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Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man

By | General Posts

by Chris Bumbray from https://www.joblo.com

THE STORY: The year is 1996 – the future. A biker (Mickey Rourke) and his cowboy pal (Don Johnson) team up to save their favorite bar from going under. To pull this off, they plan a heist but wind up in possession of a massive load of a popular new street drug called “Crystal Dream.”

THE PLAYERS: Starring: Mickey Rourke, Don Johnson, Chelsea Field, Giancarlo Esposito, Tom Sizemore, and Daniel Baldwin. Directed by Simon Wincer.

“I was fortunate enough to work on a film with Don, the only bad part was-the director sucked, but Don knew so much about behind the camera stuff, he used to tell director where to put the camera. It would be my pleasure to let anyone know Don Johnson is a very great actor and has been underrated for many years. I mean the guy so good looking, all he has to do is blink and you can’t take your eyes off him.- Mickey Rourke’s Instagram

THE HISTORY: Both Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson were in transition in 1991. Rourke was coming off of a slew of disastrous films, including the much-maligned WILD ORCHID and DESPERATE HOURS, while Johnson was still struggling to establish himself as a leading man in the wake of “Miami Vice” finishing its TV run. Thus, the two signed on to do this high profile, big-budget action flick, which I’m sure seemed like a can’t miss proposition at the box office to them both – this being the heyday of R-rated action.

Suffice to say, the movie was met with uniform hostility from critics, with many mocking the product placement in the title, with the leads being named after their favorite brand of motorcycle and cigarette. BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID this was not. It wasn’t helped that the film was marred by Rourke and Johnson publicly bad-mouthing it before it opened. In the end, the film’s box office performance wound up being disastrous, grossing only $7.4 million domestic. Ouch.

WHY IT’S GREAT: HARLEY DAVIDSON & THE MARLBORO MAN benefits tremendously from the second wave of popularity both of its leading men got later in their careers. At the time, Mickey Rourke was seen as a pain in the ass who squandered his talent and to be sure, the man soon left Hollywood altogether to take up boxing, only to finally make a huge comeback with THE WRESTLER years later. Whether or not his reputation was earned is questionable, but in hindsight, many of his late eighties films hold up well, so perhaps there was something else going on in the minds of critics. Ditto Don Johnson, who was trying to break out from TV, something you just didn’t do back then. You were either a TV actor or a film actor. You’d get the occasional Bruce Willis or Denzel Washington, but for the most part, the jump just wasn’t made – which is a shame as Johnson made some good flicks in the era, including DEAD BANG and the crazy underrated THE HOT SPOT.

Flash-forward to 2019 and both stars are icons in their way. While Rourke’s never-ending series of DTV movies have marred his rep somewhat, he also did THE WRESTLER and proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s still got it where it counts. As for Johnson, he beat the comeback trail with the great COLD IN JULY and contributed memorable roles to films like BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 and ALEX OF VENICE. With KNIVES OUT in theaters and his role on HBO’s “Watchmen” getting him some of the best notices of his career, Johnson is back in the limelight, making this the opportune moment to revisit HARLEY DAVIDSON AND THE MARLBORO MAN.

I’ll be the first to admit – this isn’t a great film. But, if you can take it as goofy fun evocative of its time, it’s a memorable little lost nineties gem. You get exactly what kind of movie this is gonna be right off the bat, where Rourke foils a convenience store robbery to save a pretty young cashier (played by Kelly Hu) while Ted Wass (of “Blossom”!) snarls, “I’m gonna cut you long, wide and deep motorhead!” It’s a modern (for the time) version of an old Roger Corman B-movie, and in many ways predicted the FAST & FURIOUS franchise, with the emphasis on close-knit groups of outlaws becoming “family” and fetishized vehicles, here being motorbikes rather than cars.

Rourke takes the piss out of his role, with Harley a tough guy, but also one nursing a broken heart, with the best twist being that he has no idea how to fire a gun despite his best efforts. Similarly, Johnson brings an outlaw swagger to his denim cowboy part and had this been a better film, you could easily see the two leading a whole series – but the film just isn’t quite good enough.

