Word came in this morning that Harley-Davidson Australia will drop the affordable Iron 883 and 1200 models from their line-ups.
The Harley-Davidson 48, a much heralded and popular model when released a little over a decade ago at just over 16k ride-away, has seen some of that sheen wane over time and the 48 is also being dropped from the Australian and New-Zealand model line-ups.
Harley-Davidson has long been the biggest selling motorcycle brand in Australia, when it comes to sales numbers of road bikes. However, H-D has lost the #1 road mantle of late to Honda and while much of the market is currently booming, Harley recorded an eight per cent decline in sales during the first quarter of 2021, compared to 2020. In fact, Harley is the only brand to have recorded a sales decline in the first quarter of 2021, while the likes of Honda are up almost 50 per cent, and Indian’s sales are up by almost 60 per cent.
Harley’s Breakout, Street 500 and Sport Glide sales remain particularly strong and Milwaukee’s Touring line-up continues to dominate that segment of the Australian market. Thus Harley-Davidson sales remain strong, but just not as strong as has traditionally been the case.
Harley-Davidson have revealed a new Electra Glide Revival model to kick off a new Icons Collection in what will be an annual program of one or two limited-edition models that look to the past, as this first machine does with its revival of the 1969 Electra Glide styling, but will also, in other limited-edition models to come, explore Harley’s visions for the future of motorcycling. Production of that model will never be resumed or repeated. Each Icons Collection motorcycle will be serialised, and the purchaser will receive a certificate of authenticity.
The Electra Glide Revival model is what Harley call ‘a retro-classic motorcycle for the nostalgist who longs to ride a bike with style both distinctive and timeless.’
Only 1500 will be produced and the pricing has been set at $40,495 ride away in Australia and $43,995 in New Zealand. Stocks of the 1868 cc Milwaukee Eight 114 powered model are arriving in dealer showrooms this week.
The 1969 Electra Glide was the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle available with an accessory ‘batwing’ fairing and the accessory fairing and saddlebags were only offered in white moulded fiberglass.
An infotainment system with colour touch screen powers two fairing-mount speakers and features advanced navigation and hand and voice commands plus Android Auto application and Apple CarPlay software compatibility.
Also, standard is the suite of Harley-Davidson RDRS Safety Enhancements, a collection of technology designed to match motorcycle performance to available traction during acceleration, deceleration and braking, including:
Harley-Davidson posted earnings of $69.7 million USD in the first quarter of 2020, compared to $127.9 million USD during the opening quarter of 2019.
Harley sold 49,151 motorcycles in the first quarter of 2019, but this year’s figures contracted by a further 17.7 per cent during Q1 2020 to 40,439 motorcycles.
Obviously the recent shut down in production due to COVID-19 is going to have even further dramatic effects when Q2 results are eventually posted.
The cuts in production will obviously affect the availability of motorcycles to sell and the introduction of new models that might have seen the light of day this year are now expected to be pushed back to 2021 or 2022.
Models such as the new Harley-Davidson Bronx are likely to be delayed
Harley’s share price has dropped from a 12-month high of $40.89 USD in October 2019, to dip as low as $14.31 USD early last month. Today Harley-Davidson shares are trading around $23 USD on the NYSE.
While Harley-Davidson sales remain strong here in Australia, they were down 8.7 per cent on sales in the first quarter of 2020, and have gone much further backwards so far in Q2. That state of affairs though is present almost across the entire spectrum of motorcycle sales and certainly not just confined to Harley, or even motorcycles in particular, as the COVID-19 pandemic cruels retail across the board.
Harley-Davidson is still the most popular brand of road motorcycles in Australia and the Street 500 is Harley’s biggest selling model here ahead of the Breakout, Low Rider S and Fat Boy while the Fat Bob rounds out their top five selling models in Australia.
The Street 500 is Harley’s biggest selling model in Australia and at under 10k is also by far the cheapest buy into the brand
In their home market of America Harley still have an almost 50 per cent market share of the above 601cc category of motorcycles. Data for that 601cc+ segment of the market is not available in Australia, but across the entire capacity range of road motorcycles sold here, Harley hold down an impressive almost 20 per cent share of the Australian market.
Pay cuts across the board
Last month Harley executives took a 30 per cent pay cut while other workers also saw their wages cut by between 10 and 20 per cent across the board.
Harley management recently introduced a plan they have dubbed ‘The Rewire’, and released a statement to outline somewhat of a new approach which we include further below.
German 57-year-old Jochen Zeitz recently took over as CEO from the slightly younger Matt Levatich who had been in the position for five years.
