Archive for July 22nd, 2008

Harley unveiled the changes in their motorcycle line up today in the form of 13 press releases!  Call me crazy, but I find it questionable how a PR department see’s value in doing so many press releases in the same day?

At any rate, many of the changes feel a bit cosmetic or like minor “updates” with no major new model launched compared to previous years.  Maybe I’m biased toward touring bikes, but there was no “Rocker” type equivalent announcement or a news making launch of the U.S. XR 1200 to break through the ever increasing motorcycle market noise. 

Harley introduced a new frame/swing arm for touring models.  It has 50% fewer parts and 60% fewer welds which result in better maneuverability, heat management, luggage capacity and rear-tire life due to the new Dunlop D407 Multi-Tread tires.  Touring models have new 17-inch 28-spoke “cast” aluminum wheels, 180mm rear tire and a new exhaust system that passes under the frame vs. under the seat.  Exception is the Road King Classic.  In an acknowledgment of the “widening-girth-of-America” the cargo/passenger capacity was increased approx 70 pounds and slightly larger injection-molded saddlebags were added this year.  The Road King Standard has this funky Red colored light (vs. amber) on the front fender..gives it a police special look.

The V-Rod gets “Muscle” (as if it didn’t have enough already!), a new model with a heighten angular appearance over the standard model.  It has air scoops eerily similar to the mid-80’s Yamaha V-Max.  The Screamin’ Eagle treatment from the Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) is added to the Fat Bob and Road Glide models.

I don’t see these changes creating a lot of additional demand or perking up sales in the near-term for heavyweight motorcycles, but Harley has taken some solid steps to improve their line-up.

HD photo source Harley-Davidson.

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