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Harley Virtually Confirms Custom 1250 On Company Website

By | General Posts

by Dustin Wheelen from https://www.rideapart.com

The Harley website’s Future Models section has been a revolving door since the brand announced its ambitious plans in July 2018. Since that momentous Annual Dealer Meeting, the Motor Company intermittently teased the Pan America, Bronx, and Custom 1250, keeping customers curious as they further developed the platforms.

With Jochen Zeits taking the reins from Matt Levatich in 2020, many believed the Bar and Shield would scrap its future models and fully return to cruiser-style motorcycles. Like most speculation, half was true (Harley shelved the Bronx indefinitely) and half wasn’t (the Pan America is moving forward). Most recently, the brand added its Custom 1250 prototype back to the Future Models page, paving the way for the concept to finally become a production model.

While Harley officially labels the bike as its Future High-Performance Custom Model, most believe the custom could fill the Sportster’s slot in the company’s lineup. With the long-in-the-tooth model failing to meet Euro5 emissions standards, the MoCo isn’t able to serve a sizeable portion of its customer base. Though the Sportster’s throwback style contributes to its popularity, performance-oriented models like the Indian Scout, Yamaha Bolt, and the new Honda Rebel 1100 are pushing the segment forward.

To meet its competitors, the Custom 1250 would share the same 1250cc 60-degree Revolution Max V-twin powering the new Pan America. Whether the cruiser-styled model will also achieve the Pan America’s claimed 145 horsepower and 90 lb-ft of torque is yet to be confirmed. What looks more certain, however, is that the Sportster’s broad customization possibilities will make it to the new platform.

Of course, the website adds a caveat in fine print: All future models shown may not be available in all markets. Thanks to Harley’s new distribution deal with Hero MotoCorp, we doubt the Custom 1250 will ever see Indian shores. In all honesty, we’ll have to wait for an official Harley release to confirm that the Custom 1250 will even make it to dealer showrooms in 2021, but it’s nice to see it out of the concept waste bin for now.

Why Harley-Davidson Is The Tesla Of Motor Bikes

By | General Posts

by Jim Osman from https://www.forbes.com

Visionary CEO Keith E. Wandell should go down in history as the man who introduced the electric motorcycle to the US market and possibly the first CEO to bring it to the world.

It was in 2011 that Mr. Wandell first showcased his unbranded team-made creation to a keen San Francisco motor bike enthusiast crowd. He might be the most notorious CEO that the iconic US bike manufacturer Harley-Davidson HOG +4.1% has had (founded 117 years ago in Milwaukee, Wisconsin).

However, The Edge (the global leader for activist ideas, special situations and Spinoffs) believes new CEO Jochen Zeitz is the best thing to happen to the company since Mr. Wandell left and successor Matthew S. Levatich was fired suddenly thanks to Impala Asset Management, the $2.4 billion activist hedge fund led by Bob Bishop.

The US military purchased over 20,000 motorcycles from Harley-Davidson in World War I and the company also lent itself to supporting US and Allied troops in World War II, with 90,000 military motorcycles handed over.

Harley-Davidson’s global fan club run in the millions of members, called Harley Owners Group (HOG), and their constant support of US military and Allied troops gives to many charities around the world.

Under Mr. Wandell’s stewardship, the electric motorbike became a reality for Harley-Davidson when the LiveWire was first displayed to the media in June 2014 and released to customers by September 2019.

It even became the star of 2019 documentary “The Long Way Up” featuring Unicef Ambassadors and Hollywood actor Ewan McGregor and his longtime riding buddy Charley Boorman when they traveled from Argentina to LA on the electric LiveWire bikes.

In the 1950s Harley-Davidson dealt with reputation damage as well as economic downturns, and was on its knees by the 1960s. In 1969, American Machine and Foundry (AMF) rescued the nearly bankrupt Harley-Davidson.

AMF sold the company to a group of 13 investors led by Vaughn Beals and Willie G. Davidson for $80 million in 1981. To this day, it’s one of only two major American motorcycle manufacturers to survive beyond the Great Depression.

