Harley-Davidson to Launch a Naked Bike and Adventure Bike in 2020
H-D is finally getting serious about diversifying its product portfolio, but will it be enough?
Harley-Davidson has just unleashed its “More Roads to Harley-Davidson” initiative onto the motorcycling world and it’s quite a bombshell. Along with the previously announced electric motorcycle, H-D is coming out with a streetfighter, an adventure bike, and a new custom model and they’ll all be available in the next three years.
For years, Harley-Davidson has been challenged (including by us) to expand into more than just big, loud, chrome cruisers so they can really stay competitive with the other big players in premium motorcycles like Ducati, Triumph, and BMW. Harley has listened and now it has big plans to introduce new products outside the H-D norm.
Let’s start with the part we’re most excited about; the new products. We’ve finally gotten confirmation that the electric Harley-Davidson motorcycle coming out next year will carry the LiveWire name that was used on the original electric concept. We also get our first look at a new prototype of the bike that’s coming out next year which we hope doesn’t change much when it hits production. The LiveWire will be followed by additional electric bikes that will come out through 2022. We don’t know much about the other electric bikes yet, but H-D says they’ll “broaden the portfolio with lighter, smaller and even more accessible product options to inspire new riders with new ways to ride.”
We’ve previously reported and speculated about H-D trademarking the “Pan America” name. Now we know that the Harley-Davidson Pan America will be a 1250cc V-twin-powered adventure bike. Yes, you read that right. Harley-Davidson is coming out with a proper adventure bike to go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Triumph Tiger, BMW R1200GS, and Ducati Multistrada. With knobby tires, generous ground clearance, and skid plates, it looks like it’ll have the serious off-road capability it will need to be competitive.
Moving on, Harley-Davidson is also coming out with a yet-to-be-named naked bike that it’s simply calling a “future streetfighter model.” The 975cc V-twin-powered concept we see here certainly looks modern and muscular and ready to take the fight to the undisputed king of streetfighters, the Ducati Monster.
Finally, there’s an unnamed 1250cc “future custom model” that looks like a genuinely modern take on classic Harley-Davidson styling. The concept shown has bronze accents, a cafe-style solo seat, big, fat tires, and an aggressive stance. It’s nice to see a Harley that looks truly new and truly like a Harley-Davidson. All three of these bikes; the Pan America, the streetfighter, and the custom model, will all be based on one modular 500cc to 1250cc middleweight platform with more bikes using the same platform coming out through 2022.
The LiveWire is still slated to come out in 2019, the Pan America and streetfighter will be out in 2020, and the new custom model will be out in 2021. These are the bikes we’ve been wanting to see from Harley-Davidson, but we can’t help but wonder, is the Milwaukee brand too late to the game to make an impact? The Ducati Monster has been out for a quarter-century and adventure bikes have been a hot market since Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman took a pair of Bimmers around the world in the early 2000s.
If the products themselves are good enough, Harley-Davidson should be able to make its mark in these competitive segments. If the new streetfighter and the Pan America can match or beat the performance of competitors and keep the pricing competitive, these new bikes could be the big hit that Harley badly needs them to be.
Unless Indian Motorcycle already has similar bikes in the pipeline, the H-D streetfighter and Pan America will be the only naked and adventure motorcycles you’ll be able to buy from an American brand. Not to mention the LiveWire being the only electric bike you’ll be able to buy from any major motorcycle manufacturer. Indian is bringing the stunning FTR 1200 to production and will be available next year, but where are those other non-cruisers we’ve been promised from Indian?
For the first time in a while, we’re very optimistic about Harley-Davidson’s future. This announcement may have come a little (or a lot) later than we would’ve liked, but the brand is finally coming out with products that will appeal to riders outside of its core fanbase and we can’t wait to ride them.