•   
  •   
  •   

Motorcycles Why Harley-Davidson Looks Down But Not Out

23:05  04 august  2020
23:05  04 august  2020 Source:   motorcyclecruiser.com

Harley To Auction Exclusive LiveWire For COVID-19 Relief

  Harley To Auction Exclusive LiveWire For COVID-19 Relief Harley To Auction Exclusive LiveWire For COVID-19 ReliefIt’s not unusual for The Motor Company to step up in times of crisis; it has contributed to both US and international relief efforts consistently over the years, from support for 9/11 first responders to donations of bikes in the Haitian earthquake restructuring. The current health crisis is an unprecedented and ongoing one, and H-D is chipping in to raise funds with a customized LiveWire made just for this moment. “We’re all affected by the current situation,” said Jon Bekefy, general manager of brand marketing at Harley-Davidson Motor Company.

By now it’s clear that the words “business as usual” won’t be used to describe the US economy in 2020, and unfortunately for Harley-Davidson, the downward trend continues apace. In the wake of plunging sales and a take-no-prisoners restructuring plan came last week’s dismal COVID-induced second quarter earnings report, which only highlighted the impression that things are looking grim in Milwaukee. But you could also argue the naysayers are overlooking some—let’s call them flashes—of promise from The Motor Company. How so?

Thunderbike’s Emperor Sportster Was Almost A King

  Thunderbike’s Emperor Sportster Was Almost A King Thunderbike’s Emperor Sportster Was Almost A KingRelated: Apex Predator Takes Harley’s 2020 King Of Kings Crown

a motorcycle parked on the side of a road: Despite recent retrenchments and an adjusted focus, we’ve seen a flurry of new patent applications from Harley-Davidson over the last few months. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser Despite recent retrenchments and an adjusted focus, we’ve seen a flurry of new patent applications from Harley-Davidson over the last few months.

Related: Harley Announces Let’s Ride Challenge

No. 1 is the fact that we’re talking about a $4.5 billion company in terms of annual revenue; No.2 is the flurry of activity we’ve seen coming from its research and development arm of late. Patents for innovative ideas keep coming, and while new product launches have been curtailed greatly there’s still some cool stuff in the pipeline, some of which we’ll discuss here. It may not ever be business as usual again, but The Motor Company is definitely not sitting on its hands. A quick rundown of some of the latest highs and lows.

Harley-Davidson plans to save itself by selling fewer bikes, report says

  Harley-Davidson plans to save itself by selling fewer bikes, report says The company is planning on moving to a more exclusive, boutiquelike model in the same vein as Ferrari.Harley-Davidson was in trouble before all of the coronavirus shutdowns, and things haven't gotten a lot better in the interim. But now, as H-D's factories in the US start to get back to work, the company has a new plan to break itself out of its longtime funk.

a motorcycle parked on the side of a building: Milwaukee says it’ll be trimming its future lineup by 30 percent. Will this liquid-cooled 1,250cc Custom model it teased last year make the cut? © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser Milwaukee says it’ll be trimming its future lineup by 30 percent. Will this liquid-cooled 1,250cc Custom model it teased last year make the cut?

The Bad… And The Less Bad

Ever since taking over as CEO back in May, Jochen Zeitz made it clear there would be some harsh new realities at Harley. Chief of these was the implementation of the “Rewire” plan, which cut nearly 12 percent of the company’s global workforce as part of a restructuring effort. That move may have cheered investors at the time, but last week’s Q2 2020 earnings call dumped a bucket of cold water on any celebrations. Numbers for the COVID-hit quarter were sobering: Motorcycle shipments were down 58.7 percent and resulting revenue dove 53.3 percent year-on-year, though that isn’t surprising given the suspension of production during the quarter and dealer closures due to lockdowns.

