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Harley-Davidson Pursues New Horizons with Street 750 and Street 500 Models

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Harley-Davidson announced yesterday the development of new, liquid-cooled “urban” models, the Street 750 and Street 500, each featuring a newly designed Revolution X engine.

An entirely new platform, according to Harley, makes both bikes ideal for tight urban maneuvers, and the promotional material, including the videos we have seen thus far, focus on busy city environs.

The bikes will not actually be in dealers until 2014, and we do not have a lot of details at this point. Here is the press release from Harley, followed by a video promoting the new models. You can also visit this web site set up by Harley.

Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) is continuing its monumental ride, which began with the introduction of Project RUSHMORE in August, by revealing two new Dark Custom™ motorcycles designed for young urban riders around the world.  

The Harley-Davidson Street™ 750 and Street™ 500 motorcycles – the first all-new platform from Harley-Davidson in 13 years – are built for urban environments with all-new liquid-cooled Revolution X™ powertrains, nimble agility and the sound and look that lets everyone know they are genuine Harley-Davidson. 

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“These are the newest motorcycles to join our Dark Custom lineup, which helped make us the number-one selling brand to young adults in the U.S. for the past five years,” said Matt Levatich, President and Chief Operating Officer, Harley-Davidson Motor Company. “Both the Street 750 and Street 500 were designed with thousands of hours of input from young adults in cities around the world. This input guided both the attitude and capabilities of these motorcycles. They are proof that being customer-led continues to be a core driver of our product development process.” 

Urban, Authentic Harley-Davidson

The Street 750 and Street 500 from Harley-Davidson are built for an urban environment. Each motorcycle features the new Revolution X engine, designed to match the demands of stop-and-go traffic with nimble agility, while delivering instant throttle response to escape city gridlock.   

The Revolution X engine will be housed in a new, narrow and lean chassis built for agility, with a super-low seat height, new suspension and broad handlebar sweep that provides confidence and maneuverability when managing tight turns and fast moves. Both signature Dark Custom motorcycles feature a premium, minimalist style that serves as a blank canvas for riders to customize. 

“These new bikes are leaner, yet still have a mean streak – they’re the real deal, made of real steel.” said Mark-Hans Richer, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Harley-Davidson Motor Company. “They’re designed to handle the abuses of urban environments and provide authentic opportunities to customize.” 

The Harley-Davidson Street 750 and Street 500 will be rolling into dealerships in select markets starting in 2014. More information is available at the Harley-Davidson web site.  

Video of the Harley-Davidson Street platform reveal in Milan, including an in-depth walk-through of the motorcycles, details on their design, and a Q&A with Richer will be available at here.

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226 Comments

  1. hey everyone take a step back,,a breather if will….point being..think back on your first experience on a motorcycle,,most of us were on some type of used if not a beater motorcycle,,thinking back those were the days,,the excitment getting home and rushing to get out and go for a ride..now take a moment to reflect this thought,,it really doesn,t matter what manufacturer is building,,its about us,,all of us that have this passion ,, a passion that ones out there don,t ride don.t know..we seek this time out riding ,, a feeling within sometimes we can,t explain..we are a group so passionate about this type of fun..lets just stand back,,look around,,at each other,,we seem to be on the same page,,we all are on the same page,,we love to ride our motorcycles..from me to all you out there,,I salute to you,,lets have fun,,be safe,,help one another,,just enjoying this passion in life,,and more so NO MATTER WHAT WE RIDE….we all appreciate how lucky that someone invited the motorcycle,,now go out and have a ride..

  2. Speedie says:

    Geez, I thought Harley riders were supposed to be tough! Rarely have I seen such melodramatic belly-aching! “It’s the beginning of the end for H-D! It’s the end of an era! It’s the death of an icon!” Nonsense.

    If you don’t like the look of the bike, fine. Don’t get one.

    What Harley-Davidson has done is open its doors to a whole new demographic – people who live and work around cities where larger cruisers, fantastic as the may be, just aren’t practical. They’re welcoming people who might otherwise settle for buying a scooter or a mostly plastic sports bike. From what H-D is telling us this bike is a blank canvas that will be able to be customised just as much as other Harley models. You’re not witnessing the death of freedom, but its expansion!

    Furthermore, H-D also says that this bike can be bored out to 900cc. If it sells well then it’s only a matter of time before Harley starts releasing a stock Street 900. In other words, you’re looking at a bike that should be able to out-perform the Sportster in every way.

    Appearance-wise, the bike isn’t bad, except for that big radiator. Very modern. The second new Harley of the 21st Century. Find a way to shrink that radiator, or hide it like on the VRSC variants, and it’d be downright purdy.

  3. Miguel says:

    These comments are all really just moot.

    If Harley didn’t have a cycle line-up stocked end to end with obsolete, slow, overweight, vibrating, shaky, sluggish bikes then they wouldn’t even have a need to introduce a totally new direction like this.

    MoCo is just a’scared because they’re worried that the future shows them getting pushed out of their own market by the better quality cruisers out there (see: new Indian, Triumph T-Bird and Rocket, Guzzi California).

    Diversify or die. Moco knows this.

    [Now I’m waiting for the blowback from the Poker Run Sons of Anarchy fanatics who have never even been in the same area code as one of those examples, let alone ridden one. Go ahead and entertain us all. Raaaa! lol]

  4. MA1 says:

    BTW, just for those who actualy do research before shooting their mouths off:

    If you google “HD Street 750″ you will find several articles from Indian financial publications. In these you will find that the HD CKD plant in India (Complete KnockDown)has not yet been expanded for Street Production. Construction is underway, and local suppliers are still being set up. But no production line. Initial Street sales will probably be of CKD kits.

    And yet, 500s are even now rolling off the line in Kansas City. Rather interesting. Impossible, according to some.

    I hear alot of this: “Bought my last new HD in 1990. Won’t set foot inside a Dealership, buy all my parts from independents. . .How dare HD do this to me, their core customer!!”

  5. UMF says:

    Wow…..after reading most of these posts/comments just re-enforce why I refuse to ever buy into the Harley culture. The Metric crowd embraces the ride and each other. Not all….but most of the Harley crowd(proven yet again here), are backward thinking neanderthals!!What a bunch of blowhards! It`s just 2 new models of a motorcycle! It means 2 more areas of the market will maybe begin to ride! What the hell is wrong with that and who the hell cares what badge is on the bike! Stop complaining……and Shut Up And Ride!

    • jake says:

      Just 2 new models??? That’s all that these new Indian made, metric looking bikes signify to you? Look deeper. Their very existence are like canaries in a mineshaft or two headed frogs in your local pond. They are a warning sign, a warning that an end of an era is fast approaching.

      When a traditional, tried and true company like Harley turns its back on Americana, in effect telling its old guard and its die hard supporters to not let the door hit them in the butt on their way out, you must know something, something very basic, has changed or disappear from our culture. The America I grew up in, the one I knew and loved, is disappearing, being replaced by one which I don’t know and thus am less fond off. Just as I do not know the 30’s America as portrayed in “Brother Where Art Thou”, the younger generation will not get a chance to know the America I knew, the one which I consider to be the very last generation of the golden age of America. In this sense, I consider myself lucky and fortunate to have grown up at the very tail end of the highest point of America civilization, American confidence, and American pride.

      When Harley in effect unceremoniously kicks its old guard to the curb, telling them that they are no longer welcomed at their dealerships – them being too old to be of much use now and having lost a few too many teeth along the way to be much of a threat – only to be replaced by a new breed of buyers who do not share the same values and don’t care that a Harley is made in India, water cooled, and metric looking so long as it is cheap and reliable, you know that the America we now live in is no longer the America of the 70’s and 80’s.

