Harley-Davidson have big plans for the next few years. In 2017, The Motor Company announced their intention to develop one hundred new models in the next ten years. Since then, Harley has released further details of plans to not only expand, but also diversify their range.
The ‘Livewire’ electric model has been confirmed for release in 2019, followed by new-to-the-brand entries in the adventure tourer and streetfighter categories in 2020, as well as longer term plans to add a smaller, sub-500cc range to the family.
For all these new market initiatives, Harley hasn’t lost sight of their core business – large cruisers. That was first shown over twelve months ago with the release of the Road King Special and Street Rod and, more recently, with the complete revamp of the Softail family that absorbed the Dyna range.
For 2019, the new initiatives, new innovations and new arrivals keep coming, with an all-new member of the Softail family announced in August, joined by a trio of fresh CVO models, upgrades for the touring and trike range, and even a new riding wear collection – with plenty more to come.
“Harley-Davidson’s innovation is infused in all of the new products we are offering for 2019,” said Heather Malenshek, Harley-Davidson Vice President of Global Marketing. “Innovation in design, innovation in technology, and innovation in performance will inspire Harley - Davidson fans and a new generation of riders to share the wide - open freedom of motorcycling.”
Described as bringing “a new level of performance to the Harley-Davidson lineup”, the all-new FXDR 114 has been seen by some as a replacement for the recently-discontinued V-Rod, but it’s arguably closer to Yamaha’s much-loved V-Max in style and intent.
The tenth member of the new Harley-Davidson Softail family to be launched, the FXDR 114 is all about power, with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine (instead of the Milwaukee-Eight 107) fitted as standard, but this latest version of the 114 cubic inch (1868cc) v-twin benefits from a number of lightweighting measures applied to the cycle parts to improve the power-to-weight ratio.
As with most Harleys, power figures aren’t supplied, but maximum torque is listed as 160Nm at 3500rpm; a greater torque total and higher redline than other Softail models. A 2-into-1 exhaust system and 6-speed transmission are both standard, along with dual 4-piston fixed front disc brakes and a 2-piston floating rear disc with ABS.
The addition of performance suspension – a 43mm USD front fork and repositioned high-performance rear monoshock that’s adjustable - means the new arrival isn’t just a high-achiever in a straight line, it’ll handle through the corners, too.
“This motorcycle is really a blast to ride,” said David Latz, Harley-Davidson Lead Product Manager. “The FXDR 114 surrounds the very capable Softail chassis with Milwaukee-Eight 114 power, premium front and rear suspension and a host of new weight-saving components and materials. This is a power cruiser that delivers exceptional ride and handling characteristics.”
Early road tests in the US have backed up Harley’s claims about the handling of the FXDR 114, praising its performance through the twisties. Despite a longer wheelbase than the Softail Breakout and Fat Bob, the reduced trail of 120mm (versus 132mm on the Fat Bob and 145mm on the Breakout) makes cornering easier and more direct.
The FXDR 114’s lean angle is superior to the other Softails at 32.8 degrees left and 32.6 degrees right: not sportsbike standard, but still pretty good for a Harley.
The standard Softail’s steel swingarm has been replaced with an aluminium unit on the FXDR 114, reducing weight by 43 per cent (6.25kg versus 10.88kg), while still allowing the fitment of a chunky 240/40 section tyre
Harley says that, because this new swingarm is unsprung weight (ie. mass located below the suspension), it has a significant impact on rear suspension performance, enhanced by an 18-inch solid disc aluminium rear wheel. The 19-inch Ace front wheel is also a lightweight forged aluminium design but features thin spokes
Weight is further reduced by using a subframe of welded aluminium tubing, while composite materials are used for the tail section, mudguard brackets, hugger-style rear mudguard and front mudguard. Using these materials instead of the steel and aluminium on other Softail models delivers a weight saving of approximately 3.17kg.
In terms of styling, the first impression of the FXDR 114 is that it’s taken a leaf or two from the XR1200 Sportster (which was in turn inspired by the XR-750 flat track racer), thanks to the docked tail section, bobbed mudguards and stripped-back look. Clip-on handlebars, a stretched and reshaped fuel tank and a small headlight fairing (that also holds the LCD instrumentation) are other notable styling touches.
Harley’s Vice President of Styling and Design, Brad Richards, says the styling owes much to drag racing and was designed to highlight the new lightweight parts.
“The drag bike influence is strong, with the raked and inverted front end, massive intake and exhaust, proportional contrast between the wheels and the clipped tail section. But we made sure that purely technical elements like the aluminium swingarm, fully integrated digital instrumentation within the rider controls, and exposed external suspension adjuster are highlighted as well and help define this bike’s mission, which is pure performance – not just straight-line performance.
“The look of the FXDR 114 expresses its performance potential and highlights the technical features that set it apart from the rest of the Softail lineup.” With a 720mm seat height, 16.7-litre fuel tank, 303kg wet weight, full LED lighting and six colour choices, the FXDR 114 is priced at $35,495 ride away, making it currently the most expensive member of the Softail family.
New-look CVO Trio
The 2019 CVO range kicks off with a trio of high-spec touring models – the CVO Street Glide, CVO Road Glide and CVO Limited. All three add new features and colour options for 2019, while also running the Milwaukee-Eight 117 – the most powerful version of the Milwaukee-Eight released to date and a powerplant that, for now, is exclusive to the CVO range. It’s also offered in Twin-Cooled form on the CVO Limited.
In addition to the increased displacement, the 117 cubic inch (1923cc) 45-degree v-twin features a high-performance camshaft and air intake, plus a higher compression ratio for claimed maximum torque output of 166Nm in the CVO Street Glide and CVO Limited, while the CVO Road Glide dials it up to 171Nm.