Zeitz was CEO of Puma by the age of 30 and spent almost two decades as CEO of Puma before moving into other roles within the brand and also at Kering luxury goods. He first joined the board of Harley-Davidson in 2007 so is not exactly new blood, so to speak…
Zeitz recently made headlines after buying over three-million US dollars worth of Harley-Davidson stocks himself this month, he holds at least 150,000 shares in the company. It is fair to say that he doesn’t have to rely on the $250,000 USD yearly salary paid to him by H-D to get by….
Getting back to work
This week Harley-Davidson production facilities in North America started a graduated return to work.
“Harley-Davidson has begun a planned phased approach to resuming production in its facilities, following the guidelines of public health and regulatory authorities and keeping employee health and safety front and centre. At all of its facilities, Harley-Davidson has implemented enhanced safety measures, protocols to support social distancing and is bolstering its already-rigorous cleaning and sanitation practices.”
Harley-Davidson official statement
The company is executing a set of actions, referred to as The Rewire, that will be further developed over the coming months, leading to a new strategic plan. These actions are part of a comprehensive Rewire playbook designed to address top priority opportunities, drive consistent execution and reset the company’s operating model in order to reduce complexity, sharpen focus and increase the speed of decision making. The company expects The Rewire actions – those already taken and those that will be implemented over the coming months – to lead to the definition of a new 5-year strategic plan that will incorporate key products and initiatives from the More Roads plan but will focus more on the markets and products that can drive performance in terms of profitability and growth. Key elements of The Rewire:
Enhance core strengths and better balance expansion into new spaces
Return focus to the strength of brand and company, starting with dealers, customers, stronghold products and committed employees globally.
Re-evaluate strategies to reach new riders and build ridership.
Prioritize the markets that matter
Narrow focus and invest in the markets, products and customer segments that offer the most profit and potential. This includes building on Harley-Davidson’s strong position in the U.S.
Establish a simplified market coverage model and take cost out of the process.
Reset product launches and product line up for simplicity and maximum impact
Continue to be guided by the voice of customers and dealers to optimize value and profit delivery.
Simplify and retime launches to reflect the new reality, align with the start of riding season and better suit the capacity of the company and dealers.
Expand profitable iconic motorcycles to excite existing customers. Remain committed to Adventure Touring, Streetfighter and advancing electric motorcycles.
Build the Parts & Accessories and General Merchandise businesses to full potential
Develop a comprehensive strategy across P&A and GM businesses that focuses on assortment and distribution opportunities, maximizes channels, improves ecommerce capabilities and grows revenue and margins for both the company and dealers.
Align P&A and GM strategies with motorcycle strategy for a holistic presentation to the market.
Adjust and align the organizational structure, cost structure and operating model to reduce complexity and drive efficiency to set Harley-Davidson up for stability and success
Create a framework including an organization that is more focused, profitable and nimble; a cost structure that is adjusted to the new realities of the market post crisis; and an operating model designed to increase empowerment and accountability.
Establish commercially led central and new regional structures to gain a deeper understanding of customers and to return focus to dealers and selling.
Elevate the role of Motorcycle Management and sharpen marketing strategy and execution to enable a bigger impact with an improved go-to-market process.
Each of these key elements of The Rewire playbook includes actions that have been implemented or are currently being developed. The company plans to share more about The Rewire in its Q2 update.
Gladstone based motorcycle tuners Alpha Performance Engines recently surpassed a milestone by successfully modifying a late generation Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight powerplant to produce over 200 horsepower.
Custom made 4.5-inch cylinders with ductile iron sleeves and a 4.5-inch stroker crank combine to produce an engine displacing just over 143 cubic-inches, that equates to just under 2350 cc in the metric scale.
4.5″ bores mean 4.5″ pistons!
Fine tuning and development continues but on pump fuel the combination has already registered 202.92 horsepower and 171.73 ft-lb (233 Nm) of torque.
202.92 horsepower and 171.73 ft-lb (233 Nm) of torque
Even more impressive is that despite running some pretty big lobes on those special Cycle-Rama Inc CR578 camshafts the torque curve is still relatively flat with over 190 Nm available from as low as 2500 rpm.
Cycle-Rama Inc CR578 camshaft
Those big cams combine with what started out as standard Milwaukee-Eight heads before they were hand ported by Neil at Warflow Cylinder Heads to keep this big twin singing strong right through to 6750 rpm.
