Harley-Davidson is branching out into uncharted waters with three new concept motorcycles. The trio are launched as part of a wide-ranging new strategy to bring new customers into the brand, which, judging by sinking sales figures and dwindling market share, is necessary to keep Harley-Davidson globally relevant in today’s motorcycle marketplace.
The most interesting piece of this growth puzzle is a new modular middleweight motorcycle platform with liquid-cooled engines that will range from 500 to 1250 cubic centimeters. Showing off how flexible this new platform can be are three new concept bikes: the 1250cc Pan America adventure tourer, a 975cc streetfighter, and a 1250cc “custom” cruiser. All three of these concepts are headed for production in 2020.
The Pan America 1250 — the only of these concepts so far to get a name — picks up where the deceased Buell Ulysses left off, with knobby tires and burly skid plates joining an upright riding position and plenty of ground clearance. We don’t have any specs for the upcoming production model, but our guess is that the Pan America will line up against the likes of BMW’s GS series and the Ducati Multistrada line.
Next up is an unnamed streetfighter concept that uses a 975cc version of the brand’s upcoming middleweight V-twin engine. We’ve never seen anything wearing the Bar and Shield quite like this streetfighter, from its minimalist bodywork to its aggressive feet-rearward posture. The Ducati Monster looks like a natural competitor for Harley to target.
Lest you think Harley-Davidson forgot where it came from, the brand’s third new concept is described as an “all-new custom model.” Like the Pan America, the cruiser gets a 1250cc liquid-cooled DOHC V-twin engine, but the similarities end there. With a classic foot-forward riding position, slammed suspension front and rear, and cut-down bodywork, this concept looks like something that could completely replace the Sportster lineup.
Harley also announced a big push into electric mobility, with the LiveWire launching the brand’s electrified efforts in August, 2019. But that’s just the start of H-D’s move into electric bikes. A series of concept drawings indicate that the company is branching out into smaller, bicycle-like segments. We’re especially intrigued by the XR-inspired flat track machine that looks to borrow its battery pack and motor from the LiveWire.
“Some of the things we do are going to raise some eyebrows,” says the voiceover in the video up above. You got that right. And, as far as we’re concerned, a few raised eyebrows are most certainly a positive thing for the iconic American motorcycle brand.