      So Harley’s move is more than just about 2 bikes. In the past, Harley would not have dared make such a move. More importantly, it’s about the death of a culture, one which I am extremely fond of, and the death of a certain type of person. The world, in my opinion, is a worse place for the loss of such honorable, old fashion, loyal to the end type of people.

      • Speedie says:

        You’re putting far, far too much stock in Harley-Davidson’s connection to America. H-D is a company, a business. It exists to make money. It makes money by building and selling motorcycles. It sells motorcycles by promoting an image. That’s all – an image. And it does that damn well. The ‘Harley spirit’ is a marketing ploy. There’s a reason business students in Europe study Harley-Davidson as a prime example of marketing.

        Harley-Davidson is a manufacturer, not a lifestyle. RIDING is a lifestyle.

        Harley makes some damn fine motorcycles, but the truth is that it lags behind most other manufacturers in most practical senses. Most of its designs are decades old. They’re well made, but mechanically primitive. Other manufacturers are embracing new ideas and new designs.

        The truth is, H-D has been surviving for too long on image alone. They need new blood.

  6. Fat Old Man says:

    Now here is a bike that really “sticks it to the man”, only the man being sticked is the Harley faithful. Cheer up sportster owners! Not only have you risen several notchs in statis in the world of Harleydom but now you too can have a Harley model to look down on and redicule as “not a real Harley” or “a girl bike”. Taking a cue from the sportster line, Harley has decided to make the 500 and 750 the same bike, only the 500 will weigh more, be slower and possibly even get less mpg. And what do you want to bet that in the 6700 to 7500 dollar target price range it will be 7500 dollars base, for the 500cc model? Who is willing to pay well over 8K out the door for a 500cc bike? We shall see.

  7. RJ says:

    Jake is just a blow-hard that likes to hear himself talk. I stopped reading after the first few sentences…..

  8. jake says:

    What is Harleydom?

    Oh, and you’ve been there, as we all have who are old enough to remember when people were damn proud to be American and without a doubt believed that it stood for something…something special. Harleydom is just synonymous with Americana, synonymous with baseball, apple pie, kissing your sweetheart at the fair, and the folktale of Washington being unable to tell a lie.

    The courage to be an individual and stand on one’s own two feet, to readily accept responsibility for one’s own actions and errors, but with this impulse tempered by old fashion, time tested small town conservative values and sensibilities, that in essence is what HD at its very core stands for. To desire to be self-sufficient, to prefer to accept success or failure so long as such win or loss is based on the merits of our own actions and character, rather than on the basis of nepotism, cronyism, or some other short cut or easy way out, such internalized, high minded values are examples of the power Individualism has effect positive change when it is nurtured under the correct conditions.

    So long as the darker, potentially destructive aspects of Individualism are held in check by something such as small town, down to earth values, Individuality produces such courage, a willingness to sacrifice, a desire to be honorable, and a nobility of spirit. But should we lose touch with those values, and the warmth, hospitality, fear of God, and the aw-shucks, down to earth common sense they instilled in us, then Individualism becomes what we see in parts of Chicago or Detroit. When the world becomes too impersonal, as it tends to do in Urban settings, then Individuality turns into more of a negative than a positive. It produces chaos, decay, and people looking out only for themselves, looking to get ahead any way they can.

    In the right environment, Individuality, as represented in the Harley minimalistic, take no prisoners, masculine style and in its stubborn, dogged loyalty to the principle of “Made in America” (at least until now), becomes constructive and potentially blooms with the possibility to produce rare and lofty treasures – genuine nobility of spirit and a sense of increased freedom…yes, FREEDOM, that rarest of all commodities, worth more than its weight in gold. This very nation was founded on the principle of its search and the hope that it could be found and preserved.

    If you think the above is silly and meaningless dribble, then you have ask yourself how otherwise has Harley managed to garner for itself such impossible to believe levels of die hard loyalty and brand identification. I mean, they have a Playboy equivalent mag out for the motorcycles themselves, and the mag, exposing tail pipes instead of tail shots, may just outsell Playboy, believe it or not. If you think it is just about motorcycles, you need to think again.

    From a Harley forum:

    “Does it look like a Harley? NO, it looks like a metric.

    Would I want one? YES, but I’ll remove the HD badge from the tank out of respect for my Dyna.”

    “Must we sacrifice every single shred of American culture on the alter of shareholder profits? And I say that as a committed capitalist.”

    Anyone unfamiliar with what Harley means to so many in the U.S. would be shocked to find such laughable levels of devotion to a mere motorcycle is so widespread. But that’s cause it has always been about more than a mere motorcycle. Those bikes for many, the way they look, the way they sound and feel, and where they are made, are two wheeled, rolling expressions of Americana itself, its most noble and inspiring ideals. They say, as they rumble and roll down the street – on the outside I’m an American bad ass, the sultan of style, but on the inside I’m a big hearted man of principles, a devoted and humble patriot, one among the few who are still attempting to remember and stand up for all the cherished beliefs and values which made this country great not too long ago.

    Most CEO’s would make a deal with the devil and give up their first born child to obtain brand identification and loyalty as expressed in the above posts, but Harley mgmt.? They just look askance at it and, with a shrug of indifference, take it for granted, as if such levels of unwavering support and loyalty are so easy to come by a second time around once it is lost in the first place.

    Maximus: Five thousand of my men are out there in the freezing mud. Three thousand of them are bloodied and cleaved. Two thousand will never leave this place. I will not believe that they fought and died for nothing.

    Marcus Aurelius: And what would you believe?

    Maximus: They fought for you and for Rome.

    Marcus Aurelius: And what is Rome, Maximus?

    Maximus: I’ve seen much of the rest of the world. It is brutal and cruel and dark, Rome is the light.

    Marcus Aurelius: Yet you have never been there. You have not seen what it has become. I am dying, Maximus. When a man sees his end… he wants to know there was some purpose to his life. How will the world speak my name in years to come? Will I be known as the philosopher? The warrior? The tyrant? Or will I be the emperor who gave Rome back her true self? There was once a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish… it was so fragile. And I fear that it will not survive the winter. Maximus, let us whisper now, together you and I.

    A large contingent of their customer base felt toward the MoCo with the same awe and reverence as Marcus Aurelius felt towards the ideal of Rome itself. With the rude slap in the face, and with the bikes being made in India now, do we even have to whisper anymore?

    The representative, the Champion of Americana, the only one still left standing, has turned its back on Americana itself and chose to embrace another, leaving only a cheap excuse in response – the flimsy claim the bikes will be built in the U.S. – as if that’s enough to make up for all the hurt and pain. Not even having the decency to expend the effort to provide us with a decent lie which isn’t so easy to see through. It does not get any worse than that.

    • Dave says:

      Relax Francis, it’s a motorcycle and there’s a lot of different ways that people express and enjoy freedom.

      • mickey says:

        See told ya he was entertaining.

        You know what Harley Davidson really stands for? Selling motorcycles. That’s it. Sum total. They found a schtick that works for them and they use it. If it didn’t work, they’d find some other reason for people to buy their motorcycles. If it was all about America they wouldn’t import forks and shocks and carbs or fi systems, or, electronics, or batteries or plastic parts..everything would be made here, but they don’t. harley parts are made in Mexico and Vietnam, and China and japan and India and a dozen other places around the globe, but as long as they have some Americans bamboozled about it all being about the American worker and it sells their bikes, they will stick with that line of BS.

        • jake says:

          Sure are cynical for a person who was once just a shy, innocent, wide eyed, young country boy. I guess age makes cynics of us all.

          Riding a Harley around is akin to waving the flag. And if you are too sophisticated to identify with flag waving, then the energy or meaning behind the flag waving. A Harley rider is the modern day cowboy. Nothing symbolizes Harley and its signature minimalistic, masculine style better than the American mustang, unbroken, rebelling, running wild and running free.

