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Harley-Davidson Archives — Bikernet Blog - Online Biker Magazine

Building the H-D Juneau Plant

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From Woodshed to Red-brick Behemoth in Ten Short Years

We’ve all heard the stories of how Harley-Davidson began life in 1903 in a Milwaukee woodshed on the site of what is now the headquarters of Miller Brewing Company. But with motorcycle production set to jump from around 1000 units in 1909 to nearly 30,000 by 1920, the Motor Company’s industrial digs had to change, and in a big way.

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First Harley-Davidson Edition GMC Pickup in history introduced

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Milwaukee – Jan. 10, 2020 –Harley-Davidson Motor Company (NYSE:HOG) and Tuscany Motor Co. will introduce the first Harley-Davidson edition GMC pickup in history at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona on January 11, 2020. Only 250 Harley-Davidson branded GMC® Sierra® trucks will be available through select authorized GMC/Tuscany dealers in North America.  

“Fans have long hungered for a limited edition GMC truck that celebrates their passion for Harley-Davidson motorcycles,” said Jeff Burttschell, Vice President, Tuscany Motor Co. “Working closely with Brad Richards, Vice President of Styling and Design at Harley-Davidson, we created a fantastic truck worthy of the Harley-Davidson name. For the first time in history, it will be possible to rumble down the road in a V8 powered Harley-Davidson edition GMC truck.” 

The new pickup includes over 65 edition-specific components that make the 2020 model truck distinctly Harley-Davidson. The styling was inspired by the famous Harley-Davidson® Fat Boy® model.  

“Harley-Davidson and GMC are two of the most recognizable and admired American brands in the world,” said Jon Bekefy, General Manager of Brand Marketing at Harley-Davidson, Inc. “We’re proud of the new Harley-Davidson edition GMC Sierra. It truly reflects Harley-Davidson’s passion for giving committed riders new ways to share their affinity for the brand and for riding.”

The Tuscany team begins with a GMC Sierra truck and then installs many motorcycle-inspired components. These include Harley-Davidson branded 22” milled aluminum wheels styled and inspired by the Harley-Davidson Fatboy model, a custom tuned exhaust with Harley-Davidson exclusive solid billet aluminum tips, distinctive Harley-Davidson bar and shield badging, stainless steel Harley-Davidson gauges, billet pedals, two-tone diamond stitched and perforated custom leather seating surfaces, and official numbered Harley-Davidson center console badge.

Additional edition-specific components that add to the aggressive look of the truck include, custom tuned BDS suspension lift with upgraded Fox shocks, 35” all-terrain tires, lighted power deploying running boards with unique integrated rocker trim, custom fender flares, functional fender vents, front bumper redesign with integrated LED light bar, custom design Harley-Davidson grille with Bar & Shield insert, replacement functional Harley-Davidson designed induction style hood, rear bumper redesign with custom exhaust ports, Harley-Davidson tailgate appliqué, color-matched Harley-Davidson inspired tonneau cover with debossed Harley-Davidson bar and shield logo, carpeted bed mat with Harley-Davidson logo, Harley-Davidson floor mats, Harley-Davidson door entry sills, custom accent color door, dash and steering wheel trim.

Under the arrangement, Tuscany will provide the GMC Sierra and manufacture the interior and exterior components under Harley-Davidson’s direction. The 2020 Harley-Davidson GMC will be available for delivery to the retail public at select authorized GMC dealers beginning February 2020. GMC dealers and the retail public can also reserve their vehicle by visiting HarleyTruck.com/GMC or calling (817.769.4720).

Going electric could help revive the motorcycle industry

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by Peter Valdes-Dapena from https://edition.cnn.com/

Motorcycle sales, particularly in the United States, have been struggling ever since the Great Recession. As older riders lose interest, or simply become unable to ride any longer, the younger generation hasn’t been showing the same kind of enthusiasm.

But the industry is hoping that electric motorcycles — with a quieter, simpler experience — might be the key to attracting new riders.

For one thing, electric motorcycles are easier to ride. With an electric motor, there’s no need to shift gears. To experienced riders, that’s no big deal, but most Americans today have become accustomed to automatic transmissions and don’t know how to shift gears.