I’d wager the problems stem from poor villains, with Tom Sizemore appropriately oily, although he should have been second fiddle. Ditto Daniel Baldwin, who doesn’t seem enough of a physical threat to the hulking Rourke or Johnson for that matter. Yet, the film has some decent action set pieces and a fun supporting cast, including a very young Giancarlo Esposito and Vanessa Williams. Plus, the score by Basil Poledouris is excellent, with good use of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted: Dead or Alive”.

BEST SCENE: Johnson’s swaggering Marlboro Man is a cool creation and he seems to be having the time of his life playing the part to its hilt. I especially like when he lays out his philosophy of life while kicking ass at the pool (Johnson seemed to have mad skills – with both this and “Miami Vice” frequently showing off how good he was behind a cue).

PARTING SHOT: Again, I hesitate to call this one a classic, but it’s an action flick I enjoy watching with some pals and a couple of beers. Heck, I make no bones about the fact that I’m a big fan of both leading actors and it’s an interesting look at a franchise that could have been with a better script and more creative direction.

Savic Electric Motorcycle Is Thor’s Hammer in the Hands of Mad Max

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Because there are so many startups now in the business of making – or at least planning to make – electric motorcycles, it’s impossible to know them all. Yet, from time to time, one stands out, like it’s the case with Melbourne-based Savic Motorcycles.

Led by a man who at some point in his career worked for Ford Australia, Dennis Savic, the company set out to create an electric bike even Mad Max would be proud of riding on Fury Road.

Designed as a c-series cafe racer, the bike is officially Australia’s first locally-made electric two-wheeler that should offer decent performance levels for an incredibly affordable price.

Sometime in the near future, there will be three variants of the Savic bike available, namely Omega, Delta and Alpha, each with a differently-sized battery and increasing range: 120, 150 and 200 km, respectively (74, 93, 124 miles). Zero to 80 percent charging time ranges from 2 to four hours.

The electric motor fitted on it, of unspecified power, allows for 0 to 62 mph acceleration of between 3.5 and 5.5 seconds, depending on the version.

Built as all motorcycles in its class for speed and handling, the Savic does not look particularly comfortable, but it does look.. familiar.

The seat for the rider and the part that in conventional bikes is the fuel tank come together to become what looks like half of Thor’s hammer mounted on two wheels.

Just by looking at it, one could say this cafe racer will be prohibitively priced, but it truly isn’t. The Australians plan to sell the entry-level Omega for $12,990, while the top of the range Alpha would retail for $23,990.

There is no word yet on when production is expected to start, but Savic is already accepting submissions from those interested and promises test rides in early 2020. All you have to do is head over to the official website and fill in a few boxes.

BMW’s naked all-electric bike inching towards reality: Here’s how the LiveWire rival might look!

By | General Posts

by Pradeep Shah from https://www.financialexpress.com

BMW must be eyeing the Harley-Davidson LiveWire and the Zero SR/F territory with its upcoming all-electric offering. Considering the fact that these two generate power output in the 100hp region, BMW must also be eyeing a similar output on its electric bike.

The buzz around high-performance electric motorcycles is just refusing to die. Harley-Davidson revealed the LiveWire a few days back followed by which Kawasaki dropped a major hint on how its upcoming electric bike would be like. Now, very recently, patent images of a BMW naked bike have been leaked on the web and this one points towards a pure electric motorcycle. However, this is not the first time that the company has attempted at making an electric motorcycle.

Back in the year 2015, the company created an eco-friendly version of the S1000RR, naming it the eRR. However, the e-bike in the patent images that have been revealed recently seems to be based on the F800. The patent images suggest that the battery pack and the electric motor will be a structural member of the frame and this approach was earlier seen on the company’s C Evolution electric scooter.

The patent images also show that the wheels, monoshock, brakes and the inverted forks up front seem to have been borrowed from the F800R. The swingarm and the rear wheel on the electric bike have been taken from the BMW F800GT. The engine on the aforementioned two bikes churn out 90hp and BMW would not want to compromise on this aspect on its electric offering. Looking at these elements, it can be safely assumed that the German automaker is working on a naked electric motorcycle that will be based on the company’s F800 range.