          In a world which is contemptible and corrupt, the spirit, as embodied in the Harley style, is one of the few who like the wild stallion still remains untamed and unbroken in spite of the lures, demands, and pressures such a world places on it. It’s one of the few still left standing. The Harley spirit asks, “You wonder whether I’m as contemptible and corruptible as you and the rest of your mindless and spineless followers? Hear my thunder and roar as I roll across the highway. Does my thunder and roar answer whether I was born with the same stink as you and the rest of your herd or whether I was born a man apart?”

          The above is what Harley really stands for. In your old age cynicism, you describe mere details, mere side issues, while I describe what Harley is in its essence, in its core, in its most profound self. This “never surrender, never die” Harley attitude described above forms the very essence of what constitutes Harley pride.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            You, sir, are a true victim of H-D’s marketing machine. Hook, line and sinker. Wow. Mickey is right, that schtick works well indeed.

            I tend to liken Harleys more to manatees or beached whales rather than mustangs, but that is beside the point. In fact, I think it is great that you have that kind of passion. I feel the exact same way about motorcycles, but a Harley (all cruisers really – it isn’t strictly a Harley thing) just doesn’t capture that same spirit of freedom and adventure for me. To me, the terms “mindless”, “herd” and “followers” are much more synonymous with H-D riders than any others. While certainly not exclusive to Harleys, those bikes and the culture around them seem more about fashion and conformance than running free to me. Most of your posts regarding these two new bikes only strengthen that opinion for me.

            I am just speaking generally and don’t mean any offense to anyone who rides a Harley. Some of the most serious and dedicated motorcyclist I know ride Harley baggers. Harley has the right formula for a lot of riders, and I am not slamming that. But to look down on other riders based on what they ride is just infantile, and I am glad to see that attitude aging with H-D’s current demographic.

          • jake says:

            Victim? More like I ought to be chosen to head Harley’s marketing machine, since they seem to have lost their way and forgotten who they really are and what they are supposed to stand for, assuming they ever were fully aware of the Harley spirit to begin with. How can someone be a victim when he’s said more, more original, and deeper things about Harley than Harley marketing ever has?

            I’m clearly not regurgitating one-liners I’ve heard on a marketing slogan; I’m stating my original thoughts on this matter, uninfluenced by anything else except for how Harley motorcycles make me feel, how they inspire me. If you doubt me, then tell me where else have you seen something similar to what I specifically wrote about Harley, Harleydom, and the Harley spirit anywhere else, on the web, in print, on a billboard, etc.

            You got it backwards. Harley marketing could learn a thing or two from me, not I from it and its two faced, forked tongue, self-promoting, phoney company line.

          • jake says:

            You and everyone else who oppose my defense of old school Harley keep saying or implying that a motorcycle is just a motorcycle, all are of equal rank, value, and significance, and the more of them and riders on the road – just quantity – the better. I’m here to tell you that not all motorcycles are the same, nor are they all equal. Not even close. And sometimes quality is more important than mere quantity.

            Friedrich Schelling: Architecture is frozen music.

            And what is music but the expression of the spirit, so the Harley style, the reason why it is so popular worldwide and inspires such brand identification and loyalty from so many motorcyclists and non-motorcyclist alike, is also an expression of a spirit, a snap shot of it, of a spirit frozen in time. What spirit exactly? The Harley style expresses not just the spirit of Americana, but that of the motorcyclist himself and his machine in a universal sense, an elemental spirit which all passionate motorcyclists share in common – the rebel, the rugged Individual and his unquenchable anger and unapologetic masculinity, his insistence on standing out from the crowd and cutting his own path in life, the preference for the elemental, the visceral, the unique, the spontaneous, and the genuine over the posh and pampered, the generic, the regular, the overly predictable, and the artificial.

            Sure, Ducati’s capture an element of the spirit of the motorcyclist, as do all bikes in their own way. Sure, how a bike turns, handles, and accelerates, all those things express an aspect of why we motorcyclists love bikes, but nothing, no other bikes, comes anywhere close to capturing the essential, rebellious, freedom loving, spiritual core of all bikers than the Harley style, sound, and feel. No, a Suzuki 250 is not the equal of a Harley big bike and 2 Suzuki 250’s on the road is not the equivalent of 2 Harleys.

            Such sentiments may offend your sense of equality and right and wrong, but I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is. You say you have passion for motorcycles but not Harleys. I say you only have passion for your preferred bikes only because you see the Harley spirit in them. Maybe not in how they look, but in how they handle, accelerate, etc. In those aspects, you see the Harley menacing, rebellious, freedom loving spirit as captured by its style shining through, even if you may not have been fully aware of it.

            In short, what I am saying is that the Harley unapologetic, minimalistic, masculine style is the very expression of passion, of passion for motorcycles and motorcycling, as Schelling puts it, frozen in time. Is there any other good explanation for why some Harleys merely sitting in a parking lot can still draw such a crowd and give so many on lookers such massive hard on’s.

            If you recognize and are aware of this and agree with me, then good for you; if you don’t and disagree with me, then look closer, and closer, and closer, until you do.

    • mac4400 says:

      Jake, I love your sediments but they are rapidly disappearing in this country. Wall Street and the Capitalists have turned the USA into a prymid scheme. I just hope there are more like you in this country.

      • mickey says:

        Sediments? You might want to look that word up. I don’t think that’s the word you meant to use, but I do believe the word was used correctly in this case.

      • jake says:

        Your sentiments might as well be sediments, cause that where they’re headed, right to the bottom of the ocean. Supposedly, the global capitalists have now bribed Captain America to ride and promote these Un-American bikes as if they were American. This is a new low for Hollywood and Harley management.

        Hard for a true die hard to keep rooting for the MoCo while it continues to underhandedly scheme in this despicable way.

  9. Teflon Ted says:

    Gee Jake, It’s always like my mom said, its just fun and games until somebody gets poked in the eye.

  10. Scorpio says:

    Well this certainly got my attention. Since the “entry-level” Sportsters have swelled (like the American waistline) into Dyna-lites, and the Buell Blast met its comical and well-deserved end, I wondered if Harley would ever take another stab at increasing their share down-market, and here it is!

    Many modern manufacturers produce their bikes where labor is cheap, such as Triumph’s plant in Thailand or BMW’s in China, without their owners feeling like they’re on a Thai or Chinese bike. The Brits and Germans certainly place national pride in their famous vehicle marques, but not to the level of H-D’s “Made in the USA” covenant (foreign parts conveniently ignored in this equation).

    The reaction of “The Faithful” is a given; regarding the Street line somewhere under Sportsters and V-Rods. Possibly under Cleveland Cyclewerks, Johnny Pag, and Kikker 5150 too. And the people who buy these bikes will care…not that much.

    The majority will buy them because they’ve always wanted a Harley but could never afford one, or lift one off the sidestand, or maybe because their tiered license won’t let them start on something as “big” as an XL883. I think Triumph needs to lop a cylinder off the Bonnie and stick it in a TU250-sized Tiger Cub to address this market, but I digress. An open-minded minority will buy a new Street if it actually offers a bang-for-buck advantage over any of the many middleweight metric cruisers in the class. With liquid cooling and four-valve heads, not to mention a sub-500# curb weight, it has the potential to do just that! Especially with some help from Screamin’ Eagle and/or the aftermarket, who surely have dollar signs in their eyes by now.

    I am definitely not the target market for this bike. I think it looks cheap despite the best efforts of professional photography, which is not a good sign before ever seeing one in the metal. But for a company looking to expand its market share versus settle for status quo (even when that status quo looks pretty good in the short term), I think this is somewhere between a baby step and a giant leap in the right direction.

