Harley-Davidson is expected to release a slammed and cut-down version of its Tri-Glide trike next month, called the Freewheeler.
The internet is buzzing with spy photos of a Harley trike which I can’t reproduce here for copyright reasons, but you can easily see them if you search “Harley Freewheeler” in Google. However, the alleged Freewheeler looks more like a Fat Boy than the Ultra on which the Tri-Glide is based. What defines this trike is what is missing from the Tri-Glide. For a start the Freewheeler doesn’t have the new twin-cooled 103 engine, but retains the air-cooled unit because there are no lower fairings to hide the discrete twin radiators. There is also no windscreen, fairing or top box, only a low “trunk” or storage box.
Losing that top-end bulk should give the Freewheeler a lower centre of gravity and make it more stable.
However, Australia is unlikely to get the Freewheeler. Like the Tri-Glide, it doesn’t meet Australian Design Rules standards. That means Harley can’t import it as it is a mainstream importer. Yet small-volume importers can still import it at a higher cost and without the usual service and warranty back-ups. Doesn’t make any sense, does it?
Anyway, Harley-Davidson Australia marketing boss Adam Wright says they haven’t given up hope of eventually importing their trikes, but it will be a long road. “We are lobbying the Government to change the legislation but it’s a slow slow process,” he says.
There certainly would be some demand for a Harley trike judging by the ever-growing numbers of custom and conversion trikes turning up at rallies these days. The ageing demographic of riders also points to a growing demand for something a little more manageable on old legs.
There is also a big market for trikes among women and shorter riders who can’t hold a big, heavy touring motorcycle.