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2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide

2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide

Harley’s Premium Hot-Rod Bagger

Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations department puts together what one could call showroom-custom bikes that include many of the features that buyers commonly add on post-sale and borrows much of the Infotainment system used on the big touring models. For 2017, this hot-rod bagger featured a new-and-improved suspension system to the table; and for 2018, it features the with the all-new, 117 cubic-inch, Milwaukee-Eight engine. Power output falls well above the 100 pound-foot mark — not surprising with a CVO machine — so it falls into the power-cruiser/stoplight-burner category. Performance, good looks and barrels of that Harley mystique push the CVO Street Glide over the top in my book, so join me while I check out the details of this vanity-stoking sled.

Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide.

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2018 Harley-Davidson Street Glide / Street Glide Special

2018 Harley-Davidson Street Glide / Street Glide Special

Touring With Less Vibration And More Power

Harley-Davidson showed the Softail lineup a lot of love this year (and the Dyna family none at all), but its increasingly popular Street Glide expanded its family tree to include the custom blackout Street Glide Special, which sees quite a few updates for 2018, and the 115th Anniversary Edition that pays homage to its long history. The Milwaukee-Eight powerplant makes its sophomore appearance in the touring lineup with 111 pound-feet o’ grunt and vibrations that are easy on both ear and rear. New body details, features and paint schemes abound across the board as Harley focuses on refining its fork-mount fairing baggers as part of its new market strategy. So without further ado, let’s jump right on in and get to it, shall we?

Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street Glide stable.

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2016 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Street 500 / Street 750

2016 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Street 500 / Street 750

A No-Nonsense Approach To A Bar-Hopping Café Racer

If you remember back in the 1990s, Harley-Davidson offered the "49-95" Sportster. It was a no-frills entry-level bike priced affordably at $4,995 — hence the clever in-house nickname — and it let a lot of folks stick a toe in the water, as it were, into the motorcycle scene. The Street 500 and Street 750 are the new generation of that concept. The cost is little more than $4,995, though in today’s market, $6,899 is still considered affordably priced. The Streets have that same no-frills, no-nonsense approach to an entry-level bar-hopping café racer. Powered by a Revolution V-twin engine, the bikes are premium Harley. Just because the price is low doesn’t mean they skimped on quality. The Street siblings come with a steel teardrop tank and fenders covered in the deep, rich color and flawless finish that long ago made Harley-Davidson the benchmark for premium paint on a motorcycle. The cherry on top is the chrome tank badge — not a decal, as you might expect in a budget-minded bike, but a three-dimensional tank medallion — as Harley’s pledge to you that you are riding a premium quality machine.

Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street 500 and Street 750.

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2018 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

2018 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

Rebuilt And Reintroduced As A Softail

The Harley-Davidson lineup has undergone some serious changes for MY18, and the chopped-down, Dyna-based Street Bob was rebuilt and reintroduced as a Softail model while the Dyna family was cut from production in its entirety. Not only did it switch to Harley’s faux-rigid style frame, but the frame itself got completely reinvented to the point where it bears little resemblance to the original that saw the light of day for the first time back in ’84. Sure, it still has that classic Softail visage, but the factory achieved it in a totally different way this time, and any perceived similarities are only skin deep. As if that wasn’t enough, the Street Bob got a beating-heart transplant with the addition of the new-to-cruisers, Milwaukee-Eight 107 powerplant that brings over 100 pounds of twist to the table. More power, new frame and a new family/model combination. Excited yet? I know I am, so let’s get started.

Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street Bob.

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2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout

2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout

New Engine Choices, New Chassis, New Attitude

Once again, the Motor Company takes what’s old and makes it new again with its revamped-for-2018 Softail lineup, and the drag-tastic “Breakout” is one of the models that made the jump to the new MY18 range. Harley offers this bobber-burner with the 109 pound-foot, Milwaukee-Eight 107 and the Mil-8 114 that boasts a total of 119 pounds o’ twist. The ground-up Softail-family rebuild contains myriad changes from the remarkable to the mundane that go way beyond a handful of re-arranged trim packages. We’re talking about the re-invention of the whole range with capabilities meant to offset the loss of the Dyna family, and technology that is more in line with the current industry standards. We’re talking a renewed focus on the Softails as H-D’s sole (or should it be soul?) cruisers. This is it; the drag-tastic sub-model of the range that Harley has pinned its mid-size hopes on for the foreseeable future.

Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Breakout.

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Where Does Harley-Davidson Stand Now?

Where Does Harley-Davidson Stand Now?

Will A New Lineup Be Enough To Save It?

Los Tiempos Van Cambiando — The Times, They Are A-Changing — this is the song that pops into my head as I peruse Harley-Davidson’s 2018 lineup. Conspicuous by their absence are the Dyna family models that replaced the FXR and the stoplight-burner V-Rod as they both were cut from the program. The Motor Company is instead focusing its efforts on the remaining five groups: Street, Sportster, Softail, Touring and Trike. What about the CVOs you ask? Well they’re just souped up versions of bikes that are already accounted for under the Touring bracket, so I don’t consider them to be their own group in the same sense as the others. So, with all these changes, where does Harley stand now?

Continue reading for my take on the Harley shift.

