging to handle, especially for newbies.

In 2013, Indian released their all new Thunderstroke 111 V-twin engine. This high-quality air-cooled engine is 111 cubic inches (1811 cc) and produces 161 Nm of peak torque. Indian was challenged to combine their classic engine features with modern technology, without disappointing their brand-loyal bikers. Still recognizable as an Indian engine, the Thunderstroke 111 has improved power and better piston durability.

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New Triumph Speed Triple Motorcycles

Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. was established in 1983 by English businessman John Bloor. Formally Triumph Engineering from 1902 – 1983, this motorcycle manufacturer has since grown to be the largest in England. Triumph is known for stylish and functional cruisers, supersports and touring motorcycles. Their first bike in the Speed Triple series was unveiled in 1994; the details of two new models have been released in February 2018.

Speeding into Action

riding on a sunny dayThe two new Speed Triple motorcycles are the most powerful and responsive bikes in the series. The manufacturer has updated the engine, handling and technology to accommodate needs of the modern rider.

Stronger Than Before

The Speed Triple will be available in S (standard) and RS models, with 105 new engine parts for a better performance. Riders will experience a faster spin up and engine rev than previous models. Another improvement is the 117 NM torque – an increase of four percent – for a smooth curve across the range. The Speed Triple S has four riding modes: Rain, Road, Sport and Rider-configurable. In addition to these four, the RS model also has a Track mode.

Improved Rider Experience

As new motorcycle models are released each month, advanced technology seems to be a big factor of modern design. The Triumph Speed Triple is no different, boasting a full-color, 5-inch TFT (thin-film-transistor) instrument display with six different screen styles. Riders will be able to change contrast settings and adjust the position too. The RS model also features a keyless ignition, which can activate the engine through a transmitting signal.
 
Choose from jet black and crystal white to fit your personal style. Pricing and further details will be released by Triumph on Monday, February 26th, 2018. What do you think of these new bikes?

Harley-Davidson Recall for Brake Failure

On February 7th, 2018, it was reported that Harley-Davidson is recalling 251,000 motorcycles worldwide for potential brake failure. Of this number, nearly 175,000 belong to riders on U.S. roadways. The cost to Harley-Davidson is $29.4 million dollars. If you own a Harley-Davidson CVO Touring or VSRC motorcycle from 2008 – 2011, read on for further details.

What Caused the Recall?

motorcycle shock absorberAccording to official documents, there is a module within Harley-Davidson’s anti-lock brake system that can cause these models to fail without warning. When the oil is contaminated by moisture, the brake valves and module can corrode, causing a system shutdown. Either the front or back brakes could fail, but there is a chance of both systems malfunctioning.

When Did the Investigation Begin?

Unfortunately, it took three reported crashes and two injuries to spark an investigation into the potential dangers associated with CVO Touring and VSRC bikes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began examining problems with the anti-lock brake system in July 2016, after 43 total complaints were filed against the Milwaukee motorcycle manufacturer.

Harley-Davidson’s Response

The issue is linked to the motorcycle’s brake fluid, which should be replaced every two years by the bike owner.

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Harley-Davidson To Expand “Riding Academy”

Among motorcyclists, it is no secret that Harley-Davidson – one of the most popular and influential brands in the motorcycle industry – has been struggling in recent years. Less people are riding and less people are shopping for bikes. In addition, the perception of Harley-Davidson is that it’s for older generations. As sales continue to drop, the company has made several attempts to get business booming again, while restoring their image for younger generations.

Harley’s most recent solution? Expanding their 17-year-old “Riding Academy”.

What Is Harley Riding Academy?

motorcycle safety training courseIn 2000, Harley-Davidson launched a program of three to four-day motorcycle courses offered at dealerships around the country. Approximately 245 dealerships offer this training, but about 25 percent of them have only been for the past three years. Clyde Fessler, who started the “Riding Academy” program, says it is about “getting people comfortable on a motorcycle and getting them to feel safe and confident.”

Why Younger Generations Don’t Ride

Intimidation is a big reason why more millennials are not riding motorcycles. Yet, there is another factor keeping this generation off two wheels. Many young people – especially recent college graduates – have to put off major purchases due to overwhelming student loan debt and low entry-level salaries.

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New 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Model Unveiled

In 2018, Harley-Davidson will celebrate its 115th year in the motorcycle industry. Ahead of this milestone, the company has rolled out a plan to revamp its image and attract a younger generation of riders. As part of their plan, Harley-Davidson is renovating their Softail lineup of cruiser bikes. In late August, eight new models were announced. On November 7th, news broke of a ninth motorcycle.

What do we know about the Softail Sport Glide?

A City Cruiser with Touring Style

riding motorcycle on a sunny dayThe Sport Glide is being described as a cross between the Sportster – a stripped down cruiser- and the Electra Guide – a bulked up touring motorcycle. Harley-Davidson hopes this new bike will be attractive to up and coming riders who are intimidated by touring models.

