Harley-Davidson adds trike to 2009 lineup

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quigley_Sharps, Jul 23, 2008.


  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Harley-Davidson Inc. has introduced a motorcycle for those of us with a taste for comfort or a fear of falling. The Tri Glide Ultra has three wheels and a brand-new chassis design. It retails for $29,000.




    The maker of Fat Boy and Softail bikes has sized up its customer base and found that many riders would rather be on three-wheelers than two-wheel behemoths that are too tall and too heavy for some people.

    Starting in the next few weeks, Harley will begin offering three-wheel touring bikes called trikes.

    It’s a new direction for Harley-Davidson and the motorcycle industry, said company spokesman Paul James.

    “This is what many of our customers have been asking for. There’s a pretty big market of people who prefer the stability of a three-wheel motorcycle,” James said.

    Harley introduced its three-wheeler, called the Tri Glide Ultra Classic, at its annual dealership meeting Tuesday in Las Vegas. The company also introduced a new V-Rod motorcycle and said it was dropping three bikes from the 2009 model-year lineup.

    Seven Harley touring motorcycles have been given an all new chassis, redesigned from the tires up.

    “Under the skin, our 2009 touring models are essentially new motorcycles,” said Bill Davidson, a Harley vice president and marketing executive.

    The Tri Glide has its own unique chassis and includes features of the two-wheel Ultra Classic Electra Glide, one of Harley’s biggest motorcycles. The trike has a suggested retail price of $29,999, with an optional electric reverse transmission for an additional $1,200.

    To build the three-wheelers, Harley signed a deal with Lehman Trikes USA, of Spearfish, S.D.

    The bikes were designed by Harley but will be manufactured by Lehman using many Electra Glide components.

    “They’re being built now and will start shipping in August,” James said.

    Harley-Davidson has made sidecar motorcycles and other three-wheelers in the past, but this is a big change in its current touring bikes.

    The company has been watching the trike market for years, especially as the baby boomer generation has pushed the middle-age envelope and has shown more interest in knee surgery and hip replacements.

    Census data shows that 80% of U.S. households will be headed by boomers in the next five years.

    “I guess it’s confirmation that we are no longer baby boomers but are geriatric boomers,” said Dain Gingerelli, editor of IronWorks motorcycle magazine.

    “Trike sales are climbing because some people, apparently, are having a harder time holding bikes up as they get older,” he added.

    Three-wheelers also have become popular with women riders who have trouble muscling around an 800-pound two-wheel bike. It was inevitable that Harley would introduce a three-wheeler, said Genevieve Schmitt, founder of WomenRidersNow.com, an online magazine about women motorcyclists.

    “I think it’s a smart move on Harley’s part, considering the strong census data” and demographics of women riders, Schmitt said.

    For 2009, Harley is dropping the base-model 883 Sportster, Night Rod and Wide Glide from its lineup.

    Buell Motorcycle Co., the company’s sport-bike subsidiary, is dropping two models and adding one, the 1125CR.

    Harley has added a new V-Rod model, the Muscle, that combines lean body work with high performance. It’s being aimed at riders who might not have considered a Harley because they’re riding a Japanese-made motorcycle.

    The Muscle is going after one end of the age spectrum, younger riders, while the trike is going after the other end, Gingerelli said.

    Harley, like most consumer-product companies, has struggled in recent months because of the weakened economy.

    “There’s nothing really new in the Harley lineup that’s going to give a big jolt to the market,” Gingerelli said. “But they do a good job when it comes to paint, chrome and glitter. And when it comes to a ‘heritage’ look, you can’t beat a Harley.”
     
  2. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    My God, for $30K you don't get reverse?

    When it's time to go to a trike I guess I'll just trike my Valk.
     
  3. GLOCKENNBOOMER

    GLOCKENNBOOMER MONKEY MILITIAMAN

    Think of it as the ultimate BigWheel....
     
  4. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    ..Whatever...
    Plenty of converted 'wing trikes out there...
    "New direction for the industry";(This from a company whos exciting new model year advertising hype includes things like: "new graphics packages"and "throatier exhaust note"...
     
  5. RouteClearance

    RouteClearance Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    I definitely have better things to spend $30K on than some form of over glorified piece of transportation. Don't get me wrong about bikes and those that live to ride them. It's just this type of consumerism is what has gotten us to this point we are at now. I would rather buy $30K worth of .22's and reloading components for my centerfire weapons.

    HD needs to rethink their direction or they could take the same route that our Big 3 are facing. How many people can actually aford this even if they could get financing from a bank. I hate to say this, but Harley has definitely over stepped the affordablity factor with this.

    Instead why can't they come out with a downsized V-Twin in a basic Soft Tail sportster that the ever increasing class of working poor could afford. Remember how affordable the ol' Model T was? I wounder how many they could sell.
     
  6. RouteClearance

    RouteClearance Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    Also. just looked up their third quater earnings, %8 drop over last year, and they expect sales to drop even further next year.
     
  7. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    If I had the money to afford this thing....

    ... I'd have a nice pickup truck and another KLR650. [ROFL]
     
  8. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    Think I'd save the $ and buy land...
    No fuel...
    No flats...
    No repair bills...
    Yup, that's exactly what I'd do!
    Bill
     
  9. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    I believe this thread should be deleted
     
  10. GLOCKENNBOOMER

    GLOCKENNBOOMER MONKEY MILITIAMAN

    Honestly I never could understand someone spending $20-$30 grand for a bike to save money on gas. Most guys I know when they want a bike that's the first thing they say is the reason behind it....BS, They just want a bike. Most of the time they are just beginning their midlife crisis...Bikes are cool, I wouldn't mind having one, but I just don't want to plop down that kind of change for one...If I did get one it would be around 5 grand and I would get it because I wanted one, not to save money on gas.
     
  11. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Then delete it
     
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