  11. Klaus says:

    My first thought was: now HD is copying the Japanese! That bike looks like a Vulcan custom.
    Before I pass any judgement I want to know more tech specs and see how it performs.
    Will it sink or swim?
    If it has power, doesn’t weigh too much, handles well and doesn’t cost much I’d be interested in how it compares to the competiton.
    But if it’s a poorly built porker that performs worse than an 80s Virago 750 with a high sticker price just because it says “Harley” on the tank – no thank you.

    I suspect the latter.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      “But if it’s a poorly built porker that performs worse than an 80s Virago 750 with a high sticker price just because it says “Harley” on the tank – no thank you.”

      Doesn’t that describe an 883 Sportster?

      • Ron Gordon says:

        Except the 883 has a pushrod motor, and some of us love the way that feels. All of the many Viragos, both displacements, I’ve owned out perform my 883, but the feeling of it’s motor and that of both Buells we own adds so much to our riding experience.
        I don’t think the new Harleys will have that going for them.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I don’t think pushrods contribute anything to the “feel” of a motor. How would they? The V-angle, bore:stroke ratio and crank phasing certainly would, as would the general state of tune. I don’t know what these are going to be like, but a four-valve head does imply that perhaps the nature of this engine could be very different from an 883.

          • mickey says:

            I would think the counter balancers might make the Virago motor feel differently than the unbalanced Harley motor

          • Ron Gordon says:

            The Yamaha Road Star pushrod motor has much of rhe feel of the Harley/Buell motors. The Virago motored Star line doesn’t. I don’t know what causes the feel. I only know it adds immensly to my enjoyment of the ride. My 1981 Goldwing motor imparted no good gut feeling, while the few early Triumph triples I have ridden had a pretty good feel, as do most thumpers. You don’t have to like what I like, but what we feel is what we feel. Love the one you ride.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            No criticism at all – I have a Buell myself. Just curious as to how pushrods could affect the feel of an engine is all.

      • jake says:

        Sounds as if they will perform was well or better than comparable general comp. Also, given their stigma – they haven’t even got over here yet but are already the most hated bikes in America – the price will be the same or lower than the comp.

        The death knell for the bikes will be their quality. Supposedly, the KTM bikes are up to par on quality and India is/has become a major motorcycle manufacturing hub. But then, KTM is largely owned by Bajaj which has the clout in India to assure the best possible parts are sent its way, and from the look of the KTM’s, how detailed they are, it’s obvious KTM has had significant input into its production on every level.

        How much clout does Harley have to insure the best parts over in India? How deep does the quality parts pool go in India? I don’t know. Did Harley put as much care and time into the details of this bike as KTM has done? The fork gaitors and huge radiator alone seem to say not as much.

        Any signs of quality issues from the very start and these bikes, due to all the other issues, are officially dead in the water. Harley will have a difficult time resuscitating their image after such an ill timed goof.

  12. mickey says:

    Check this out on youtube

    Street Custom Concepts | Harley-Davidson Street 750 and 500 Motorcycles

  13. raivkka says:

    Hey Jake, PLEASE STOP POSTING.

    Clearly you have some issues with HD that need resolving. Why you feel you NEED to negatively post that much about a motorcycle makes me question your mental stability.

    • mickey says:

      Oh c’mon… Jake has been the most entertaining part of this whole bike report lol

    • SecaKid says:

      If you’re looking for mentally stable people, you came to the wrong place. Mentally stable people don’t ride motorcycles. They drive cars with seat belts and air bags. LOL

    • Al T says:

      I don’t know if he’s unstable, but he sure has a hard on for Harley. He also seems to be all pro on Harley, motorcycles, printing, and being extremely unhappy. Maybe needs a different hobby.

    • jake says:

      Would you rather I post some ordinary, conventional drivel like this:

      “Great bike Harley. Was the bike I was waiting for. Never thought I would buy a Harley but this bike has changed all that. Great bike to tool around with while still being in high style. Also, the bike is small enough for the wife to ride as she is a beginning rider and is intimidated by bigger bikes. She also is giddy about the prospects of joining the HD family.
      Can’t say enough. I think it will be a great seller. Alot of people out there like me. Finally a valid alternative to all the generic, mid-weight Japanese cruisers which are so boring and dull. Kudos Harley.”

      I decided to humor myself and went over to the AI website and try to add a post. I guess even a company line, pro HD spin comment like the above, examples of which we have seen a plethora of on this thread and actually on any thread on the web dealing with these new bikes – yes, it’s plain to see, by the number of generic, one liner, support posts strewn everywhere, that the Harley thought police is out in full force on the web trying to suppress dissent and steer the narrative of abrupt about face and their betrayal of the American Ideal in a favorable light for themselves regarding this bike – is even too negative for gatekeepers on that site, cause they have had me on moderation for the past 5 days and still do as I speak. No wonder they have only 1 comment over there, one which they probably wrote themselves. You should try and go and apply for a job as a future censor over there. It seems as if your idea of what is tolerable and permissible is very much in tune with theirs.

      Look it’s not that I’m mentally unstable; I just don’t have much of a life. Can’t you tell? I’d would hope the clarity, lucidity, and original insight of my posts so far would convince most here of my self-professed mental competence. I am not a loon locked up in a mental ward, posting on MD when I can. I believe my posts so far have added to this thread and that they stand on their own merits. Their existence is merited and deserved. I believe that some on here, maybe not you, appreciate and value the information, as well as the gentle humor, presented in my posts, and are glad Jake exists, has no life so he is free to post, and has a big, opinionated mouth which he is so generous as to share with the rest of the world.

    • jake says:

      Also, if you check again from my many posts, nowhere have I said one negative thing about these bikes, aside from calling them fake and Hindu Harleys, which amounts to more good natured name calling than outright criticism. Your confusion between the two and lack of specificity when you rudely accuse someone of something as extreme as being insane suggests that while you maybe mentally stable, as stable as Mount Rushmore if you want, you seem to be a little lacking in the mental clarity department.

      And also, if anything, I have been the most positive poster on this thread despite my expressed distaste for Harley’s party line and spin and the lack of respect for others, esp. to those who love and revere it, and lack of sincerity, courage, honor, and moral character of the Harley brass, which such a sleazy attempt implies. Has anyone else outlined in detail a business plan, as I did a few posts down, for Harley to build these bikes, to go global, be successful, while not damaging its business in the U.S. and not offending its core, long time, die hard customers. Nope, only me.

      Do you think I was wrong or that Harley’ current plan is better? If so, show me how I was in error. And if you can’t, then how could a mental incompetent like me outline in a mere few lines a plan in detail of how Harley could save itself from itself, introduce itself to a younger crowd as well as the world, and overcome its graying customer base, all at the same time, while someone who is so stable, saavy, and confident in his mental abilities as youself, as well as a lack of mine, is unable to do what I just did, even unable to come up with one little, itty bitty, sorry criticism of what I outlined, and is reduced to mere adolescent, baseless Ad hominem attacks on my good name and my mental sanity. Attack my posts if you can, not me. Notice how no one here so far has challenged me on the merits of my advice, even though you know that are must be many on here who would love, who would just relish, and chance to show me up and show me and my unconventional attitude for a fool, and thus shut me up.

      I just did something for the MoCo which is more positive and beneficial for it than your blind loyalty, cowering acceptance of the company line, and your belligerent intolerance for anyone who does not share in your ignorance could ever hope to do. Maybe you should wish more people could be as mentally unstable as poor old, pathetic Jakie boy over here. Maybe then, the world, and particularly our beloved country, would be a kinder, gentler, more tolerant, more enlightened, and less impoverished place, rather than declining and degenerate 3rd world cesspool it is fast becoming, as anyone with half a brain who can remember the past and see the present can see for themselves with their very own eyes.

      So 3 cheers for the mentally unstable. Lord knows, the world could stand to use a few more of us.

      Signed – Crazy ass, mentally incompetent Jake.