“It’s just a lot easier learning curve,” said Susan Carpenter, a writer and radio host specializing in motorcycles. “You just hop on and twist the throttle. If you can balance, you can go.”

Another benefit is that electric motorcycles are much less noisy than gasoline-powered motorcycles. To many veteran riders, the roar of the engine is part of the excitement. But a lot of other people would prefer to enjoy their surroundings much more peacefully. The bikes also don’t have hot engines and exhaust pipes that can become burn hazards, especially when parked around kids.

Electric motorcycles also qualify for federal and state tax credits, similar to those for electric cars, although in smaller amounts.

There are tradeoffs, of course. Electric motorcycles have the same disadvantages as electric cars, namely cost and range. Motorcycles can only accommodate small batteries so they have a lot less range than gas-powered bikes. And that range diminishes greatly during high-speed highway riding because the bike’s electric motor has to compensate for increased wind resistance pressing against the rider’s not-so-aerodynamic body.

Hoping to get the attention of a new generation of riders, Harley-Davidson introduced the LiveWire electric motorcycle earlier this year.

But with a starting price of nearly $30,000 — more than three times the cost of an entry level motorcycle — it’s unlikely to attract many novice riders. With its extreme performance capabilities — it can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in just three seconds — the LiveWire doesn’t appear to be for first-time riders. (The bike does have selectable performance modes so it can be set up for less aggressive riding.)

“LiveWire sets the stage and sets the tone and is designed and priced to be a halo vehicle,” said Harley-Davidson spokesman Paul James, explaining that the LiveWire is aimed at establishing an image for the brand’s electric offerings rather than being a big seller. “And we’ll quickly follow that up with other form factors and other electric two-wheelers that will be in various price points and aimed at different customers.”

Harley-Davidson (HOG) wanted this bike to get people used to the idea of a motorcycle that doesn’t have the brand’s signature engine burble, said James. The LiveWire does make its own distinct sound, though. It comes from the gears that carry power from the electric motor to the belt that spins the back wheel. Harley-Davidson engineers spent time specifically tuning the naturally occurring whirring sound, much as they would the rumble of a gasoline engine.

For the real novices, Harley-Davidson offers the IronE, which targets tiny riders aged three to seven. The teeny off-road bike is powered by a small detachable battery similar to ones used for electric power tools and starts at around $650. Harley-Davidson has also shown pedaled e-bikes and scooters as concepts.

California-based Zero offers electric motorcycles like the Zero FX ZF3.6 for around $9,000. That bike has an estimated 27 miles of riding range from a small battery that can be easily changed for a fully charged one when it runs low on power. For about twice that amount, or around $20,000, bikes like the Zero SR/F can get about 123 miles in combined city and highway riding. (That compares to the 95 miles Harley-Davidson estimates for the LiveWire.) Buyers can also add battery power using a “Power Tank” accessory.

Zero’s bikes are used in a program called Discover the Ride, which introduces novice riders to motorcycle riding and takes place at Progressive International Motorcycle Shows across the United States. Riders demonstrate their basic two-wheeler skills on an electrically-assisted bicycle, then they are offered a ride on a Zero electric motorcycle.

Cake, a Swedish company, has models starting at a slightly more affordable $8,500. For that price, a buyer can get Cake’s ultra-minimalist Ösa+ model. Its design was inspired by a workbench and it looks like it. With detachable clamps, the owner can quickly customize the bike with cargo racks or an additional seat. The Ösa+ has a top speed of just 60 miles an hour. It’s intended as an urban workhorse.

Cake also makes the slightly faster and pricier Kalk& with a more traditional, but still distinctively spare, design.

With their emphasis on light weight and simplicity, Cake bikes take the idea that electric motorcycling should be different from riding a gas-powered bike to an extreme. The models are particularly popular with new riders, according to a company spokesman. After being available in the US for a little over a year, there’s a three-month waiting list for the bikes, Cake claims.

All-Terrain Adventure Bike from Harley-Davidson

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With Pan American 1250 – Harley Davidson breaks the Hog rules again

The Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 was announced for launch in 2021 and the company’s Instagram suggests we might be able to see this breakthrough bike in dealerships in 2020. First offered for inspection at EICMA show 2019, the excitement is visible and strong.

