Dear Oh Dear Harley-Davidson…we had to wait all this time for that? What were you thinking?
After having delayed the 2021 products line up until the 19th January as opposed to usual Autumn reveal, many within the motorcycling world were expecting some big surprises and a lot of special announcements but unfortunately it was a little of nothing, scripted by employees and delivered with as much style as a fly on the wall documentary. Honestly I was half expecting Ricky Gervais to pop out from behind the set to perform his silly ‘Office’ dance…perhaps that would’ve made it more palatable.
The CEO almost wet the appetite with new reveals…but then revealed that those new reveals…would not be revealed today. Are you confused as much as I am? Then came the CVO line up!
So we already had a big hint beforehand that a big push would be on the CVO range of bikes and CVO trike and their new colours too. Whilst they looked nice and shiny, there was little substance and technical specification to sink our teeth into either apart from telling us about a new sound system that they were very pleased about. Instead we were force fed more cinematics from Jason Mamoa and styled delivery rider stories that nobody was even really listening to either. It was just painful to watch…and when selected employees were thrust in front of the camera, it was like watching your favourite bunny being rooted to the spot in front of oncoming headlights.
The Road Glide Special, Street Glide Special and Road King Special was much of the same treatment too, but the pièce de résistance was the 2021 Street Bob with new colour options and the 114 engine…followed up by the 2021 Fat Boy with its chrome look and some other minor changes.
The introduction of the 114 engine for the Street Bob, many have said has come too late and should’ve been offered across all the Softail range. A big deal was made about old news, then the Fat Boy just made me frown as if I had missed some key feature that would make my day…but alas I was right, I hadn’t missed a thing.
I am being critical because even with the delay, it appears that they were still not ready to reveal their new products, unless you count the new colours, clothing designs and their ability to introduce us to new design terminology which I’m sure they just made up too. With the promise of more to come…I’m sure I can’t wait for that earth shattering news either.
They had an opportunity to deliver a very stylish and powerful message from professional presenters who could’ve kept the pace of the show moving along and drawing out more information too, but they left it to uncomfortable looking staff to try to read off misplaced cue cards that were nowhere near the lens. This gave the impression they were in a daze or just looked clueless.
In the end we got what we already knew. No big changes, just a few colour options, consolidation of the CVO and Touring range with 114 engine in the Street Bob and a revamped Fat Boy. Not exactly something to get the juices flowing unless you have very deep pockets and can ride on dry desert roads all day long without a care in the world.
The bikes might be great, the tightening of the belt is understandable in these uncertain times, but the launch event was just poor which was a real surprise when you consider Harley-Davidson focus their brand on imagery and lifestyle.
Underwhelming, overpriced, over colourised and must do better!