  14. joe b says:

    I would think the “built in Kansas”, “Made in Kansas”, means that the parts will be manufactured in India, and shipped here to USA in containers, then assembled in USA, to avoid import duties, and allow them to say “Made in USA”. I do agree this model will dilute the brand name.

    Much of the sales hype, “real steel”, “designed to match the demands of stop-and-go traffic with nimble agility, while delivering instant throttle response to escape city gridlock”, “They’re designed to handle the abuses of urban environments and provide authentic opportunities to customize.” insinuates that others are not authentic, I cant wait until they road test these, and compare them to others.

  15. Tom says:

    Looks good and i think it’ll be a decent seller. My understanding is that US models will be made in Kansas City, and bikes for the rest of the world will be made in India. Manufacturers need to keep moving foreward and Harley isn’t immune to that.

    • jake says:

      What do you mean by made? Let’s finally get clear on where this thing is made once and for all. What % of parts from India vs. U.S.? Exactly how many additional workers hired to work specifically on this bike’s production? What equipment do they use? Is it more than Elmer’s glue and a screw driver? What if any parts does this plant fabricate?

      Some related quotes:

      “But according to a quote in India’s Economic Times, ‘It’s an all-new bike from Harley Davidson, being developed with extensive involvement with Indian component makers, using a large percentage of locally sourced parts to control costs…'”

      “I work for a Tier One supplier to Harley. According to our Engineering staff, these bikes were developed and tested in India, completely outside HD’s established US R&D infrastructure. And their typical domestic suppliers (us included) have nothing to do with these bikes.”

      “This mirrors my experience with Harley/these bikes. Same disclaimer involved. I don’t work with Harley anymore but my company still does. My boss called me in yesterday to look at them, he hadn’t heard a word about them until that point.”

      Those quotes don’t seem to support the made in America position very much. Any of you it’s going to be built in K.C. proponents have a response to those quotes and my request for more detailed information?

      If not, you guys need to quit telling everyone it’s going to be built in America.

  16. jake says:

    If Harley was going to go in this direction (which I would not recommend), then it would have been better if they kept these two lines of production separate for bit while longer. No one cares if Harley builds bikes in India so long as they just keep them over there. And that’s just what the MoCo should have done.

    By disentangling the two brands you strengthen them both. Then Harley would have the freedom in international markets to produce to their specific needs, not just 500’s and 750’s (which are still big bikes over there), instead of being tied down to what Harley is in the American market. They would have the freedom to produce little super-motos, adventure bikes, mini-sporty nakeds, and possibly even some scooters and mopeds. So long as you just keep them over there, no one over here is going to care or be upset what Harley is doing in the 3rd world.

    Harley’s trademark throughout the world is its minimalistic, masculine styling. Simply produce whatever bike a particular global market needs, but just instill that style in whatever you make, no matter how small or puny. Kind of like a Cleveland Cyclewerks except with the backing, engineering, quality control, and the slightly less radical styling of a big, well funded company.

    And would it sell? Hell yea. Everyone throughout the world loves the Harley minimalistic, masculine style, cause everyone throughout the world is going through the same dilemma and conflicts which America went through a few decades ago – modernization and all the compromises it requires, how it makes many people feel like giant weenies for 5 days out of the week. As a result, there is a huge demand for that rebellious and masculine styling – the middle finger to “The Man” styling – which Harley is world famous for. Even a peasant on 50cc scooter still has the desire, as all men have, to tell “The Man” to just go and shove it, but in a way which won’t get him arrested or beheaded. Harley’s in your face styling gives such an otherwise disenfranchised man just such an opportunity.

    So after a few years and in the positive light and glory of global triumph, then Harley should bring its global bikes to the U.S. markets to fill whatever niches it feels needs to be filled, not now. Badge those bikes slight differently to distinguish them from the traditional, domestic Hogs – as an example, called them Harley Davidson G. (as in Global) and put a little globe on a similar looking but not same Harley badge – and you have bikes which even the old guard will be proud of and readily accept, ones which most importantly will not offend them.

    As stodgy as the old guard maybe, they still are conservative and realists. They know Harley is a business and needs to make money, and may even need to change in order to survive. Just do it in a sensible way and a manner which is not disrespectful, offensive, or deceitful and they would all be very understanding of the change taking place. But do it as Harley is doing it now and you are just going to p*ss everyone off.

    Harley mgmt. has handled these new global Harleys about a bad as you can both from a business and a P.R. standpoint. They’ve been running their business like some mental incompetent who likes to play Russian Roulette on the weekends just for fun and entertainment of it.

    • Michael H says:

      Running their business like some mental incompetent? Really? Please cite references to back up your statement. And include market share data for large displacement motorcycles sold in America.

      • jake says:

        Have you not been reading this thread? Harley has been forced to go Japanese and Indian (all things which they have stood against for the past 40 years), cause all its customers are graying and dying off, despite the still so so sales numbers. Numbers are important but sometimes in business and life you just have to quit being a bean counter and look at the situation more wholistically.

        Making bikes in India and shipping them back over here, before their customer base is ready for it, is a drastic move for a MoCo which has championed the idea of America first for the past 40 years or so. This abrupt turn of face could literally kill the company, or at least leave a company so scarred we will no longer be able to recognize it in a few years.

        What gives credibility and substance to the Harley badge? It’s more than just the bike, performance, or the looks. Other manufacturers can copy that and provide those things for less. Behind every Harley badge has stood the “Made in America” ideal. That’s what gives Harley the legitimacy to push it over the top and over all other competition, at least that’s the way it is here in the U.S.

        It’s like your mortgage. The bank gives credibility and legitimacy to your loan, in turn Fannie Mae to the bank, and ultimately the U.S. Government to Fannie Mae. Without that final U.S. backing, we fall back into a financial meltdown and mortgages become nothing more than a piece of paper which no one will accept anymore.

        The same applies to the Harley badge and its good name. For Harley mgnt. to risk the very foundations and long heritage of their company just to sell a few more Indian made bikes here in the U.S. is crazy and just plain loco. Even a 10 year old should be able to see how incompetent it is. It’s more than just incompetent; it’s grossly incompetent; it’s outstandingly incompetent.

        Yes, Harley sits No. 1 in large bike sales in America. Would you risk or tarnish this ability just to sell a few Indian made bikes here in the U.S? I hope you didn’t respond yes.

    • mickey says:

      Jake you must be young and impressionable.

      First off “everyone throughout the world” does not love Harley Davidson. many despise them for their styling, their technology, and for the type of followers the brand does attract.

      Secondly this is not Harley’s first foray into foreign made/ Harley badged motorcycles sold in the United States. My first new street bike was an Italian made Harley Badged 2 stroke single called an M 50 in 1965. They also imported, badged and sold an M 65, a 100 Leggero ( if memory serves me), a Rapido 125, a 250 Sprint and a 350 Sprint, all made by Aermacchi in Italy, by Italians, with Italian parts but badged as Harley Davidsons.

      • jake says:

        You mean like blue jeans or Hollywood movies or Hip Hop? The Harley minimalistic, masculine style is as desired and as liked as those other aspects of American culture. Of course, literally not everyone loves those icons of American culture, but they are popular world wide and that’s what we mean when we say “everyone loves this or that”. The statement was not meant to be taken completely literally.

        The Chinese have a saying: Chinese food, Japanese wife, and American life, as the 3 aspects of life which they most desire. Right there, you already have 1.5 billion people on your side. Do you even need anymore fans?

        And 1965 was before Globalization and American industries getting bashed by foreign competition, so made in America was not as important nor as touchy a subject as it is today. If people were upset by Italian Harleys back then, it would have been due to low quality or poor function. There were no you’re supposed to be on your side and sense of betrayal back then as you have with Indian Harleys now. It’s like apples and oranges. The two situations are not the same.

        • mickey says:

          Hip hop? That’s always playing in the Harley Bars isn’t it?