Brad Richards, Vice President of Styling and Design of H-D mentioned in an interview that they have built a Jeep with two-wheels.

H-D is entering new market segments with two new middleweight models. One is the Pan America 1250 adventure and the other is a 975cc Bronx streetfighter. New Revolution Max engine will be offered in two displacement sizes. A smaller, 975cc engine will power the upcoming Bronx streetfighter, whereas a bigger 1,250cc will power the Pan America.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FIRST FEATURE OF PAN AMERICA

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2019 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special Review

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Wild hogs can’t be broken

No name in American motorcycling looms as large as Harley-Davidson, the longest continually operating motorcycle brand in the States. While it’s experienced its share of problems over the last decade or so, it’s continually working on updating and innovating.

What is it about the Street Glide that makes it such a special machine? It’s got a massive 114 cubic-inch Milwaukee Eight engine that produces just 90 horsepower.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REVIEW ON BIKERNET.COM

Harley-Davidson ridership course at UWM sees growth after second semester

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by Margaret Naczek from https://www.bizjournals.com/

Last spring, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee offered its first Harley-Davidson one-credit ridership class through the College of Health Sciences. Four students enrolled the first semester followed by an additional 16 students in the fall of 2019.

As students begin enrolling in classes for spring 2020, the director of the College of Health Sciences Ron Wiza said there are only four remaining slots available.

As the program grows, so do the amount of motorcycle riders, coinciding with Harley-Davidson’s “More Roads Lead to Harley-Davidson” strategic plan. Part of Harley-Davidson’s plan is the Broader Access goal to “create new pathways to Harley-Davidson, expanding access and appeal to more people around the world.”

The Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer detailed that it hopes to create high-engagement customer experiences across all retail channels. The company’s “Amplify Brand” goal also encourages “enhancing the Harley-Davidson experience to inspire interest in riding, fostering Moto-culture and build an even bigger, more passionate community of Harley-Davidson riders.”

The program began as a partnership between Harley-Davidson and UW-Milwaukee. The company connected Wiza with Milwaukee Harley-Davidson dealership at 11310 W. Silver Spring Road.

“The other reason that we chose the Milwaukee Harley-Davidson location is because even though UW-Milwaukee is a commuter college where a lot of people don’t live on campus, there are still several thousand students that live in the surrounding community around UWM,” Wiza said, noting that it was important to pick a dealership that was either close to the campus or accessible on the transit line.

“Here at UWM, we’re kind of an urban campus. One of our selling points is we are always encouraging students who attend our university to experience the vast array of things that Milwaukee has to offer,” Wiza said. “With that in mind, we strive to create partnerships and develop opportunities with local well-known businesses and attractions in the Milwaukee area.”

Twenty-year-old Grace Oddis, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering at UWM, took the course in its inaugural semester.

“I knew the class was really expensive. I saw that UWM offered it as a credit. I thought that would be a great opportunity to take it and also get a credit, just for the goal of being able to ride on the road and feel comfortable,” Oddis said.

As a one-credit class, the students are required to commit about 48 hours of learning to that course. For the Harley-Davidson ridership class, students complete a pre-course and post-course assignment along with two evening sessions. The rest of the time is dedicated to a weekend at the dealership doing the physical motorcycle driving lessons.

“We learned a lot about motorcycle safety. That was the biggest thing — how to prevent things from happening, being able to go around different obstacles and keeping the bike straight on the safety course,” Oddis said.

Now the sophomore has her motorcycle license and is looking at buying a bike, something that would have taken longer if she had not participated in the course.

“I thought it was a great experience. You felt comfortable. You felt safe. I think it’s great to get more women involved in motorcycles and teaching them. This was a great way for a college student to be able to do that no matter what you’re going to school for,” she said.

Harley-Davidson did not respond to a Milwaukee Business Journal request for comments on the UWM program.

Duke’s Harley-Davidson closing in early 2020

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Duke’s Harley-Davidson is closing its doors early in the new year, but enthusiasts of the classic motorcycle will have a chance to get some holiday deals.

