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Harley-Davidson

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Sometimes, you need to put something into the universe to see it happen, and it was just two days ago that we were speculating on rumors about Harley-Davidson’s plans for a small-displacement machine, likely headed for the Asian markets.

Today, we get confirmation of that news hearing that the Bar & Shield brand will collaborate with the Qianjiang Motorcycle Company to build small-displacement motorcycles targeted at China and the rest of the Asian continent.

The bike will be 338cc in displacement, and be released first in China, with the other Asian markets to follow.

When it comes to rumors about Harley-Davidson, everything is up for grabs. The Bar & Shield brand has done a complete about-face on its business paradigm, which means that no idea is too crazy for those in Milwaukee.

So, when we hear talk about a 250cc model from Harley-Davidson (supposedly an XR250 street tracker bike), we have to give it some credit, whereas before we might have dismissed it out hand for being crazy talk.

We know that Harley-Davidson is looking at electric models; we know that Harley-Davidson is looking at mainstream segments outside of the cruiser spectrum; and we know that Harley-Davidson will be looking at markets abroad for future growth.

What does this all mean? A 250cc model is almost the worst kept secret in Milwaukee.

Harley-Davidson is reporting its first-quarter results for 2019, and as you might expect, the Bar & Shield brand continues to sink with its worldwide sales figures. As such, Harley-Davidson saw sales decrease worldwide by 3.8% in Q1 2019, with US sales down 4.2% compared to the same time last year (international sales were down 3.3%).

This news continues a trend for Harley-Davidson, as it continues to see its sales figure moving downward, which is following the overall trend in the US motorcycle industry, where sales are down 4.7% in Q1 2019.

From a relative point of view, this news is perhaps not so bad for Harley-Davidson, as it outperformed the market (though it owns a considerable size of the relevant segments), and in the process of that, the American brand picked up marketshare in its home market

This is of course the business equivalent of escaping being eaten by lion, by merely out-running the person fleeing next to you.

Harley-Davidson has been slow to release concrete details on its Livewire electric motorcycle, and to be honest, today is no different.

This is because the Bar & Shield brand remains mostly mum on the hard specs that we crave, but with today’s release, we do see that the Harley-Davidson Livewire is stacking up better than many had once thought.

The reason for this is two-fold. One, Milwaukee continues to finalize the specs on this highly anticipated machine. And two, Harley-Davidson is getting closer to its summer launch and is building its marketing momentum.

However you look at it though, today marks another garment removed in this two-wheeled strip tease. We hope you have your dollar bills at the ready. We still have a few months more to go.

Harley-Davidson announced today that it is recalling a swath of its Street 500 and Street 750 models because of issues related to their brake calipers.

The issue is caused by corrosion from salt (either in the air near coastal areas, or from road de-icing in colder climates) on the front and brake calipers, and the recall affects 2016-2019 Street 500 (XG500), Street 750 (XG750), and 2017-2019 Street 750A (XG750A) motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson continues to push its new electric agenda, releasing this week two videos that show its electric scooter and electric moped models in action, just ahead of the X-Games in Aspen, Colorado.

The videos are interesting for two very important reasons. First, they show the two concepts running, just a few weeks after we saw the concepts in actual photos, not sketches.

Not exactly exciting two-wheeled video porn, nevertheless it shows that Harley-Davidson is hard at work bringing these bikes to market…though they do seem pretty rough and in the early stages of development.

The Episode 5 of the Brap Talk podcast is out for your aural pleasure (though a little late because we have both been battling head colds). Our delay was fortuitous, however, as it allows us to discuss the recent news from Harley-Davidson.

Bar & Shield brand surprised us on Monday by announcing pricing and some performance specs on the Livewire electric cruiser.

Harley-Davidson also gave us a glimpse at two upcoming of its EV concepts, which show a utilitarian scooter and moped-like off-roader.

Before we get into a talk about Harley-Davidson’s electric future though, we discuss another American brand that’s teasing an electric model: Zero Motorcycles.

Later this year, the Harley-Davidson Livewire electric cruiser will finally be available, and today the Bar & Shield brand dropped some details on what we can expect from the revolutionary machine (as well as two more fleshed-out electric concepts).

First up, the obvious. The 2020 Harley-Davidson Livewire will be priced at $29,799 – which is a princely sum for an electric motorcycle, but not an unreasonable figure for a motorcycle from Harley-Davidson.

In addition to having the all new “Revelation” electric drive train, the folks at Milwaukee have packed the Livewire with a number of cutting edge features.

This includes an LTE-equipped media center, as well as traction control and ABS that are assisted by an inertial measurement unit (IMU).

This is the year. This is the year that Harley-Davidson steps beyond decades of being stuck in the past, and instead takes a chance on leading the future.

I am of course referring to the Bar & Shield brand’s move to debut electric motorcycles – starting first with the Livewire electric cruiser.

The Harley-Davidson Livewire doesn’t exist in a vacuum, however. This is because the American motorcycle company has plans for a whole host of electric two-wheelers, which ranges from an electric bicycle, all the way up to full-sized models.

Today, we get a glimpse at the first of these additional models (along with more details on the Livewire electric cruiser), with Harley-Davidson showing us the physical forms of its electric scooter and and electric moped concepts.

The two motorcycles look very similar to the concept sketches that we saw last year, which is a good thing to our eye, as both machines look fit for the part.