Not A United Front

  Not A United Front Not A United Front

a motorcycle parked on the side of a road: Despite recent retrenchments and an adjusted focus, we’ve seen a flurry of new patent applications from Harley-Davidson over the last few months. © Harley-Davidson Despite recent retrenchments and an adjusted focus, we’ve seen a flurry of new patent applications from Harley-Davidson over the last few months.

Harley’s first quarterly deficit in a decade also prompted Zeitz to announce a five-year strategic plan called “Hardwire,” which promised to focus on quality rather than volume. “We’re not willing to sacrifice the strength of our legacy in a quest for pure volume growth going forward,” Zeitz said on a conference call. “We are an extraordinary and desirable brand but that doesn’t mean we want to become everything for everybody.”

In short, H-D says it will be trimming its vehicle lineup (by some 30 percent), retreating from certain underperforming markets, and possibly nixing peripheral programs; 2018′s “More Roads to Harley-Davidson” strategy is history.

On the other hand, some products will be getting renewed focus. Zeitz told analysts he’ll invest more in Harley’s most profitable heavyweights, as well as products currently in the pipeline: “We are unlocking our potential to compete in the…fastest-growing global segments by launching multiple middleweight adventure-touring, streetfighter, and high-performance custom models through 2022.” We take that to mean the much-hyped Pan America and Bronx bikes, currently in various stages of development, will still be making their debuts. The remaining electric concepts however, we’re not so sure about.

Harley-Davidson patents self-balancing gyroscope for motorcycles

  Harley-Davidson patents self-balancing gyroscope for motorcycles Harley-Davidson patents self-balancing gyroscope for motorcycles originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 8 Jun 2020 12:54:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

a motorcycle parked on the side: The launch of the long-awaited Pan America adventure-touring model has been pushed back but by all accounts is still confirmed for 2021. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser The launch of the long-awaited Pan America adventure-touring model has been pushed back but by all accounts is still confirmed for 2021.

Pan America And The Bronx On Deck

a motorcycle parked on the side of a building: Milwaukee says it’ll be trimming its future lineup by 30 percent. Will this liquid-cooled 1,250cc Custom model it teased last year make the cut? © Harley-Davidson Milwaukee says it’ll be trimming its future lineup by 30 percent. Will this liquid-cooled 1,250cc Custom model it teased last year make the cut?

In fact, Harley has confirmed it’s still moving ahead with the debut of its first adventure bike, but it’ll be taking a pause before doing so. The intro of the Pan America has been pushed to early 2021 instead of August of this year, with the Bronx likely to follow later in the year. The two highly anticipated new models, both of which pack the brand-new liquid-cooled Revolution Max engine, were originally set to be released in 2020.

Some of that reshuffle is undoubtedly due to the recent management changes as well as ripple effects from the pandemic.

a motorcycle parked on the side of a road: No hard dates have been set yet, but we expect to see the Bronx streetfighter make its first appearance sometime next year as well. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser No hard dates have been set yet, but we expect to see the Bronx streetfighter make its first appearance sometime next year as well.

The Custom And The Café

The latest report didn’t specifically confirm any of the other machines that were expected in 2021, though that mention of “high-performance custom models” hopefully means we’ll also see more of the mysterious 1,250cc Custom H-D teased last year with a rendering. We’ve also heard rumors of a café racer-styled bike based on the Bronx, also likely to pack a 975cc Revolution Max mill, but there’s also no guarantee that will see the light of day, especially given the new management’s focus on a tightened model lineup.

Harley-Davidson No Show Winners Gallery

  Harley-Davidson No Show Winners Gallery Harley-Davidson No Show Winners GalleryWe pulled pictures of some of our favorite custom bikes in the show, because, after all, there were only three awards but many more bikes that deserve to be seen a little closer.

a close up of a motorcycle: One of the bigger questions is whether the small-displacement 350cc developed in collaboration with Qianjiang will ever be produced. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser One of the bigger questions is whether the small-displacement 350cc developed in collaboration with Qianjiang will ever be produced.