Warflow Cylinder Heads ported the standard Milwaukee-Eight castings
Over 200 horsepower is being made from around 6200 rpm right through to that 6750 which is as far as the guys are pushing things, so far…
A Screamin’ Eagle 64 mm throttle body with 8.2gps injectors sucks air through a Screamin’ Eagle Extreme Flow Heavy Breather and provides the significant sums of go juice through to an A.P.E. billet inlet manifold.
A.P.E. billet inlet manifold
S&S premium lifters combine with Screamin’ Eagle adjustable push-rods while AV&V supply the valve springs.
A Wegner large diameter 2-2 exhaust was utilised for this run but the team at Alpha Performance Engines are going to experiement with some more variations on the camshafts and exhausts before arriving at their final specifications on this engine which pulls duty in a 2019 Harley-Davidson Road King Special.
APE-143 equipped Road King
Then when Benaraby Raceway opens up again the boys are going to shoot for nine-second quarters while retaining a stock wheel-base and clutch controls from this APE 143 powered streeter package.
The boys are still refining the package but the 200 horsepower barrier was cause enough to crack a tinny or two
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I’ve been riding and racing electric bikes for a few years and I’m a convert. Yes, I’ll always adore petrol engines, the smell of two-stroke still gets me excited like a toddler after an energy drink, but electric bikes are coming, and Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire is one of the best of the current crop. Let me explain why.
Adam Child on the Harley-Davidson LiveWire
If you’ve never ridden an electric bike before, or even showed an interest, let me put forward some siple facts and benefits. There is no noise, there are no gears and therefore no clutch or gear lever. Electric power is immediate: twist and go with no lag.
Torque is instant, which results in fast acceleration. There’s no heat from the engine or exhaust because there isn’t one, no petrol and therefore no need for a petrol tank, (yes, that’s a dummy fuel tank on the LiveWire). And the bike performs the same no matter what the altitude, weather or conditions.
Charging opportunities will be a big aspect of LiveWire ownership for those pushing the range envelope
Riding an electric bike is very alien at first, especially for experienced riders. But you soon appreciate the technology and advantages, like going from a landline phone to a mobile. After a ride, my kids can’t burn their paws on the exhaust when the bike is in the garage and I don’t melt in traffic from the heat normally generated from an air-cooled V-twin.
So, what is a Harley-Davidson LiveWire?
There are several production electric bikes on the market, but the LiveWire is the first to come from a major motorcycle manufacturer. Remember it’s not just a case of producing the bike, you must have a dealer network that supports the new technology, in Harley’s case this is over 250 dealers worldwide. You can walk into your local Harley showroom tomorrow and order one in most large motorcycle markets around the world, but unfortunately not yet in Australia as LiveWire is not set to debut Down Under until late this year.
The LiveWire is Harley’s most powerful bike to date, a quoted 105 bhp with 116 Nm of torque and a 0-60 mph time of three seconds; 60-80 mph in two. This isn’t slow.
To control the power you have four rider modes, Sport, Road, Rain and Range. These modes change the power characteristics, regenerative braking and traction control. The regen’ braking is like engine braking, and like the TC can be changed on the move.
There are an additional three custom modes, which can be specified to your needs and how you ride, for example: full power, no traction control or regenerative braking if you are brave enough. There is a six-axis IMU and therefore the traction control is lean sensitive. There is a noticeable change in the bike’s performance and character between modes, the Sport mode is certainly sporty, you have been warned.
The Harley-Davidson LiveWire features a TFT touch screen
The range is the big question and Harley is quoting 235 kilometres on a full charge in the relative steady Range mode, and around 160 kilometres of slightly more spirited riding. On a household socket, one-hour of charge equals around 20 kilometres of range, but on a fast DC charge, that time comes down to an 80 per cent of full charge in 30 minutes, and 100 per cent in an hour.
It’s worth pointing out that you may never fully drain the battery. In the same way you don’t let your iPhone run out of charge, nor do you let your fuel level in your bike drop to zero. Typically, you re-charge or fuel up once you’re in the red with 20 per cent or so left, which in this case means a quick 30-minute charge. That’s enough time to de-kit, have a coffee, check your phone messages and continue with a full charge.
A full-colour TFT dash with touch-screen controls and connectivity comes as standard, as do high spec Brembo monobloc calipers and fully-adjustable Showa suspension at both ends, this is a quality motorcycle, make no mistake.
The Harley-Davidson LiveWire also features fully adjustable Showa forks and Brembo brakes
All the fittings and design touches are high-end, the lines around the dummy tank are perfect, the ‘on show’ electric motor even looks good and is boldly on display, not tucked away. I like the design and feel, but the elephant in the room is the price; with Australian pricing expected to be in the $44K region, but no official figure announced as yet.