On July 1, 1987, executives from Harley-Davidson and the New York Stock Exchange rode from the Harley dealership in Queens to the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street to celebrate the first day Harley-Davidson began trading under the ticker symbol HDI, according to the Harley-Davidson museum.

Mr. Wandell joined Harley-Davidson in May 2009, becoming the first external CEO since 1981. On February 7, 2012, under Wandell’s reign Harley-Davidson changed its New York Stock ticker symbol from HDI to HOG.

Mr. Wandell joined Harley-Davidson as CEO in 2009 and by 2012 he had assumed complete control as Chairman of the company’s board of directors while paying investors an increased dividend. It was Mr. Wandell who showed off his unbranded electric motorcycle to enthusiasts in downtown San Francisco in Autumn 2011.

But Mr. Wandell had an eye for talent and promoted Matthew S. Levatich, who joined Harley-Davidson in 1994, as Chief Operating Officer to President, and then CEO of the company in 2015 when Mr. Wandell retired.

Current President, CEO and Executive Chairman Jochen Zeitz (took office February 2020) made two purchases in May 2020, once on May 8 (97,850 shares at $21.26, totaling just over $2m) and again on May 13 (51,020 shares at $19.52, totaling just shy of $1m and representing a 51% increase to his holdings).

These were his first purchases of HOG stock and he has recently made another purchase on August 12 – this time buying 71,450 shares at $27.86 (again spending about $2m, representing a further 47% increase to his holdings) at a significantly higher level than his previous buys. From the May 8 purchase to date, Zeitz’s insider buying made an adjusted +23% return.

Another executive also bought on May 13, then-CFO John Olin, who bought 13,500 shares at $19.02 (spending $260k and representing a 19% increase to his holdings at the time. Since that purchase, Mr. Olin has left the company as part of the larger cost-cutting restructuring called “The Rewire,” though his purchase has yielded a significant return of +45% in just over three months.

Vice President & Treasurer Darrell Thomas has taken over interim CFO duties as of July 9 until a formal successor has been named.

In April 2020, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, HOG announced a strategic turnaround plan called “The Rewire,” intended to overhaul the company’s global operating model and save costs.

As a result of the ongoing implementation of the Rewire, several optimization changes have been made to the global workforce and reduction of redundancies, there is an increased focus on offering customizable parts and accessories to help consumers make their motorcycles more personal.

The creation of Chief Digital Officer with Jagdish Krishnan in the role is designed create broader and more engaging digital marketing experience for consumers.

This initiative intends to bring Harley-Davidson into the modern era and appeal to generation Z consumers and beyond (as much of the counter-culture base has grown older and motorcycles have struggled to catch on with a wider young audience), and may provide another example of Mr. Zeitz’s turnaround magic.

Hot New BMW Roadster Motorcycles Coming

By | General Posts

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

There are presently four roadster motorcycles in BMW Motorrad’s lineup for the U.S. market: the R 1250 R, the S 1000 R, the F 900 R, and the G 310 R. As of later this week, that number will grow, as the Bavarians are getting ready to present two new models in the range.

The announcement was made with just a couple of days left before the unveiling is set to take place. The Germans will be showing the two new bikes on their Youtube and Facebook channels on Thursday, November 19, starting at 4.00 pm CEST.

We are also promised “exciting guests,” but more importantly the launch of the configurator for the two new models as soon as the presentation concludes. Naturally, we’ll be covering the story as soon as the info and photos for the bikes are released, so check back here for more later in the week.

Despite all the things going on in the world, BMW has been very active in 2020 on the motorcycle front, a sign that in the coming years it will focus more on this industry.

The biggest reveal of the year for the Germans was the R 18, the first entry in the cruiser segment since the R1200 RC (and a direct jab at Harley-Davidson), but also a bike powered by the “most powerful 2-cylinder boxer engine ever used in motorcycle series production.”

More recently, we’ve been given a preview at the bike maker’s plans for the electrified scooter segment, with the presentation of the near-production version of the Concept Link. Called Definition CE 04, the electric two-wheeler is supposed to revolutionize the segment through a series of technological advancements, including the use of the largest display in the scooter world, a 10.25-inch unit.

Given how extreme these two premieres of 2020 have been, we expect BMW to up the stakes in the roadster segment as well as soon as the new models are unveiled.

