When you think of Harley Davidson, what comes to mind is chrome, leather, smoke, and lightning with heavy metal thunder that is the engine rumble. You might think about Hell’s Angels and bad boys blowing down the highway with Steppenwolf cranked up to 11 to set the scene. If you own a Harley, it’s possible you think about your mechanic and if your toolbox is ready to go – mostly just kidding there. What you don’t think about when you hear the name Harley Davidson are small electric engine bikes in urban storefront window displays. Even during the AMF era, it just doesn’t register. But like 60 is the new 40, or so they say, that is the new Harley.
Harley Davidson has had some problems the last few years. The average owner is getting older. The Donald Trump trade war tariffs sure don’t help when it comes to building and moving product. The bike does have an image problem in that it really isn’t a joke that if you own a Harley, you do need a good mechanic to work on them and keep them running if you ride regularly or try to tour on them. The idea of exclusivity, wait lists, and a Harley not depreciating the way most bikes do did work for a while, but now, it isn’t. Hence a new Harley is being born for a new era.
Harley isn’t foregoing making the models that have gotten them where they are. According to WWJ Milwaukee, they hope to introduce 100 new models over the next 10 years. Some will be traditional Harley models, a lot will be electric, and there will be new cruisers and touring bikes. Believe it or not, there will also be new lines of 250cc and 500cc engine bikes.
The Livewire will be the first electric engine by Harley, and no, it will not shake the ground when you turn it over because it doesn’t have gears or a clutch. It will just purr to life. Be that as it may, they hope this will make Harleys more accessible to riders of all skill levels. They will be sold by existing Harley Davidson dealerships and their new storefronts found in strip malls and nestled away in urban storefronts where they will be easy for city dwellers to pop in and try them out. Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich explained the broad strokes of the shift in corporate philosophy.
“Alongside our existing loyal riders, we will lead the next revolution of two-wheeled freedom to inspire future riders who have yet to even think about the thrill of riding.”
Samantha Kay, a Milwaukee resident that has just learned to ride motorcycles, told WWJ Milwaukee that she likes the idea of a new style of Harley. She said that she rode a moped in high school and college, so riding a new electric Harley would be a lot like that and make it easy to scoot around the city through traffic. Others have also pointed out that it will possibly allow some people to bypass certain licensing requirements to ride in some states, and that little electric Harleys will fit into people’s lives a lot easier than what is available to them from Harley Davidson right now.