Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Harley Davidson 2014 Prognostications

With less than two months to go before the Motor Company’s 2014 Dealer Show, we thought the timing was just about perfect to jump in with some “WAG’s” as to what the Motor Company was cooking up for 2014. Best to get in all the juicy, pie-in-the-sky, no basis in fact rumor mongering we could; rather than wait to report on real “after the fact” news. Where’s the fun in that? So in no particular order, the best and the brightest at the Asylum (OK, me, the dog, and an intern….an unpaid intern) have put together the following list for your speculative pleasure.

1) No liquid cooling for 2014. This one has been coming up every year for the last decade, and sadly one of these days it will be true, just not this year. That said, we hear there’s a chance that some of the big twins maybe equipped with some sort of additional oil cooling of the heads ala the late great XR1200x. Expect to see true liquid cooling when the Road Glide reappears in one to two years.

          2) There will be an introduction of a truly new model or platform this year. There’s lots of buzz in the aftermarket, rumors of a “major announcement” coming, much more intense than in recent years. We know for a fact that Harley has been in talks with IMS (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) about activating some sort of promotion at this years MotoGP. No details, but there was concern about timing relative to their August Dealer Meeting, that tells us there’s more to the story than “bold new graphics”. In addition, we talked to an XR1200 race team owner at Daytona this year, and he indicated that the factory hinted that this would be the last year for the XR’s to compete in the series, even though there are two years left on the V&H agreement with the AMA. Could this mean another “sport bike” for the Motor Company? Highly unlikely, given the recent demise of the XR1200x, but it is interesting. Stay tuned on that one. What we see is the real possibility of the introduction of a “sport touring” machine with a completely new frame, state of the art suspension and brakes. We think Harley is looking to get after the metric guys in their own backyard without alienating the faithful. Remember, you read it here first people.

3)  CVO’s to 120. This is a no brainer, the only question is will it happen this year or the next. Harley simply can’t have its flagship premium model line-up sport a displacement that’s literally just inches away from the now common place 103, the preferred lump of the great unwashed. Also expect  the 103 to creep to 110, maybe with the intro of the water jacketed powerplants.

4)  Look for some new touring model to pick up the slack left in the line-up with the elimination of the Road Glide and Road King Custom. Those two bikes alone accounted for way too much revenue just to let them go without a near term replacement. Most likely the new rig will be based on the existing chassis to keep it cheap………..expect the words “Road” or “Street” to be incorporated into the name. Just sayin’

There you have it, our best guess as what’s in store for 2014……….but as a wise man once said, “…..predictions are tough, especially about the future”.  So don’t be “that guy” and bust our chops when none of the above pans out……….unless of course we nail it, in which case, we like Jack, we’ll supply the Coke.