Harley-Davidson Serial 1 Electric Bike Lineup Revealed, Priced From $3,399

By | General Posts

by Mircea Panait from https://www.autoevolution.com

When you hear Harley-Davidson, what do you think of straight away? What kind of image does it spring into your mind? Easy Rider is one potential answer, but we can all agree that H-D stands for old-school motorcycles and a very strong culture built on these loud bikes.

The problem with Harley-Davidson, however, is the company’s reluctance to modernize, reinvent itself, and appeal to a younger audience. Japanese manufacturers are miles ahead in every respect, but H-D is trying hard to make amends for decades of resting on past laurels. The LiveWire is the perfect example of this change, and in the spring of 2021, the Serial 1 electric bicycle will be joining the electric motorcycle.

Revealed less than a month ago, the Serial 1 consists of four models at launch. These are the Mosh/Cty and Rush/Cty in three variants called the Regular, Speed, and Step-Thru. Capable of 20 mph (32 kph) or 28 mph (45 kph) from 250 watts of continuous power, these mid-drive electric bicycles don’t come cheap at $3,399 for the entry-level specification. At the highest end of the spectrum, you should prepare $4,999.

Classified as Class 1 e-bikes in the United States of America, the Serial 1 features a frame-integrated battery of the lithium-ion chemistry and a maintenance-free carbon belt drive designed by Gates. Coincidence or not, the LiveWire has a belt drive too.

At the time of writing, there’s a pre-order special offer for all Serial 1 bikes in the guise of free shipping in the Lower 48 States and Germany of all places. No fewer than eight sizes are offered in total, four for boys and four for girls. From S to XL, the Serial 1 lineup should be perfect for riders ranging from 4’11” to 6’5” or 149 to 195 centimeters.

All e-bikes ship as standard with integrated lights up front and at the rear, and the electric motor comes courtesy of Brose Drive. No fewer than four drive modes are offered in the guise of eco, tour, sport, and boost. As for the transmission, the Enviolo Automatiq is geared up mostly for ride comfort rather than out-and-out performance.

Royal Enfield To Launch Classic Electric In 2023

By | General Posts

by Arun Prakash from https://www.rushlane.com

Royal Enfield is looking to strengthen its position by expanding its portfolio both in domestic as well as overseas markets

Royal Enfield recently launched its cruiser motorcycle Meteor 350 after a long and arduous wait. The bike had been highly anticipated for almost a year now and since its launch has mostly received positive responses from different quarters. However, Royal Enfield will not be limiting itself with this launch.

The Chennai-based bikemaker is looking to expand its portfolio – both domestic and international – by introducing as many 28 new models, in the next seven years. Starting with the Meteor 350, which was recently launched, the next bike planned for launch is the new gen Classic 350 in next quarter. This is expected to be followed by new gen Bullet 350, Electra 350, Cruiser 650, Himalayan 650, Classic Electric etc.

Royal Enfield Future Plans
Speaking to PTI on Royal Enfield’s future plans, CEO Vinod K Dasari said that the company has got a product plan for the next seven years or so. He added that the brand is looking to launch a new product every quarter which means that at least 28 new bikes will be launched in the next seven years. This is to strengthen its position in the domestic as well as international markets.

Royal Enfield recently set up a new manufacturing facility in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires which became the company’s first overseas production base outside India. The company is also looking to set up a new manufacturing facility in Thailand in the next 6-12 months followed by one in Brazil in the future.

He further goes on to add that all these new motorcycles will play in the mid-segment, i.e., 250cc-750cc displacement. Dasari did not divulge any details regarding the investment required for the upcoming models but said that the company will spend “several hundred crores on new products, new technologies like electric vehicles, digital solutions and so on”. Yes, an all electric Royal Enfield based on the Classic platform is due for launch in 2023.

Dasari further elaborates that the company has enough production capacity for the next 2-3 years and, therefore, a significant amount of its investments will be flown towards development of new technology including digital solutions, enhancements and new products including EVs; and global expansion.

Royal Enfield’s Growth Prospects This Year
When questioned about the brand’s growth prospects in the domestic market in the current fiscal year, Dasari said this year has to be seen on a month-on-month basis. The first four to five months businesses were seriously affected due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus and the subsequent nationwide lockdown.

