Harley-Davidson Archives — Bikernet Blog - Online Biker Magazine

Harley-Davidson Vancy Has Both Thunderbike and Roland Sands in It

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

Just like garages specializing in tuning or rebuilding cars, custom motorcycle shops are a dime a dozen. Nowhere in the world are there as many in the U.S., though, and over the years some incredible two-wheeled machines have been revealed here.

But that doesn’t mean the rest of the world is sitting idle. From Asia to Europe and Australia, shops are doing their best to come up with their own worthwhile designs. Most of the time, they fail, and the number of such high profile organizations outside the U.S. is not that big.

In Europe, the most active Harley-Davidson shop are the Germans from Thunderbike. Over the past 25 years or so, they came up with literally hundreds of builds, both based on stock Harleys, or using custom frames and Harley engines.

Being so active means Thunderbike was quickly noticed by the big names from across the Ocean, and the shop has been a constant presence in the H-D build-off competitions over the years. At times, some collaborations were born.

So is the case with this bike here, one the shop calls Vancy. Based on a Harley-Davidson Iron, it came to be as a product that uses parts made by Roland Sands, the American motorcycle racer turned designer of custom motorcycles.

Built as “the perfect example for the fact that you can get a new custom Harley with relatively small money,” it features a new suspension system, a new exhaust and a new air filter, but also parts meant to make it look better than stock, such as a new seat, new grips, and of course a custom paint job on the rear fender and fuel tank.

We are not being told exactly how much this customization work is worth, but the Germans are know for coming up with great designs for prices that are often under $10,000, not including the base motorcycle, of course.

Harley-Davidson to cut hundreds of jobs as part of turnaround strategy

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by Rajesh Kumar Singh from https://www.reuters.com

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Harley-Davidson Inc (HOG.N) on Thursday said it will lay off 500 employees this year as part of new Chief Executive Jochen Zeitz’s efforts to revive the struggling motorcycle maker.

As part of the overhaul, Chief Financial Officer John Olin will leave the company effective immediately. Darrell Thomas, treasurer, will become interim chief financial officer, it said.

Harley-Davidson’s sales have been declining for the past five years in the United States, its largest market, as its baby-boomer customer base ages. The economic pain caused by the coronavirus pandemic has further dented retail demand.

In response to weak sales, the Milwaukee-based company has cut production, leading to 140 job cuts last month at its factories in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The latest cuts are in addition to those layoffs, a company spokeswoman said.

Zeitz, who took over in February, is hailed for turning around the Puma brand’s near-bankrupt business.

His restructuring strategy, dubbed The Rewire, is aimed at making Harley a leaner and more nimble organization. It seeks to reset product lines, focus on the company’s core strengths and prioritize profitable markets.

“Significant changes are necessary, and we must move in new directions,” Zeitz said.

Harley said the measures announced on Thursday will lay the foundation for a five-year strategic plan to revive sales that the company expects to share in the fourth quarter.

In all, the restructuring will eliminate 700 positions globally. It will result in a $50 million restructuring charge in 2020, including $42 million in the second quarter.

While the overhaul is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Harley said it will likely cause additional restructuring charges in 2021.

The company will provide more details of the financial impact in its second-quarter earnings report later this month.

Harley’s shares were last down 1% at $25.33.

Harley-Davidson Announces Rewire Progress

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from https://motorcycles.einnews.com

Harley-Davidson Announces Rewire Progress, New Operating Model and Leaner Organization to Drive Focus and Efficiency

Milwaukee, July 09, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As part of its comprehensive efforts to rewire the company (The Rewire), announced in April, Harley-Davidson, Inc. (“Harley-Davidson”) (NYSE:HOG) today announced an overhaul of its global operating model, including a leaner, more nimble organization. Initial Rewire actions are expected to result in restructuring costs of approximately $42 million in Q2 2020. The company plans to share a summary of The Rewire, including additional costs and expected savings, when it releases its Q2 results.

“The Rewire is progressing very well and substantial work is being done to eliminate complexity and get Harley-Davidson on a path to winning. Our new operating model is simpler, more focused and enables faster decisions across the entire company,” said Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson. “We’ve taken a hard look at our entire set up, our spending, and how work is getting done, to align our operating model, structure and processes. We are building a strong foundation to drive a high-performance organization in the future.”