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Harley-Davidson Announces 2018 Softail Lineup

Harley-Davidson Announces 2018 Softail Lineup

Old Models Get New Life And An Across-The-Board Revamp

Well folks, it’s that time of year again. The Sturgis bike rally is over and Harley-Davidson has revealed to the world its 2018 lineup, and while what there is would definitely qualify as big news, what there isn’t is almost as important. Noticeably missing is the Dyna family and the V-Rods. I’ll be honest; with only a few exceptions I never really cared for the Dyna family — didn’t see anything wrong with the FXR family that it replaced — so it doesn’t hurt my feelings to see it go away. Perhaps “go away” isn’t the correct terminology here since the sport-handling characteristic of the Dyna got engineered into the all-new faux-rigid frame of the 2018 Softails. At the end of the day, the range has been eliminated right along with the apparently-failed experiment that was the V-Rod family.

What we’re left with is pretty remarkable. At first, I was ready to deride H-D for taking shortcuts with its promise to produce 100 new models by 2027, and I’m still about half-cheesed at what constitutes a “new design” in Milwaukee, but at some point the preponderance of changes has to add up to something beyond a simple update. That is exactly where I think we are at with Harley’s all-new Softails. Think I’m overstating it? Read on and see for yourself.

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Softail lineup.

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Mission: Thank You, Gives Back To Vets

Mission: Thank You, Gives Back To Vets

Unsuspecting Veterans Given Free Harley-Davidsons

Adam Sandoval — philanthropist and the force behind "Mission: Thank You" — is on, you guessed it, a mission. No, not the kind where one travels around to “spread the good word,” but rather one to express the gratitude of the nation to our veteran warriors. In this case, the nation’s gratitude looks an awful lot like a brand-spankin’-new Harley-Davidson powered by the equally new Milwaukee-Eight engine. For those of you unfamiliar with the brand, that puts the recipients on some of Harley’s biggest and most expensive machines available this year, so this goes far beyond any kind of token offering.

Continue reading for more on Mission: Thank You.

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Harley-Davidson Co-Brands with Guns N' Roses

Harley-Davidson Co-Brands with Guns N’ Roses

A Shared Expression Of Freedom And Rebellion

You know where you are? You’re in the jungle, baby. You’re gonna...ride? That’s right sports fans, Guns N’ Roses is finally back in the music scene with its “Not In This Lifetime Tour” in spite of Axl Rose having famously declared that he’d never play with top-hat wearing guitarist Slash again in this lifetime. I must admit that this is probably my favorite group from all the way back to the days of my misspent youth, and now the newly-reunited rockers have joined forces with another of my favorite marques: Harley-Davidson. It seems to me that these two entities should fit together like peas-and-carrots, and if you’re a fan of either, I think you’ll agree.

Continue reading for more on the Harley and Guns N’ Roses Partnership.

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Justice Department to Drop $3M Fine Against Harley-Davidson

Justice Department to Drop $3M Fine Against Harley-Davidson

Policy Shift Takes Harley Off The Hook for Third-Party "Donation"

I don’t agree with much of what Attorney General Jeff Sessions stands for — no, I’m not going to be more specific, but you’re certainly welcome to read anything into that you like — but I have to give credit where it is due ’cause I think ol’ Jeff got this one right. You see, last year Harley-Davidson got penalized because approximately 12,600 of its customers got caught being a bit naughty by using closed-circuit racing technology to boost performance. These “defeat devices” caused the actual emission output to diverge significantly from the designed parameters. Rather than punishing the individual offenders, The-Powers-That-Be, in their infinite wisdom, decided to punish Harley instead. The EPA browbeat Harley into an agreement that required the Motor Company to pay a tidy $3M “donation” to the American Lung Association to pay for — wait for it — retrofitting woodburning stoves to offset the extra unregulated emissions these legions of supertuners unleashed upon the environment. So what has happened to change that?

Continue reading for more on the lawsuit and settlement.

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2016 Harley-Davidson CVO Pro Street Breakout

2016 Harley-Davidson CVO Pro Street Breakout

Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) program has been hard at work churning out models with the toppest-of-the-shelfestfeatures they can cook up. All that R&D isn’t wasted on the premium models though, as frequently technology pioneered in the CVO program makes its way through the Rushmore bikes and on down the line to the less-expensive models. H-D’s newest CVO release is a direct assault on the American muscle-bike market, and it cuts a mean figure with its raked front end and massive V-Twin engine. Introducing the FXSE CVO Pro Street Breakout, a model packed with CVO and Screamin’ Eagle yummy goodness as it rolls off the floor ready for stoplight-burner action. While Harley markets the V-Rod as its “performance line,” this Breakout definitely qualifies for that category as well, albeit with a more traditional look and DNA that goes back to the classic dragster/gasser era. Join me while I take a gander at this latest creation out of Harley’s CVO division.

Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson CVO Pro Street Breakout.

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Harley-Davidson Eyeballs Ducati For A Potential Buyout

Harley-Davidson Eyeballs Ducati For A Potential Buyout

Can the Bar and Shield Take On the Duc?

“It’ll never happen,” they said. “The market is too soft and they’re still snakebit from the last Italian sportbike acquisition,” they said. Well, it’s starting to look like they could be wrong, because the Harley-Davidson looks like it’s about to make an offer on the $1.6-billion-plus Ducati marque after all. Sure, the official word from the factory representatives is that they don’t comment on speculation, which means, of course, that the ink is probably still wet on the proposal.

Continue reading for my take on the Harley acquisition speculation.

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