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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.

2018 is coming to a close now, so we of course are looking back at what happened over the past year in the motorcycle industry.

There was no shortage of weighty stories in 2018, so we picked just our Top 5 big themes from the year to share with you.

They range from business items, racing news, and new motorcycles (or the lack thereof). Without too much fanfare, let’s get into it, and see Asphalt & Rubber‘s most important stories from 2018.

The Harley-Davidson Livewire will show at EICMA, says an awkward press release to the European and Canadian markets. Our sources confirm that news though, and as such the Livewire will make an official public debut, at the trade show in Milan next week.

The Harley-Davidson Livewire is expected to make a late-2019 arrival, likely as a 2020 model year machine. This makes this debut announcement an interesting one from the Bar & Shield brand, which has seemed over-eager lately to explain and show its future plans, though we can’t imagine why.

If you recently bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, then it is very likely that your new motorcycle is part of a massive recall from the Bar & Shield brand, as 177,636 machines are affected by an issue with their hydraulic clutch.

Specifically, the issue affects the Brembo secondary clutch actuator cylinder, which may leak fluid internally. If this leak continues for an extended period, the clutch master cylinder reservoir could lose enough fluid to expose the hydraulic clutch circuit to air, which may cause the clutch master cylinder to lose the ability to generate enough lift to disengage the clutch.

Another sales quarter, and another report of dwindling sales from Harley-Davidson. The details of the news are the same as well, as sales in the United States continue to disappear, while sales abroad improve modestly.

As such, Harley-Davidson is reporting a 13.3% sales drop on motorcycle retail sales in the United States (36,220 units), with international sales up 2.6% (23,006 units), both compared to Q3 2017. This means that Harley-Davidson’s total sales are down 7.8% for Q3 2018, with 59,226 units sold.

Comparatively, the relative market for Harley-Davidson (bikes 601cc or more in displacement) were down in sales for Q3 2018, to the tune of 9.8% – though we should note that the Bar & Shield brand accounts for roughly half of this relevant market.

Bad news from San Francisco today, as we learn that Alta Motors has ceased business operations, effective immediately, sending the company’s staff home as the electric motorcycle manufacturer looks for future funding.

Talking to an anonymous source, Asphalt & Rubber has been told that Alta Motors is in the midst of a strategic wind down, as it looks for an outside acquisition or investment.

It’s that time of the year again, where Christmas comes early to the motorcycle industry, and we get to see all the new motorcycles that will be coming for the next model year, and beyond.

For the 2019 model year, we expect to see new models debuting at the INTERMOT, AIMExpo, and EICMA trade shows, which are in Cologne, Las Vegas, and Milan.

With things kicking off in Germany next week, we thought we would put together a guide for all the new motorcycles that we expect to see in the coming weeks. There are a bevy of new models that we know will be released at these three trade shows, and there are more than a few rumors of new bikes as well, which may surprise us.

Without wasting anymore time, let’s get down to it. We have broken down the new models and rumors by each manufacturer. Enjoy!

When we broke the news that Harley-Davidson and Alta Motors were parting ways, we teased the idea that the Bar & Shield brand might go it alone with its electric future.  Since that breakup, there have been murmurings that Harley-Davidson was going to build its own EV design and research center, right in the heart of Silicon Valley, and today those rumors became true.

Announcing the plans during the company’s 115th birthday celebration, Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich described the plan as an extension of Harley-Davidson’s commitment to make electric vehicles, and the move is an obvious grab at some of the top electric vehicle talent that resides in Northern California.

It was just six months ago that we broke the news about Harley-Davidson investing in electric motorcycle maker Alta Motors, and now in that short timeframe that story has seemingly made a 180° turn.

Our sources tell us that Harley-Davidson has all but removed itself from its joint motorcycle project with Alta, and backed out of its involvement in the San Francisco startup.

For Alta, this means losing the backing of a strategic investor, as well as the resources that Harley-Davidson wields in the motorcycle industry when it comes to purchasing power and vehicle development.

For the Bar & Shield brand, this raises interesting questions about Harley-Davidson’s electric roadmap, which the company revealed just one month ago – not so subtly with a concept sketch that clearly showed the use of an Alta Motors battery pack.