All said and done, BMW must be eyeing the Harley-Davidson LiveWire and the Zero SR/F territory with its upcoming all-electric offering. Keeping in mind the fact that these two generate power output in the 100hp region, BMW must also be eyeing a similar output on its electric bike. We expect the company to reveal the electric bike sometime towards the end of 2020.

This dirtbike can run at 120 kmph and it’s fully electric

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Ottobike MXR comes powered by an 11 kW continuous rated mid-drive motor that has a liquid cooling system along with electric speed controller.

Taiwan-based Ottobike has showcased a fully electric dirtbike concept at the 2019 EICMA Milan motorcycle show, dubbed as the Ottobike MXR.

The MXR stands for Maxi Extreme Rider and this motorcycle concept is capable of running at a speed of 120 kmph, claims a media report. It comes powered by an 11 kW continuous rated mid-drive motor that has a liquid cooling system along with electric speed controller.

The electric dirt bike is claimed to have a maximum torque output of 45 Nm and it weighs 100 kg.

The dirtbike looks rugged and aggressive. Instead of a proper headlamp, it gets three vertically positioned LED bars, while an LCD dashboard is there, which displays a wide range of information. Ottobike has used Android OS for the display to show the riders GPS directions, live maps and incoming calls, among other features, as claimed by the report.

It houses a non-removable battery that has a capacity of nearly 5 kWh and a 1.2 kW battery charger as well. Ottobike claims the bike’s battery takes 2.25 hours for a 20-80 per cent charge, while to get fully charged it requires around 4 hours of time.

Ducati Streetfighter V4 Declared Most Beautiful Bike At EICMA 2019

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by Janaki Jitchotvisut from https://www.rideapart.com

Ducati does it again!

Which of the many bikes unveiled at EICMA 2019 has haunted your dreams?? If you said “Ducati Streetfighter V4, obviously,” you’re not alone. Venerable Italian motorcycle publication Motociclismo conducted its fifteenth annual poll, both of EICMA attendees and its readers at home. Guess which bike won?

According to both EICMA attendees and readers who sadly couldn’t attend the show in person, the Ducati Streetfighter V4 was voted the most beautiful motorcycle of EICMA 2019. Motociclismo took to the MotoLive stage at EICMA to present the awards. Ducati design director Andrea Ferraresi and Streetfighter V4 designer Jeremy Faraud were both on hand to accept the official award.

When all the numbers were tallied, the winner stood out by a mile. Not only did the Ducati Streetfighter V4 top the charts; it commanded a solid 36.7 percent of the vote. Second place went to the Aprilia RS 660 which received less than half the votes of the Streetfighter V4— just 14.9 percent.

Third place was the MV Agusta Superveloce 800, with 11.23 percent of the vote. Fourth was the Honda CBR1000RR-R SP, with 9.43 percent, and fifth was the Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel, with just 4.76 percent of the vote. That makes Honda the only non-Italian manufacturer to crack the top five.

Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, Motociclismo also reported that there was a difference in rankings for some bikes between voters who saw them in person, and voters who participated from home.

The top four bikes among both groups of voters were the same, but from number five down, results are markedly different between those who saw these models only on screens, vs. those who saw them live. For example, a lot more people who saw the BMW F 900 R in person seemed to appreciate it than those who simply saw it at home.

You can check out the full results of the poll—including the EICMA/home voter breakdown—over at Motociclismo.

Harley-Davidson’s 2020 Bronx and Pan America EICMA debuts are big flags planted in a brave new world

By | General Posts

by Kyle Hyatt from https://www.cnet.com/

The Pan America ADV and Bronx middleweight naked bikes are unlike anything Harley has done before, but they might just be what The Motor Company needs to stay relevant.

Harley’s first ADV bike, the Pan America, is set to bring that classic H-D burble to the wilder places of the world.

One of the main criticisms that we (and seemingly the rest of the motorcycle press) likes to level at Harley-Davidson is that it’s been slow to respond to the changing desires — and budgets — of a younger motorcycle-riding demographic. That criticism is still valid today, but Harley announced its response during the 2019 EICMA show, and what a response it is.

