Drag site icon to your taskbar to pin site. Learn More

2011 Harley Blackline New York Press Launch

Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Harley-Davidsons aren’t solely for riders headed to their last round-up. Nowhere was this more apparent than the recent press launch at Don Hill’s in New York City for the newest member of Harley-Davidson’s Dark Customs, the 2011 Blackline. The bar was the perfect setting for Harley’s newest Softail – dark and gritty, black walls and dim lights broken by sparks of neon. It fit the character of the stripped-down and slammed Blackline perfectly.

Videos Our Sponsor
2011 Harley-Davidson Blackline Press Intro Video
Click to view video
Check out some of the first walk-around footage of the 2011 Blackline and join the after party at Don Hill's in our 2011 Harley-Davidson Blackline Press Intro Video.
Harley brought the styling and engineering teams who worked on the Blackline along to discuss how the bike came to be, including lead designer on the project, Casey Ketterhagen, who we dubbed Jesse James, Jr. because of his slicked down hair and penchant for Pendletons.

“Casey attacked this bike and started taking s%*t off and tried to make this bike look as illegal as possible,” said Ray Drea, Vice-President of Styling.
Before the project began, the styling team looked at a profile of all Softails since 1984 and asked “What do you see?” The fact that they all looked the same drove the changes to the Blackline’s tank and rear.

Casey began to break down the Blackline for us, starting with the rear fender that’s been trimmed down as much as legally allowable. He also said they tucked the fender in super-tight to the rear wheel thanks to a new Dunlop that expands width-wise instead of up. Harley removed the fender strut cover and simplified the look with cosmetic forgings and ran the wiring for the directionals behind the fender supports. The back fender wasn’t the only thing that got slammed. The Blackline has the lowest seat height for a factory Harley at 24 inches, to which American Iron Editor Chris Maida chimed in with “I appreciate that.”

Casey continued his dissertation by telling us how they
We gave Casey Ketterhagen  the lead designer on the Blackline project  the nickname of Jesse James  Jr.
Casey Ketterhagen, the lead designer on the 2011 Blackline, runs down some of the bikes features and talked about how he attempted to clean up the new Softail's look by stripping it down to the essentials.
took the signature tank, got rid of the dummy gas cap and moved the fuel readout to an LCD display on the round speedo mounted between the bars. Harley also replaced the big chrome console for a trim black panel and slimmed down the remaining fuel cap as well. This gives the new, narrow, internally wired Split Drag handlebars as much turning clearance as possible. They also eliminated the riser on the Blackline and attached the bars directly to a thin top triple clamp (the first mock up had clip-on handlbars). Its mirrors are pulled in as close as they could get them.

When talking about the focus of the new Blackline, Harley-Davidson’s Chief Styling Officer, Willie G. said “Obviously, this is a look that Harley-Davidson has owned for many, many years. It traces back a long time. Yet it’s a modern interpretation.”

A look into the dreams of every red-blooded biker!
After the official press launch, the party at Don Hill's heated up as sexy models struck poses on the Harley Blackline. (B) Willie G. couldn't resist the temptation to jump in the saddle to try it on for size.
Willie G. tests out the ergos on the new Blackline.
In an attempt to expose more of the denim black powdercoated frame, the Blackline sports a new one-piece, two-up seat. A gap between the nose of seat and fuel tank exposes the top of the frame. Drea said they “pulled the seat back as tight we could, as narrow as we could.” Add the saddle’s narrowness to the ultra-low seat height and you’ve got a motorcycle that makes it easy for smaller statured riders to get both feet on the ground at a stop but with forward-mounted foot controls allows longer-legged riders the ability to comfortably stretch out as well.

The FX front end uses relatively thin 41mm fork tubes stuck out at a 30-degree rake angle. The thin triple calms are powdercoated in black and the fork lowers are black as well. The laced aluminum front wheel sits in black anodized rims and is tall at 21 inches and thin at 90mm. The big front hoop makes the small round headlight above it appear even more minute.

The Blackline is powered by an internally counter-balanced, rigid-mounted Twin Cam 96B with machined heads and black jugs. Keeping in the bike’s less-is-more theme, it has a gloss black powdercoat on the rocker box covers, crankcase, outer primary cover and transmission side cover. The shiniest parts on the bike are its new, round chrome air cleaner cover and dual pipes.

