Here’s a thought.
We have just seen the biggest single annual upgrade of the Harley range ever – engine increases don’t count because they are the same models with a new motor, and frame changes normally feed out over a few years – and the new models numbered eight.
We were told earlier this year that we will see fifty new models in five years and that means this already significant year needs another two mid-season early in 2019 launches just to stay on track!
With the Touring models getting an overhaul in 2017 – the final instalment in the Rushmore programme – that leaves a replacement V-Rod (last seen as two models), Sportsters (currently five) and the Street (currently three on a good day, if you include the Street 500), and an inevitable conclusion: if we thought that 2018 was a radical upgrade, we ain’t seen nothing yet!
Five years takes us into the projected timeline for the Livewire, but I can’t help thinking that:
- the Sportster as we know it is going to see a massive upgrade – and that doesn’t mean it will be replaced by the Street but replaced by a new Sportster.
- we will also see more models based on the Street.
- we will see another big watercooled OHC model to replace the VR and take on the Scout, and that will be a more versatile streetbike than the V-Rod was.
But even that will only really make a dozen bikes plus and I’ve started to pick up a scary number: 24 new models in a short period of time.
That suggests new target markets and a recognition that motorcycling is changing – part of which can be seen in the 2018 model announcement if you see that as a means of attracting new markets, safe in the knowdge that the traditional market will come round once they ride the new bikes, as they have with most previous generations of new models.
What would you like to see?