However, now the company has achieved booking levels better than pre-Covid levels. He claims that even though Royal Enfield has received bookings for more than one month, it has inventory in the pipeline left to suffice 15-20 days.

Meteor 350
Royal Enfield, primarily known for its mid-segment displacement motorcycles, has been in the news very often lately due to the launch of Meteor 350. It is offered in three variants- Fireball, Stellar and Supernova and has been priced at Rs 1.75 lakh for the base variant and Rs 1.90 lakh for the top-spec variant. (Both prices are ex-showroom).

Zero Motorcycles Reveals New 2021 Lineup

By | General Posts

from https://www.oaoa.com

Zero Motorcycles Reveals New 2021 Lineup Featuring Updated Design and Engineering Elements for an Elevated Riding Experience

Zero Motorcycles, the global leader in electric motorcycles and powertrains, has announced the model year 2021 lineup. The updated product line is headlined by the reintroduction of the transformational SR/S, released earlier this year. The SR/S is Zero’s first fully-faired motorcycle, and is engineered to reward riders with 13% improvement in highway efficiency and range versus its un-faired sibling, the SR/F. The SR/S sets the benchmark in both technology and experience standards for premium motorcycles, and its most visible feature is the functionally advanced full-fairing. Along with this update, the aesthetic evolution for the brand can be seen in the updated colors and graphic options throughout the model line. Additionally, all Zero electric motorcycles for the 2021 line are powered by Zero’s cutting-edge Cypher II and Cypher III operating systems. Industry-leading engineering and technology combine to create a ride with effortless power, control, and connection.

“Despite the challenges of 2020, Zero Motorcycles has continued to see impressive growth. The unprecedented interest in the new SR/S has been matched by the building momentum in our enduro and dual sport model sales,” said Sam Paschel, Zero Motorcycles CEO. “In spite of the challenges and closures due to pandemic-related lockdowns and recent wildfires this calendar year, we’ve continued to meet the fast-growing demand for our products and maintain our position as the brand that leads and defines the future of the electric motorcycle category.”

2021 STREET MODELS

Zero’s 2021 Street lineup, which features the FXS, S, SR, transformational SR/F, and is now headlined by the category redefining SR/S. Inspired by aerospace design and crafted with cutting edge computational fluid dynamics (CFD), the look of the SR/S is defined by its aerodynamic fairing. Like all things Zero Motorcycles, form follows function. When a rider leans into the cockpit, the stunning fairing will reward the rider with 13% more highway range with the SR/S versus its award-winning sibling, the SR/F. Sitting up and riding more upright allows riders to enjoy the elevated comfort of the SR/S’s thoughtfully designed riding posture and custom-tuned suspension. The 2021 SR/S is available in both blue and grey, with standard and premium models retailing for $19,995 and $21,995, respectively.

The award-winning SR/F, which changed the course of the electric vehicle industry, will be updated with all new colors: black & silver as well as mint & red. New for 2021, the SR/F standard and premium versions will each come with a low-profile fly screen. The aluminum bar ends, heated grips and a 6 kWh on-board charger remain part of the premium version. The standard and premium 2021 SR/F retails for $19,495 and $21,495, respectively.

The SR, the original Zero hotrod street bike capable of up to 223 miles of riding with 116 ft-lbs of torque, will be equipped with a 14.4 kWh power pack and available with new red and black colorway for a price of $15,495.

For the ultimate balance of power to weight for entry-level riding, the S, Zero’s original naked electric bike, is available in updated gray and blue colors for $10,995.

Finally, the agile 2021 Zero FXS is the only companion you need when battling traffic on the city streets. Light, nimble, and obscenely fun to ride, the 2021 FXS comes in a new striking grey and gold colorway. Available with a modular 3.6 kWh power pack for $9,295, or an integrated 7.2 kWh power pack and on-board charger for $11,295.