The Blackline joins the other members of Harley-Davidson’s Dark Custom line that started with the Cross Bones and includes the Iron 883, Nightster, Forty-Eight, Street Bob and Fat Bob.

“Dark Custom is a name they’ve put to something that has been going on for a while. It’s been going on in the streets, in the garages, it’s really a lot of throwback cues to a post war-era,” said VP of Styling, Drea, who claims the throwback cues resonate with the younger demographic.

The 2011 FXS Blackline is the newest addition to Harley-Davidsons Dark Custom line of motorcycles. Harley shows off its customization skills in the paint of these two gas tanks at the press launch party for the 2011 Blackline. Don Hills in SoHo was hoppin for the party after the press launch of the 2011 H-D Blackline.
(L) The 2011 FXS Blackline. (M) Harley shows off its unbeatable custom paint. (R) Don Hill's was hoppin' for the after party.
While the Harley demographic is reportedly aging, according to The Motor Company an independent third-party study by R.L. Polk conducted in 2008 revealed that Harley-Davidson became the top selling brand in the U.S. in sales of new street motorcycles to young adults 18-34. And in 2009, it reportedly extended that lead. This is for all displacement engines, not just heavyweight motorcycles. The Dark Custom line and bikes like the Forty-Eight and Nightster have been instrumental to attracting riders in this demographic. We witnessed first-hand how big a hit the Blackline was with the young crowd at filled Don Hill’s, the exact group Harley is targeting with its Dark Custom line. How many of them that actually have the means to buy a $15,499 motorcycle is another question, though.

Ride Free says Willie G.  one of the driving creative and styling forces at Harley-Davidson.
"Ride Free" says Willie G., one of the driving creative and styling forces at Harley-Davidson.
Beyond targeted marketing campaigns, Harley is also surrounding itself with young new talent. We already mentioned Casey Ketterhagen, aka JJ, Jr. If he wasn’t working for The Motor Company, we’re confident Casey would be in a garage somewhere stripping down bikes and building hot rods. His talents would fit in perfectly with the group of craftsman and bike builders from The Limpnickie Lot. There are also people like the spikey-haired, spunky Product Communications Manager for Outreach Markets we met at the intro, Amanda Lee, who shared with us her story of riding in India, the fastest growing motorcycle market around. Though the roads were rough and the traffic perilous, Lee also said it was an unforgettable experience and commented on how young people in Indian are a “generation hungry for self-expression.” Many are seeking this self-expression in motorcycle ownership. She also couldn’t believe the brand identity H-D has in the country. And she’s not talking exclusively in the major metropolises, either, as she said that once they left the big cities and were riding in the countryside through small villages, local children would pour out at the sound of the bikes, shouting “Harley-Davidson, Harley-Davidson” as they ran behind the group of riders.

Harley-Davidson apparel is a major contributor to brand identity and sales, so Karen Davidson, Creative Director for General merchandise, was on hand at the Blackline press launch to introduce Harley’s new Black Label Collection of clothing.

“As we get a broader reach with our customs and we look at what we can do to grab the attention of the merchant market that’s being drawn to these wonderful vehicles, we think hey, there’s an opportunity here to do some rocking, very, very cool clothes. Style them up a little bit differently,” Davidson said.

Glamorous models sported the new Black Label Collection of apparel at the press party for the 2011 Blackline.
Glamorous models sported the new Black Label Collection of apparel at the press party for the 2011 Blackline.
The Black Label Collection features jackets, shirts and other gear that is “cut narrow through the chest, shaped at the sides and tighter at the hip for a look, fit and feel that’s unique to this collection.” Many of the new Black Label Collection bore the line’s new slogan – “There Are No Free Rides.”

As the press intro drew to a close, the party heated up. Sexy models took turns striking seductive poses on the bike as photographers’ flashbulbs lit up the stage. The Blackline became the star of the night as partygoers lined up to have their picture taken on Harley’s newest motorcycle, from the tattooed to tie-wearing Wall Street types. The venerable Willie G. was digging the vibe and hung out into the late hours as DJ Paul Sevigny spun everything from Jane’s Addiction to Creedence Clearwater Revival.