          Generalizations go both ways..I could say everyone in the world hates Harleys and that would be every bit as accurate as saying everyone in the world loves them. Truth is, the vast majority of people in the world don’t give a hoot either way.

          i didn’t see a single mention of Harley Davidson in the Chinese saying you quoted nor have I ever seen a Chinese guy riding one. What makes you think 1.7 billion people are on our side? If anything they want an opportunity to be free, live a good life, and buy what they want..be that a home, a boat, a Mercedes or a Kawasaki for that matter.

          • jake says:

            Boy, you just can’t give it up. You, you stubborn old coot (and I say this with respect and affection), are hell bent on finding a sliver of error or miscalculation on my part in my plethora of posts, so you can show me up and rub my lack perfection in my over arrogant, up start, young, whipper snapper face.

            Would love for you to have the pleasure of just such a victory over me, but sorry, old man, you have to try better and harder than this. But keep on trying. I welcome the competition and consider your attempt to put me in my place to be a complement.

            Okay, just switch Hip Hop for Rock’n’Roll. What’s the difference? Same cultural icon and same worldwide popularity, just different eras of predominance. That example good enough for you and you and your Harley Bar’s old fashion, hip deficient tastes?

            Whether as many hate as love or don’t give a hoot (only an old guy who was once just a simple, embarrassingly gullible, and probably impossibly adorable, country boy would use such a phrase), I was speaking in the context of a business. It does not matter if said number of people hate you or don’t care. What’s important is whether enough numbers love you and your product and its image for you to sell in sufficient numbers to be profitable and successful. In this context, without a doubt, the Harley trademark minimalistic, masculine style falls into this potential to succeed, much loved and desired category. That good enough for you?

            Like I said, you got to try better to get one over on old Jake here. But keep on trying to prove that Jake is a mere human too and not perfect, as he seems to be at times, who can be shown to be mistaken and in error on occasion, just like you and the rest of humanity.

            Better luck next time, old man.

          • jake says:

            Sorry had to break my continued attempt to teach an old man new tricks response in two cause informing you satisfactorily about China requires some length.

            From an article about why American brands sell so well in China:

            Evidence of deep affection for the American way of life is everywhere. Illegal DVDs of U.S. movies and television shows sell like hotcakes, especially ones such as Friends, Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives, and The Big Bang Theory, which celebrate a quintessentially American fusion of community and individual idiosyncrasy.

            The election of President Barack Obama, a black man with no dynastic credentials, is regarded with awe, a tribute to genuine egalitarianism. Every conglomerate wants to become the GE of China, while Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are role models of the highest order, respected for personal vision and achieving master-of-the-universe status. Among denizens of rural China, who are less worldly than their coastal counterparts, America is not only esteemed for its freedom; it is also described transcendentally as “a land of dreams.”

            Confucian egos are substantial, so American-style self-expression is all the rage. Brands that celebrate “me” — from Nike’s “Just Do It” spirit to Apple’s “Think Different” rallying cry — are embraced, particularly by the young urban elite. American universities have huge appeal. T-shirts sporting the latest hip hop slang are all the rage, and pop cultural divas who bow to no one — Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Madonna, and, in perpetuity, Michael Jackson — are revered. Sports figures such as NBA stars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are idolized infinitely more than their Chinese brethren. Indeed, Yao Ming, still revered for his on-court exploits, is now referred to as “Boss Yao,” a respectful but somewhat emotionally disengaged acknowledgment that the star-cum-businessman has been folded back into the system.

            Yet these American icons, while adored, are rarely emulated. Few Chinese end up challenging the system. Tattoos are discreetly placed on the ankle or shoulder. Dye jobs are never over the top, with colors ranging from red to blond and sometimes Japan-cool gray. Women who flaunt their sexuality, in dress or attitude, are rarely taken home to Mom and Dad. Even the most opinionated employees rarely muster enough courage to overtly challenge the boss. American individualism is, in short, forbidden fruit, dangerously tempting. The Chinese remain intoxicated by the allure of genuine American self-expression but frustrated by its ultimate impossibility in their lives. As a result, attitudes toward the country, and its character, are mixed.

            ————————————-

            This article is saying that the Chinese are in love with the American Ideal enough to buy and pay the snot for it, pay premium for the luxury of playing act American, just as Harley riders pay out the snot for the luxury of playing traditional, old fashion, unsophisticated, and primitive on the weekends, while going back to their conformists, meek, mild mannered, yes sir, professional jobs on the weekdays.

            The Chinese however are smart and wise enough not to get taken in and wanting to actually be American, warts and all, which is to be expected given how old and time tested their culture is. America is just a fly by night cultural experiment compared to the Chinese. Thus, they can be expected to afford future American products and disrespectful expressions of Individualism, while true Americans will be too knee deep in deep and financial insolvency to be able to afford to play or live like true Americans. Ironic, huh? With the Chinese not fully succumbing to American culture influences – them not fully liking us to the point of actually becoming us with all our flaws and unfavorable future prospects – actually being good thing and perfect for a businessmen looking to sell to the Chinese the fantasy of being a rebellious, tough guy, take no lip for no one, non conformist, disrespectful American individualists.

            So you fail again in your on going crusade to show that Jake too can be fallible and is just a mere mortal, old man. The Chinese not fully liking us, as you claim to hurt my point, actually, unfortunately for you, helps my point in real world effect and makes my original position almost absolutely rock solid. Certainly stronger now than before you tried to knock it off its high horse, with your oh so clever and well thought out attempts to find holes, weaknesses, and contradictions in them.

            With enemies and critics like you (good natured ribbing), who needs supporters and friends? Hell, every time you try to cut me down to size, you just, much to your chagrin, make me stronger and add to my ever growing legend and mystic on MD.

            Thanks for your undying support.

            Signed – Jake with a big, fat, smug smile on his face.

          • mickey says:

            Again, you quote an article which mentions all manner of things American, but not one mention of Harley Davidson.

            All I can tell you Jake, is there are over 3 1/2 million Chinese living in the U.S.

            You’d think by now I’d have seen ONE of them riding a Harley if they loved them so much.

            Maybe one day I’ll run into a gang of 1.7 billion of them riding them.

          • jake says:

            Sorry about the belated response, my original got rejected by MD quality control. Here you do have a point, but still a small one. You are correct, in Asia, esp. the Far East, people are not completely comfortable with brash, unapologetic, and unabashed expressions of Individuality. To be successful, Harley may have to tone it down a bit. As with all businesses, Harley will have to adjust somewhat for the unique characteristics of the market it is targeting. For example, the pirate look won’t go over there very well. An American pirate looks pretty silly to begin with anywhere, but an Asian pirate in Asia would be just completely laughable. Just roughen up the European sheek look with a slightly unfinished, less refined, and masculine cue, with even some hints of the pirate left in, and your in business and Harley apparel will be readily accepted in Asia. I think such a look is a niche which has yet to be filled over there, an opportunity knocking, as we say.

            But this Asian intolerance of brash expressions of Individuality has its pluses. The biggest plus being that no Japanese manufacturers will seek to replicate Harley’s trademark style, no matter how much market share and profits they may lose in the process, for fear of corrupting their youth and eventually their whole society. They fear such an act would be mistaken by the youth as a signal that the higher ups of Asian society somehow approve of American individualism, as is expressed in such a style, and its presumed, as they see it, disrespect for elders, tradition, and authority.

            As a result, Harley can expect to have this massively huge market all for themselves. The Japanese will leave them, as they have no other choice and a sensed greater priority, a complete vacuum on a global scale with no one else left to fill this demand but Harley itself. This is a massive opportunity for Harley.

