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Episode 19 of the Brap Talk podcast is finally out for your two-wheeled audio pleasure, and apologies for its nearly three-week delay. One of the topics we cover, Carlin Dunne’s death at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, hit close to home for us.

Quite frankly, I think I put off editing this show for a while, so I wouldn’t have to deal with the personal emotions that arise when talking about his untimely departure from us.

Sales continue to slip and fall for Harley-Davidson, as we see from the company’s second-quarter earnings report, which was was released today. Worldwide, the Bar & Shield brand saw an 8% drop in Q2 sales for 2019, when compared to Q2 2018.

This breaks down to an 8% drop in sales for the United States, with international sales showing a similar decline of 8.9%. For comparison, the relevant heavyweight motorcycle industry was down 4.9% in the USA during the same time periods.

On the dollar side of the equation, Harley-Davidson reported a net income of $195.6 million earned, from a consolidated revenue of $1.63 billion in Q2 2019.

This is nearly a 20% drop in net income, when compared to the $242.3 million that Harley-Davidson made on the $1.71 billion in consolidated revenue in Q2 2018.

This news continues an obvious trend for Harley-Davidson, as its sales continue to shrink each year, which is affecting the company’s bottom line earnings.

Ever since Harley-Davidson told us that it would be bringing the electric-powered Livewire motorcycle to market, the Bar & Shield brand has been vague on details.

Surprisingly, as production was confirmed for the 2020 Harley-Davidson Livewire, detailed tech specs were still hard to come by, with Milwaukee choosing to talk more in experiential terms, rather than hard figures.

And even the night before the international press was set to ride the Livewire for the first time, Harley-Davidson wouldn’t talk spec sheets with us…until now.

From this we learn some critical numbers about the Harley-Davidson Livewire. 105hp / 86 lbs•ft of torque; 15.5 kWh (13.6 kWh nominal) of battery; 549 lbs of heft at the curb; and much, much more. Don’t worry, we’ve got all the technical details for you.

In what has to be the shortest commute for an international press launch, our hometown of Portland, Oregon is playing host to the first riding of the Harley-Davidson Livewire.

This is our first press launch with the Bar & Shield brand, and it is a big one at that. The Livewire is a mammoth shift for the motorcycle industry, as Harley-Davidson becomes the first major manufacturer to debut a full-sized electric motorcycle for the street.

The Livewire is a big deal for the American brand as well, as Harley-Davidson is pivoting its business model towards new horizons, new markets, new riders, and most importantly for today’s purpose: new drivetrains.

The Harley-Davidson Livewire is a halo product from Milwaukee, but it shows how far the marque is willing to go in order to ensure its future. The question before us now though, is the bike any good?

Tomorrow we will be among the first to ride the Harley-Davidson Livewire, the Bar & Shield brand’s first electric motorcycle.

The model marks a paradigm shift for the American company, as well as the motorcycle industry as a whole, so you can imagine that a great deal of attention will be on the machine’s debut.

Before we get our own first-hand experience with the bike, there is some talk about Harley-Davidson’s pre-sales activity on the Livewire.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Gerrick Johnson has tipped to Powersports Business that roughly 50% of Harley-Davidson’s initial batch of Livewire deliveries have deposits on them.

Episode 18 of the Brap Talk podcast is now out for your two-wheeled audio pleasure, and this is another topic-packed show that runs the gamut of the motorcycling experience.

Before we get into the show’s details, it should be noted that this episode was recorded during the practice week of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

So, we talk a bit about Carlin Dunne during the show, and are of course unaware of what would happen later that weekend. We deeply miss our friend Carlin, and plan to talk about his amazing life in our next podcast.

Just last month, Harley-Davidson was busy at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). We know this because the Bar & Shield brand registered the name “Bareknuckle” with the USPTO, for use on motorcycles and structural parts.

While it is hard to say what Harley-Davidson plans to do with the “Bareknuckle” name, we do have a pretty good guess since the American company plans on debuting a streetfighter motorcycle in the next model year.

Harley-Davidson’s move into China is making big waves, and for obvious reasons. The Bar & Shield brand is on a mission to turnaround its business fortunes, and the American motorcycle maker is looking for green pastures in the Asian market, starting with China.

To make this move though, Harley-Davidson has teamed up with the Qianjiang Motorcycle Company, which known better in the Western world as the owner of Benelli Motorcycles.

That link might be an important one, as Ben Purvis from BikeSocial has pointed out. This is because the peculiar 338cc displacement that Harley-Davidson’s plans to use surely points to a Benelli lineage, and tips us to how Harley-Davidson could enter into China faster than expected.

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.