Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘2014 Models’

FXDL Dyna Low Rider Recall Letter

FXDL Dyna Low Rider Recall Letter

It’s surely just a coincident that two months ago GM icon Jim Federico was hired on as the Harley-Davidson VP of Engineering and now the motor company has issued an ignition switch recall on more than 3,300 FXDL Dyna Low Rider bikes.

You might recall that ignition switch problems have plagued General Motors and have now turned up in the motorcycle business.

It turns out that engine vibration can turn the switches from ‘on’ to the ‘accessory’ position.  If the switch goes to “accessory,” the engine can shut off while being driven and potentially cause a crash, however, there have been no crashes or injuries reported from this problem.

This recall involves 3,361 motorcycles shipped in the U.S, which represents certain model year 2014.5 FXDL models built 1/6/2014 through 6/9/2014.

Some of these motorcycles may have been assembled with a top engine mount bracket assembly (P/N 16400026) that has a resonant frequency equivalent to 5800 RPM engine speed. When the engine is operated at that speed, it causes excessive vibration in the ignition switch, which mount to that bracket. The excessive vibration can cause the switch to move from the “IGN” (ignition on) position to the “ACC”(accessory only) position, shutting the engine off. The production Electronic Control Module (ECM) calibration will not allow engine speed to exceed 5600 RPM, but Harley-Davidson offers street-legal performance calibrations which will allow the engine to operate above 5600 RPM. If a performance calibration has been installed which permits the engine to exceed 5600 rpm, it could allow a condition that may potentially cause the engine to stall unexpectedly. A stall while riding in traffic could lead to a crash.

The chronology of recall events are:  On 3/31/14, Harley-Davidson’s Customer Service department notified the Harley-Davidson Recall Investigation Committee (RIC) that the ignition switch on an FXDL motorcycle fitted with a non-Harley-Davidson exhaust system moved on its own from the “IGN” (ignition on) position to the “ACC” (accessory only) position during operation on a chassis dynamometer for tuning purposes.

The RIC initiated an investigation and analysis of this issue. A search of existing warranty data in April, 2014 disclosed no warranty events, but a search of customer complaints disclosed one complaint, which referenced an event similar to the initial report, i.e., an FXDL model motorcycle fitted with a non-Harley-Davidson exhaust system, operated on a chassis dynamometer.

During May, testing was initiated to attempt to re-create this condition.

During May and June, the RIC met to review test and field data information. The testing indicated that this condition could potentially occur both on the road as well as on the dynamometer, that a non-Harley-Davidson exhaust system was not necessary to create the condition, but could enhance it, and that the production Electronic Control Module calibration was not able to create the condition, as an engine speed of 5800 rpm or greater (production calibration includes a 5600 rpm rev limiter), was required to create the condition.

Another review of the warranty and complaint databases in June revealed a total of four events, all of which occurred on motorcycles believed to be fitted with non-Harley-Davidson exhaust systems and ECMs with higher than production engine speed rev limit calibrations.

There were no reported crashes or injuries.

On 6/19/14, the RIC completed its review and analysis, and referred the issue to executive management.

On 6/27/14, upon review of the results of the RIC’s investigation and analysis, Harley-Davidson’s executive management made its determination that a safety related defect existed in the subject population and declared a recall to remedy the issue.

Authorized Harley-Davidson dealers will replace the engine mount bracket assembly and ignition switch knob on the affected motorcycles with the components provided in the recall kit which is covered by the warranty.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Do Not Ride

Do Not Ride

Last week, Harley-Davidson recalled about 29,000 model-year-2014 touring (Project Rushmore) bikes.  

The recalled models include 25,185 touring models (FLHTCU, FLHTK, FLHTP, FLHX, FLHXS, FLHTKSE, FLHRSE) and 3,861 CVO and Trikes (FLHTCUTG, FXSBSE, FLSTNSE) built between May 3rd and October 14, 2013.

The cause is a possible safety issue involving the hydraulic clutch.  Some of the motorcycles may exhibit a condition in which the hydraulic clutch system may lose the ability to generate enough lift to disengage the clutch, making it hard to slow or stop.  The company included a “Do Not Ride” notice to owners and a “Do Not Deliver” notice to dealers until the motorcycles were fixed.  The repairs have been identified and should take less than an hour to correct.

Because the NHTSA was closed last week as a result of the partial government shutdown there is yet to be a NHTSA campaign ID number issued.  Harley-Davidson is moving ahead as if the agency was fully operational.  The recall is expected to cost the motor company $4.9M in the fourth quarter, but it’s not expected to have much of an effect on production.

Since 2009, Harley-Davidson management has consistently repeated how they have been intensely focused on improving the cost structure and transforming the business to be stronger, more flexible and more profitable… Knowing a few riders with new motorcycles that have had warranty failures, I’d like them to talk more about the quality improvements being made YOY.

If you have a motorcycle manufactured during this time you can visit your dealer or call H-D at 414.343.7988.

Photo courtesy of Biker Law web site.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

2014 Electra Glide Ultra Limited

2014 Electra Glide Ultra Limited

“New? New is easy. Right is hard.” – Craig Federighi, Apple Sr. VP of Software Engineering.

Fresh back from the 110th  Anniversary celebration, where I spent some time on the factory floor, trying to get some spy photos and probing a number of the workers to talk about what’s behind that so-called RUSHMORE name.  Was it real or another marketing slogan by “Mr. Pontiac” himself… Mark-Hans Richer?

Cut away - 103 cu.in. Liquid-cooled Cylinder Heads

Cut away – 103 cu.in. Liquid-cooled Cylinder Heads and Radiator Fan

It turns out that Project Rushmore is a nod to the famous monument that also happens to be near the mother of all motorcycle rallies, Sturgis.