Yes expensive, but also comparable to exclusive, ‘high-end’ bikes from Harley. And don’t forget, you’ll never have to pay for fuel.
How does the LiveWire perform?
The norm on most electric bikes is to become immediately aware of the lack of engine noise, which amplifies the road noise, the clatter of bodywork, the noise of the final drive on the swing-arm. It sounds mechanically incorrect. But there are no such disconcerting noises on the LiveWire, this is the Bentley of the electric motorcycle world.
On the LiveWire there’s no intrusive mechanical or drive related noises, just smooth power
It’s super smooth, fuss-free and almost silent. Harley must have spent a colossal amount of effort and money ensuring the quality of fixtures and fittings. Like closing the door on a Rolls Royce, you instantly detect the quality just by the sound. Impressive.
Stopping 250 kg is no easy task, especially when you reduce the regeneration engine braking, but the powerful 300 mm twin discs with Brembo stoppers are more than up for the challenge.
The LiveWire also takes the title as fastest stopping Harley, backed up by ABS
This is one of the fastest stopping Harleys I’ve ever ridden. Even under hard use, the stoppers don’t fade. The ABS is a little intrusive on the rear, as the rear Michelin struggles to find grip under extreme braking, but otherwise faultless.
Like the brakes, the handling is head-and-shoulders above any road-going Harley I’ve ridden previously. Ground clearance is ample, it’s easy to achieve levels of lean other Harley riders can only dream about. Due to the long wheelbase, the initial turn-in is a fraction slow, but after that it just keeps leaning and leaning.
The LiveWire would also be the leader in the Harley line up, as far as possible lean angles, and performance
Fast transitions, asking too much of the chassis, can lead to a little insecurity, but this only occurs when you’re pushing the chassis to perform to track day levels of speed. For 95 per cent of the time for 95 per cent of riders the LiveWire is planted, secure and stable.
Complementing the handling is a huge tidal wave of torque. Full power mode will take even experienced riders by surprise, despite its weight and silence it can certainly drive hard from a standstill, enough to take your breath away at first.
The LiveWire is twist and go, with no clutch and no gears to worry about
From a standstill, it’s so easy to launch, as there isn’t any clutch or gears. Simply lay over the dummy fuel tank, twist and go. Form the lights it will even give a full-blown road-legal superbike a run for its money.
You end up riding the electric Harley harder than you really should as the power is so much fun and the handling there to match.
Belt final drive is also found on the LiveWire, alongside the sporty swingarm
Should you get carried away you also have a raft of helpful rider aids to keep the wheels in line. The traction control and re-intervention are smooth and effortless, and should you be worried about losing your licence you can always opt for a softer power mode. The combination of instant power, fun handling and non-intrusive electronics makes the LiveWire a truly enjoyable package.
Back in the real world, most LiveWires are going to spend some if not the majority of their life around town, which is when most electric vehicles make perfect sense, dare I say more so than their petrol counterparts. The LiveWire is like a twist-and-go scooter but with more than double the power to embarrass unsuspecting road users from the lights.
There’s also no engine heat to worry about for commutes and hot weather
Unlike any other Harley, there’s no heat, so even in the middle of summer you won’t feel like your testicles are being barbecued. Harley has even added a ‘fake’ pulse, which gives the feeling the bike is alive and reminds you not to mistakenly twist the throttle hoping for a blip of engine noise.
The weight is more noticeable at slow speeds, but I’m only 5ft 6in and never had an issue at slow speeds. But just remember, there is no engine noise so everyone can hear you swearing at bad drivers.
Is the LiveWire touring-ready?
A cruise control comes as standard and is simple and easy to use on the Livewire, simply set to 110 km/h, and with few vibrations and negligible noise, it’s a surreal experience cruising. Stability is excellent, which allows you to play with the informative clocks or simply enjoy the view ahead.
In Australia you’ll need to plan your longer trips around charging
The ergonomics are a little aggressive, reminiscent of Ducati’s Monster from a few years ago, with wide bars and a prominent stance. The seat is relatively comfortable, the suspension on the sporty-firm side, but with just a 160 kilometres range, you’re going to be stopping to rest and charge every 1.5 to 2 hours.
On our test ride around Barcelona, I was a little heavy with the throttle and spent too much time enjoying the tyre ripping torque. With heavy use, you need to start thinking about plugging in after around 120 kilometres, depending on the road and the weight of the rider.
A fast DC charge station can get you back on the road in 30 minutes in many cases
But ridden normally I believe a 160 kilometre range is easily achievable, possibly more. Ride for 160 kilometres, stop for a coffee, plug in and repeat. Touring is an option, it just needs planning, 400 kilometres a day with two half hour stops, that’s easily achievable. Plug in overnight at your hotel and repeat the next day.