The Blackline would make its debut to the public the next morning at the New York Progressive International Motorcycle Show. We’ve gotten a chance to sit on the bike and experienced how low and narrow it feels and are chompin’ at the bit to take this new Softail out for a test ride.
Harley Blackline Press Launch Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Slideshow
Other Cruiser Feature Articles
BMW Unveils Concept 101 Bagger in Italy
BMW unveiled its Concept 101 today at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este, Italy, the performance bagger built with the help of Roland Sands.
2015 Quail Motorcycle Gathering Report
With over 350 collectible and custom motorcycles spread about the lawns of the Quail Lodge, the 2015 Quail Motorcycle Gathering featured one of the most diverse collections yet.
Cutting Edge Illusions - Custom Paint Feature
Cutting Edge Illusions has specialized in custom painting motorcycles since 2004, but a trip to their shop to drop off the Sportster proved their painting portfolio doesn't stop there.
Rats Hole Bike Show Leesburg Results 2015
The Rat's Hole Custom Bike & Chopper Show packed them in at Leesburg BikeFest as 110 customized bikes and trikes battled for the coveted 'Best of Show' trophy.
VDB Moto Harley Sportster Scrambler H-1
VDB Moto takes the path less traveled by converting a 1999 Sportster 1200 into a Harley Sportster Scrambler H-1 which debuted at Austin's Handbuilt Show.
2015 Leesburg BikeFest Review
For three days, bikers rumbled down Main Street, rocked Towne Square, and ogled customs in the Rat's Hole Show during the 19th annual Leesburg BikeFest.
2015 Leesburg BikeFest Saturday Report
The party in Leesburg swelled even bigger Saturday as 110 of the cleanest customs around battled in the Rat's Hole Custom Bike Show and Puddle of Mudd topped it off with an electric set.
2011 Harley FXS Blackline Specs
The Blackline has a shiny new round air cleaner.
Engine: Air-cooled, Twin Cam 96B
Displacement: 96 ci/1584cc
Fueling: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection
Transmission: Six-speed Cruise Drive
Wheelbase: 66.5 in.
Length: 93 in.
Seat Height: 24 in. (laden)
Wheels: Front: 21 in. X 2.15 in.
                  Rear : 16 X 3 in.
Tires: Dunlop H-D Series Blackwalls 
                Front – D402F MH90-21
                   Rear – D402 MU85B16
Fuel Capacity: 5 gal.
Weight (claimed dry weight): 638.5 lbs.
Color Options: Vivid Black, Cool Blue Pearl/Vivid Black, Sedona Orange/ Vivid Black
MSRP: Vivid Black - $15,499 Two-tone - $15,998

Login or sign up to comment.

d s   February 5, 2011 01:27 PM
funny how nothing here is really new
sloppy   February 5, 2011 05:52 AM
Mike: I sat on one last weekend down at Daytona and felt the exact same way as you did. I told the sales rep the same thing. It felt like a Sportster and the handlebar position felt too narrow. I am about 5'9". 357, I agree with most of what you had to say on this post. I don't have a Harley, I ride something else. Harley is an outstanding company though and they have divested what they could make profits on. (i.e. what they could not sale). The people that don't understand Harley though can't seem to realize that not only does H-D produce and try to perfect what the market demands(cruisers) but also Harley sells an experience not just a motorcycle. They do this my a very effective marketing program and customer service program such as the H.O.G and the Rider Fitment Program. You are right that they still lead in the 18-34 group. I guess the real question is, "will they be successful with that age group by continuing to go in the same direction?" The sales rep at Bruce Rossmeyers H-D said that the Rocker and the CrossBones would be discontinued after this year. Like the other reviewers, I think the Blackline is somewhat bland. But then again I am not in the 18-34 age group. Some folks don't seem to realize the strides that H-D is making. For example the chassis change in the tourers a couple of years ago, going from an 88 ci to 96 ci engine, the Sportser change about 6 years ago. The bikes certainly have had a true evolution of improvement. However, this year they seem to be a little flat on their improvements (just my opinion). Personally, I think that H-D will put the 103ci all of the cruisers and tourers within the next 2 years. The other thing that I can't understand is why they haven't gone to a 4 valve per cylinder engine. This would not affect the looks or the sound but only increase performance.
Mike Lynch   February 4, 2011 08:44 PM
357...I've sat on the Blackline and for my 6', 210 # frame, I found it stiff and cramped. The handlebars felt way too narrow for my liking, the seat felt like a stiff bicycle seat and the foot position felt cramped. My biggest distraction was the huge gap between the front seat with a hideous bolt glaring up at you. Not very good fit or finish, although in typical Harley fashion, the paint was really nice. I came away feeling that this was not so much of a Softail as it was a Sportster...just from the feel of it.