2021 DUAL SPORT MODELS

Zero Motorcycles is the only electric manufacturer to devote half of its product line to creating transformational experiences on any terrain. The cultural importance of dual sport riding is paramount to the company born on the trails of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Now, with the steadily and rapidly increasing interest in electric vehicles from riders across the globe, the off-road enthusiast has never before had as many options for effortless adventure than Zero offers right now. Zero’s 2021 Dual Sport lineup, which features the FX, DS, DSR, and DSR Black Forest bikes in all-new colorways and graphics, is perfect for the rider looking to unlock adventure, even if that means taking streets to get there. The 2021 Zero DSR Black Forest leads the pack and is the unequaled option for effortless adventure. Outfitted for any possible trail, the DSR Black Forest is available in all black design for $18,995.

For riders looking for ultimate adventure and the best range available, Zero’s 2021 DSR offers up to 223 miles per charge. The bike combines thrilling performance with an unparalleled array of parts and accessories for the dual sport rider who wants to be ready for whatever the terrain throws his or her way. Available in matte brown and gold, the DSR retails for $15,495.

Zero’s 2021 DS is the perfect entry-level dual sport electric motorcycle and serves as a gateway into an adventure. More capable and more customizable than virtually any internal combustion engine competitor with class-leading integrated storage, the DS will be available in all-new matte grey/green colorway, retailing at $10,995.

Finally, light, fast, and capable, Zero’s 2021 FX is the perfect electric bike for finding an escape from the daily challenges presented by this past year. The FX can navigate virtually any obstacle for up to 91 miles and will be available in a new Black/Green colorway with a modular 3.6 kWh or with an integrated 7.2 kWh power pack and internal charger for $9,295 and $11,295, respectively.

All 2021 Zero Motorcycles models are available at any one of the hundreds of dealerships across North America and Europe and are shipping right now from Zero’s headquarters in California.

Additionally, effective until December 31, 2020, consumers are eligible for a 10 percent federal tax credit of up to $2,500 maximum with the purchase of any bike from Zero’s 2021 model lineup in the United States. See the Zero Motorcycles website or your local dealer for details.

About Zero Motorcycles:

Zero Motorcycles is the global leader in electric motorcycles and powertrains. Designed and crafted by hand in California, Zero Motorcycles combines Silicon Valley technology with a traditional motorcycle soul to elevate the motorcycling experience for intelligent, innovative riders around the world.

Yamaha MT-25 launched, MT-15 previewed

By | General Posts

from https://www.thesundaily.my

YAMAHA’s first “hyper naked” (Ed: That sounds a bit naughty!) motorcycle, the MT-09 took the Asian market by a storm when it was launched, just as the naked bike category popularity grew.

Here in Malaysia, there has been a significant increase of interest in the street naked category and on Saturday, Hong Leong Yamaha Motor announces its fulfillment of this void with the launching of the Yamaha MT-25.

Introduced with the usual Yamaha fanfare at the Sofitel Hotel and Resort in Kuala Lumpur, the new model promises to be another hot item in the Yamaha model range.

“The Yamaha MT-25 packs aggressive styling and notable performance and is indeed a cutting-edge new addition to Yamaha’s class-defining naked bike segment,” said the company.

“With high torque performance, high handle bar and upright riding position, the MT-25 will be a comfortable ride in the city. It has all the original Yamaha MT-Series DNA built in with a multitude of innovative features.”

Powered by the tested and proven performance-driven with features ranging from liquid-cooled 249cc,four4-stroke, in-line two-cylinder, DOHC, eight-valve, fuel-injected power plant capable of producing 35.5hp at 12,000rpm of power and a torque of 23.6Nm at 10,000rpm, the MT-25 is “a force to be reckoned with in its class”.

The new “Master of Torque” uses inverted front forks that not only provides sure cornering performance but also supports an agile and comfortable riding style while it’s predator-type dual slant LED position lights plus a central mounted LED headlight, full digital LCD meter panel with shift timing light, sleek LED signal indicators with hazard light functionality makes it an impressive looking bike.

In addition to this, the MT-25 is equipped with the dual channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) for both front and rear wheels, a sought-after feature most Malaysian riders have been waiting for.

Priced at an affordable RM21,500 excluding insurance & registration fees, the Yamaha MT-25 comes in two distinctive MT Series colours – Ice Fluo and Yamaha Blue and will be available at all Yamaha Big Bike dealers from Sept 18 onwards.