Basically it’s an overarching theme for Harley-Davidson’s internal quest to build a better motorcycle. And while the motor company always stated they took customer feedback and tried to make improvements, even the most casual observer could see that Harley-Davidson’s pace of innovation has been off.  Compounding the dribbles of innovation are two motorcycle trends that have been working against the motor company; the continuing rise of competition, most notably Indian/Victory, and the fall of prices that consumers are willing to pay for a premium motorcycle.

When the “great recession” hit, Harley was arrogant complacent with those easy customer conquests/sales that were financed by home equity and they missed how customers views were changing on premium motorcycles.  It was from this business duress that Harley-Davidson reworked internal processes and procedures while at the same time being forced to become a leaner organization that could work more efficiently at engineering and developing motorcycles.

CAUTION: Blogger about to enter the H-D factory floor...

CAUTION: Blogger about to enter the H-D factory floor…

Layoffs, renegotiated union contracts, temp labor, threats to shut down manufacturing sites, no more music on the factory floor, etc.,… the bad news seemed endless coming from the Milwaukee HQ.

But, the 110 year old company moved forward and internally the Project RUSHMORE name became a rallying cry and served two product goals;  quicker development time (rush) and deeper features (more).   After analyzing and reviewing  successful product development organizations across numerous industries, Harley-Davidson re-worked their engineering, marketing, styling, manufacturing, and supply chain management strategy, and successfully reduced their product development timeline from 5+ years down to just over 3 years.

Clearly the H-D executives, at best, passed off some illusory innovation prior to the 2014 model year!

However, today Project RUSHMORE is real and the results are tangible for motorcycle enthusiasts.  It’s focused on four key areas — Control, Feel, Style, and Infotainment.  The 2014 touring models received significant refinements to shortcomings that the owners have lamented about for years.  The tangible results are that H-D has encapsulated over 100 new features and incorporated over 2,400 new part numbers.  From more aerodynamic fairings and easier-to-use saddlebags to the availability of two Twin-Cooled engines that incorporate precision liquid-cooled cylinder heads.  

After seeing, sitting on and riding the new 2014 touring models it’s easy to state they have a lot to offer and props to H-D for rolling out tangible enhancements beyond the typical new paint scheme.

Photos courtesy of H-D.  Engine cut-away photo taken by author on Milwaukee factory tour.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

2014 Road King

2014 CVO® Road King® FLHRSE

“Life is like that.  There’s always more, always a reveal.”  — Cheryl Strayed (Book Author – “Wild”)

During this week’s launch of the new 2014 models, Harley-Davidson stated it has made a monumental shift in the product development approach with Project RUSHMORE.  There was very little in the way of specific or actionable detail about that new development process.

This absence of any detail is most intriguing.

Shouldn’t the motor company share some insight about their cutting-edge manufacturing processes or renewed focus on quality that will provide an even greater market advantage or leave little competitive oxygen?  Sure, they’re using “chrome dipped” marketing words to describe the core ingredient of a new customer-driven product development effort, but in building a better mouse trap it’s a bit abstract to state that the motor company is working with motorcycle enthusiasts to do a better job of bringing their insights and needs to new motorcycles.  What’s different now versus previous years when they listened and collected rider feedback?

And speaking of new motorcycles, the CVO models launched for 2014 are:

  • CVO® Road King® FLHRSE
  • CVO® Electra Glide Ultra Limited® FLHTKSE
  • CVO® Softail® Breakout FXSBSE
  • CVO® Softail Deluxe FLSTNSE
2013 CVO® Road King® FLHRSE

2013 CVO® Road King® FLHRSE

Let’s take a closer look at the first one on the list, the new 2014 CVO Road King.  I’ve got a riding buddy who purchased a 2013 CVO model and I’ve been around this style motorcycle a good bit on various rides.  I’ve also been a long term rider/owner of a Road King and can state it’s a nice bike!  One of the key selling points (print and online) for the 2013 CVO Road King was the high-performance audio system.  It was a FIRST on a non-fairing motorcycle and included a 200 watt amplifier to drive speakers in the fairing lowers in front and the saddlebag lids behind.  A cocoon of audio on a Road King!

The first thing I noticed in looking over the stats of the 2014 CVO Road King is that MSRP dropped $1500 from the previous year.   The 2013 is $29,999 and the 2014 is $28,499.

Huh? 

On average, pricing on 2014 models went up 3.5% (yr/yr) and reductions in price rarely happen unless it’s technology/PC related.

The mainstream motorcycle media and press picked up on the Road King price reduction.  But, it was reported as if some kind of magical process appeared at the Harley-Davidson factory and reduced the price.  I’ve scanned numerous reports and NOTHING was written about the – big reveal – fairing lowers and front speakers were removed.  Along with the saddlebag speakers.  And that 8GB iPod – gone.  Or how the 200W high-performance audio amp was removed along with the handlebar controls. 

I’m not trying to be snarky, but did Project RUSHMORE (that new customer-driven product development effort) provide rider feedback that CVO Road King riders felt choked by the lack of bag space on road trips?  Were Road King riders depressed about the lack of space?   Did the CVO Road King owners tell the motor company that it was too difficult to operate the audio system?  Should non-fairing motorcycles be about wind in the face and never have an audio system period?  It would be very interesting to know the facts and what feedback translated into the re-engineering and removal of the audio system.   I suspect that rider feedback had little to do with this decision.

When the 2014 Harley-Davidson marketing collateral states “the road trip will never be the same” they truly mean it for the CVO Road King owners!

Photos courtesy of H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: