Just another few days until the official launch of the 2021 products line up from Harley-Davidson. You can join in the online Live event on the 19th at 4pm GMT
However the question has been asked whether the changes that are expected within the touring motorcycles is what the customer base really wants.
It has been problematic for Harley-Davidson to keep up with competitor’s technology and many have felt that the company would be best served with a chassis change with mono shock rear suspension, rather than what is predicted as the consolidation of the model line up but with more options for each model.
Essentially the technology will be the same as from 2020 but with a few tweaks in aesthetics and infotainment tech but whilst they have decided to cut model variation in the CVO and Ultras, it is expected that prospective customer will be able to select from fewer models but with more variety in each. Essentially the same products just if different packaging.
One notable tech change from the touring bikes is the reversion from a hydraulic clutch to a cable operated system. Many interested parties have become perplexed by this move and are eagerly awaiting the official reason but perhaps it is the manufacturer’s attempt to solve the transmission to primary case oil transfer issue without the need for aftermarket venting modifications…but the truth is out there somewhere.
Whilst the American Motorcycle company will do no wrong for some ‘fanboys’ out there, it has attracted a lot of criticism in recent years even from within its trusted following. Questions have been asked whether the company is out of touch with what its core base wants and what prospective new riders to the brand would expect too.
If the touring models are essentially the same bikes without big changes in how they handle and perform, then many will expect a further reduction in market share as competitors of equal or even higher price tags begin to increase their market prominence.
For some it is all about the iconic brand, the company loyalty and the lifestyle…however for a growing number of riders around the world it is about the product, the technology, the ride quality and overall value for money. If Harley-Davidson continue to demand premium prices for their touring motorcycles without delivering premium products in the hearts and minds of its potential customers, then it is likely to be feeling the hangover for many moons to come.