Harley-Davidson H-D1 Factory Customization

01/03/2011 @ 5:35 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

As much as we harp on the them, Harley-Davidson really is one of the few motorcycle companies that truly seems to grok the idea that motorcycles are about personal expression, and are an extension of a rider’s personality. This simple understanding has lead to the company’s brand marketing and lifestyle business strategy being taught in business schools around the world, tattoo parlors keeping a healthy array of Bar & Shield designs at the ready, and ensuring the State of South Dakota stays out of Canadian hands.

So it should come as no surprise then that the Milwaukee based company has started a factory-level customization program that will allow Harley-Davidson customers the ability to purchase a nearly one-of-a-kind motorcycle that is built from Harley’s 8,000+ genuine parts & accessories, which will then be built at the factory and shipped to the customer’s local dealer.

Called the H-D1 program, Harley plans on letting customers go wild with its parts bin, and when they need help, customization experts and consultants will be available to help advise on customization ideas. Slated to start February 4th, the H-D1 program is a clever way to get customers to think of Harley-Davidson for their customization needs, rather than going down the aftermarket route, although most smart dealerships are already active is pushing H-D Genuine Accessories on new buyers and current riders when they enter the store.

While this latest program seems to be just another layer being added into the Harley-Davidson “experience”, there could be some real potential for the H-D1 program if the customization consultants actually have a grain of originality and talent, and aren’t just dealers who sat through a slideshow presentation. If done right, Harley-Davidson could capitalize on a genuine opportunity to pull more of the custom chopper crowd back into its customer demographic, which could help breath some life and vitality into the stagnant company.

Of course things could just as easily go the other way, with this being the lipstick on the hog pig that Harley-Davidson is trying to dress up. So far Harley-Davidson hasn’t release a great deal of detail on the new program, other than some hype marketing and website with a countdown ticker. Our favorite phrase at A&R is back for 2011, as time will tell on this one.

Source: Harley-Davidson

  • On a side note: The photo, while not for the H-D1 program, is perhaps one of the best ads to hit the industry in a long time.

  • RGR

    Totally agree, that picture is bada$$.

  • MikeD

    BadAss Picture Indeed !

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  • What could cause the explosion? LOL ;)

  • Jim

    What the program needs is an online configuration tool that allows the buyer to spec his/her bike and get the dealer out of the design process. Such a tool would ensure that no needed parts were overlooked, allow the buyer to view representations of the finished bike etc. The output would be a build sheet that would be submitted by the dealer as a custom order.

  • Nice!! Up until now Harleys idea of a “custom” was offering the bikes in flat black

  • Isis

    @ Jim:

    Like Mini Cooper right? First thing I thought of.

  • Beale

    I dunno, that picture looks like an add for Loctite [shrugs]

  • Scooter

    It seems that HD will do anything to keep from designing a new line of bikes. I guess they have run out of stupid names and colors so now HD is into selling an outdated bike that you can customize. Wow what a new idea.

  • irksome

    Even though I have an aversion to all things HD, I have to say that this idea, while certainly not original, could help them to retain market viability. Let’s see if they can keep the bean-counters from screwing it up.

    This is the first positive statement I’ve made about HD since they asked the Reagan Administration to lift the tariff on Japanese competition so they could compete on the open market back in the ’80s.

    So for balance, allow me to add that that photo looks like what I see on the road when I ride with my friends from New Hampshire.

  • Joe Reis

    I totally agree with this. It’s about time! Most car companies already have a customization tool that you can print out. Why now HD? Besides it will keep the local dealers from ripping you off on the “buy this one in stock or we’ll jack up the price if we have to locate one for you at another dealer”. They really have to keep the dealers out of it to make this work!!!