Hong Leong Yamaha Motor will so be giving away an exclusive First Edition MT Series pewter key chain for every purchase of the new MT-25.

Crafted by Royal Selangor, the world-renowned pewter craft smiths, the sleek arrow-shaped keychain design symbolises speed, dynamism and movement. In addition to this, every new owner of the MT-25 will receive a safety disc lock with their purchase.

With the constant evolving of the Yamaha Hyper Naked segment, specifically in terms of styling, high tech engine, and electronics, guests at the launch event were also given a sneak preview of another Master of Torque masterpiece, the MT-15.

The single-cylinder, 150cc MT-15 will only be made available in the market in November 2020, when the price will also be announced.

BMW Reveals New F Series Models, Changes Limited to Visual and Equipment Upgrade

By | General Posts

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

Since a little over a decade now, the motorcycle family over at BMW Motorrad included the so-called F Series. The models in this family are some of the most preferred choices of riders looking for bikes equally good for everyday use, but also packing touring capabilities.

This week, the German bike maker announced a series of upgrades for three of the F Series bikes. As such, the F 750 GS, F 850 GS and F 850 GS Adventure get updated with new color schemes, new standard equipment, and more choices when it comes to optional equipment.

From this point onward, all three models come equipped as standard with visual upgrades like LED flashing turn indicators, a USB charging device at the front right of the cockpit, but also mechanical ones, including ABS Pro and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC).

The engine remains unchanged. The same powerplant breathes life in all three models, namely a 853cc liquid-cooled 4-valve, 2-cylinder, tied to a six-speed gearbox. Despite being the same on all bikes, the engine has different outputs depending on the model it is used for: 77 hp on the F 750 GS, and 95 on the two variants of the F 850 GS.

Visually, there are new colors on the table as well. The 750 can now be wrapped in Light White with tank center cover painted in vehicle color, and black matt painted rims, black handlebars and seat bench in red/black.

The 850 gets Racing Red with the tank centre cover painted in the vehicle color, and black-coated fixed fork tubes, black rims and seat bench in black/grey. For the Adventure, BMW introduces Ice Grey.

You can have a detailed look at all the changes BMW has in mind for the F Series in the press release section below. At the time of this writing, pricing and availability for the models are not known.

Harley-Davidson’s New “Exclusivity” Angle Misses the Point

By | General Posts

by James Brumley from https://www.fool.com

The iconic motorcycle maker is paring back production, rather than pricing, in an effort to foster an image of exclusivity.

If you’re one of the shrinking number of consumers planning to shop for a Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) at some point this year, don’t be surprised to see limited inventory once you can finally step foot in a dealership again. The company says restarted production facilities aren’t racing back to their full capacity. Around 70% of Harley dealers aren’t expected to receive any more new motorcycles this year. That’s alright by Harley, however, as the scarcity should ultimately improve the brand’s image of exclusivity.

That’s the theory anyway. The reality is the plan may ultimately backfire. Harley-Davidson doesn’t need more admiration from consumers. It needs to sell more motorcycles. The typical high price for your average “hog” makes the company’s bikes too exclusive as it is.

What they said

Harley-Davidson’s relatively new CEO Jochen Zeitz has been alluding to the idea since he took over as the interim chief in March. Most notably, during the company’s April earnings call, Zeitz explained the company will “prioritize the markets that matter.” He added, “We’ll narrow our focus, time, and energy in the most critical countries and market segments that can move the needle for us today.”

It was difficult to ferret out at the time, but in just the past several weeks, investors have watched Harley-Davidson scale back a bit on previous CEO Matt Levatich’s plan to launch smaller and lower-cost bikes, particularly overseas. His long-term goal was to drive international sales to half of the company’s revenue by 2027, but Zeitz may or may not be on board with his predecessor’s global ambition.

It was a memo from Harley’s director of product sales Beth Truett that cemented the paradigm shift in place. In her message to dealers intended to keep them informed of what lies ahead, she flatly explained: “Our strategy to limit motorcycle product in the showroom is purposefully designed to drive exclusivity.”

Translation: Harley-Davidson is looking to shrink its way to success.