I too like the Victory High Ball although I would probably change the apes a little.
Threefive Seven   February 4, 2011 03:38 PM
By the way, does anybody else think the Blackline looks rather clownishly spindly out front with that skinny skinny front tire and fat tank? That's not a good match according to my tastes. I'd rather have that new Victory High-Ball myself. But Harley's closest competitor to the High-Ball appears to be the Crossbones (big twin, bobber styling, same size front and rear wheels, mini-apes), and I'd have a difficult time choosing between those two. I like the modern-bobber look of the Victory about as well as the retro-bobber look of the Harley about the same.
Threefive Seven   February 4, 2011 03:20 PM
"Clearly you believe Harley should keep trotting out the same old mediocre product to the same OLD market." Um... I took the time and effort to explain Harley's target markets and their strategies for doing well in them, not the "same OLD market." Since you completely ignored that and said "clearly" about something that was exactly wrong, we'll chalk that up as a perfectly valid justification for my condescending tone. I'll save my effort from here on out and assume that, even if you read what I write (which is doubtful), you aren't capable of understanding it anyway. Enjoy your ride... I'll sure be enjoying mine!
Dennis T   February 4, 2011 02:59 PM
357 - apparently you can only debate or discuss in an offensive, rude tone - why on earth are you so defensive and thin skinned. I'm not going to resort to your kind of nonsense - sorry, I'm out of middle school - I will however point you once again to Harley's Investor Guide and the demographic survey that shows the ever aging customer base. You also completely missed the fact that I said I wanted HD to survive and thrive. Why do you assume I ride a race rep by the way? I currently have a BMW R1200GS and a KTM 525 for more serious dirt riding. That's the problem with polarized, blinkered thinking - misunderstanding and assumptions masquerading as intelligent conversation. Clearly you believe Harley should keep trotting out the same old mediocre product to the same OLD market - great business plan! I think they could aim a little higher, expand their market, drop their average buyers age and bring new, innovative products to the market (there are options between overweight, slow cruisers and race reps you know) that ensure a healthy future. That's where we differ (well there and on the concept of civility).
Threefive Seven   February 4, 2011 02:31 PM
Dennis, I forgot to mention another trend that you're not taking into account: the customizers and builders. My exposure to motorcycle culture tells me that there are more of these than there are StUnTaZ trying to impress their buddies. So for every broke-ass, non-spending hooligan you're trying to stick up for by crying out for cheaper, kid-oriented bikes, I can think of two gearheads who are perfectly happy to chop, weld, bob, rake, bolt, cam, stroke, bore, port, and paint a nice, solidly-designed, mechanically simple platform made out of sturdy steel and with a wide variety of aftermarket parts and support. So once again, due to this cultural difference it would be fair for you to say that perhaps a Harley isn't for you, and again, that's fine. But once again, due to this difference in cultures, your whining about the company reflects more poorly on YOU than it does on them.
Threefive Seven   February 4, 2011 02:23 PM
Dennis, there's very, very little in your comments here that I agree with. Every single stereotype you trot out has been dead for at least a decade, and the business advice you'd give to Harley has proven wrong through real-world testing over and over again. Track bikes alone are what relegate a manufacturer to a tiny, unprofitable niche, as MV Agusta and Buell have shown. Stunt shows? Really? You think those are more compelling than practical commuters/standards/tourers? May I have some of what you've been smoking? Harley's marketing and investor statements are very clear on their target markets, such as women. You think women prefer testosterone-overdose superbikes with twitchy, unstable steering, plastered with energy drink logos? Think again! Women might like, oh, say, A LOWER SEAT so it fits them. Been to the HD website lately, or into a dealer? They advertise their "fit shop" customizations to make sure all sizes and builds can be accommodated by their bikes. This will also help them in the Asian market, where they're concentrating their efforts as well. Their competition in India is against Royal Enfield, which has stayed alive for over a century, guess how? Oh yeah... by sticking with proven, sturdy designs, mechanically simple, easy to maintain... you know, all the things Harley does well, too. Turns out the performance-based racer-wannabe bikes are favored only by short-pants-wearing kids with no discretionary spending power! Harley's demographic is aging because the productive workforce in this country