Harley-Davidson 500/750

Photo from Team-BHP

Photo from Team-BHP

Here’s Harley-Davidson’s biggest strategic move since axing its Buell subsidiary. The MoCo understands that its core demographic is aging rapidly, and this has the potential to create a vacuum of younger riders who could carry the brand forward. It’s time to take a drastic step.

In that new direction comes a pair of smaller-displacement V-Twins to serve the markets in developing countries as well as a younger demo in Western countries. Forget for a moment Harley’s legacy of big-inch, air-cooled motors. This new Harley line consists of a liquid-cooled, 60-degree four-valve V-Twin in 500cc and 750cc iterations. From the picture above, we see a conventional layout with a fairly long wheelbase. It borrows some styling cues from contemporary Harleys, including a blacked-out motif (those chrome shocks surely won’t make it into production) and a modern-looking rear fender.

Critical to this story is the fact this new Harley will be built in India using locally sourced parts. India already has a facility in which it assembles “Complete Knockdown Kits” for five H-D models, making them exempt from some onerous local tariffs. This new Harley – name not yet known – will be a world-market bike to be sold in developing countries, like India, that can’t afford H-D’s relatively pricey current machines. The big news is the small bottom line: We’re expecting a sub-$6,000 MSRP for the 500cc version in America.

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