Yet Another Harley Discuss

I’m Exage not Erik

“We are streamlining our motorcycle models by approximately 30 percent with plans to further refine our product portfolio,” Zeitz said. “This enables us to invest in the products and platforms that matter the most while better balancing our investment in new, high-potential segments. In this context, we plan to expand our offering of iconic motorcycles, those which most embody the spirit of Harley-Davidson.”

On the Harley-Davidson website, the Bronx is still listed as “Coming in 2021,” but when a financial analyst on the conference call asked for confirmation that the Bronx will be out early next year, Zeitz avoided answering.

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Thoughts

I’m actually sort of onboard with the portfolio reduction. Harley-Davidson currently lists over 30 different models of a V-Twin motorcycle, 3 trikes, and the electric motor LiveWire. If I’m honest they could thin this herd a little.

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However what really troubles me is what they believe these “high-potential segments” are. Now in the past I can argue that many times they’ve tried this and encountered active discrimination against the likes of Buell, V-Rod, XR1200 in recent past which have doomed them to the current continuance. Perhaps these were simply released at the wrong time with people in the wrong mindset.

2009 Sportster XR1200
2009 Sportster XR1200
Photo: Harley-Davidson
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This topic has really been beaten so much that the horse is likely a source of crude to be tapped into, but H-D needs more diversification if the wish to continue producing 2-wheels. They don’t even need forgo the whole premium motorcycle act and certainly not Americana, they need to begin releasing models that are in trend with market demands (many have argued the Pan America is too late in this regard). If they want a greater global presence, I believe they will need more models with smaller water-cooled engines like the Street series, but better. They need an engine smaller than the footprint of the 500-750cc Revolution-X and likewise with a smaller frame to hold said theoretical engine. They need to be better; they need to be Harley-Davidson, but on a diet.

Even in North America smaller bikes are very common around urban centres with newer riders fine tuning their right wrist and psyche. Playing into the latter has the potential to inspire brand loyalty. A loyalty that H-D obviously knows and panders to cherish.

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Changing gears here, or perhaps motors... The LiveWire or perhaps H-D’s charge into electric motorcycles. What does this mean with regards to the rumours of trickle down tech from the showcase? I think the LiveWire route was a mistake to begin with, however that they went this way means that should continue to make use of the R&D jump for a less expensive model, especially with regards of having the DC Fast Charge tech.

2020 LiveWire
2020 LiveWire
Photo: Harley-Davidson
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I know people have various takes on H-D. Some riders and the majority of non-riders would rather see the company go under than saved. I personally would rather have them stick around but in a significantly changed capacity than what they currently conjure in terms of the ridership and models offered. So while the news is presented pessimistically by Revzilla, I’m not quite ready to discount this move yet. I feel it’s heavily dependent on what the shift entails with future focus. H-D just better hope this time that focus is correct and will be embraced.

How do you like your potatoes?

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