Exclusivity doesn’t make them more affordable

It’s not a terrible strategy … but only for a name like Apple, which has had little trouble driving sales of smartphones that can cost over $1,000 apiece. For a company like Harley though, more exclusiveness misses the point. It doesn’t need to support bike prices with an air of exclusivity. Dealers get what they get for a new Harley motorcycle. They’re just selling fewer of them. The company has seen revenue dwindle every year since peaking in 2014. If anything, its present situation calls for more inclusivity rooted in greater affordability.

The numbers can be jaw-dropping. A high-end Harley can retail for as much as $30,000 (and sometimes more), yet a new, lower-cost Harley-Davidson motorcycle still sells for just a little under $10,000. Around that price point, riders are increasingly settling for similar but still-cheaper machines from names like Indian or Triumph, or Harley look-alikes from more familiar makers such as Honda or Kawasaki … or even a car.

Harley’s highly practical all-electric LiveWire couldn’t draw a decent crowd of buyers either, despite its distinctive non-Harley look. The culprit could be its $30,000 sticker price as well.

Millenials (have to) see things differently

The other headwind Harley-Davidson increasingly ignores by doubling down on its exclusivity strategy? The baby boomers who fell in love with the look of its motorcycles are aging out of their riding years, while the millennials who should be replacing them aren’t as interested in motorcycles from any manufacturer.

That premise is hotly debated but is supported by plenty of people who have their finger on the pulse of the marketplace. UBS analyst Robin Farley is one of those people. Of the UBS research on the matter published last year, CNBC quotes her as saying, “Unless there is a generational shift among younger riders to see motorcycling as a hobby vs. means of transportation, the outlook for the heavyweight industry could continue to be more dependent on an aging demographic.”

Underscoring the growing disinterest in bikes is waning sales of them. MotorCycles data reports that as of 2019, sales of motorbikes in the U.S. slumped for a fourth straight year, jibing with Harley-Davidson’s revenue contraction. The 2015 peak following the economic meltdown of 2008 never even came close to 2005’s cyclical peak in U.S. motorcycle sales, where Harley has to do well. More than half of its revenue comes from the U.S. alone.

It could all be an indication that today’s younger adults who have never seen a time without regular economic chaos simply can’t justify the financial risk of any expensive toys even if they can currently afford one.

In that vein, Bernstein analyst David Beckel pointed out back in 2018 that the “20 million [U.S.] millennials with student debt, the difference between $15,000 and $26,000 of student debt is $130/month, which is equivalent to a monthly loan payment on a ~$8,000 bike.”

Bottom line

It remains to be seen just how far Zeitz and Truett intend to press the exclusivity idea in an effort to support motorcycle prices that don’t actually need supporting. While the company may be ready to focus “time and energy in the most critical countries and market segments,” that doesn’t necessarily mean smaller and more affordable bikes are going to altogether go away. It also doesn’t inherently mean Harley-Davidson will completely abandon all but the most promising markets.

It’s concerning nonetheless, though. Most other consumer-discretionary names seem to be exploring ways of offering greater affordability in what could be a period of modest economic strength. Harley-Davidson could be pricing itself right out of the market.

Harley-Davidson to offer US dealers smaller selection of motorcycles

By | General Posts

by Reuters from https://nypost.com/

Harley-Davidson is reopening its factories this week at lower production rates and sending dealers a narrower range of motorcycles, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The US motorcycle maker, which closed its US plants in March due to the coronavirus outbreak, may not ship any additional new motorcycles this year to about 70 percent of its 698 dealers in the country, the report said.

The company did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

Harley would reopen its plants in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and accelerate production in phases that would be limited to bestselling models and palette of colors and without customizable features for the rest of the year, the report said.

The company has failed for years to increase sales in the US, its top market, which accounts for more than half its motorcycles sold.

As its tattooed, baby-boomer consumer base ages, the Milwaukee-based company has found it tough to attract new customers. To make matters worse, the pandemic has further dented demand as Americans stay at home.

In April, then-acting Chief Executive Jochen Zeitz, who has since taken a permanent role at Harley, told investors about plans to cut costs and “de-emphasize” some of its unprofitable international regions.