The LiveWire is a true game-changer, the first mass-produced electric bike from a global motorcycle manufacturer, and it’s good. Forget the fact it’s electric for the moment; as a bike it’s fun, handles, looks good, is desirable, even has some character, which is incredibly difficult to inject on a silent machine.
The LiveWire offers a glimpse into the future of motorcycling
Yes, it’s expensive, and covering big miles in a day won’t be possible unless you have a support crew. But for everyday riding, it’s an impressive bike. Considering this is Harley’s first road-legal electric bike, they’ve got off to a good start, in many ways one of the best Harley’s to date and already one step ahead of the competition.
Who, ten years back, would have predicted that Harley would lead the way in electric bikes? I didn’t see that one coming.
Interestingly, it’s Harley bringing the first electric bike to the market from a major motorcycle manufacturer, as they expand their offerings to a much wider rider-base
We’re not sure if this announcement means the company no longer endorses these strategies.
“I am very fortunate to have spent many years with a company as revered as Harley-Davidson,” Levatich says.
“The grit and determination of the employees and dealers and their passion for bringing our brand of freedom to people around the world has always been inspiring.
“I am proud of what we have achieved during my time as CEO, in one of the most challenging periods in our history, and I am confident that the progress we have made on the More Roads plan will position Harley-Davidson for long-term success.”
Matt at the 115th Harley party in 2018
HOG shares have fallen 46% since Levatich took charge and Harley bike sales in the US last year were the lowest in at least 16 years.
The Board of Directors has appointed current Board member, German-born Jochen Zeitz, as Acting President, CEO and board chair.
A committee of the Board will be formed and an external search firm engaged to find a new CEO.
Levatich is expected to assist with the transition through the end of March.
Zeitz will remain chair when a new CEO is appointed and current chair Michael Cave is now presiding director.
“The Board and Matt mutually agreed that now is the time for new leadership at Harley-Davidson,” Zeitz says.
Jochen Zeitz with LiveWire
“Matt was instrumental in defining the More Roads to Harley-Davidson accelerated plan for growth, and we will look to new leadership to recharge our business. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Matt for his 26 years of service to Harley-Davidson. He has worked tirelessly to navigate the Company through a period of significant industry change while ensuring the preservation of one of the most iconic brands in the world.
“The Harley-Davidson Board and leadership team will continue to work closely together as we search for a new CEO. We have confidence that our combined leadership experience and deep understanding of Harley-Davidson will ensure an effective transition. As a passionate Board Member of Harley-Davidson, I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and other Harley-Davidson stakeholders to advance and deliver the Company’s strategy and execution during this important time,” Zeitz says.
Zeitz has been a member of the Harley-Davidson Board of Directors since 2007 and established the Company’s Brand and Sustainability Committee.
He served as Chairman and CEO of the sporting goods company PUMA from 1993 to 2011. He was also PUMA’s CFO from 1993 to 2005. Zeitz served as a director of luxury goods company Kering (formerly PPR) from 2012 to 2016. He was a member of Kering’s Executive Committee and CEO of its Sport & Lifestyle division from 2010 to 2012. Zeitz is also a Board Member of the Cranemere Group Limited and is on the Board of The B Team which he co-founded with Sir Richard Branson.
Harley-Davidson have announced the new 2020 Softail Standard model, offering an attainable entry-point into Harley Big Twin ownership with the Milwaukee-Eight 107 powerplant, Vivid Black paint and traditional chrome, and available for $21,495 Ride-Away, offering a more traditional alternative to the slightly more expensive, fully blacked-out Street Bob which demands an addition $1000 premium.
2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
The Softail Standard and Street Bob offering the easiest entry point into the Softail family, before moving up to the Low Rider, which is priced at $24,495 Ride-Away.
The Softail Standard features the updated Softail chassis, with an optimised steel frame for stiffness and weight, and the Milwaukee-Eight 107 rigid mounted. Monoshock rear suspension and dual-bending valve front forks are found alongside single front and rear disc brakes, with a four-piston front caliper and dual-piston rear caliper.
2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard
Rear preload adjustability can be accessed under the seat, while wheels are classic chromed, steel-laced items, with a 19-inch front and 16-inch rear.
Wheels are chromed, steel spoke items, 19 inch front, 16 inch rear
The Milwaukee-Eight 107 runs dual counter-balancers, four-valve heads being where the ‘Eight’ designation stems from, 10:1 compression and includes dual knock sensors, while being ready for Screamin’ Eagle upgrade kits, and delivers in the region of 110 lbs-ft of torque (145 Nm at 3000 rpm) as well as 94 horsepower in standard trim.
