02 May 2018

Webspin: Harley-Davidson 2018 Sport Glide Softail - Don't call it a tourer

#harleydavidson #findyourfreedom



When Harley-Davidson announced the death of Dyna and the new Softail range, tongues were certainly set wagging. Add the bold claim by H-D that they were set to release 100 new models in ten years and you have a minor sensation on your hands.

Motorweb has ridden all the Softail models now including, as of last weekend, the sleek new Sport Glide 107 (FLSB). And we gave it quite an outing.

Grey Ghost regular, Paul D, was so enamored with our Mudgee run a few weeks back, he thought it was worth putting the band back together and our motley entourage set out for the big lap via Putty Road, Bylong, Mudgee, Hill End and Capertee. As we found out from our Australian Road Rider feature, it’s a route to test both bike and rider.

Mixed in with BMW adventure bikes, two Triumphs and a tall Ducati Multistrada, the Sport Glide had to work to stay on the pace and for this rider of modest ability, it didn’t turn out to be such a tall order.

On test: Sport Glide and fat bloke at Hill End NSW

The low slung (680mm) seat means regular-sized blokes like me can throw a leg over without putting a milk crate down first. The smooth panniers sacrifice a little capacity but don’t intrude on the lines of the bike, keeping the visuals neat. The quick release lever lets you pull them off in a flash along with the front fairing if you want to go naked in a hurry.

The minimalist fairing looks pretty ineffective but is surprisingly functional. It won’t stop the breeze when you open up the throttle, but it does reduce the aggressive buffeting found on naked bikes and I could even wear my peaked open face helmet without too much discomfort at legal speeds.

We’ve talked about the new engine a lot and this Milwaukee-Eight® 107 loves the highways and backroads equally. The effortless torque is always there, even down to around 2000 rpm, and it’s no issue to pull out of the sharp hairpins. Leaning the bike over is not quite ‘sport bike’ easy, but the forward footrests and 120mm ground clearance give you extra leeway. You’ll drag your heels before the pegs hit the tarmac.

Heels will drag before the pegs (Photos by: Brian J. Nelson)

I wouldn’t want to carry a pillion all day without installing the optional backrest, but you can make the ride easier for both of you by dialling up the suspension thanks to the handy externally adjustable shocker found on several Softail models.

The H-D tagline ‘call it a tourer, we dare you’ has some merit because, while it tours easily, it does handle with surprising nimbleness for what is still a big 300+ kg machine. Big (4-piston fixed front and 2-piston floating rear) ABS brakes make sure things come to stop quickly too.

In the end, you don’t want to take my word for it, so get in to your Harley-Davidson dealer and test ride for yourself.

Sport Glide is priced from $27,750 (ride-away)

26 April 2018

Brand New 2018 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Offer




#findyourfreedom #harleyheaven #harleydavidson

Start your Harley-Davidson dream now at one of our six Harley-Heaven Dealerships across Melbourne, Sydney & Adelaide. Book a Test Ride now.

Stop Dreaming, start riding at Harley-Heaven


01 April 2018

The Kids on the Street: Harley-Davidson's grab for the youth market



There’s a common misconception in the motorcycle industry that so-called ‘millennials’, or typically 20-somethings, are not riding or buying bikes.

While most of this noise seems to be coming from the USA, the environment here in Australia inevitably reflects sales and promotion strategies employed for international markets.

When the GFC hit in 2007, the motorcycle market tanked as people’s disposable income evaporated. This hard reset resulted in a major swerve in demographics among the motorcycle riding and owning community. In 2003, only about one-quarter of U.S. motorcycle riders were 50 or older. By 2014, it was close to half. ^

Across the industry and particularly at Harley-Davidson, there was a pressing need to create machines for younger, first-time owners that still preserved the allure of the high-value Harley-Davidson marque. The bosses at H-D embarked on a massive customer feedback campaign that shook up the 115-year-old brand and resulted in the arrival of smaller, radical models like the all-new, liquid-cooled Street 500 and 750 V-Twins.

Newly arrived Street Rod 750 features a special high output engine for Australia

While Australia may have weathered the onslaught of the GFC much better than the USA, persistent high real estate prices have burst many property dreams for the under-30s.

“We’re seeing younger customers in our showroom now,” says Craig Smith, dealer principal at Harley-Heaven Western Sydney at Blacktown whose ‘catchment’ includes many districts with ‘greenfield’ housing development zones like Penrith, Windsor and Dural.

“It seems these younger buyers may have turned their back on the punishing real estate market, for now at least, and have decided to enjoy themselves instead,” surmises Smith.

Some of the early reviews for Street 500 were not altogether flattering, but many overlooked the purpose of this Indian-built, liquid-cooled bike, engineered expressly to keep the cost down and be less intimidating for entry-level riders.

“When it arrived here in 2015 for under $10,000, it was hard to keep up with demand, but that's settled and it's become an ongoing sales success for us now and we're doing special events aimed at Street riders, like shop rides and sales incentives.

"Our Street 500 customers see it as instant 'street cred'. Going through the learner process on a Harley is something special compared to their mates."

Smith also points out that while Harley-Davidson Australia may have been a bit cautious initially, overwhelming customer demand was such that they have now released the up-rated and more aggressively-styled 750cc ‘Street Rod’ version along with further variants in paint and accessories for the 500. In fact, Harley-Heaven Western Sydney is even throwing in a helmet, jacket and gloves with every new Street 500.

So rather than waiting for new buyers to reach that critical ‘mid-life’ point or even retirement, riders can embark on their Harley-Davidson journey 20 years sooner for a fraction of the price of a full-size Softail or Sportster.

Meet the team at Harley-Heaven Western Sydney

Come in and see and ride the full Harley-Davidson range, including Street 500 and Street Rod 750 at Harley-Heaven Western Sydney, 70 Sunnyholt Rd, Blacktown or call (02) 9621 7776. http://www.harleyheaven.com.au/harley-heaven-western-sydney

^ Bloomberg, July 5, 2017