PAN AMERICA
The Motor Company debuted two bikes in Milan on Wednesday, and they’re both aimed at segments in which Harley has never really participated. The first is a large-displacement adventure touring bike called the Pan America, and it’s pretty damned similar to the Pan America concept we saw back in 2018.

The Pan America is packing a new liquid-cooled 60-degree V-twin engine called the Revolution Max that displaces 1,250 cubic centimeters and is said to make 145 horsepower and more than 90 pound-feet of torque. Those are big numbers, especially for Harley, which is more accustomed to building bigger, lazier engines with less power and more torque.

The Pan America differs from traditional Harley models in several other ways, too. It ditches the brand’s almost ubiquitous belt-style final drive for a chain that allows much simpler gearing changes and ease of repair should something go awry out on the trail. It also uses a rear trellis-style subframe for strength and reduced weight, meaning it should be a snap to mount all kinds of cool adventure-y hard luggage to it.

Other changes include the use of Brembo brakes rather than H-D’s typical in-house branded stoppers, and a swap to an inverted fork setup, which is much more common on more sporting bikes and ADV bikes. (Interestingly, Indian also went the Brembos-and-inverted-fork route on its new Challenger bagger.) The Pan America also looks pretty unique from a styling standpoint, thanks to its beakless nose and squinty cyclops-like headlight. We love it.

BRONX
Perhaps an even more significant departure for the brand is the introduction of its middleweight naked bike that it’s calling the Bronx. This wee beastie is packing a smaller 975-cc version of the Pan America’s Revolution Max that’s good for 115-horsepower and 70 lb.-ft. of torque. That puts it within spitting distance of Indian’s sporting FTR 1200.

Where the Bronx trails the FTR is in the looks department. While the FTR proudly wears its flat-track racer heritage, the Bronx looks a bit more like a cookie-cutter naked bike, though that doesn’t mean it’s unattractive. Far from it. Harley’s playing its cards close to its chest when it comes to details on the Bronx, but we can deduce a few things from the press photos.

First, while drive-side photos of the bike are thin on the ground, in the one we can see, the bike appears to be belt-driven, as evidenced by the great big, gigantic cog on the rear wheel. This feels like a mistake to us, since getting locked into a single, final gear ratio is a bummer for sporty bikes, and changing out a belt-drive cog is rumored to be a real chore. If there’s an upside to belt drive in this application, it’s a lack of need for regular maintenance.

Next, we can see that the bike also has a small, round instrument display that we’re betting is a TFT thanks to all the menu navigation controls on the left handlebar pod. That would lead us to believe that this thing will pack rider-selectable throttle maps and more.

One thing we’d love to see from the Bronx is an inertial measurement unit (IMU) that would facilitate lean-sensitive antilock brakes and traction control. This is a feature that we know and love on our long-term Indian FTR and plenty of other bikes in the Bronx’s crowded market segment, and it’s already available as part of RDRS for Harley’s touring line.

Harley-Davidson says that it’s aiming to have both the Pan America and the Bronx in showrooms by the end of 2020. It’s not given any indication of where we might expect to see these models priced, but we sincerely hope that it doesn’t go the same way as the Livewire and expect its name to demand a super-premium price in a brand new segment for the brand.

Performance Clutch Pack Replacements for stock bikes

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Performance replacement clutch packs for 1990 & later stock or slightly modifies Harley!

1048-0026 High performance extra plate kit. Fits 1990-1997 Big Twin, 1991-later XL models. Includes 9 friction plates, eight tempered steel drive plates with 15% stiffer diaphragm spring.

1048-0028  High performance extra plate kit. Fits 1998-2017 EVO & Twin Cam models. Includes 9 friction plates, 8 steel plates & stiffer diaphragm spring. Pre-measured stack height.

1048-0018 High performance extra plate kit. Fits 1998 to 2017 Big Twin & Twin Cam. Includes nine Kevlar friction plates on 6061 T7 aluminum cores, and eight tempered steel drive plates. Spring is not included.

Way better than stock.

Aggressive materials and tougher springs makes these clutch packs ideal for your modified or stock HD.

