Here’s a Sneak Peak at Harley-Davidson’s Flat Track and Café Racer Prototypes
These are new models built on the new platforms that aren’t even out yetby TJ Hinton, on
It hasn’t been too awful long ago when Harley-Davidson announced it would be generating 100 new models for public consumption. Admittedly, many of the machines thus far have been variations on existing platforms – the Softail Standard, Fat Boy 30th Anniversary, and electric LiveWire, for instance – but the factory has some net-new goodness on tap as well, and we have a sneak peak at the proposed Flat-Tracker and Café Racer.
New Harley-Davidson models built on the Bronx and Pan-America platforms
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about Harley’s new Pan America adventure-tourer and streetfighter-esque Bronx models that will be in U.S. showrooms later this year, coronavirus permitting. Like most manufacturers, Milwaukee will be looking to get the most out of its new platforms and engines, and now we have a glimpse of what that might look like in the immediate future. Two new designs have been submitted to the European Union Intellectual Property Office, according to motorcycle.com, that share lots of DNA with the aforementioned models named the Cafe Racer and Flat Tracker.
Harley-Davidson Flat Tracker
If you’re looking for an FTR replica, you’re going to be sorely disappointed; this is a Flat Tracker in name only. Sure, the shotgun exhaust, bash shield, and vestigial number plate are suggestive of the real racebike, but beyond that, the rest of the machine is fairly generic. A stressed-engine frame mounts one of the new Revolution Max V-Twin mills below a teardrop tank and solo saddle, but that’s just the beginning of the departures from the norm on this bike.
Tubular-steel members make up the swingarm assembly, and the pilot’s footpegs are mounted aft of the swingarm pivot to place your heels under your haunches for a very aggressive rider’s posture. The rear end of the Flat Tracker quickly tapers down to a nub to match the heavily-bobbed front fender and leave most of the fling control to the single-side hugger out back that mounts both the taillight and the license plate.
Harley-Davidson Café Racer
The Café Racer is in much the same boat. It pays homage to the home-grown café racers of old through a classic round headlight and bullet fairing, but that’s about it. I gotta’ say, a café-tastic tail fairing would have gone a long way toward selling the look, and the short-rise rear end I see so far just doesn’t quite do it for me. A shotgun exhaust would be appropriate for a café bike, but the upswept, two-into-one exhaust works too. The foot controls tuck your heels up even tighter than the Flat Track’s pegs to define a relatively freakishly-sporty rider’s triangle that’s geared toward riders who aren’t afraid to use a little body English in the corners.
Unlike the FT, the CR uses a rectangular cross-section, yoke-style swingarm kinda’ like the Sportsters’ to articulate for the rear wheel. Dual front discs and Brembo anchors seem to be a constant across the board, as do the inverted front forks though it remains to be seen if they’ll be adjustable like the stems on the LiveWire.
It’s clear that both of these bikes will carry one of the new, liquid-cooled, Revolution Max engines, but it remains to be seen which will go where. Will it be one of the existing 975 cc or 1,250 cc mills, or will it be an as-yet unseen powerplant that falls within the 500 cc-to-1,250 cc range the factory intends to fill out with this newest engine type. Time will tell.
What isn’t a mystery is which market these bikes are destined for. The youthful designs and lack of traditional H-D panache is clearly skewed toward the Millennial buyer base. I’m not sayin’ that’s a bad thing either, ’cause it’s just that potential new fanbase that will help carry the marque as the older riders retire their leathers.
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