On Monday, November 4th, Harley-Davidson announced that it will begin production of two new motorcycle platforms. The new designs, the first all new bikes the company has released in 13 years, and first lightweight bikes since the seventies, sport the monikers “Street 500” and “Street 750” respectively. These new machines reflect Harley-Davidson’s desire to lure younger buyers to the iconic brand.
US models are slated to be produced at Harley’s Kansas City plant. Offering a seriously competitive price, ranging between $6700 and $7500, these will be the most affordable platforms offered by Harley-Davidson.
The new bikes will feature a leaner, lighter chassis with low seat height and broad handlebar sweeps. “These new bikes are leaner, yet still have a mean streak,” Mark Hans Richer, a senior vice president at Harley-Davidson, said in a statement. “They’re the real deal, made of real steel.” The two models will likely help keep Harley at the top of the charts when it comes to being the choice of young riders in the US, a position they have held for the past five years.
Part of that mean streak comes in the form of the bikes’ new power plant. Dubbed “Revolution X”, these engines are liquid cooled and designed with the young urban rider in mind. Harley has promised that this new engine will help deal with the “stop and go” scenarios often encountered in city riding—essentially through the engine’s ability to provide instant throttle response when needed all while still providing that familiar Harley sound that has become synonymous with anything produced by the company.
Joining Harley’s Dark Custom line, these new models will come in a basic all black colorization; which will allow and encourage the rider to focus on customization of their bike should they desire to do so. Despite this, the models are anything but bland—they look wonderfully sleek and most riders would have no problem being seen rolling down a city street on one of these machines in factory trim.
Once production starts either this year or the start of 2014, Harley is hoping to sell between 7,000 and 10,000 models worldwide. Global reaction to the bikes is still pouring in, and most of it seems positive. But the true test will come when they hit the road in 2014, and we can see up close and personally, just how good these bikes are.
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