Toad Talks: Where are the new Harley-Davidson new riders coming from?

The previous two entry points into Harley-Davidson ownership have been given the axe – but what will replace them?


IF you were an aspiring motorcyclist looking to earn your tasseled leather chaps, there previously was, really, only a handful of bikes in the Harley-Davidson range that would suffice.

For those with some two-wheeled experience, you would likely take the intersection (American for junction) and head down Route 883 to Sportster Town, and the total newb’ would head to the more accessible reaches of the Street 750 City.

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In truth, these two fictional locations couldn’t be further apart. One was an old-school frontier town, with very little in the way of home comforts and the bare minimum of electrical infrastructure. The other a more welcoming place with some of the creature comforts found in more developed areas.

And both were good bikes, great bikes in fact, with the 883, in particular, being the bike that most people would visualise when you heard the name ‘Harley-Davidson’.

But like all great things, the long life of the 883 and the fairly short tenure of the Street Range has come to an end, as Harley-Davidson pulls the bikes from production. It’s easy to see why it’s been done, with Euro regulations making the 883 financially un-economical to update, and the Street range, well… I just don’t think it sold as well as H-D had hoped. And that’s a shame, for Harley.

With the Street and 883 now consigned to the history books, there really isn’t another road into the street-party of freedom and liberty that comes with H-D ownership. There is the Softail Standard I suppose, which also comes as an A2 compliant model, but at a fiver under £13k (before you’ve added any toys), it’s a hefty price for what could be somebody’s first set of wheels.

So, what next for Harley-Davidson?

It’s no secret that Harley-Davidson is in a state of flux at the moment, with changes in the board, from Rewire to Hardwire, and now shifting its focus back to its core customers. That’s all great, and I’m sure Mr Zeitz is going to do a fine job. But with every other manufacturer on the planet offering something to whet the appetite of the new and aspiring riders of the world, it does give the impression that Harley might be missing a trick.

It’s not all total doom and gloom on the new rider front though. Harley does have the incoming 338 R small capacity naked. And it looks like an absolutely amazing bike, if you want a Harley that is actually a Benelli with some graphics on it and a bit of extra cash to boot…