Fact Check: No, the Custom 1250 Didn't Just Reappear on Harley-Davidson's Website

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

It was there the whole time

Motorcycle sites around the world have been buzzing the last few weeks about the Harley-Davidson Custom 1250, the Revolution Max-powered potential Sportster replacement, suddenly appearing on the Motor Company’s official website, signifying it’s impending launch.

The story appears to have started Nov. 24 with a report by Germany’s MotorradOnline.de claiming the Custom 1250 “suddenly appeared” on the Future Models section of Harley-Davidson’s site with a projected launch target of 2021. The story then got picked up by multiple motorcycle sites in India, and around the world, with new stories still popping up weeks later.

There’s just one problem: none of this is a new development.

All of these stories hinge on the idea that the Custom was presumed to have been dropped, and only recently reappearing on Harley’s site with the new 2021 timeline. Except that never happened. The Custom has been on Harley-Davidson’s website the entire time, all the while listing the same “planned for 2021” tag. People may have forgotten about it because Harley-Davidson didn’t bring a prototype to the big motorcycle shows like it did with the Pan America and Bronx, but the Custom didn’t “rise up like a phoenix,” as one outlet proclaimed. It had been sitting there the entire time.

We were the first outlet to report when the Bronx was dropped from Harley’s site and the project presumed cancelled back in August, and at the time, we noted that the Custom 1250 was still listed on the Future Models page as “planned for 2021.” Many of the outlets parroting the “revived Custom” narrative also picked up our original Bronx story in August, which only demonstrates that they never bothered to check Harley-Davidson’s website for themselves.

Don’t just take my word for it. A simple look at Archive.org’s WayBack Machine, which records snapshots of sites on the Internet, confirms that the Custom 1250 has been on Harley’s site as early as August 2018 and up until May 31 this year, with “planned for 2021” mentioned the entire time. The only change came in early June, which the WayBack Machine confirms, Harley-Davidson changed the page’s address from “custom.html” to “high-performance-custom-model.html,” where it still resides today. Parts of Harley’s own website still point to the original link.

The reappearing Custom story gained new legs this week after Harley-Davidson announced a virtual 2021 model launch for Jan. 19, with a separate event on Feb. 22 for the Pan America. Some of these recent stories are also putting too much stock in the “planned for 2021” label, treating it as a promise that some news is imminent. As we explained, the Custom has been “planned” for more than two years now, and as we saw with the Bronx, plans can change at any time. If anything, saying it’s “planned” implies the possibility that it may be delayed or cancelled.

If we do hear something from Harley-Davidson next month, we don’t expect it will be more than an updated concept of the Custom. Harley-Davidson has made it clear its focus is on launching the Pan America, and announcing the Custom 1250 will only draw attention away from the company’s first adventure bike.

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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2 of 9 comments
  • Maximus Max Maximus Max on Dec 15, 2020

    Generally speaking, people are morons, and internet bloggers and 50-cents-per-word freelance "journalists" are the worst of the worst. Ugh.

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