The Milwaukee-Eight 107 produces 110 Nm of torque at 3000 rpm
A chromed two-into-two exhaust is also run, with polished rocker, primary and timer covers, with cylinder head fins left black, along with the round air-cleaner cover.
Mini-ape handlebars on risers help give the Softail Standard some attitude, with mid-controls. The dash is a digital display, with polished riser, top-clamp, triples and chromed headlamp bezel offering contrast to the blacked-out colour scheme.
Mini-ape handlebars join an LCD display and single headlight
The Softail Standard weighs in at 297kg, with a 680mm seat height and offers 28.5 degrees of lean angle both left and right, matching the Street Bob, and likewise only offers a single seat. A small teardrop style tank stores 13.2L of fuel, with Harley suggesting a fuel range in excess of 200km.
The Softail Standard only offers a single-seat, at 680mm
The 2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard also looks set to be the ideal canvas for those wishing to customise their bike from the Harley accessory range, with four accessory packages put together featuring a host of possible options.
Day Tripper Custom Package – Pillion seat and a 21-inch detachable sissy bar with pad, passenger foot pegs and mounts, forward foot controls, and black leather Single-Sided Swingarm Bag.
Coast Custom Package – Softail Quarter Fairing, black anodized aluminum Moto Bar handlebar and matching 5.5-inch tall riser, a Bevel two-up seat and passenger foot pegs, and BMX-style foot pegs from the 80GRIT Collection.
Touring Custom Package – Sundowner comfort two-up seat and passenger foot pegs, a 14-inch-high light smoke quick-release windshield, classic black Detachable saddlebags, and a 14.5-inch detachable sissy bar and backrest pad.
Performance Custom Package – Screamin’ Eagle Stage II Torque kit and a Screamin’ Eagle Pro Street Tuner. Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather Performance Air Cleaner and Screamin’ Eagle Street Cannon mufflers.
One of the most popular Harley models ever sold in Australia will arrive at $A21,495 ($NZ22,750), ride away.
This entry-level Softail will come in black only with a solo seat.
It will be a long way from the original 1984 Evo original Softail Standard, now powered by the 107 (1746cc) Milwaukee Eight engine.
In 2017, the Softail range had a major overhaul making them up to 17kg lighter, with better handling thanks to a 17% stiffer frame, emulsion rear shock and Showa dual-bending-valve forks.
The Softail Standard comes with polished highlights, mini-ape bars, a 13.2-litre tank, low-slung 2-into-2 offset shotgun exhausts and 19-inch chromed steel rims with classic spokes.
Its front-end features clear-coated fork sliders, polished triple-clamps, polished top clamp and riser, and chromed headlamp bezel and turn signals.
A compact electronic instrument with digital display is set in the handlebar riser for a clean and uncluttered look.
Softail Standard accessory packages
Accessorise your Softail Standard
Since it’s a blank canvas for customisers there is a choice of four accessory packages.
Day Tripper Custom Package: Pillion seat and a 21-inch detachable sissy bar with pad, passenger foot pegs and mounts, forward foot controls and a black leather Single-Sided Swingarm Bag.
Coast Custom Package: Softail Quarter Fairing, black anodised aluminium Moto Bar handlebar and 5.5-inch riser, a Bevel two-up seat and passenger foot pegs, and BMX-style foot pegs from the 80GRITCollection.
Touring Custom Package: Sundowner two-up seat and passenger foot pegs, a 14-inch-high light smoke quick-release windshield, classic black detachable saddlebags and a 14.5-inch detachable sissy bar and backrest pad.
Performance Custom Package: Throttle response and mid-range acceleration is improved with a Screamin’ Eagle Stage II Torque kit for the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine, Screamin’ Eagle Pro Street Tuner, Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather Performance Air Cleaner and Screamin’ Eagle Street Cannon mufflers. This factory-engineered performance upgrade retains the original equipment factory warranty when installed by an authorised Harley-Davidson dealer.
Some big news broke last week with Peter Stevens announcing the sale of its famous Elizabeth Street premises to a Chinese backed developer for $31.5 million.
While businesses regularly change premises for various reasons, few have the history behind them that the Peter Stevens motorcycle precinct situated at the top of the Melbourne CBD enjoys and thus the move signifies the end of an era for motorcycle retailing in Melbourne.