is aging, so they're wise to cater to them with, oh, say, TRIKES... two of which they've introduced in the past few years. Funny how, when Harley had to get back to profitability quickly, they got RID of the for-racers-only lineups and returned their focus to practical machines for riders of all shapes and sizes. So, maybe a Harley isn't for you. That's fine, and I can accept that. But ranting repeatedly about how that's Harley's problem reflects much more poorly on you than it does on their company. Good luck with your choices... and remember to think of us tourer/cruiser/standard riders when you get a little older and your legs aren't so comfortable when wadded up under your butt on those racing rearsets. We'll be sure to wave at you when we putt by you while you're stopped on the side of the road, stretching your cramped legs and rubbing your sore nuts.
Mike Lynch   February 4, 2011 10:46 AM
Hmmmm...so I wasn't alone after all.
Dennis T   February 4, 2011 10:08 AM
Also.. at the risk of beating a dead (iron) horse... HD seems to not understand the societal changes that have taken place since their, admittedly brilliant, marketing decision to sell a lifestyle instead of just a motorcycle. For the boomer generation there was definitely a Harley mystique that could be exploited as these people started to acquire disposable income and could buy some toys. They were brought up with Electra Glide in Blue, Easy Rider, tales of Hells Angels at Rolling Stones concerts, etc. and this gave them an opportunity to play weekend badass. The HD boutiques soon followed, selling everything from onesies to BBQs, defining the brand and reinforcing the lifestyle. The boomers bought like crazy, but those buyers are aging rapidly and remain the main demographic, for both bikes and accessories. Times have changed though. Motorcycling has changed, The lifestyle and clothing looks silly to anyone under 40 - like some idiotic pirate dress up night. Motorcycling is more about skill - track days are booming, stunting shows are packed, dirt riding has never been more popular. Modern bikes have TC, ABS astonishing engine and frame performance and are fun to actually ride - not just park outside bars Harley is in danger of becoming a dinosaur along with it's riders. It has an opportunity to observe Triumph selling Bonnevilles next to Speed Triples and 675s, it can see Ducati selling Sport Classics next to 1198s, BMW selling R1200S next to SS1000Rs and it squanders that opportunity. What does Harley Davidson do? Put on a round air filter, lower the seat height and slap on some black paint. If I were an investor I'd be beating the door down to be heard or selling before the bubble bursts.
Dennis T   February 4, 2011 09:26 AM
357 - You are conveniently ignoring the gorilla on the couch here. But first, let me state my interest... while I do indeed find the attitude of a large proportion of HD owners insufferably arrogant, ignorant, xenophobic, shallow and sheepish, I do want the Motor Company to survive and thrive. Between the supply line, factories, accessory manufacturers, dealers, etc. there are a large number of American families relying on the company for their income. It then behooves the company to build the business for the future, and those families, and not look to simply gouge today, put out parts bin specials as new bikes and cease to innovate. You stand still in business and you're going backwards - all the happy talk in the world can't change the fact that the core buyer demographic is aging and they are hammering themselves into a smaller and smaller niche. Triumph, BMW and Ducati manage to offer nostalgic bikes alongside absolutely cutting edge machines, and they are all extending into new markets... Take the blinkers off dude - this is about the future, not merely a dividend return this year and maybe next.
Mike in WV   February 4, 2011 06:46 AM
357...I'll use this thread in response to both articles to avoid redundancy, as obviously stated, the same things keep being said. First, I will actually thank you for changing my perspective a bit on HD. I've been waiting for some new designs and new power plants from HD like a lot of other riders. I'm used to having multiple bikes in my stable and would have liked to have added an updated HD to my stock. However,you have enlightened my failed expectations to make me realize that HD has no intention of changing their game. I know the Rocker and V-Rods feel a little flat of Harley's expectations, but I applauded them for the effort because in my mind, diversity and options are always good for the consumer. I can also understand Harley for looking at those two ventures and thinking, we don't want to go down that road again. My mistake, and again I have to thank you for bringing me to this conclusion, was in thinking HD was interested in making a bike for me. I will now look at Harley like other companys who are happy in their particular niche such as ChrisCraft boats and Royal Enfield bikes as well as Indian bikes.

