LEGO Creator Immortalizes Harley-Davidson's Fat Boy

Fresh off of debuting the classic 1960’s Ford Mustang, LEGO Creator has decided to focus its attention on immortalizing another automobile classic: Harley-Davidson‘s Fat Boy.

The life-like bike measures over 7 inches high (20 cm tall), 7 inches wide (18 cm wide) and 12 inches long (33 cm long) and takes 1,023 pieces to create. In terms of design, the set includes a Milwaukee-Eight two-cylinder engine with moving pistons that engage when the rear wheel is spun; a handlebar that can move the front wheel; a functional kickstand; and two exhaust pipes and levers for the transmission and brakes. Additionally, the piece is outfitted in the same red and black “Wicked Red” color scheme as the 2019 life-sized Fat Boy.

“Bringing this Harley-Davidson motorcycle to life in brick form is incredibly exciting,” said Mike Psiaki, one of Lego’s design masters, in a statement. “The model truly captures the iconic design, advanced engineering and attention to detail of this iconic motorcycle, offering an immersive building experience and a unique collector’s item for Harley-Davidson enthusiasts and Lego fans of all ages.”

The building blocks company also aptly created a 70,000 piece, full-sized Fat Boy to celebrate its latest offering to fans. Interested fans can purchase LEGO Creator’s Harley-Davidson Fat Boy starting August 1 for a retail price of $99.99 USD at select LEGO stores and Members of LEGO VIP will be able to purchase the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy set earlier on July 17.

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What Do You Want to Know About the 2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire?

The LiveWire is Harley’s revolutionary look to the future of motorcycles. In stark contrast to the company’s entire history, the LiveWire is all electric. The just-under-500-pound EV bike is expensive, some might say far too expensive, at $29,799. It’s also ridiculously quick with a 3-second 0-60 time, and can manage 140 miles of range in city riding.

The first LiveWire concept was unveiled way back in 2014, and we’ve been anxiously awaiting the production version of the EV bike ever since. Later this week I’ll get the opportunity to ride the production-ready bike in Portland. So, what do you want to know?

The LiveWire is a departure from Harleys past as well, featuring streetfighter-ish good looks, sporty mid-controls, and a cast aluminum trellis frame. With a battery array where you’d normally find a big V-twin, the bike looks straight out of a futuristic sci-fi feature.

I look forward to seeing what it’s like to ride a bike without shifting, as the “gearbox” holds a single beveled gear cog. Even among EV bikes, setting the motor longitudinally is unique to Harley, necessitating a 90-degree bevel to turn a belt drive to the rear wheel. I imagine it will be strange to experience an eerily quiet Harley, but it has a truly unique whine thanks to that beveled gear.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the riding experience, as just looking at it you can see it holds a lot of performance potential. Will it lure new bike buyers into Harley showrooms? Will traditional Harley buyers want it? Will it be worth the massive price tag? I’ll let you know after I’ve ridden it.

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Harley-Davidson CEO talks about countering tariffs with Thailand plant and on going quiet with LiveWire

While the United States’ tariffs remain an obstacle to Harley-Davidson’s international markets, CEO Matthew Levatich hopes to use the company’s Thailand plant to access the European market with lower costs. 

Levatich spoke about the tariffs and Harley-Davidson’s new electric motorcycles at Code, an annual technology conference. Levatich defended Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG), which has been criticized by President Donald Trump in the past year. 

Last year Trump attacked the company in several tweets for plans to move part of its production of motorcycles abroad and over the closure of the company’s Kansas City factory, which had its last day of production less than two weeks ago.

“To set the record straight, we sell motorcycles in over 100 countries across the world over 90% of them are made in our plants in the United States. The engines have been built in Milwaukee since the very beginning,” Levatich said. 

“If you walk around our factories there’s no doubt about the fact that we are heavily invested in American manufacturing,” he continued.

Though Harley-Davidson is largely U.S.-based, the company was not immune to the effects of a trade war between the United States and Europe. In response to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, in June of 2018 the European Union enacted retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports of bourbon, jeans and motorcycles. 

These tariffs raised the duty rate from 6 percent to 31 percent overnight, Levatich said.

Because of uncertainty about when tariffs will end, Harley-Davidson plans to use its Thailand plant to assemble U.S.-made components of motorcycles to keep tariffs at 6 percent.

While President Trump called the shift oversees a capitulation, Levatich called it necessary.

“We run the business based on facts and circumstances. Those are significant costs to the business. We have no idea when the tariffs are going to go. We have to figure out a plan and our investors want to know what our plan is. These are our obligations as a company,” he said.

The increased tariffs would have caused a $2,000 increase in the price of motorcycles in Europe — if the company had not assumed the cost.

“We made the decision to cover that tariff to pay that toll and preserve our retail prices in Europe and to carry that burden,” he said.

And the burden came with a price tag of $100 million a year, said Levatich.

While Harley-Davidson was forced to make some hard decisions, the company didn’t stop innovating. Harley-Davidson is working to grow its ridership through its introduction of electric bikes, Levatich said. The company is expected to ship its first ever electric bikes, LiveWire, in August. 

