Harley-Davidson is expected to launch eight new models in a 480km motorcycle-media ride later this month from Pasadena, CA, to Big Bear Lake and back.
That’s a prediction based on the invitation we received yesterday for the annual media launch from August 28 to September 1, as well as company boss Matt Levatich’s statement earlier this year that HD would release 100 new models in the next 10 years.
That’s 10 per year and so far they have only released the “new” Road King Special and 750 Street Rod with only the annual launch event to come this year.
The most recent two new models are just styling updates of existing models, so we expect much of the same in August.
Most companies do likewise. For example, there have been nine models of Ducati Scrambler, but only two frames and three engines, while BMW’s popular R nineT has four models, but only one engine and frame.
Milwaukee Eight tip
Our tip for the eight new Harleys is that the Milwaukee Eight engine from the Touring range will be introduced to the Dyna and/or Softail range.
There are currently five Dyna models, so even if they all fit the Milwaukee Eight V-twin, we should expect some Softails to also get it.
There are eight Softail models, so they could all get the bigger 107-cube (1750cc) engine in a mix of chromed and blacked-out versions like the above in the new Road King Special.
Matt says the company’s “innovative” 2018 model-year motorcycles will provide a lift in sales.
Harley certainly needs the lift as their full-year bike sales and profit margins are expected to fall 6-8% in the full financial year after a 10-20% drop in this quarter.
They now expect to ship 241,000 to 246,000 motorcycles in 2017, compared with 262,221 last year. The company had previously forecast shipments to be “flat to modestly down”.
That’s a far cry from the nearly 350,000 it shipped annually before the Global Financial Crisis.
Other model tips
Some experts are tipping that among the eight new models will be a new family of Dyna and Softail hybrids; perhaps Dynas with a hidden single shock or twin-shock Softails!
Whatever it is, we are in for a great ride.
Mrs MBW and I rode Victory Cross Country through the Big Bear Lake area in 2014 and found the roads extremely smooth and very twisty in places.
There were a heap of sports bikes there enjoying the challenge!
The roads won’t be much of a test for the ride comfort of the bikes, but they certainly will be a good test for the handling.
The invitation also suggests bringing wet gear because the weather can vary in the region.
I don’t know if I will bother since it will be scorching hot. As a Queensland rider, I find rain is nature’s own air-conditioning!