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Harley-Davidson sales are suffering because ‘Millennials don’t like motorcycles’

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US Market analyst downgrades Harley-Davidson after research predicts ‘negative growth’ in bike sales over the next five years.

Whilst motorcycle sales at Harley have fallen by a relatively small 1.6 percent so far in 2017 when compared to the same time in 2016, American analysts Alliance Bernstein have downgraded their rating of the company from ‘outperform’ to ‘market perform’.

And they’re blaming the ‘millennial generation’ as a key factor in the downturn of the company’s fortunes,

“Our data suggests the younger Gen Y population is adopting motorcycling at a far lower rate than prior generations.

Gen Y’s are ageing into the important ‘pre-family’ cohort of riders and Boomers are increasingly handing over their keys to the smaller Gen X population.”

Simply put, the children of the 2000’s and beyond have grown up primarily during times of recession and these 18-35 year olds have learnt to not spend their money on things that aren’t deemed ‘essential’.

So whereas the previous Generation X’ers and the Baby Boomers used to ‘live to ride’ and took up two-wheels as a ‘lifestyle’ choice, the desire to continue in their elder’s footsteps has been negated by the struggles that they’ve seen their families have to cope with in these financially difficult times.

In a report on the analyst’s prediction, CNBC say that ‘since Alliance Bernstein’s initiation 10 months ago, new bike sales have persistently missed due to demographic shifts. Declines in pre-family (ages 25-35) and post-family (ages 45-70) cohorts show millennials, the largest age group outside of boomers, have little interest in riding motorcycles.’

It’s no secret that sales of motorcycles across Europe and the US have been sliding and in regions outside of India or Southeast Asia that decline does appear to be significant enough to cause concern across all of the major manufacturers.

But could this really be down to the lack of interest from millennials? With the age of riders across Europe and the US rising and with a dearth of younger riders coming through the test and license centres in these same regions, there might just be something in that theory, and it’s not just limited to heritage brands such as Harley.

Source: CNBC

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Harley-Davidson release two new, old Sportsters

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New Harley Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special come with new graphics, chrome and high bars.

There are a lot of new motorcycles coming out of the Harley-Davidson stable – at least one hundred by 2027 in fact, so we can expect a frequent flow of model revisions and changes to be revealed over the coming months and years.

The two new bikes announced today by Harley aren’t hugely new or exciting – but the new graphics are pretty sweet and ape-hanger bars are always worth clinging onto.

‘Since its inception, the Sportster has offered the perfect combination of size, power and character that makes it appealing to so many different riders’ -Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson V.P. of Styling & Design.

The Harley Sportster was introduced in 1957 and has now hit somewhere in the region of 30 varying production models. Along that time owners have got pretty used to stripping their bikes down and customising/re-inventing them. It’s this fact that Harley say they’ve used as inspiration for their two, new machines.

The Forty-Eight Special comes with a tiny 10 litre tank, new, steamroller front-end and 8 inch high Tallboy handlebars. Compared to the regular Forty-Eight, there’s also a lot more chrome.

The Iron 1200 features a ‘fast-back’ café seat, mini-ape black handlebars and a glossy black fly screen. It’s also got more range with a 15 litre tank and fancy colour paint/graphics. There’s also a lot less chrome and a lot more black.

So that’s two more of the 100 bikes out of the way.  And a new electric just around the corner

 

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Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle will be a ‘Revelation’ (according to trademark filings)

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Harley-Davidson trademark casts revelatory eye into future of their electric motorcycle plans.

If you were to have said a year or so ago that arguably the world’s most famous motorcycle brand would be frequently linked with falling sales and financial woe then most people would have said that you were barking mad.

However, with recent stories of millennial woe and mounting board concern the immediate future of the famours Bar and Shield brand is far from certain.

With a commitment to releasing 100 new motorcycles over the next ten years however, the folks at Harley-Davidson motorcycles do at least seem to have a plan to tackle their problem, and – along with Indian Motorcycle – they are preparing to take that battle to uncharted territory.

Last month the news broke that Harley were looking to get their electric motorcycle out and onto the streets by the end of 2019 and now it would seem that we know a little more about what form that new electric technology might take. Or the name of it at least.

According to a recent trademark application filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office then name that Harley Davidson will use to refer to their new electric drive-train technology will be ‘Revelation’.

The interpretation by our (genuine) friends over at Asphalt & Rubber is that this will not be the name of the final motorcycle however, but rather the name used to refer to the technology/motor itself.

We’re not sure if the final name of the electrified Harley will be that of the Livewire moniker attributed to its pre-production/concept that was produced as a test vehicle back in 2014, but the choice of ‘Revelation’ for the motor technology is an interesting one to say the least.

The company already uses similar sounding names for it’s Evolution’ and ‘Revolution X’ V-Twin engines, so ‘Revelation’ isn’t too far of a stretch for the imagination, but it’s certainly an interesting one…

The Book of Revelation in Christian faith is effectively an apocalyptic prophecy.

The notion that it will be the old, warhorse Harley-Davidson to be the first major manufacturer on course to release a production electric motorcycle could well be considered an event of almost biblical proportions.

Source: USPTO via Asphalt & Rubber

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