Changes to the company’s operating model under The Rewire include all areas of the business globally, from commercial operations to corporate functions. Changes have also occurred in the company’s leadership, among them, Chief Financial Officer John Olin has left his role, with current VP Treasurer, Darrell Thomas assuming duties as interim CFO until a successor is appointed. “Significant changes are necessary, and we must move in new directions. I thank John for his commitment during his 17 years with the company and for his leadership during this critical phase of The Rewire,” Zeitz said.

Overall, the streamlined structure requires approximately 700 fewer positions across the company’s global operations with approximately 500 employees expected to exit the organization through 2020.

The key elements of The Rewire:

  • Enhance core strengths and better balance expansion into new spaces
  • Prioritize the markets that matter
  • Reset product launches and product line up for simplicity and maximum impact
  • Build the Parts & Accessories and General Merchandise businesses to full potential
  • Adjust and align the organizational structure, cost structure and operating model to reduce complexity and drive efficiency to set Harley-Davidson up for stability and success

The company plans to share a comprehensive summary of The Rewire actions and financial impacts when it releases its Q2 results later this month. The Rewire will set the foundation for a new 2021-2025 strategic plan which is expected to be shared in Q4.

Harley-Davidson Glamor Is Shovelhead Reloaded

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

There’s something special about older Harleys. Maybe it’s their looks, maybe the engineering, or perhaps just nostalgia, but there are fans out there, not few, who would always choose an aging Harley over a newer one. And the same goes for custom shops.

In America, there are countless garages who like to take these old Harleys and customize them beyond recognition, as shown in June’s The No Show online event set up by the Milwaukee bike maker. Elsewhere, however, things are a bit different.

Take Europe, for instance. The continent is Harley-friendly, yes, but far less so than the home market. There’s no decades-old tradition there of riding these bikes, not in the way we have it in the U.S., and that means that custom shops, few as they are, usually steer clear of older H-D bikes when it comes to customizing them.

Have a look at one of Europe’s largest custom bike shop, Thunderbike. These guys probably have hundreds of customized motorcycles made over the past 25 years, but most of them are recent Softails, because this is what customers in Europe like.

But there are exceptions, and this here Super Glide is one of them. Also built by Thunderbike, it comes as a testimony of how older Harleys can be better platforms for customization than newer ones.

The bike is an FXE from 1977, and it was given its current shape at the end of a three-month long build that took place in 2016. It sports a Shovelhead engine inside the stock frame, and custom parts all around.

An S&S Super E carburetor, custom struts, special wheels and fenders, and of course a unique fuel tank are just a few of the over 20 aftermarket pieces of hardware that went into building the bike the shop calls Glamor.

We are not being told how much it cost to put the whole thing together, nor what happened to it in the years that have passed since its completion. But it sure looks great.


Harley-Davidson Black Power Is a Cheap Way to a Custom Motorcycle

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

This year’s King of Kings competition was one for the ages. A total of 15 bike builders from across the world, specialized in remaking Harleys, took the center stage with their incredible creations until one of them, the Apex Predator, was crowned ruler of them all.

Being essentially a competition intended for the bike maker’s international network of dealers, King of Kings (known in previous years as Battle of the Kings) lacks the glamour of other things American. Thus there’s a good chance you didn’t know that much about the bikes and their builders, whom we’ve covered extensively back in May.

This competition has been around for some time, though, and the shows of the past are equally as exciting in terms of projects as the one that just ended. Case in point the Harley-Davidson called Black Power we have in the gallery above.

The bike is the work of German Harley shop Thunderbike itself was not an entry in the competition, but was inspired by one: the 2017 Thunderbike entry known as the Custom King.

Black Power is based on a Harley-Davidson Iron 883, and has been designed in the usual Thunderbike way, with a wealth of custom parts making their way onto the two-wheeler, and then wrapped in a special paintwork which in this case is obviously black.

Following the tradition of the Harley competition, there are fewer custom parts featured on this build than usual, but the result is equally stunning. We have new toppers and new covers for the ignition, new handlebar and new speedometer, new exhaust system and of course a reworked fuel tank, just to name a few.

Thunderbike does not say how much the conversion of the Iron cost, but the parts listed by the shop do not cost more than $2,000 combined – paint job and man hours not included, of course.