The business, located just off Highway 40 South, between Chatham and Blenheim, was established in 2005 by local entrepreneur and motoring enthusiast Rob Myers.

He said a lot of thought and consideration has gone into the decision to close the business.

“As an absentee owner, I thank my staff for their incredible hard work and leadership over the last 15 years,” Myers said in a media release.

“Duke’s is something I always thought would be a good business for a husband-and-wife team to be a partner of mine in, but I was never able to find the right partner,” he added.

“I’ve always enjoyed Harleys, and to own Duke’s has been a fun ride, but it’s time to move onto new projects.”

Myers received an early introduction to the motorcycling hobby after he traded his 1959 Edsel Corsair for a Triumph Bonneville motorcycle. From there, he went on to acquire other bikes and then a series of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, the last of which he still owns today.

Myers’ passion for bikes and deal-making led him to build Duke’s Harley-Davidson.

Following its closure, Myers will look for an appropriate tenant to re-lease the Duke’s Harley-Davidson building to.

Holiday sales have commenced at the business, which also features motorcycle parts, accessories and Harley-Davidson clothing.

Duke’s Harley-Davidson will fully honour any pre-existing agreements with customers regarding motorcycle storage and repairs, stated the media release.

Man robs Historic Harley Davidson, Topeka police find within 24 hours

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by Mark Feuerborn, Kelli Peltier from https://www.ksnt.com/

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A local motorcycle vendor and museum thanked the Topeka Police Department after a man stole cash and property from their building.

29-year-old Floyd Earl Taylor III, the man accused of breaking into Harley-Davidson in Topeka, is in jail.

Harley Davidson of Topeka’s general manager, Eli Geiger, said a burglar broke in on Monday night.

“It was a sinking feeling. You know it’s a terrible feeling,” Geiger said.

The burglar got away with money, merchandise, and even took items belonging to employees.

Police were able to find the suspect the next day.

“The detective work was spot on, they were quick and very thorough and led to an arrest,” Geiger said.

Officers arrested Taylor on Tuesday at the Capitol Plaza hotel and found all of the stolen items.

Taylor faces charges of burglary and theft of items and cash totaling more than $1,500, according to his booking record. Taylor also faces an additional charge for possession of a controlled substance.

Taylor is in the Shawnee County Jail on a combined $20,000 bond.

Recall: Rear Brakes On Harley Trikes Could Activate On Their Own

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by Sabrina Giacomini from https://www.rideapart.com/

A software issue poses a safety hazard.

The NHTSA has issued a recall by Harley-Davidson on three models of trikes that could potentially present a software issue that could cause the rear brakes to activate on their own. Here are the details.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company has issued a recall on over 12,500 trikes in the United States for a potential brake problem due to a faulty software. The company estimates that roughly one percent of the 12,624 recalled units are actually affected by the problem. The models targeted by this recall are:

  • 2019-2020 Harley-Davidson FLHTCUTG (Classic Ultra Tri Glide)
  • 2020 Harley-Davidson FLHTCUTGSE (CVO Tri Glide)
  • 2019-2020 Harley-Davidson FLRT (Freewheeler)

The three models of Harley trike are equipped with an electro-hydraulic control unit (EHCU) that manages the Trike Traction Control System. The company found that the EHCU could present an error and cause the traction control to respond incorrectly to a faulty rear-wheel speed signal. This could lead to one of the rear brakes to engage on its own and cause the trike to suddenly change direction. The loss of control that could result from it could ultimately cause a crash.

The Harley-Davidson dealers should already be aware of the issue and letters to the owners affected have been sent at the beginning of December. Owners are invited to make an appointment with their Harley-Davidson dealer to have their trike checked. Should the vehicle present the software issue, the system will be updated which should eliminate the error. The service will be provided free of charge.

Should they have any questions or concerns, owners of one of the models involved in the recall are invited to call the Harley-Davidson customer service line at 1-800-258-2464 to have their VIN verified. The company’s internal number for this recall is 0175. Customers are also welcome to address their inquiries to the NHTSA’s hotline service at 1-888-327-4236.