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Harley-Davidson

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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.

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.