            As more and more of the rest of the world becomes more and more urban and professional, the more they lose touch with the basic, simple, genuine blue collar values which once formed the nucleus of their traditional cultures. Their world is fast becoming increasingly abstract, less tangible, more technical, more confusing, more fast paced, with fads and trends rising and falling so fast that they can’t keep their heads from spinning. Sensing what they have lost, they will seek some way to reconnect with that old world which is so different from the one in which they live now. Harley can be that way, as it is here in the States, for people throughout the world to reconnect with a time which seems more simple, innocent, and pure, the lost past, which they have forfeited in their upward movement to keep up with the Jones’s and towards modernization.

            Harley would have to blow it by major proportions to miss out on this lucrative opportunity. Could they? Yes, but will they? Probably not. Even the Harley brass could not be so obtuse and without a clue on how to handle the newly emerging global market.

            So once again, your criticism turns into a strength for my perspective.

  17. The Twisted Mick says:

    Harley should have kept this bike line out of the US until it was a success. To bring it out to the US market and mislead Americans that it is ” built in Kansas City” is a mandate to trade in your Harley on the new POLARIS Indian.

  18. Pat says:

    Harley is going to sell a ton of these. There’s been a need for this kind of bike in HD’s lineup for a long time. Times are changing and there are more and more non-traditional Harley riders. Which is a good thing in my opinion.

    • jake says:

      Times change but not that fast or that easily. Where would Harley be without that “Made in America” label? Can it stand on it own two feet and compete with other manufacturers without the help of that label and all the positive vibes it brings. It has never shown it can. In this sense, HD is a like a state subsidize or a welfare company. You have to treat it with kid gloves or it falls flat on its face.

      Are these bikes make in America and, more importantly, will anyone really believe that line anymore? Nope. So without that extra help how’s Harley supposed to compete? On the bikes own merits without the cache of the Harley badge? You’ve got to be kidding me? The Japanese will murder them.

      Cadillac did the same thing a few decades ago when they tried to pass off a rebadged Cavalier as a Caddie. Remember the Cimarron? Well, at first it sold, and Caddy execs thought they were the smartest people on Earth, but then the tables turned and it turned into an image disaster for Caddie. One which it is still trying to recover from, even decades later.

      • Al T says:

        That cavalier was really a Nova. I feel sorry for you, you sound so bitter. Maybe your riding the wrong bike.

        • jake says:

          No, it was a Cavalier. I know cause I use to own a Cavalier. The Nova was before before the Cimarron’s time. How do I know? Cause may Dad used to own one of those, so I know from first hand experience.

          Also, not bitter, just a realist. Hey, I have no $$ stake in this game, unlike so many others posting on this thread. I’m just have no interest and no need to spew out the company line nor it’s spin.

    • jake says:

      Change, at least for Harley, is alot like what Darrell Royal (H.C. for Longhorn Football) said about the forward pass long ago. 3 things can happen when you pass the ball and 2 of them are bad. Yes, the modern world is all about change, with one generation being unable to understand the next. Yet, we still worship and idolize change. But still, some part of us doesn’t want to change and hates it and all the compromises it requires.

      Harley has represented that part of us. Like Central Park in the urban jungle that is New York, it’s suppose to represent a respite from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. It’s suppose to represent “no change”, a sense of timelessness, a reaction against modernism, progress, and the demands they require of us. That’s why no cares that Harley’s are technological dinosaurs. That’s how they like it. They want to and are proud to be backwards and behind the times.

      Harley mgmt. needs to understand their customer base better and what they find so irresistible about Harley. The slogans, “Yes, we can” and “Change”, don’t go over so well with these people, and while those words might be able to elect a President, they won’t be able to sell a bike, at least not a Harley bike.

      • Cowpieapex says:

        Harley understands it’s base and the age profile is geriatric (I know, I currently own 2 and I’m an aging boomer approaching retirement).
        You seem to not have noticed that “change” slogan won two consecutive elections. In marketing as with democracy the numbers don’t lie. I’m not saying that Harley will refuse to build us 3 wheelers and sell us chrome racks to hang our walkers on but the manufacturers who want to persist into the next few decades will be catering to a new market.

        • jake says:

          The more things change, the more things stay the same is one of those never ending truths which should be better appreciated, thought about, and understood. Our world and the modern mentally is obsessed with change and believes it is ordinary, inevitable, and the general rule. In this respect, it is in error. Look closely at almost everything, esp. anything relating to humans, only the superficial, outer appearances change typically. Rarely, if ever do the deep undercurrents and principles from which all we see are sourced, defined, and understood change or alter.

          In the deeper picture and longer term, change tends to be overestimated in its importance. Honda Goldwing’s or a bike like it will sell forever even though the average age of its buyers is probably even more geriatric than that of Harleys. Why? Cause as people age, their personalities, priorities, financial capacities, and tastes change in a predictable, time tested manner and has since the beginning of time. We are all destined to become old farts, just as surely as we are all destined to die.

          The know it all, hip, over confident youth of today never think that they will soon become old farts just like their dads, with similar tastes and preferences which they find so laughable and out of date. But they will just as surely as the sun will rise in the East tomorrow.

          Harley has little to fear, as far as its survival is concerned, from the graying customer base. Yes, they will die off and be no more, but there will be a new generation of gray hairs who with increasing age will find that they now prefer Harleys, the old fashion, stodgy values it stands for, and all of its other virtues, which they could not identify with when they were in their 20’s.

          Does Harley need to appeal to a broader base and change it’s past formula? Probably, but it probably only needs tweaks, not a complete overhaul of a system which has allowed it to be so successful. Why the need to fix what really is not broke?

          Also, there is no need for Harley to rush. Give their traditional customers some time to adjust to the idea of foreign made Harleys before just abruptly, without warning, bringing them over and shoving it down their traditional base’s throats, telling them to either accept them or go and take a hike.

          That’s a foolish way to do business cause the elements which constitute the constant is always greater and more substantial than what constitutes change. Change is just the small and less important brother of no change, what never changes, or what is constant or eternal.

        • jake says:

          A simpler and more concise way to express what I attempted above. People, esp. as they get older, just want to stay in Kansas; they no longer want to go on the golden brick road to go and see the Wizard and all the endless promises he assures he will provide.

          Harley riders are just those people and will always be such people. As people get older, more and more of them want nothing more than to just stay in Kansas. They been on that road before and dealt with all its hassles, risks, as well as its disappointments, and they just want to f*ckin stay in Kansas, screw the Wizard and his never ending promises.

          Also, if up to Harley riders, Obama would still be a Junior Senator looking for his birth certificate. Those words may have gotten him elected, but it wasn’t Harley riders who were the ones jumping for joy over the giddy optimism of his trademark slogans. I imagine most hated them.

          His words had no sway in Harleydom.

  19. Kent says:

    “These new bikes are leaner, yet still have a mean streak – they’re the real deal, made of real steel.”

    I prefer aluminum parts, and a bike with reasonable weight.

    Joking aside, are these bikes 500cc and 750cc? That seems low for an HD, especially if the weight is the same as a Sportster. A 500cc scaled down Sportster motor (yes, I know it isn’t) would make 30 horses? 35?

    Not really sure what’s happening here.

  20. SecaKid says:

    The fact that these bikes are Harleys is going to hurt sales. People that love Harleys are going to say these aren’t real Harleys, and people that hate Harleys are going to continue to avoid them. Too bad, because I think these are nice bikes.

    • jake says:

      You know what they say, “Nice bikes finish last”. You’re right, in America at least, anyone with sense can foresee these bikes being disasters for the MoCo – and that’s the bottom line.

      • Scott the Aussie says:

        Nobody is forcing you to buy one Jake.

        • jake says:

          But someone is trying to sucker me into buying one. I’d say it’s almost the same thing.

