30 October 2020 08:32
The name Harley-Davidson conjures images of middle-aged men astride hulking motorcycles. But on Tuesday, October 27, the company announced a new project: an electric bicycle brand called the Serial 1 Cycle Company. This new foray into the e-bike market might be the brand's best chance at reaching younger consumers, who are arguably less likely to wear leather riding chaps and more likely to hit the streets in cycling spandex. "With the pandemic, people were looking for a safe way to exercise and get out of the house, and people in cities were looking for a way to safely commute that didn't involve a subway or a bus," Serial 1 brand director Aaron Frank said in the press release announcing the launch. The new brand's name is based on the nickname for Harley-Davidson's first motorcycle, the "Serial Number One," which was released back in 1903.
The e-bike's exact specs haven't been released yet, but pictures of the prototype suggest that the bike will echo the traditional Harley-Davidson style, with a laidback cruiser frame, a glossy black paint job, and classic brown leather on the seat and handlebar grips. Harley-Davidson isn't the first gas-guzzling brand to try to go green with an electric bike: BMW offers e-bikes starting at $2250, Porsche's offerings begin at around $7,000, and GM briefly joined the e-bike market before shutting down that operation earlier this year. Serial 1 e-bikes are expected to be released in early 2021 and will be available direct-to-consumer online and at certain Harley-Davidson dealerships. E-MTB Giant Trance E+ 1 Pro giant-bicycles.com $5,600.00 SHOP NOW Among the full-powered e-mountain bikes we've tested, this Trance has the best combination of price and performance. Harley-Davidson Ebike Spinoff Riding Line Between Toxic Parent Brand & Supply Chain Needs This past week, two things happened that were relevant to the disruptive world of electric bikes.
One of the topics the three of us discussed with Stefan Ceman, the conference organizer and another cycling entrepreneur, was what it would take to start an electric bike company today, and how it might be structured. The relevant parts of that were related to supply chain and brand. From a supply chain perspective, Don is living the global ebike boom and is seeing one-year fulfillment times. Scott's perspective was similar, that it's not a great time to try to start an ebike company because locking down manufacturers is almost impossible without a track record. My take was that an ebike entrepreneur who could bring an existing major brand together with suppliers could create a new aligned brand expansion for the major brand, and with the power of that brand, lock down manufacturers.
The company is at the end of the line for its motorcycle brand. They are far too expensive, the company has serious brand alignment problems, they won't be able to pivot to electric with it, and their riders are aging out. They, like everyone else in the motorcycle industry, are being disrupted by electric bikes and urbanization. For the record, Harley-Davidson itself stayed completely away from Sturgis this year, recommending socially distanced rides in various parts of the US to its members, something that about 500,000 riders ignored in favor of the ride to South Dakota. In the panel discussion, Harley-Davidson's lack of brand alignment with electrification was a throwaway side topic, something at least Don and I were nodding together about, and he's a former Harley-Davidson owner. It has a growth market product, but it was stuck inside a company whose brand and customers were toxic to it. It's riding a very fine line between leaning on the Harley-Davidson brand and corporate buying power for supply chain contracts, and avoiding the long tail of Harley-Davidson's misalignment with electrification. Serial 1 has a nod to its history that no one will care about or know, so it will dodge that linkage while making the Harley-Davidson parent think it's about the heritage. A few may be displayed in the remaining Harley-Davidson retail outlets, but probably won't move through that channel. Harley Davidson has unveiled its first e-bike under its new division, Serial 1 Cycle Company. The 117-year old company known for its high powered hogs is cruising into the electronic bicycle business naming its new venture after the very first motorcycle they sold in 1903, the "Serial Number One". The new division is a separate business entity rather than a subdivision of Harley-Davidson as it prepares to launch its first commercial model in March 2021. With the latest prototype borrowing elements from Harley-Davidson's original 1903 design, the e-bike features a sleek black frame, leather saddle and grips along with its signature vintage white tires. The model it revealed this week is not one of the three designs displayed at the Harley-Davidson's Product Development Centre, but brand manager Aaron Frank said those are still "indicative of what Serial 1 eBicycles may look like." "Great steps are being taken to make the bikes as easy and intuitive to operate as possible, which includes key features like a mid-mounted motor with integrated battery, integrated lighting and internal brake lines and wiring," Frank said. Although its new prototype gives good justice to its borrowed elements from Serial 1, the company said it is still a styling exercise and not necessarily intended for mass production, the Daily Mail wrote. Based on the released images, E-bike enthusiasts speculate the new product prototype will include a mid-drive motor and a belt drive system that resembles the set up of a Gates Carbon Drive. The name is in reference to "Serial Number One", the name affectionately given to the first known example of a Harley motorcycle built in 1903. It was built in Harley's Product Development Center by a small group of "passionate motorcycle and bicycle enthusiasts" and they say that this electric bicycle is certainly "worthy of the Harley-Davidson name." Based on styling alone, we can't help but agree that this e-bike is in keeping with the kind of design you expect to see on a classic Harley. New Delhi: Harley-Davidson and Hero MotoCorp have announced a distribution agreement under which Hero MotoCorp will sell and service Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and sell Parts & Accessories and General Merchandise riding gear and apparel through a network of brand-exclusive Harley-Davidson dealers and Hero's existing dealership network in India. "Embarking on a new journey together, Harley-Davidson, Inc., the legendary motorcycle manufacturer and Hero MotoCorp, the world's largest maker of motorcycles and scooters in terms of unit volumes, today announced that the two will ride together in India," a company statement said. As part of a Licensing agreement, Hero MotoCorp will develop and sell a range of premium motorcycles under the Harley-Davidson brand name. This arrangement is mutually beneficial for both companies and riders in India, as it brings together the iconic Harley-Davidson brand with the strong distribution network and customer service of Hero MotoCorp," the statement said.