Jochen and team have been working on a new five-year strategic plan here to revive sales, which the company plans to reveal in the second-quarter earnings update.

Harley has also moved the launch timing of new models to the early part of the first quarter from August to better align with the start of the riding season. That provided some boost to its US retail sales in the first quarter.

Harley’s annual dealer meet, usually held in August, will now take place early next year.

Harley to sell fewer models, simplify factories

by Bob Tita from https://www.marketwatch.com/

Harley-Davidson Inc. is reopening its factories this week at lower production rates and sending dealers a narrower range of motorcycles, steering away from more expansive plans to stop a yearslong sales slide.

Milwaukee-based Harley’s U.S. assembly plants and most of its dealers closed in March as part of a nationwide effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. As many of the company’s 698 U.S. dealers were making plans to reopen, Harley’s director of product sales, Beth Truett, told them in a memo earlier this month that about 70% of them likely wouldn’t receive any additional new motorcycles this year.

“We are using this time to course correct and rewire the company in pursuit of making Harley-Davidson one of the most desirable brands in the world,” Ms. Truett said in the memo, which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Harley’s strategy reversal shows how some companies are pivoting amid the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic, reviewing operations or products that may not work amid an uncertain recovery.

Former Chief Executive Matt Levatich had planned to offset declining sales of the big, expensive bikes favored by Harley’s core baby boomer customers with dozens of new models by 2027, many of them smaller, cheaper and aimed at foreign markets. Mr. Levatich stepped down in February under pressure from shareholders threatening to initiate a proxy contest for board seats after Harley closed its fifth consecutive year of falling U.S. sales.

He has been replaced by Jochen Zeitz, a longtime Harley board member, former CEO of German athletic-apparel company Puma SE and founder of a new contemporary art museum in Cape Town, South Africa.

On an earnings call last month, Mr. Zeitz said expanding the motorcycle lineup and chasing new markets diverted attention from Harley’s more profitable models and made factories too complex. He said the production revamp is warranted by deteriorating demand for motorcycles. New models that would have made their debut this summer will roll out early next year instead, he said, on a new schedule of releases before the peak spring buying season begins.

By having fewer motorcycles in the market, Harley said it is trying to appeal to customers of premium-priced brands with limited availability. That approach is common among makers of sports cars and some luxury products that keep manufacturing volumes well below demand for them.

“Our strategy to limit motorcycle product in the showroom is purposefully designed to drive exclusivity,” Ms. Truett said in her memo.

Harley is reopening its plants in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania this week and said it would accelerate production in phases. The motorcycles that Harley will start making again this month will be limited to bestselling models in a limited palette of colors and without customizable features for the remainder of the year, Ms. Truett wrote.

Some U.S. dealers said the production cuts will sap further sales at dealerships that were closed for nearly two months. “You’re not going to catch up,” said Zoli Dudevsky, owner of a Harley dealership near Cleveland.

Some dealers said they have enough new motorcycles to cover a month or two of sales, but that those stocks would be depleted sooner if demand rises. Several said customer traffic at their reopened showrooms has been better than they expected, in part because motorcycle riding is an alternative to other types of recreation discouraged under social-distancing rules.

“We’ve noticed a lot of people getting bikes out of storage that haven’t been running in years,” said John Lyon, a dealer in Vermont.

George Gatto, owner of two dealerships in the Pittsburgh area, said he isn’t expecting any new motorcycles from Harley until August, when the company plans to deliver two motorcycles to one of his dealerships. The company is urging dealers to sell more used motorcycles, a market that Harley executives in the past regarded as detracting from sales of new models.

“If Harley is taking all the new bikes away from me, I’ll have to make that up with used,” Mr. Gatto said.

Mr. Gatto said he is trying to acquire more used motorcycles, but so are other dealers. Prices for used Harleys purchased at auctions have risen by about 20% in recent weeks, he said. Dealers who need new bikes to fill orders say they will have to buy them from other dealers, in some cases at a premium.

Harley projects that dealers’ stocks of new motorcycles will fall by 65% by year’s end, Ms. Truett’s memo to the dealers said. “Dealers should plan for an extremely tight year from an inventory perspective,” she wrote.