  • Carbon Kevlar friction material.
  • Precision cores.
  • Competitive pricing
  • Made in the U.S.A.

If your bike is super modified, our Comp Master™ Clutch would be your next step!.

FIND OUT MORE – http://americanprimemfginc.com/shop/

Only 2 Weeks Till Raffle Day

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November 9th is only two weeks away, and we’re gearing up for one of the best days of the year. One lucky winner will be taking home this beautiful 1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead, not to mention a second prize winner taking home $10,000 and a third prize winner $5,000. Now is the time to get your last minute tickets for the 2019 Raffle Bike.

https://wheelsthroughtime.com/win-this-bike/

Now until raffle day, we’re giving away 2 separate prizes to two separate winners for everyone who enters the annual raffle at the “Better Deal” Package or higher. We’re offering a chance to win a 3-day 2-night stay at Elk Ridge Cabin and a chance to win our Vintage Racing Jersey! That means you have 2 chances to win one of these prizes from this special!

The 2019 Raffle Bike

The 2019 Wheels Through Time Raffle Bike is a stunning 1936 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead Bobber, painstakingly rebuilt in the WTT Restoration shop by museum founder and curator Dale Walksler and his team. The bike features a first year 61 c.i. OHV engine based around a genuine pair of new old stock replacement knucklehead engine cases mated to a 4-speed transmission in Harley-Davidson’s classic black and vermilion red with gold striping. This marks the second year in a row that Wheels Through Time will be raffling off the Holy-Grail of all American motorcycles. Many of the motorcycle industry’s top vendors collaborated with their parts, service, and expertise.
The raffle takes place in front of a live audience on Saturday, Nov 9th, 2019 at the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC. Second prize is $10k, and 3rd prize is $5k — you do not have to be present to win.

We wish you the greatest luck in the Wheels Through Time Annual Motorcycle Raffle!

Harley-Davidson Resumes LiveWire Production, Says Charging Problem Was Confined To Just One Bike

By | General Posts

by Bill Roberson from https://www.forbes.com

Harley-Davidson has resumed production of the LiveWire electric motorcycle after assembly was stopped earlier this week when a charging issue cropped up and was spotted during quality checks.

A Harley-Davidson Motor Company representative told Forbes Friday morning that production was temporarily suspended “to confirm that the non-standard condition identified on one motorcycle was a singular occurrence. We take pride in our rigorous quality assurance measures and our drive to deliver the world’s best motorcycles.”

They added that customers who already had the bikes could resume charging “through all methods,” including using the 120-volt (Level 1) on-board chargers that essentially let users plug the bikes into a wall outlet. Following the production halt, Harley had advised riders to only use the high-speed Level III Fast DC chargers at dealerships until the issue with the 120-volt charger was resolved. “Our quality assurances are working as they were designed, and we’ve reaffirmed the strength of the LiveWire product design, no product changes are needed and we’re moving forward,” the spokesperson told Forbes.

The issue marked a hiccup in Harley-Davidson’s rollout of the LiveWire motorcycles, which are a radical departure from the Motor Company’s usual slate of iconic gas-powered V-Twin machines. Harley is betting that the future of transportation – including motorcycles – will include more electric vehicles and they are the first major legacy motorcycle maker to put an all-electric bike into serial production.

The LiveWire features a 105-horsepower electric motor, 15.5kWh battery pack and can go zero to 60mph in three seconds.

Harley has said more electric models – including possibly electric bicycles – are on the way following the rollout of the $29,700 LiveWire. Indeed, there are Harley electric balance bikes for kids on sale at this time.

Harley Davidson: The Road Only Goes Downhill

By | General Posts

Harley-Davidson delays its first $30,000 electric motorcycle after unexpected findings during final quality checks

  • The company delayed the motorcycle after ‘non-standard conditions’ were discvoered during final quality checks
  • Dealers had begun selling pre-orders of the bike in January
  • Harley-Davidson had forecast shipping 1,600 bikes

Harley-Davidson has delayed production on its first electric motorcycle, called LiveWire.

