Harley Davidson’s 250cc-500cc Royal Enfield-challenging motorcycle: What it could look like

Harley Davidson is firming up plans to enter the big volume, mid-segment 250cc-500cc motorcycle space. Harley Davidson’s new strategy has to do with the fact that sales of bigger capacity motorcycles have been falling continuously as younger buyers find them too pricey and older buyers are now too old to sustain a riding culture. Here’s a render that shows what the new ‘baby’ Harley Davidson motorcycle could look like.

Harley Davidson’s 250cc-500cc Royal Enfield-challenging motorcycle: What it could look like

Put together by Young Machine Magazine of Japan, the render envisions the 250cc-500cc Harley Davidson in flat tracker styling, but with enough practical bits to make it street ready. Harley Davidson is yet to officially reveal a design for the 250cc-500cc mid segment motorcycle. The motorcycle range is expected to arrive sometime in 2020. Royal Enfield’s retro motorcycles will be a key rival of mid-segment Harleys.

Royal Enfield is a global leader of the mid-segment motorcycle space, and enjoys a big lead over rivals in India as well. While Harley is looking to build smaller capacity motorcycle, Royal Enfield is moving up the value chain with 650cc twin cylinder bikes. Notably, Harley Davidson has hinted that it will tie up with an Asian partner for manufacturing the new range of mid-segment motorcycles. This partnership is likely to be similar to the ones that KTM-Bajaj and BMW-TVS Motors are currently in.

Such a partnership will allow Harley Davidson to leverage the low cost-high quality motorcycle manufacturing expertise that Asian/Indian manufacturers such as Hero MotoCorp have, and sell these motorcycles in developed markets for much higher profit margins.

Such a set-up will also give Harley Davidson better access to some of the world’s largest motorcycle markets – India and China, whose riding populations are still young, and now increasingly well-to-do. Harley will be hoping that such riding populations replicate the heady sales success that baby-boomers in the USA gave the brand a couple of decades ago.

Apart from the new 250cc-500cc range of motorcycles, which are expected to be built in a variety of designs, Harley Davidson is also stepping on the throttle in the electric bike segment. The motorcycle maker is likely to build a range of electric motorcycles.