Harley Davidson recent tough times

WheelyPerd

Everywhere @WheeliePerd
May 18, 2017
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Triumph Tiger 800 XCx
So I notice a lot of news around Harley not doing well, even came up in an investment show. There are multiple YT videos as well, even covered very recently on Fortnine which I highly recommend.

HD's plan was to diversify the types of bikes that they made, which I am all gung ho for. Their adventure bike specifically I feel would appeal to a large market of new and existing HD owners. Many HD owners, including my parents in law absolutely hate this idea and are have genuinely started looking at getting Indians, because "they are more Harley". I dont get this at all, why would you not want the company you love to get more customers.

Would love to know your thoughts on Harley Davidson going into other motorcycle segments?
 

WheelyPerd

Everywhere @WheeliePerd
May 18, 2017
569
507
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South Africa
I ride a
Triumph Tiger 800 XCx
I've never owned a Harley, but ridden a few newer ones. Need something a little more traffic friendly.

Personally because we have many Harley dealers and a large following here, I'd look at getting a non-cruiser Harley. Yeah the adventure bike wasnt beautiful from the front, but meh I liked it.
 

HippoDrone

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Jan 2, 2017
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F9's vid was good.
I don't think that OG HD fans don't want to see HD grow or succeed, they just want them to build the bikes they like and invest in making those bikes better. The trouble is, you can only rehash a '50s looking bike so many times, so unless they move forward, they won't be able to reinvent the wheel.
There are less and less new riders, coming through, and of those, less and less want a big heavy, over priced, old style cruiser motorcycle.
Ducati make V (L) twins, and have multiple styles of bike which appeal to many... but they have multiple engines to do so with and are modern engines. HD however, make big, or bigger, or bigger still engines that just can't really compete... and generally they put them in big, bigger or even bigger bikes. (883 not included).

I very much like the looks of the Bronx (I think that is what it is called), but it doesn't tick any boxes any better than any other brand to me, so even though I like how it looks, I still probably wouldn't buy one.

I am sure HD will go on for a good few more years, but I think it was a huge mistake killing the Buell brand. They should have nurtured that branding and allowed that to be the new audience and then once it flourished draw it back into the HD brand.
 
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Moto Mengy

Motovlogger from PA, USA
Mar 23, 2020
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I also made a video talking about Harley's issues and their future a few weeks before F9's. I was tough on HD but F9 simply eviscerated them with truth bombs and history. It was brutal to watch as a rider who still loves Harley Davidson even though I don't own one anymore.

I've owned 7 Harleys over my lifetime, before I got my current Goldwing. I loved all 7 of them but in all honesty I was part of the HD culture, I was in the brand and lifestyle hook line and sinker. I was also ignorant of what other brands were like. I didn't care, all I wanted to ride was Harleys.

I'm past that now. I rode the 2018 Goldwing and was shaken to my very motorcycle foundations. Then I rode some other bikes and I began to learn just how behind the times HD bikes are. They make good bikes, but they are outdated in many ways. They are too heavy, their tech is behind, they lack features other brands have, and they are priced too high for what they are. ALL of this is why their sales have been slumping for many years now.

I have a lot of friends who still ride Harleys, but some of them are looking to Indian now because in all honesty Indian is making better Harleys than Harley Davidson is today. The slide will continue until HD changes direction.

As to HD branching out into other segments, I think they have to. The Livewire, the Bronx, the Streetfighter, the Pan America, all are great moves by Harley. THE PROBLEM IS they need to make these moves competitively. The Livewire is way too expensive for what it is. If the Bronx and Pan America come out at inflated price points too then their bold new directions are going to fail. The ADV market is mature with refined bikes which have been around for a decade now. If the Pan America comes out like the Livewire, under designed and over priced, then it will bomb hard.

Harley has a chance to improve but they need to really want it, they need to care less about profits for now and more about building roads into other segments instead. They need to spend on R&D and imrpoving their tech and bike designs. This is NOT the time for them to retreat into their comfort zone of cruisers and tourers, doing so would only solidify the slide downward over time.

The next year or two will be very telling of where HD as a company is going. They are at a crossroads. Will they choose wisely? My fear is they will not. :(
 
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WheelyPerd

Everywhere @WheeliePerd
May 18, 2017
569
507
93
30
South Africa
I ride a
Triumph Tiger 800 XCx
I am sure HD will go on for a good few more years, but I think it was a huge mistake killing the Buell brand. They should have nurtured that branding and allowed that to be the new audience and then once it flourished draw it back into the HD brand.
I always liked the idea of Buell, its a "sub company" of the main brand. Cheaper way for the larger company to try something new, without pushing away current market. I think they really missed a golden opportunity here.
 
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WheelyPerd

Everywhere @WheeliePerd
May 18, 2017
569
507
93
30
South Africa
I ride a
Triumph Tiger 800 XCx
The next year or two will be very telling of where HD as a company is going. They are at a crossroads. Will they choose wisely? My fear is they will not.
I think before Covid-19 happened they may have chosen wisely, but now this is destroying bike market share. I suspect they will go back to what they know and drop all new projects, but I really really hope not.
 
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