In an email sent to dealers last week, the company announced it had found a ‘non-standard condition’ in its final quality checks but didn’t elaborate further.

The LiveWire was officially announced for commercial release last fall with a planned price of $29,799.

‘We recently discovered a non-standard condition during a final quality check; stopped production and deliveries; and began additional testing and analysis, which is progressing well,’ the company said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the decision came after a problem with the vehicle’s battery charging was discovered. The manufacturer did not say when they planned to resume production.

The company had already begun delivering models of LiveWire to dealers in September.

The company had expected to ship around 1,600 bikes, or an estimated 1 percent of the company’s total big shipments.

The LiveWire is said to go from 0-60 mph in three seconds and reach top speeds of 110 mph.

Harley-Davidson recommends users go to dealers to charge the vehicle rather than trying to use standard electrical outlets in their homes.

It is powered by a 15.5 kWh battery and has a 105 horsepower magnetic engine and a range of 146 miles city driving on a single charge.

Harley-Davidson had told potential customers to charge the bike only at registered dealers and not in their homes.

The bike was first shown in The Avengers: Age of Ultron as a sleek prototype ridden by Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow character.

The LiveWire promised a slew of advanced technical features, including what PR Manager Paul James descried as ‘twist-and-go.’

‘Because it’s all-electric, it’s twist-and-go,’ Paul James, PR Manager at Harley-Davidson, told Dailymail.com at the Las Vegas Convention Center earlier this year.

The LiveWire’s battery is said to have a range of 146 miles of city driving.

‘There’s no transmission, there are no shifters, no clutch – it’s very easy to ride.’

LiveWire is equipped with a full suite of electronic lateral aids, with a slew of sensors and programmable touch controls.

It also has cellular connectivity, making it the first mass market motorcycle in North America with the capability.

This means it can alert the owner if the bike has been tampered with or moved. It also has built-in GPS for location tracking.

As for the sound, Harley says its electric powertrain will produce a ‘new signature Harley-Davidson sound,’ with minimal vibration, heat, and noise.

The ‘twist-and-go’ bike ditches the traditional shifters and chirps out a turbine-like whir in lieu of the characteristic rumble. The company is hoping this will usher in a ‘new signature Harley-Davidson sound,’ with minimal vibration, heat, and noise.

LiveWire will also launch in Canada and most of Europe later this year, Harley-Davidson says.

  • Harley Davidson sales have been on a decline the past five years hurting the company’s bottom line. The company has introduced new initiatives to buck this trend.
  • Despite the new strategy Harley Davidson will have a hard time attracting millennial customers and will face stiff competition in Asia.
  • Harley Davidson is highly levered and not trading at a large enough discount to warrant an investment.

Harley Davidson (HOG) has been having a rough last couple of years, with its current stock price nearly half of where it was in 2018 as it fell from around $50 per share to its current price of about $35 per share. The company is an American icon, with the Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker being founded more than 100 years ago, and conjures up a certain type of imagery – that of big bikes, loud engines and groups of somewhat older riders riding together in large groups.

This level of brand loyalty and, dare I say, cult following has been a cornerstone of Harley Davidson’s strategy for years. However, Harley Davidson’s sales have begun to slump in recent years after reaching a high in 2014 with this trend set to continue in 2019. In Q2 2019, the company delivered nearly 69,000 bikes for the quarter, down 5% compared to the same period a year earlier and overall sales fell 6% to $1.4 billion.

The brand loyalty that Harley Davidson has cultivated has become its weakness as its core demographic of rider’s ages the company struggles to attract the new millennial rider and re-align its brand messaging to match what that segment is looking for.

UBS conducted a survey of more than 2,000 people between the age of 21 and 34 in an attempt to figure out why Harley-Davidson stock has fallen 32% in the past 12 months. While their findings are bad news for big expensive cruisers and touring bikes, they are actually good for other parts of the industry. Unlike older buyers who considered a bike “as a hobby” or because “motorcycles are cool” Millennial responders want them for “ease of transportation.” Young buyers are interested in practical and affordable bikes, for now, partially because many of them don’t have a lot of money. There is no telling if hooking Millennial customers now with affordable and practical might lead to selling them a big touring bike when they are older and have more time and money. Among the young target demographic, the second most common reason listed for buying a bike was “it goes with their self image” so the important thing might be to not try to sell them their dad’s motorcycle.