In the summer of 2013, Levatich rode one of the first prototypes of LiveWire. The bike, while like the traditional gas-powered Harley-Davidson in many ways, bears one significant difference. The engine is quiet. 

During his ride, Levatich recounted cresting a Milwaukee hill at high speeds and being able to hear birds and even crickets.

“It’s not what you don’t hear, it’s what you now hear,” Levatich said. 

Levatich hopes the electric motorcycle will draw new riders to Harley-Davidson because of its easy use. Without a clutch or gears, operating the bike is a simple “twist and go,” said Levatich. And with an acceleration of zero to 60 mph in three seconds, riders can go far.

“This company was founded by four young men in Milwaukee in 1903 who wanted to go farther faster with more fun,” Levatich said. “Throughout the entire history of the company we have been fixated on the ride.”

And though the ride may be different without the loud engine, Levatich thinks that the new design will be popular with a younger, urban generation of riders.

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Harley-Davidson reportedly readying sub-500cc, $4,000 motorcycle

America's fabled motorcycle brand is said to be looking to expand into new world markets with a low-cost bike.

Legendary American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson has been struggling as of late, and efforts to expand the brand's appeal both home and abroad are well underway to staunch losses and solidify the company's future. Here in the US, that means taking a chance on new products in new segments like the forthcoming Livewire all-electric cruiser. In other emerging markets, that likely means a low-cost, high-volume sub-500cc model. That's according to reports out of Asia, including Outlook India and Zigwheels.

Shockingly, the new bike, which is expected to go on sale in 2020, could be as inexpensive as $4,000 in Asian markets like India. However, it's highly unlikely Harley-Davidson would bring such a bike to North America. In the States, the company's least expensive offering is the Street 500 (shown below), which starts at $6,899 (before options and delivery fees). The lion's share of H-D's bikes are substantially more expensive.

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Harley-Davidson to launch 250-500cc & mid-weight bikes in India next year

The struggling American superbike maker will debut its smallest bike till date, strapped with a 250-500cc engine, in little over a year’s time.

A year after it announced plans of rolling out a small capacity bike for the Asian market including India, Harley-Davidson said it is ready to launch such a bike next year.

The struggling American superbike maker will debut its smallest bike till date, strapped with a 250-500cc engine, in little over a year’s time, a top company executive said during its Q1 CY19 earnings call.

To be launched with an undisclosed local player as part of a strategic alliance, Harley said there has been progress made towards it. The small capacity bike plan is included in the company’s ‘More Roads’ initiative, a strategic long-term plan.

Matt Levatich, President & Chief Executive Officer, Harley-Davidson said, “More Roads progress in Q1 included steps towards a partnership for a premium small displacement offering in Asia, to expand our reach in that region. We are just over a year away from launching our first model that will help provide access to millions of customers in emerging markets in the region.”

Harley’s smallest bike in its India line-up has an engine of 750cc and costs Rs 5.25 lakh (ex-showroom). In comparison, bikes manufactured by its rivals such as BMW and KTM have engines starting with 300-400cc, and both were developed tapping the expertise of TVS Motor Company and Bajaj Auto. All such bikes of BMW and KTM carry a price tag of under Rs 3.5 lakh.

“We're acting with agility and discipline to take advantage of rapidly evolving global markets. In eight months since we announced More Roads, we have built our capabilities and met each of our planned milestones. Our progress in near-term results reinforce that we are indeed on the right strategic path and what we are doing is working,” Levatich added.

From an all-time peak of 4,708 unit sales in 2015-16, Harley Davidson’s sales in 2017-18 stood at 3,413 units. This further slipped to 2,676 units in 2018-19, a fall of 22 percent, as per data shared by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

The American heavyweight hoped that the launch of one or more affordable motorcycles in India, the world’s single largest two-wheeler market, will help it generate volumes.

Though Eicher Motors-owned Royal Enfield does not sell its bikes at the same price points as Harley, the buyer profile of both the brands is largely the same. RE has more than doubled its sales in the last four years to eight lakh units.

In recent months, RE launched its biggest bikes – Interceptor and Continental GT - with a 650cc engine. Both bikes are priced under Rs 2.7 lakh, whereas rivals with similar engine capacity are priced over Rs 5.5 lakh.

Besides the small engine bike, Harley will also be launching new bikes under the mid-weight category next year. A streetfighter and an adventure touring model will be launched in 2020. These new models will have an engine of less than 600cc. Both these new models are expected to come to India.

"It's worth noting that while our intense focus remains on our More Roads delivery, it's also squarely on managing our business through the significant and very real pressures we're facing across the global motorcycle industry, including the impact of the ongoing trade wars," Levatich said.

“Today we participate in segments that represent approximately 40 percent of the global 601+cc volume. When we deliver our new mid-weight motorcycles under More Roads, we will compete in segments representing nearly 90 percent of that global volume. Add to that, the opportunities we have in global lower displacement and electric segments,” Levatich added.

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