PowerSports Business

April 3, 2017

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The Motor Company increases focus on growing the sport BY LIZ KEENER SENIOR EDITOR It was just over three years ago that Harley- Davidson unveiled the Street 500 and 750 models at EICMA in Milan, Italy. The models were a departure from its traditional heavy- weight lineup and a clear indication that the Milwaukee-based OEM was focusing on first- time riders. Since then, the Street platform has per- formed well, and Harley-Davidson has only stepped up efforts to bring more riders into the sport. "We're always trying to stay not only on top of trends but ahead of the trends, and when we launched the Street platform, that was a big change and a big pivot towards what we understood was not only young adults and new riders and to build something that was confi- dence inspiring for them as they get on their first Harley, but also something that's going to be really relevant to urban riders and urban markets, which are growing rapidly," Anoop Prakash, director of U.S. Marketing and Market Development for Harley-Davidson, told Power- sports Business. I n e a r l y M a rc h , H a r l e y - D a v i d s o n announced its first Street variant, the 2017 Street Rod. The new bike is powered by a High Output Revolution X 750 engine, which pro- duces 18 percent more horsepower and 8 per- cent more torque than the standard Revolution X 750 engine. The Street Rod also has a revised chassis, up-rated suspension components, a new speed screen, increased ground clearance, 17-inch wheels and inverted, black-anodized forks and triple clamps. "It's taking our Street platform even further, putting more edge and more performance around the platform," Prakash said. "A lot of customers, as they reacted to Street, said, 'Hey, I love this bike. I'd love to have more perfor- mance, a little more of an edgier profile and something I can really be excited about riding in my city,' and I think that's really what we're delivering with the Street Rod. Expanding and reaching out to a broader set of riders is a criti- cal part of the innovation." 10-YEAR PLAN The Street Rod is just one way Harley-David- son is looking to reach new riders. CEO Matt Levatich announced during the company's Q4 call that H-D plans to launch 50 new bikes over the next five years and to increase ridership over the next decade. "Our long-term strategy is all about grow- ing ridership in the U.S., growing reach and impact internationally, and growing share and profit in every market we serve," Levatich said in the quarterly release. "Our goal over the next 10 years is to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders worldwide." In echoing that sentiment, Prakash said, "We really are shifting a lot our investment and focus into growing ridership and building new riders. And what that means is in instead of having a lot of our energy and investment focused on sales only, it's really about grow- ing the sport overall, so our investments and our energy are in things like Riding Academy programs, things like mentoring and coaching programs, things like reaching people who are curious about motorcycling but haven't neces- sarily received their license yet and giving them more opportunities to experience the sport and learn about the sport. Those are the kinds of things that as we shift into that direction, and really the industry shifts in that direction, I think we're going to see a lot of energy in the sport that will really not only drive the business FOCUS PSB V-twin www.PowersportsBusiness.com Powersports Business • April 3, 2017 • 17 Harley-Davidson reaches out to new motorcyclists Harley-Davidson's new Road King Special is powered by the Milwaukee Eight engine, which has drawn excitement, since its August unveiling. See Harley-Davidson, Page 20

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