Harley will have difficulty attracting the millennial audience

I struggle to see how 10 years from now a millennial who would have values such as being more frugal, more minimalistic and more environmentally conscious would not opt for a sleek, sporty high-tech Ducati and go for a big, loud, chrome-plated Harley Davidson. Therefore, it makes sense that Harley Davidson would try to shift its brand away from this older image and embrace something more modern. And the fact is, the company is well aware of that. On July 30, 2018, the Company disclosed its “More Roads to Harley-Davidson” plan to accelerate the Company’s strategy to build the next generation of riders globally. Under the plan, the Company intends to introduce new products including electric motorcycles, a new middle-weight platform of motorcycles that includes adventure touring, custom and streetfighter models with engine displacements ranging from 500cc’s to 1250cc’s; and smaller displacement motorcycles for emerging markets. The Company plans to introduce these new motorcycles between 2019 and 2022, starting with a new electric motorcycle, LiveWire, in the second half of 2019.

These plans are hitting a bit of a snag, as the company is seeing soft demand for its Livewire electric vehicles. These electric motorcycles, which are aimed at millennial customers and billed as a way to attract a new generation of riders, come with a sticker price of $30,000 nearly as much as a Tesla model 3. It’s as if the company ignored the main necessary selling points (i.e. “practical” and “affordable”) for this demographic. Harley Davidson does make some decent, affordable bikes in their Street lineup. But they still have that stigma, of being expensive toys. In the sub-$10,000 motorcycle market, Harley can’t compete in terms of bang-for-the-buck with the likes of Triumph, Ducati, and the Japanese big four that’s been cashing in on cheap Harley alternatives since the 1980s.

Harley to face stiff competition in the emerging markets

Harley Davidson’s other area for potential growth is through expanding in emerging markets, particularly China and India. The company announced a collaboration with Qianjiang Motorcycle Company Limited (“Qianjiang”) to launch a smaller, more accessible Harley-Davidson motorcycle for sale in Harley-Davidson dealerships in China by the end of 2020. Motorcycles have been a presence in Asia for years with brands like Honda and Yamaha, along with local country-specific brands, dominating the sale of smaller vehicles.

There is a difference in motorcycle riding philosophy between the US and Asia. In many Asian countries, a motorcycle is considered a legitimate transportation option. A motorcycle is easier to park in the densely packed cities, can squeeze right through traffic, and is far more affordable than a car. Fuel in many Asian countries is also more expensive, and the taxes and permit fees for motorcycles are much lower too.

Given these considerations, in my view for Asian customers the main selling point of these motorcycles would be affordability and reliability as the next “tier” in terms of status symbols would be purchasing a car. The way I see it, Harley Davidson’s Asian motorcycles will slot in a premium category as is typical with other Harley products. The question then becomes for the Asian customer who may not be as familiar with the Harley brand and who do not view motorcycle riding as a “hobby” is that will they be willing to pay for that premium.

Harley Davidson is highly leveraged

Looking over at the financials, the company is trading at a low forward GAAP P/E of about 13. This is justified though as the company’s revenue has declined by 8.21% from 2014 to 2018 and its Net income has declined at an even faster rate of 37% in the same timeframe. The company is not trading at a cheap valuation.

Even more worryingly, the company is highly leveraged at 82 percent of total liabilities to total assets and with a debt to equity ratio of 4.62. Furthermore, a large portion of the company’s assets (nearly 70%) are finance receivables i.e. amounts owed by customers who have bought Harley Davidson motorcycles on finance. As we have seen in the experience of Kraft Heinz (KHC), a large amount of leverage would limit the flexibility of the company to make the necessary changes to its strategy. Given the headwinds the company faces due to declining sales and the need to change its strategy, I am quite bearish on Harley Davidson. The company is not trading at a large enough discount to warrant an investment.

NEWS SOURCE:
https://seekingalpha.com
https://www.dailymail.co.uk
https://www.wheels24.co.za