2018 Harley-Davidson Street Bob
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.
2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout
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.
Where Does Harley-Davidson Stand Now?
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.
Harley-Davidson Announces 2018 Softail Lineup
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.
Mission: Thank You, Gives Back To Vets
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.
Harley-Davidson Co-Brands with Guns N’ Roses
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.
Justice Department to Drop $3M Fine Against Harley-Davidson
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.
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.
Harley-Davidson Eyeballs Ducati For A Potential Buyout
“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.
2017 Harley Davidson Road Glide Special
Touring is synonymous with motorcycles; it’s an integral part of the riding experience. No other feeling satisfies a man’s desire to freedom, to head in a direction unknown. And if you don’t have the right tool to do it, the whole feeling just becomes uncanny. Harley Davidson is one company that understands your emotions and requirements and have been giving us some of the greatest hits of the touring motorcycles since the beginning of the 20th century.
For the year 2017, this American legend gave the world a brand new lineage of motorcycles that are sophisticated and technologically packed while keeping the core values of its predecessors intact. Running under the hood of each of them will be the all-new Milwaukee-Eight, the ninth generation of Harley-Davidson V-Twin engines that delivers power and reliability unlike no other before.
Running this new power mill will be one of HD’s iconic tourer, the venerable Road Glide Special. The bike takes the touring must-haves and wraps them in a no-apologies style making it the motorcycle of choice for the high-mileage road warrior.
Harley-Davidson Plans to Build a Manufacturing Plant in Thailand
Harley-Davidson announced in May that the company plans to build a manufacturing plant in Thailand to build motorcycles for the Asian market. Harley already has an international sales office in Singapore and adding a manufacturing facility in the region just makes sense. The question is, how is this not a threat to its "Made in the U.S." moniker?
Continue reading for my take on the new Harley plant.
2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide - Street Glide Special
Harley-Davidson updates its popular Street Glide family for MY17 with a few much-needed tweaks that make it as suitable for the superslab as it is for the boulevard. The earlier generation suffered from lack of power, uninspired suspension and a definite heat-to-rider transfer problem to boot. Harley addressed these problems to make the Street Glide into the bike it always should have been. Dual Bending Valve Forks and rear emulsion shocks take care of the suspension problems, while the Milwaukee-Eight engine brings 6.7 additional pounds of torque to help it push that front fairing into the wind comfortably at highway speeds and above. Adjustments made to manage the heat problem results in a whole new animal in the bagger stable. So, let’s check out the new models and try to act like we’re seeing the family for the first time, because in a way we are.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street Glide and Street Glide Special.