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Autofield Blog

Born to Be. . .Relevant


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17. June 2014

You’ve got to give the folks at Harley-Davidson a lot of credit for being remarkably adaptable.

Consider: in the post-Easy Rider/Altamont period, it seemed to many that motorcycles were the purview of people you probably wouldn’t want to have over for canasta. Then there was the influx of motorcycles from Japanese builders that had notable quality and cost benefits such that the challenges faced by the domestic automakers were a comparative walk in the park. There were a spate of financial problems the company endured that caused all manner of changes, from manufacturing to management and everything in between.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company 750 prototype AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National champion Brad “the Bullet” Baker and his Harley

Things seemed to have made a turn to the better, and the company was often cited as being one that had a brand that resonated with owners and fans in a way that few others were able to achieve.

What’s more, the company was able to point out that Harley riders were more likely to be doctors and lawyers than characters in The Wild One.

But one thing happened, which was that its demographic began to. . .age. Which is particularly vexing for a builder of motorcycles, given that it takes a bit more oomph! to keep a bike upright than it does, say, a Buick (two wheels vs. four).

So Harley has cleverly developed a new bike that is targeted at the X Games crowd, the Street 750, which it featured in an X Games Austin Flat Track exhibition race.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company 750 prototype According to Harley: “The Street 750 is the perfect ‘ride anywhere’ bike and is designed to easily handle and escape the gridlock and stop-and-go demands of urban environments.”

What’s more, it describes the first all-new platform from Harley in 13 years as “customer-led product development” in the current ethos of “crowd sourcing.”

Rather than mass and chrome, the new bikes (in addition to the 750, there is a Street 500) have a minimalist style and design.

Dino Bernacchi, director of U.S. Marketing for Harley, said, “The Street 750 is the perfect motorcycle to help introduce the next generation of passionate riders to the amazing experiences and thrills that await them on two wheels.”

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