Since you mentioned Indian, to me they are an icon even though they have had their own problems through the years. I love the "old school" look of their bikes and although they are pricey, that wouldn't prohibit me from buying one, I'm waiting for a few changes in their drive system before I invest that much in their product. The Chief Vintage will be my first pick and a little out of character for myself, I really like the new BlackHawk. Obviously these bikes are aimed at a nostalgic buyer.

I know HD would never go for this, but maybe they should just come out and clearly state their intended market...maybe change their logo or marquee to "Harley Davidson-Vintage American Motorcycles". That way everyone will accept that the bike designs will basically not change and the rest of us can stop waiting for any change. Obviously there are other companies trying to fill the void. I would prefer American Motorcyle companies to remain competitive in design and innovations and fortunately for some of us, there is at least one American company out there building bikes to meet our expectations.

I'm also very interested in Viper bikes and will be checking them out the next time I'm in the area of one of their dealers.

Keep in mind 357 that a lot of the animosity most non-Harley riders express is based on an arrogant and condescinding attitude many Harley riders express. I once belonged to the boys club, but when they could not meet my needs, I moved on and never looked back. I'm not saying that if there were major changes down the road I wouldn't still consider a HD. But now I won't be expecting any change. Freedom at last, freedom at last! lol
Threefive Seven   February 3, 2011 10:35 PM
Mike, you misunderstand my point of commenting here. I didn't come here to start a brand-whoring pissing match; I like Victories just fine and have a few of them on my lottery-winning wishlist. Even though, as you pointed out, the sales comparison is apples-to-oranges, I do wish Victory lots of success and look forward to the benefit I'll get as a motorcycle consumer from their competition. But the comments here, as with all other Harley stories, are ridiculous. Think Harleys are expensive? Hell, son, you ain't priced a directly competing bike from Indian, now have you? Do they need to build a new ground-up design every year to keep market share? Sales stats suggest that maintaining the traditional platforms but making incremental improvements works better. Think Harley needs to build a sportbike? We have historical evidence from Buell and Aprilia otherwise. Are they on the verge of going bankrupt? Wouldn't surprise me, with the political and economic climate of late, but with the largest market share in the US, they've got plenty of assets that some other management team will continue to work with long after the auctions are over. No, I don't care to have sissy little brand-fights with fanbois on the internet, but it's pretty silly seeing the exact same comments on every Harley story. You'd think, after a while, some of the commenters would begin to understand that they're missing the point, that Harley knows something they don't know... but I think they're just too driven by their butt-hurt jealousy, so they have to vent it OVER and OVER and OVER on the internet in order to make up for being the minority out there in the real world. Well, that's fine. They can have their sissy little brand-fights, if that's their hobby. Mine is riding. Goodbye!
Mike Lynch   February 3, 2011 08:48 PM
357...I think you mistake quantity for quality. There are more HD dealers and yes, they sell more bikes 600cc's and up. But, that does not mean they are the best bikes on the road just because people are buying them. And...statistics are easily misrepresented by those who seek to gain an advantage. My analogy of your bikes sold versus quality would be this...McDonald's hamburgers out sells every other mass produced burger in the world...would you really have me believe they make the best burger. Because I eat the most mass produced product in the world, does that give me status, or does that just make me like everyone else? You see, there is no exclusivity in owning a Harley...been there done that, got the T-shirt.

I know it's apples and oranges, but Victory had a record year and a very healthy gain in the 4Q of 2010. HD's 2010 was "promising"... For the size of the company and units sold (not matching HD sales volume)Victory had the better year respective of their size and volume of sales.