The Chinese-Made Harley

We’ve also caught wind of new developments with the small-displacement parallel-twin model Harley was collaborating on with Chinese firm Qianjiang last year. The now-350cc model is meant for developing markets in Asia, and according to this article in Cycle World would likely be based on Qianjiang’s QJ350 model. Although it wears QJMotor bodywork (one of the firm’s sub-brands) you can see “Harley-Davidson Motor Company” stamped into the left-side engine cover in the image above.

When Harley originally announced the Chinese partnership last year, initial reports tagged displacement at 338cc, but it seems the engine has undergone some major revisions since then. Chinese homologation documents also say the engine makes 36 hp, and that the bike will tip the scales at 388 pounds wet—making this the lightest machine Milwaukee has sold in years. Given H-D’s latest reshuffling though, it’s not at all certain we’ll ever see the HD350—or whatever it’ll be called—on a production line.

a close up of a map: Patents show Harley is working on an air-cooled V-twin engine with variable valve timing and four valve heads, possibly as a replacement for the Sportster’s dated Evolution powerplant. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser Patents show Harley is working on an air-cooled V-twin engine with variable valve timing and four valve heads, possibly as a replacement for the Sportster’s dated Evolution powerplant.

Variable Valve Timing

Even if it sounds like the MoCo is a bit late to the game, there is the news that Harley is working on an engine with variable valve timing, a move that’s no doubt meant to prop up the aging and now shrinking Sportster lineup—long a perennial top seller for H-D.

Harley-Davidson No Show Winners Gallery

  Harley-Davidson No Show Winners Gallery Harley-Davidson No Show Winners GalleryWe pulled pictures of some of our favorite custom bikes in the show, because, after all, there were only three awards but many more bikes that deserve to be seen a little closer.

Cycle World says that new patent applications show Harley’s developing a new air-cooled V-twin with modern technology, including variable valve timing. Will we see a replacement for the dated Evolution V-twin on the Sportster series, which hasn’t changed all that much in 30-plus years? Seems likely since the small, higher-revving engine will gain both cleaner emissions and a boost in low-end torque from VVT, thus giving it a bit more longevity in the process.

a close up of a map: Another innovative idea from Harley seen at the patent office is this self-balancing system designed to be mounted in its bigger touring models. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser Another innovative idea from Harley seen at the patent office is this self-balancing system designed to be mounted in its bigger touring models.

Balancing Bikes

Self-balancing bikes, you say? Yup. H-D has been toying with that concept as well, says yet another Cycle World article, which cites a new patent showing a design that would add a gyroscope to help maintain its bigger bikes’ balance at slow speeds. Call it a

rider-aid system that could help snuff out the possibility of an embarrassing low-speed tip-over, and one that could potentially benefit older riders, or just smaller ones (or newer ones) who are worried about having the leg strength to hold up a Big Twin. Even if it never comes to pass, that’s still a cool piece of tech development.

2020 so far has definitely proven to be a wake-up call for what some in the industry have described as a slow-to-react, 800-pound gorilla, and maybe even for the industry in general. How quickly and meaningfully either can adapt remains to be seen, but in our view it looks like there are still quite a few forward-looking ideas sprouting up at The Motor Company. Don’t count it out just yet.

a motorcycle parked on the side: Given the new management’s stated “refocus,” we wonder if the electric concepts H-D showed us a while back will see further development. © Provided by Motorcycle Cruiser Given the new management’s stated “refocus,” we wonder if the electric concepts H-D showed us a while back will see further development.

Harley Announces Let’s Ride Challenge .
Harley Announces Let’s Ride ChallengeDubbed the Let’s Ride Challenge, Harley says the whole deal is meant to showcase the power of riding. It aims to do that through riding-related activities which can earn participants entries (or points) for a chance to win prizes, including a custom 2020 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S motorcycle as well as weekly drawings for additional prizes.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks
usr: 2
This is interesting!