Even those of us that do not hail from Victoria, but have simply visited Melbourne over the years, have marvelled at the motorcycles on the footpath outside the Elizabeth Street string of motorcycle shops. The first of those stores came under Peter Stevens stewardship some 44-years ago and were followed in time by also bringing the neighbouring two sites into the P.S. portfolio.
Peter Stevens sell Elizabeth street premises
For me the history angle of the sale holds just as much interest as the financial reasons behind the deal. I would not be on my Pat Malone on that score.
My own first visit to window shop and ogle shiny new motorcycles on Elizabeth Street was as a fresh faced Western Australian 16-year-old navy recruit visiting Melbourne for the first time. My first ever weekend leave from recruit school had me heading into the big smoke after catching the train into the CBD from Crib Point down near HMAS Cerberus. As a motorcycle mad kid it was only natural I would gravitate towards this shiny row of motorcycles on the footpath as I trod my way around Melbourne for the first time.
The Elizabeth Street motorcycle precinct though dates back to even before Peter Stevens, as motorcycles have been retailed on Elizabeth Street for over 100 years. Motorcycle meets were staged on Elizabeth Street from the 1890s and the Milledge Brothers opened the first motorcycle shop on the street in 1903.It would not be out of order to suggest that more than a million motorcycles have hit the streets from those stores in that time.
Elizabeth Street Motorcycle sales precinct celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2003
One would imagine a fair percentage of people working across many facets of the motorcycle industry across Australia would have spent at least some of their time working in those shops.
Hundreds if not thousands of apprentices would have learned their trade as motorcycle mechanics in these stores.
A major fire in the Harley Heaven store in late 2002 caused extensive damage to the building and saw the store gutted. Major refurbishment works were required before the doors could be opened again.
The reasons for the sale are, no doubt, many, including the never ending and problematic tunnel works for new train lines and the increasing focus towards making the Melbourne CBD a much more pedestrian, tram and cyclist only space. Traffic congestion and space constraints has already seen the service departments of the Elizabeth Street stores moved out to Peter Steven’s Kensington Street complex.
Peter Stevens sell Elizabeth street premises
Peter Stevens Group Managing Director Paul Chiodo is the second generation of the Chiodo family of brothers that originally started the Peter Stevens Motorcycles operation some 50 years ago.
The 44-year history of the Elizabeth Street stores is deeply entwined with his own family history, a lineage that started in Australia when his grandfather Anthony emigrated from Italy early last century and started one of Melbourne’s first specialist Italian grocery stores.
No matter how much sense the sale undoubtedly makes from a business angle, it still must have been a major wrench for the Chiodo family, on a personal level, to sign off on a significant part of their history.
Paul Chiodo – “There are two aspects that have driven us to sell the property, they are equal to each other really. The complexities of retailing in the CBD, we are the last ones there with Yamaha City, for good reason. There are not really any motorcycle shops in the CBD of major cities. The council does everything they can to make things difficult for us, I am not sure whether that is intentional or not intentional, but the city is changing. The huge number of apartments and the changing nature of the area, we are some of the last retail stores in that precinct which has now largely been overtaken with the service industry and cafes etc. rather than a retail environment.
“Tonight at council there is going to be a vote whether to prevent motorcycles from being able to park on the pavements in the CBD. I am not sure whether that will go through but it likely will. We have always parked motorcycles out the front of the stores, used bikes, so that might no longer be an option after tonight.
“We retail hundreds of motorcycles out of there each month. Those bikes need to be dropped off by trucks, the distance from where they once were dropped off to where they now must be dropped off is now quite a distance away from the stores. Staff then must push those motorcycles through the CBD in order to get them to the store. It just adds yet more complexity to doing business in Elizabeth Street.
“Then we get to the rates and land tax on those premises. Since it has been revalued we are paying near on a million dollars a year. And next year word is that it might be in excess of a million dollars. And that is before you pay any other expenses it is truly a ridiculous amount of money. That means the viability from that perspective has become very difficult as the value of the property has gone up.”
Despite credit having never been cheaper, it seems these are very difficult times for every single area of retail in Australia. How is the current drop in motorcycle sales affecting your short and long term business planning at Peter Stevens?
Paul Chiodo – “We have been adjusting to the market in many ways over the past three years as the industry has suffered a decline. We are a dynamic business and continue to adapt and change the emphasis to different aspects of our business. Used bike sales and our workshops are growing rapidly.”
It must almost put coal-face staffing issues in an almost constant state of flux. The balance between the bottom line, and the need to retain the vital experience and knowledge of quality staff must be an almost impossible task?