Another observation, today on eBay there were 1,902 HD's for sale as opposed to 41 Victorys. Yes, we all know there are more HD's in circulation out there, my local paper is full of used ones for sale. Since you're a statistical guy 357, you can appreciate that statistically Victory owners have a much higher purchase and dealer satisfaction rate than HD. Another fact is that those who buy Victory bikes love their bikes and aren't interested in resale values because most of us plan on riding our bikes for a long time. Buying a bike and being concerned about it's resale value up front is kinda like going into a marriage with a prenup isn't it? Just food for thought.
.357 Magnum   February 3, 2011 06:05 PM
"Whistling past the graveyard?!?" If being the BEST SELLER (you said it yourself) leaves them just minutes away from bankruptcy, as you'd have us believe, then the other vendors must be dead, gone, cremated, and scattered to the winds already! If being #1 is such an awful thing, then maybe Harley riders should rally as a group and gang up on every Japanese big-4 news article, proclaiming how stupid they are, how awful their products are, and pronounce death and destruction every time their names are mentioned! But I suspect they won't. Why? Because they have better things to do than maintain superstition in the face of contrary data. Or kick and scream and throw temper tantrums every time a news story comes out. Or bitterly display their jealous-little-bitch cattiness on the internet. Like RIDING. Try it sometime. :)
Dennis T   February 3, 2011 04:33 PM
357 - Statistics. Sure Harley is the best selling brand - it is the best selling brand in a few categories, but... in the demographic you speak about (the smallest motorcycles sales demographic) they have just under 28% of the market. Honda has 25% and the rest of the manufacturers have the remaining 47%. The non Harley sales are mainly (Triumph, BMW and KTM excepted) split between a few, very similar Japanese brands - if there was just one Japanese brand it would be kicking Harley's butt. You can whistle past the graveyard and spin statistics anyway you want - Harley's average buyer is now 49 years old and the average age goes up every year. If you like warmed over rehashed, parts bin specials, then Harley is your brand - there is reason the average annual mileage for Harleys is under 2000 miles.
Threefive Seven   February 3, 2011 02:28 PM
"according to The Motor Company an independent third-party study by R.L. Polk conducted in 2008 revealed that Harley-Davidson became the top selling brand in the U.S. in sales of new street motorcycles to young adults 18-34. And in 2009, it reportedly extended that lead. This is for all displacement engines, not just heavyweight motorcycles." HURR HURR I DID THET FUNNY "READING" TRICK! WANT TO SEE IT AGEN?!?
GB   February 3, 2011 05:08 AM
put a set of set of straight pipes on this and it would look great. but where is the "new"? i ride Victory but HD really needs to get their shit together. as some have said the younger guys just laugh at the suggestion of riding a HD.
alan sharp   February 3, 2011 12:53 AM
I wish victory and H/D would marge, thy cud sell side by side but all have H/D Badges on the best bike,best name........
alan sharp   February 3, 2011 12:31 AM
There getting rid of all the old bits of sportster D,glides, 48s back end? old96in engines, must be a new bikes for 2012 106in engines 4valve heads, overhead cams,97hp 113 tor,roll on 2012.....
Jim H   February 2, 2011 06:18 PM
Threefive Seven : Dennis pretty much has it covered.lol I've done a pile of research on contemporary Harleys in the past year. I was seriously considering shelling out the cash for the reliability and convienience but the deeper I looked the less desirable they became. That's not to say i wouldn't buy a used Evo and I've been riding an antique Harley for 4 years as my main bike. But the 2000's seem to be like the new AMF years to me, just corporate/shareholder interests instead of what's best for the consumer. And then there's the horrible attitude at most dealerships. If I ride up on my old WLA they treat me like royalty and ask me to park my bike out front where everyone can see it. I show up a couple months later in my old truck or wife's car and i get ignored or treated like a dirtbag. I'm still waiting to find a dealership that doesn't pull that garbage so I can actually bring myself to buy something. Just typical of the arrogant attitude of the company as a whole being reflected by their front line staff.
Dennis T   February 2, 2011 04:06 PM
357 - the stats are not there, I point you to the Harley's own Investor Guide demographic charts. Young people are avoiding them in droves. The point here is that BMW have replaced their K line of bikes with a new straight six, Triumph redesigned the Speed Triple from the ground up, Kawasaki have a new Z10 to challenge the BMW current liter bike class leader, Suzuki made a ground up redesign of the GSXR600 and Harley? Harley pumped out another parts bin special pretending to be a new bike. Wow - a low seat height? Gloss black on the rocker cover? A round air filter? Seriously, it's pathetic and if they keep up this silly fashion based approach to innovation they will die along with their demographic. And yea, for what you get, they are gouging like thieves. Luckily for a few years their poseur dentist, lawyer customers don't mind paying for their toys...