Harley-Davidson Blue Vegas Is a $15K Bet on German Custom Bike Building

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

Harley-Davidson itself has a build-off competition dedicated to its international dealers with a budget cap of around $6,500. The bike maker has this rule because motorcycles can be customized for far less than one would spend on remaking a four-wheeled vehicle, and with incredible results.

Over the past eight weeks or so, either as part of our Harley-Davidson Month or Two-Wheeler Month coverages, we’ve talked aplenty about custom Harleys coming out of a German shop by the name of Thunderbike. Diverse as they are, these creations have in general one thing in common: they’re not that expensive to make, provided you already own the base motorcycle.

The one in the gallery above is different, though. What you’re looking at is a Fat Boy S (which you can get in stock form today for a little over $20,000) modified so heavily that it’s price has jumped by at least $15,000.

That’s the number we came up with after adding all the prices of the over 20 custom parts that have gone into making it. It does not include the man hours put into it, the incredible paint job, and some other parts Thunderbike probably failed to mention.

The build is called as per the Germans Blue Vegas, partly because of the unlikely color chosen for the wheels and the flames on the tank.

Leaving aside the fact that the custom parts (ranging from the wheels and fenders to the handlebar and tank) fit together perfectly, the paint job is one of the main reasons the motorcycle looks so great. It might seem risky business for the garage to go the blue way, but since this was probably made at the request of a customer, the risk was not really theirs.

In the end, the bet paid off, as this certainly is a unique motorcycle in the world of custom bikes.

Harley-Davidson Billy Bones Is No Pirate, Still Looks Menacing

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

Even today, more than a century after the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle rolled, there’s no denying the appeal the Milwaukee-made machines have for the people in the custom industry.

First, we have the countless shops and individuals out there who keep working their magic on decades-old HDs, as highlighted by the recent The No Show ran by the bike maker last month. Designed to help all those builders who had no place to show their creations because of the ongoing health crisis, the online event brought to light a number of very unique creations, some of them amazing.

At the same time, the bigger and more visible shops have shifted their focus to the more recent models in the bike maker’s lineup. That’s not a bad thing in itself, but these newer machines have some too industrial about them. Take the Thunderbike line of custom Breakouts for instance: the Germans have around 40 of them, and despite each one being made to be unique, they do kind of look the same.

The Billy Bones we have here is a tad different, though. Based on the Cross Bones model that was produced briefly not long ago, it has a very distinct look about it, one that somehow links today’s mass-produced Harley’s with the ones of the olden days that are still so appreciated in the modern times.

This particular bike came to be in 2009, at a time when the Cross Bones was still around. It packs a great deal of custom parts (over 20 of them, and we’re told not all have been listed on the bike’s official page) that took about a month to assemble in the shape you see here, a shape the guys at Thunderbike call “vintage.”

The motorcycle has been christened Billy Bones by its makers, probably as a means to continue the pirate-themed nomenclature of the Milwaukee company.

First Border-to-Border Trip Across the U.S. Done on Harley-Davidson LiveWire

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by Elena Gorgan from https://www.autoevolution.com

Electrification is coming to motorcycles slowly, slower than it seems to be happening on the automotive market. the Harley-Davidson LiveWire, the first all-electric bike from the iconic American manufacturer, is a good example in this sense.

While certain riders will vouch for the LiveWire and its awesomeness in terms of rideability and performance, many still can’t get past the $30,000 price point – which, they believe, is simply too high for the kind of range it offers. Assuming money is not the issue, range anxiety can also not be a problem, as the first border-to-border trip across the U.S. on a LiveWire can attest.

Diego is a long-time Harley rider and an early adopter of EVs. He owns a LiveWire and, to mark his 50th birthday, he decided to use it to show the world that long-distance trips can (and should) be made on an all-electric motorcycle. With careful planning, backup plans crafted ahead of time, and patience, the experience can be an extremely beautiful and satisfying one. Bring your family along and you’ve got yourself an awesome road trip, one that will create memories to last a lifetime.

That’s what Diego did. He documented it all on social media (Harley-Davidson LiveWire Rider on Facebook): nearly one week and a half on the road, covering more than 1,300 miles (2,092 km) from the U.S.-Mexico border to the U.S.-Canada one and passing through California, Oregon and Washington. The trip was not rushed, so he wasn’t aiming for a certain number of miles to be covered daily.