The Boom! Box GTS infotainment system is standard across the CVO range and features a wireless headset with Bluetooth that has a range of up to 1.6km and the ability to link up with up to eight compatible headsets. A single headset is standard on the CVO Street Glide and CVO Road Glide, while the CVO Limited gets two headsets.
On the Boom! Audio system, the CVO Limited gets a quartet of Stage I speakers and a single amp with 75W per channel. The CVO Road Glide upgrades the speakers to Stage II bi-amped units with dual 300W amps and 150W per channel. The top Boom! Audio package is reserved for the CVO Street Glide, which boasts six Stage II bi-amped speakers and a trio of 300W amps.
In terms of style, each CVO model gets its own wheel design, with the CVO Limited and CVO Street Glide running a 19-inch/18-inch front-rear combination, while the CVO Road Glide features a 21-inch front wheel; the only factory Harley to run a 21-inch rim.
New paint colours feature on each CVO model, too, with ‘Fade Paint’ and ‘Black Onyx’ being new treatments for 2019. Described by Harley-Davidson as an extremely complex process that creates the illusion of the motorcycle being lit from below, Fade Paint is essentially a fade from a lighter shade to a darker one, but in order to align the finish on each piece of bodywork, expertly programmed robotic application of multiple layers of paint is required. Fade Paint is only available on the CVO Limited and CVO Road Glide.
Black Onyx is a translucent finish applied to chrome that’s designed for durability, but allows the chrome to shine through in bright light. This finish is currently limited to the CVO Street Glide and CVO Road Glide.
The CVO Street Glide comes in three new colour choices, while a Blaze Red band on the rocker boxes to identify the Milwaukee-Eight 117 engine is common to all MY19 CVO models. Talon wheels (in chrome or anodized finish, depending on paint colour) are standard on this bagger, with the ‘Kahuna Collection’ of red Bar & Shield highlights on selected components being optional. The CVO Street Glide is priced at $50,495.
The CVO Road Glide further enhances the bagger look with its bobbed windscreen, large ‘Knockout’ front wheel and new Fang front fairing with complementary lower front bodywork, while the 680mm seat height is the lowest of the three MY19 CVOs. The Road Glide also adds a new Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather air intake, along with three new paint choices for 2019, including the exclusive ‘Mako Shark Fade’. The CVO Road Glide is priced at $50,495.
The premium CVO model, the CVO Limited has the greatest luggage capacity of the three at 0.132 cubic metres thanks to its standard topbox. New for 2019 are ‘Tomahawk’ wheels, as well as the Kahuna Collection detailing as an option.
Three new paint colours debut, including ‘Magnetic Grey Fade’, which is exclusive to this model. The top-priced CVO model, the CVO Limited lists for $53,495. CVO models are only produced in small numbers, with limited allocation for Australia, so see your Harley-Davidson dealer to order.
Feature and Accessory Updates
The Boom! Box GTS infotainment system on the CVO range will also be offered on selected MY19 touring and trike models. Trikes also add suspension preload adjustability for the 2019 models, as well as a ‘Reflex Linked Brake System’ that combines the existing ABS, traction control and Drag-Torque Slip Control System with linked front and rear braking for greater rider control and improved safety.
New performance and cosmetic upgrade parts for 2019 include a Screamin’ Eagle 4.5-inch muffler for the Sport Glide (complementing Stage I through IV upgrades), plus a Screamin’ Eagle timing cover and insert set that shows the engine displacement and Stage level. The Daymaker LED headlight is now available as a 7-inch adaptive unit that uses sensors to adjust the lightbeam pattern and intensity to improve vision through corners.
Also new is the ‘Dominion Collection’ of cosmetic parts that combines gloss black and bronze powdercoat base colours with interchangeable trim pieces in a range of finishes – from brushed black to brushed aluminium, anodized orange and bronze powdercoat – that can be mixed and matched in a number of combinations.
Finally, the FXRG Collection is a new range of functional riding wear in the Genuine Motorclothes family that includes apparel for both ‘touring’ and ‘urban’ use.
Electric, Adventure and Streetfighter coming soon
Harley-Davidson diversifying their range from the established base of heavyweight cruisers is nothing new. They have scooters, small commuters and even golf carts in their back catalogue, but the next five years will see the most radically different range of models to be offered by The Motor Company in its 115-year history – under the banner of ‘More Roads to Harley-Davidson’.
Leading the way is the LiveWire. The electric motorcycle that debuted in concept form in 2014 has now been confirmed for production, with a release scheduled for late 2019. The Livewire will be followed by “additional” electric models through 2022.
A modular middleweight platform able to take displacements of 500cc to 1250cc is also under development, with the ‘Pan America 1250’ adventure tourer, a Harley first, to be released in 2020. A ‘Custom’ model using the same 1250cc v-twin is also scheduled for release in 2020, as well as a ‘Streetfighter’ powered by a scaled-down 975cc version of the new v-twin.
Finally, a small-displacement – 250c to 500cc – family (which Harley noticeably don’t refer to as ‘lightweight’) is also in the wings, to be developed in collaboration with an Asian manufacturer and produced primarily for growing markets in Asia and India.
Details on exactly who this alliance will be with, what sort of models will be offered and whether these upcoming bikes will even wear the Harley-Davidson badge has not been revealed. Harley-Davidson has also yet to put a timeframe on when these mass-market small-capacity models will be released.
Improving the customer experience and the company’s digital presence, establishing alliances with e-commerce providers, growing and improving the dealer network, and in-house cost-reduction initiatives aimed at increasing revenue are also part of the ‘More Roads to Harley-Davidson’ campaign.