Threefive Seven   February 2, 2011 12:29 PM
Jim H, you're right that Harleys have been more expensive, but your use of the term "gouging" shows off your purely emotion-based opinion. Did you price-compare between the Sportster and Honda's knockoff when it first came out? The Honda was more expensive, though it still stuck you with a drum brake in the rear! Harley uses beefy components, like all-steel frame and fenders, leaving us as customers to wonder what the big deal is about the Star Raider having steel fenders. Why's that news? Don't all motorcycles? Apparently not Yamaha's! And the Honda Fury is frequently panned in the reviews for having cheap chrome-looking plastic covers. That's how they get the costs down. Of course, Harley DOES have problems with keeping labor costs down when the unions won't negotiate on unrealistic pension plans, but all manufacturers in non-right-to-work states have those problems. Once again, that boils down to how YOU vote, and if we quit voting like popularity contests, those problems would go away too. You also write, "young guys like me want nothing to do with" Harleys, but that just shows off that you didn't read the article: obviously young guys DO like Harleys, because they're outselling the other brands in the younger age range! The statistics are there. Speak for yourself only, because the market disagrees with you.
Jim H   February 2, 2011 11:51 AM
Threefive Seven: Harley's have been overpriced long before the current economic crisis and the quantitative easing. They've been gouging yuppies who want to look tough for years. This is just an attempt to gouge younger yuppies.....that and the whole Jesse James thing has been pretty tired for a while now and they're ust getting on the bandwagon as it's falling to pieces. Add that to probably the most patronizing marketing scheme ie: "Dark Custom" and young guys like me want nothing to do with the crap. Also have to agree with the comments on Harley's current reliability. Just take a look at the consumer complaint sites and you'll find thousands and thousands of complaints from thuggish money collectors to defective bikes they claim no responsibility for even though they're still under warranty or extended warranty. Boo Harley.
Mike in WV   February 2, 2011 11:17 AM
The photo of Willie G. on the bike is totally appropriate...an old man on an old design. I'm dissappointed that this is the best they could do. I sat on one of these bikes and it was stiff and cramped. I really hated that gap between the seat and tank...and what about that huge bolt?!?!?! I mean come on! I did like the paint...I'd give the paint dept raises and fire Ketterhagen. Seriously, if this is the best design and innovation HD can come up with, they are in serious trouble. There's nothing new on this bike...it's a parts bin...and not all of the parts fit! (seat/tank)
Threefive Seven   February 2, 2011 11:10 AM
Hey Chareles, have you been paying attention to the financial news lately? EVERYTHING is getting more expensive due to an inflationary policy called "quantitative easing" that will continue throughout 2011. The value of the US dollar is plummeting in real-time. The price of motorcycles must go up because all their raw material prices are going up. Better study up quickly: your grocery costs and fuel costs are on their way up too, and you're going to look like a real idiot if you insist on writing the word "GREED" in all-caps as your only contribution to the conversation. Yes, the prices of Harleys are going up, along with everything else. Should have thought a little more carefully about how you voted, rather than treating it like a popularity contest, huh?
chareles bennardo   February 1, 2011 09:58 PM
i have a gripe, is it me or is somebody cranking UP THE PRICE ON ALL THE HARLIES. i think it's greed. i think harley is building tese bikes for the rich. because in recent years i've noticed these bikes are becoming unattainable. the average working guy can't afford them any longer. I think they should lower the price. also not only are the bikes alot of money you guys also raised the price of the parts. how can anybody doll up these bikes when the parts are sky high.am I right you say build your bike the way you want, again we can't, why because the parts are just as much as the bikes. again GREED. other thing why wood anybody put chains in a your motors,not good, you guys should think before you build. you should have stayed with the EVO, even if you punched these engines out they still ran cool. oh i foregot, these engines were built to good so you had to build something that could break. again GREED. you guy's should think before you build. if you dond't lower the price of your bikes at least lower the price of your parts.soon people won't wear an eagle on there vests, it will be a dollar sign.remember it's just a name.
Mitch W.   February 1, 2011 07:27 PM
P.S. I know a few have sited that the Blackline resembles one of the Hondas but am I the only one that thinks 2006 Yamaha V Star 650 Custom Midnight when they look at it?
Mitch W.   February 1, 2011 07:21 PM
Glad to see Moto-USA is doing a little troll-control on the forums by requiring registration but perhaps someday we will look back and reminisce the flame wars and chaos the same way we romanticize the old american wild west =).