The key to making it work on the LiveWire’s mixed city / highway range of 95 miles (153 km) was, of course, careful planning. He used the Plugshare app and only Charge Point and Electrify America stations. He would make sure to arrive to a station with a few miles of range left, which allowed him to travel to a second, backup station in case the first one was broken. When no charging station was available, he stopped for the night at a hotel.

His wife and daughter trailed behind in a Ford C-Max, and the daughter occasionally rode on the back of the LiveWire. They made tourist stops along the way and, though the bike never had any mechanical issues that required attention, he did lose his keyfob at a charging station when his wife fainted from heatstroke. The three had then to go back to search for the key, which they didn’t find, and wait until a spare shipped by FedEx. In total, the setback added some 200 miles (321 km) to their trip.

Reaching final destination was thrilling – a very satisfying outcome to a sometimes-hard but always fun ride.

“We made a 1400 all EV trip from the Mexican border to the Canadian border,” Diego says. “And it all ended the day of my birthday! Thanks to the manny people who we met in this journey to be the 1st #harleydavidson #livewire to do this and no one will take it from me.”

Harley-Davidson pulls Facebook ads, severs ties with Tennessee dealership over racist posting

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by Rick Barrett from https://www.tennessean.com

Harley-Davidson Inc. has pulled its Facebook ads and severed ties with one of its dealerships in response to hateful comments made on social media.

Hundreds of companies, including Harley, are pausing Facebook advertising this month as part of a larger boycott.

“Racism, hate or intolerance have no place in the Harley-Davidson community or anywhere — in person or online. We are pausing our Facebook ads in July to stand in support of efforts to stop the spread of hateful comment,” Harley says on its website.

The world’s largest manufacturer of heavyweight motorcycles also severed ties with Abernathy’s Cycle in Union City, Tennessee, following an alleged racist posting on the dealership’s Facebook page.

Screen shots, shared on social media, showed it said, “I’m sick of this black lives matter,” and those involved in the protests should go “back to Africa and stay.”

Dealership owner Russell Abernathy II denied making the Facebook post and said he rejected its content.

“And by extension, Abernathy’s Harley-Davidson have and always will be welcoming to all riders regardless of race. The derogatory nature of the comment in no way aligns with my personal beliefs or that of Harley-Davidson Motor Co. It personally saddens me that this post has caused such wide-reaching pain to those that have already been subject to so many social injustices. I vow to make certain that Abernathy’s Harley-Davidson provides a positive environment of diversity, equality and inclusion for all,” the dealership says on its website.

But for now, anyway, Harley says Abernathy’s “will no longer be part of our dealer network.”

Harley-Davidson Launches Training Program with Personal Coaches for Beginners

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

In September of 2019, Harley-Davidson announced an ambitious plan to have 1 million more riders on the road by the year 2027. That would be 4 million people riding Harley motorcycles, up from the 3 million recorded three years ago, in 2017.

To do that, the company announced a range of new bikes being prepared for the future, including the now obviously not that successful electric LiveWire. But having new bikes that can be ridden means of course nothing if people do not know how to ride them.

The company already has a training program it calls Riding Academy New Rider Course, but that doesn’t allow for personalized sessions. That’s why a new program was announced on June 30, dedicated to beginners who need a personal trainer.

Called Learn to Ride, the program is now open and availble to access at Harley dealers and allows for personal coaching sessions with trainers, either individually or as a group of up to four people. Each session lasts 90 minutes, and free rides are being given on a Harley-Davidson Street 500 motorcycle, specially equipped for beginners, on a practice course.

“For riders that always wanted to learn but couldn’t fit a multi-day course into their schedule or prefer to learn in private session, this program is what they have been waiting for,” the Milwaukee bike maker said in a statement when announcing the program.

“Sessions can be scheduled 1-on-1 or as a private party with up to 4 participants. This program is a great option for spouses, friends, and individuals to finally learn and fulfill their dreams of riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.”

If you plan to become a Harley rider, or just plan on using these guys as tools into learning the tricks of the trade and then move on to something else, you can head over to this link and get more info.