Since touring bikes are designed for long trips, they need to fully dressed and have a large frame. Such features can translate to more difficult handling, which is why these bikes can be daunting to many beginners.

The Sport Glide comes with lockable saddle bags, cast aluminum wheels and forward-mounted foot controls. It’s new fairing is designed for ultimate wind resistance, keeping gusts away from the rider’s chest. Sporting a 107-cubic-inch V-twin engine, the Sport Glide bike is powered with the same “Milwaukee Eight” engine of the other 2018 Softail models.

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Triumph Unveils 2018 Bonneville Speedmaster

Triumph Motorcycles, the largest British bike manufacturer, has revealed their 2018 Bonneville Speedmaster. The first model of its kind was produced in 2002. Minimal changes have been made since, aside from minor engine and fuel injection updates.

During Triumph’s 115-year history, the company has provided bikes to the U.S. military, the Hollywood movie industry and everyday riders like us. Known for their modern take on classic motorcycle design, the new Bonneville Speedmaster is a more versatile version of the 2017 Bonneville Bobber.

Let’s take a closer look at the 2018 bike.

Speedmaster vs. Bonneville Bobber

closeup of chrome motorcycle engineTriumph’s latest motorcycle borrows a few features from the Bonneville Bobber. Namely, the frame, suspension and twin-cylinder, six-speed 1200cc High Torque engine. Both bikes have a retro look with modern features, but the Speedmaster has a more casual riding style.

The 2018 model also has separate riding modes for rain and rain, a 5-inch LED headlight and standard cruise control for a safer and more environmentally-friendly ride. However, it’s important to note that LED headlights are not yet regulated in the United States.

Where the two bikes differ most is the smaller front wheel and fixed fender at the rear of the Speedmaster to hold a passenger cushion. The newer bike’s seat is only 28 inches high and features a wide handlebar for cruising. Also, the Speedmaster contrasts chrome, aluminum and gold accents with white seat piping versus the Bobber’s darker tones.

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Harley-Davidson Releases 2018 Softail Lineup

A few months ahead of their 115-year anniversary, Harley-Davidson has introduced its largest development project of new motorcycles in company history.

The 2018 Softail lineup of motorcycles was unveiled on August 22, 2017. This particular line of cruisers has not been changed since 1999. A cross between street and sportster bikes, the eight 2018 models have a new fuel-injected V-twin motor and 107 or 114 cubic-inch engines.

Why the New Look for Softail?

riding motorcycle on a sunny day Harley manufacturers surveyed over 3,000 riders across the country to gain their insights on cruiser motorcycles and this new line of versatile, comfortable bikes are the result of that research. The bikes have been completely redesigned with a new steel frame and dual-bending valve front suspension. The chassis weighs about 15 to 20 percent less for a more relaxed ride, depending on the swingarm design of the particular bike. Practically the only thing unchanged about the Softail bikes are their names!

“It was a massive undertaking, a complete redesign from the ground up of our cruiser portfolio,” said Paul James, product portfolio manager.

The Future of Harley-Davidson Bikes

The Milwaukee-based icon in the motorcycle industry hopes this new line of bikes will help reverse the recent decline in sales of cruiser and touring motorcycles. Expect more changes over the next 10 years, as Harley Davidson looks to attract younger generations when baby boomers start to hang up their leather jackets.

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Will Harley-Davidson Make a Bid for Ducati?

Recently, Reuters news agency reported that Harley-Davidson was preparing a potential bid to purchase Ducati in a deal that could be worth up to $1.67 billion. Harley, known for large cruisers, and Ducati, famous for high performance street bikes, would bring together two of the most recognized names in the motorcycle industry.

A source told Reuters that Harley has already hired Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs to begin working on a bid. Tentative bids are expected in July. Others interested in buying Ducati include India-based Bajaj Auto and several buyout funds. Ducati is currently owned by German auto manufacturer Volkswagen.

Potential Benefits for Harley-Davidson

motorcycle wheelAcquiring Ducati would give Harley-Davidson a prestigious brand name known for a celebrated racing pedigree and dominating road racing championships. Harley often sells more bikes in three months than Ducati sells in a year, but as co-founder of Motovid Michael Casey said, “We view Ducati as the Ferrari of sport bikes, race bred and very much a niche market.”

Harley has been very interested in expanding and diversifying its brand. With Ducati under its wing, it would have a strong foothold in a young European market. Previously, Harley acquired motorcycle maker MV Augusta for $109 million in 2008, but the partnership was short lived. Despite the allure of the F4CC, a limited production bike that could reach 195 mph and sold for $120,000, in 2010 Harley paid the previous owners to take the company back.

In 2009, Harley also let go of Buell Motorcycle Company, manufacturers of sport bikes based in East Troy, Wisconsin. The negative impact of the financial recession forced Harley to unload assets that were experiencing declining sales and riders.

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