          • Scotty says:

            Nah I predict you are immune to thier charms – as am I. I ride a Guzzi and I don’t like cruisers so they are not on my radar and never will be. But as a money making exercise, I think they wll work.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I have to disagree with you. Most of the “Real” Harley clowns I know don’t consider Sporters to be real Harleys, and they still sell well. On the other end, most of the people I know who are “Harley Haters” are really cruiser haters and aren’t in the market anyway. I think there is a large market comprised of both people who would like a Harley Davidson product in this displacement / price range and those that will evaluate the bike on its own merits compared to competing products. If it is a good bike, I think it will sell.

      It certainly is a risk Harley is taking, but I think it will pay off in winning young, new customers in the US and globally so long as the aging, blithering fools that yap on about “real” Harleys don’t make the ownership experience so bad for new H-D customers that they send these riders – and H-D’s future – in other directions.

      • jake says:

        The difference between a 3.0 earthquake and one that is off the charts. They laugh at you on a Sportster, but then they would pat you on the back and let you know it was friendly ribbing – you’re a joke but you are still one of us. Go to a Harley bar on one of these Indian Harleys and you might land head first in the back alley garbage can.

        Harley already had a way to appeal to the younger generation without having to go multicultural in Buell. 5 years ago they let it go, but what’s the in thing right now? Naked sporty bikes. Harley’s management is incompetent and it’s lack of vision is reminiscent of GM’s back when Roger Moore was making the Roger and Me satires.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I suspect many buyers interested in these particular models have zero interest in going to a “Harley bar,” so that is a moot point. Even saying “Harley bar” makes me snicker, and I’m not nearly as young or hip as the buyers of these bikes will be.

          • jake says:

            It was just an example of the stigma these bikes will carry. Sure, no one in their right mind will go to a Harley bar on one of these things, unless you’re 300lbs and look like the Rock.

            But also, a large group of people will just want to avoid the stigma of riding a fake Harley. Why deal with the potential hassle and the jeers and sneers one will surely have to put up with on occasion when you can go and buy a perfectly good anonymous, non-controversial Japanese bike?

            No one wants to be the motorcycle equivalent of Hester Prynne with the infamous scarlet letter on her chest. In this case, a UA, as in Un-American, rather than the mere A.

          • Scotty says:

            Surely nobody in thier right mind would go to a “Harley bar”???

          • jake says:

            I’ve been to them, and I’ve had fun while I was there, but I wouldn’t want to go on one of these, that’s all I’m saying.

            There are some tone deaf people who probably will do so, but I wouldn’t recommend it for the rest of us.

    • cycleruss says:

      I wish they badged them under a different name.
      I like it,reminds me of my 83 Honda VT500 Ascot.
      It had the same black pipes,and no chrome !
      I have never had a desire to own a Harley,but this bike
      Might make that happen.
      I confess, the first thing I thought of was
      How to remove the Harley emblems on the tank.
      Maybe I can do like my friend did on his Kawasaki
      Vulcan. He had the old 1920’s Harley logo painted
      on, but changed the words to read ” Hardley A Davidson ”
      I think they will sell well. Not to the finger in
      Your face die hard Harley owner. But to the rest
      of us who appreciate well engineered motorcycles.
      I have wanted a belt drive standard for years,
      but only find belts on cruisers. This bike will
      be great for my wife,or anyone else that is inseam
      challenged. And light weight is all the better.
      They are 100 lbs. lighter than the Sporsters
      (Just checked Sporsters specs.wet)
      Look more like a standard, than a cruiser.
      Motor, with 4 valves per cyl. and overhead cam
      will most likely be more powerful than the
      2 valve pushrod motor. My Ascot 500, topped
      out at 112mph. Same motor design and shaft drive.
      Can’t wait to see a road test on them.
      Way to go Harley! Finally an up to the 21st century
      Motor design.(V Rod excluded)

      • Barry says:

        Funny you should mention your old Honda VT500 Ascot, because the first thing I thought when I saw the picture was “83 VT500 Ascot”. It only took Harley 30 years to catch up with Honda in technology LOL

      • jake says:

        Harley should hire you as a P.R. guy. You’re praise and optimism over these bikes are more creative and subtle than the others I have seen on this thread so far. Lord knows, Harley will need as many talented P.R. guys as possible put their new business direction in the best light possible to their traditional customers.

  21. jake says:

    So do these bikes get included in the “American Iron” mag or not? Noticed there is not one mention of these new Harleys from India in their Nov. issue.

    Whether to include or not must be a dilemma of epic proportions over at mag headquarters right now.

    • Al T says:

      They must have been too new, they’re on Am Irons website.

      • jake says:

        You really believe that? It’s not only in not on the cover but not anywhere in the mag itself. I bet my butt that it won’t be on the cover of next month’s mag either, or if it is, it will have a small corner caption, rather than being the feature.

        Pretty cold shoulder from the No. 1 Harley mag in the world for a product that is supposed to be so important to Harley’s future.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I bet they’ll make cover in December, or whatever month H-D makes demos available to the press. In any case, there will definitely be a story on the bikes in the December issue. They probably had their Nov. issue printed weeks ago.

        • Al T says:

          TOO NEW, It’s on the website if you looked, and it’s not on the December cover. The printer is a 8 week lead time.

          • jake says:

            Sounds alot like the dog ate my homework excuse I use to give when I was in Elementary school. I suppose the AI’s printing system could be as old and as obsolete as the Harleys they cover and their tech, but I’m not incline to buy their excuse.

            They simply want to feature this bike a few months down the line when the emotions about the bike have died down a bit.

            Yes, it’s on their website, but it isn’t exactly featured there and it seems as if they are suppressing comments regarding the bike. The article about the new Harley’s has been up for at least the past 3 days and yet there is still only 1 comment about them.

            Maybe no one ever comments over there. I don’t know.

          • cycleruss says:

            All T is right.
            All magazines require a 2 month lead time.
            E-mail any magazine and ask them.
            Or write to the editor, and wait two months
            To read their response.

          • jake says:

            These bikes have been in development for years. So Harley’s leading mag doesn’t get some scoops which aren’t available to the rest of us? They get the news at the same time as us?

            Let’s see if it takes Cycle World or Motorcyclist two months to put these bikes on their cover and to discuss them.

            Still only 1 comment on the AI website. Does anyone ever go over there? On the Cycle World site, there were over 60 last I checked. So even on the web, a regular old rag has Harley’s leading mag beat on the coverage and in interest.

            Just bad signs. That is not exactly a vote of confidence.

    • Barry says:

      Maybe Harley is looking to sell these bikes to people who don’t necessarily read American Iron magazine? There are some of us out here, you know. I guess we aren’t “minimalist and masculine” enough, though.

      • jake says:

        From the way, AI and its readers are treating these bikes so far (can we say cold shoulder) it sure seems that way. But anyway, who reads AI just like who actually reads Playboy? Everyone just looks at all the cool pics. AI is just the Playboy equivalent for Harley and its lustful fans. I think even a centerfold of an overexposed, naked bike is included in every issue.

        It’s about passion. People who are passionate about Harleys read AI. Sure, Harley could sell to less passionate and less homer customers, but how many of those can Harley rely on? If you are not passionate about Harley or its badge, if it is just another bike to you, no more significant than a Kawi or a Zook, then you will compare shop and purchase what you think is the best buy.

        Harley has always sold to a homer crowd. Never has it attempted to compete with the Japanese on a bikes merits and value alone, without the help of that extra allure of that Harley badge.

        Can Harley attract enough of those people who aren’t passionate and who could care less about minimalistic or masculine? Probably not. Those people will probably instinctively choose a Honda, a company which more closely approximates their less in your face value stance. Even if they can’t put it in words as to why, they will just feel more comfortable on a Honda.

  22. BOSCOE says:

    Well, I have a 2012 V-Rod with 18,000 miles on the odo.
    Does that count?

  23. Al T says:

    How many of you Harley bassers have ridden a New Harley in the last couple of years? You might be eating some crow if you do.