Paul Chiodo – “We have got a huge number of people that are in our ten year club, and we have a ten year dinner that gets bigger and bigger every year and we have a number of people that are in our thirty-year club so there is a massive amount of retained experience in the business, and we celebrate that.”
Peter Stevens took over the distributorship of the Moto Guzzi and Aprilia brands not that long ago, what is happening in that space this year?
Paul Chiodo – “The new 660 from Aprilia has been announced and it is a significant anniversary for Moto Guzzi coming up shortly and the horizon looks bright for both of those brands.”
Aprilia RS 660
Triumph seems to be going greatand is the success story of your suite of brands?
Paul Chiodo – “We have had some good growth in January compared to the same period 12 months ago. The new Tiger 900 lands arrives this month.
2020 Triumph Tiger 900 GT arrives in Australia shortly
“The new Rocket III has had an incredible response and is sold out for the next few months at least. The Bajaj joint venture that was announced will see Triumph move into some new categories of the market and that is all really exciting and we recently re-signed a new long term contract with Triumph.”
The new Rocket III is sold out until the middle of the year
There is some encouraging growth on the scooter front with that segment of the market bouncing back well after a few years of pain. To be fair it was the bottom end of the scooter market that had fell apart predominantly, while the more premium brands you retail did not suffer such a marked drop, are Piaggio and Vespa still doing quite well?
Paul Chiodo – “The delivery market has been a strong growth area with Uber style delivery bikes and Vespa continues to be a very strong brand.
Vespa GTS Super Tech 300 HPE
“It will be interesting to the see the influence of electric bikes on the motorcycle industry in the coming years. The Harley-Davidson LiveWire arrives in September which of course we will be retailing through our Harley Heaven stores. There are also a number of new products from different suppliers that will enter the Australian market.”
Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire lands in Australia this September
Thanks for the time out of your busy schedule Paul.
Another trick special touring model has been added to Harley-Davidson’s 2020 Custom Vehicles Operation line-up with the CVO Road Glide set to arrive in April.
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
The Road Glide will complete the current CVO catalogue that now covers almost the full Harley-Davidson Touring line-up. CVO editions of the polymelia afflicted tripedal CVO Tri-Glide, the CVO Limited full-dresser for those that need to carry a pillion, and my favourite in the CVO Street Glide had already been announced some time ago, thus the CVO Road Glide is a late addition to the 2020 CVO portfolio.
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
Commanding a $16,745 premium over the current Road Glide Special, the CVO Road Glide will sell for $55,995 ride away in Australia. Kiwis will have to hand over $57,495 NZD.
A fang front spoiler is added to the lower bodywork
CVO models generally get the bespoke treatment direct from the factory and come armed with a suite of extras. Most of the fruit can be added to the regular models if you go crazy with the genuine accessories catalogue and have a very fat wallet, but with a CVO model the motorcycle comes with almost the whole orchard straight from Milwaukee.
Milwaukee Eight 117 enginer powers the CVO Road Glide
The crowning glory is perhaps the 117 cubic inch, 1923 cc, Milwaukee Eight 117 donk complete with high performance cams and Screamin Eagle Heavy Breather intake system.
Screamin Eagle Heavy Breather intake system
This boosts torque from the 163 Nm of the 114 fitted to the regular Road Glide at 3000 rpm, to 171 Nm at a higher 3750 rpm in the CVO edition.
The slightly more sporting pep is aided by a couple more degrees of lean angle achievable on the CVO models thanks to a larger 21-inch front, the largest available on any Harley Touring model. Both utilise an 18-inch rear while the ‘Knockout’ rims on the CVO model look a little old-school and replace the ‘Prodigy’ variants seen on the Road Glide Special.
CVO Road Glide rolls on a larger 21-inch front rim with the suspension tuned to match the larger rolling diameter
You can have it any colour you like as long as it is ‘Premium Sand Dune monotone with a pearl top-coat and graphics highlighted by Smoked Satin Chrome, Gloss Black and Black Onyx detail finishes at various points throughout the machine. Yep one colour option, but it’s complicated…
All the controls are from the mirror-finish chrome ‘Kahuna’ collection.
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
A built-in wireless headset interface module provides Bluetooth connectivity to the Boom Box GTS infotaintment system. The CVO has a massively upgraded sound system with a pair of 300-watt amplifiers pumping up the volume to 600-watts with 150 per channel. A navigation system is also provided and the set-up is Apple CarPlay compatible. A single Bluetooth helmet headset is also standard with the CVO Road Glide and voice control can be used to command the infotainment system while on the move. A 6.5-inch colour TFT touchscreen is covered with Gorilla Glass with low reflectivity.