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Celebrating 120 years of the most desired motorcycle brand

Harley-Davidson keeps it new at anniversary model announcement

by Wayfarer, Editor Bikernet Blog
1/21/2023


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Celebrate 120 years of riding
Celebrate 120 years of riding

 
 
The Milwaukee Motor Company, with fans around the globe, turns 120 years old. There has been quite a few announcements regarding the homecoming as well as a public park on land they own. Most awaited however, was their announcement for model year 2023. They kept it under wraps through all the crowd & circus at EICMA, the biggest gathering of motorcycle brands.
 
120th year anniversary badge
120th year anniversary badge

 

This article is part informative and part editorial. Kind of like a motorcycle with aftermarket parts and a bitchy pillion onboard. Don’t get me wrong, I love the brand; but seriously, who wants to be a backseat driver of this company? It seems everyone except the company executives seem to know how to ‘run’ this motor company.

Fans and dealerships waiting patiently for the model release would surely be impressed if not dancing in the streets. Some limited edition collectibles are of course for ‘collectors’, but there is plenty for us common two-wheel monkeys to run with.
 
H-D Breakout
H-D Breakout

 

Breakout makes a comeback and Road Glide is now available as a Trike too. There is a Nightster Special and a re-imagined Freewheeler.
 
Baja Orange color for the Breakout
Baja Orange color for the Breakout

 

There are seven limited edition models that future auction action happy bikers can invest upon; namely:
    • Ultra Limited Anniversary
    • Tri Glide Ultra Anniversary
    • Street Glide Special Anniversary (Black Trim)
    • Road Glide Special Anniversary (Black Trim)
    • Fat Boy 114 Anniversary
    • Heritage Classic 114 Anniversary (Chrome Trim)
    • CVO Road Glide Limited
 
Get out and roll
Get out and roll

 
These commemorative bikes will be made worthwhile with special paint and styling. Only 1500 of the most exclusive (read ‘expensive’) CVO will be made for the whole world.

All these models have been the most popular cruisers and tourers from Harley-Davidson.
 
Freewheeler
Freewheeler

 

The first anniversary celebration by Harley-Davidson was when it turned 50. Those bikes got a special badge and color. Anniversaries meant something and it was valuable and memorable. Since 1980s, the Motorcycle Company realized their fans could be milked to death and that these paying customers will keep buying their motorcycle despite the machines being non-competitive in multiple factors including price and performance!
 
CVO Road Glide Limited
CVO Road Glide Limited

 

So then, Harley-Davidson started celebrating ‘Anniversaries’ every five years. Yup, just like they make you buy a greeting card every month at the local grocery store, the big original V-Twin started making expensive (not really ‘exclusive’ now are they?) collectible anniversary limited edition models.

This year however, they and we realize it's the big 120. Especially because the revived British legend Royal Enfield, a tiny brand by comparison, managed to sell a whole lot of expensive 120 anniversary models. Enfield which became the first production motorcycle company in the world in 1901 may not be pure British but their promise of ‘pure motorcycling’ and large expenditure on American racing and custom build events is noticeable in the media. Enfields have been in production non-stop, though the factory and ownership shifted from England to India. They started a second assembly factory in South America and fast gaining ‘traction’, treading on many turfs that heavy Harley-Davidson is vacating by focusing on big bikes instead of customer-friendly-favorite Sportster.
 
Chinese Harley-Davidson with Benelli 353 cc engine
Chinese Harley-Davidson with Benelli 353 cc engine

 

The much mentioned Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz treated Harley-Davidson like a ‘fashion brand’, like Puma, like ‘Deus Ex Machina’ (read that story on Bikernet by clicking here). He banished small markets and small engines. Despite the success of H-D 750cc engine in Asia and South America, he wanted to consolidate on core business, the big spenders. Unfortunately, the every American’s motorcycle was being peddled to owners of German and Italian luxury cars.

Now this same dude, having happily delivered whatever was promised to shareholders and investors on Wall Street, is making tiny 353cc engine motorcycle which are not even designed by Harley-Davidson. These are Benelli motorcycle brand engines owned by Qianjiang Motorcycles of China. These Chinese design engines will now carry the badge of Harley-Davidson in the 120th year of this historic, most-favored motorcycle brand in the world. The 353cc engine in the Harley-Davidson X350 is shared with other Benelli models. The formerly Italian brand Benelli is now a Chinese international motorcycle brand built in China.
 
Road Glide Trike
Road Glide Trike

 

On plus side, Americans get to buy the Breakout model after 2018, which was always available to Europeans for all these years. It gets a five gallon tank, so customers get to enjoy the Milwaukee-Eight 117 ci V-Twin a lot more than the previous smaller tank would allow.

Thanks to the 120 years of progress, electronic traction control comes as a standard for the Fat Boy, Fat Bob, Breakout, and Low Rider S. It was already standard feature on the Low Rider ST and Heritage Classic models. It's the first time Breakout, Low Rider S, and Low Rider ST will get an option of traction control. Breakout will also get ‘Baja Orange’ color option, first seen on the Pan America. Is that 5-Ball orange?
 
Tri Glide Ultra
Tri Glide Ultra

 

For the first time, Road Glide is available as a ‘Trike’, though only in select markets; namely US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Even Europe doesn’t get this reliable comfy puppy. It’s weird because there are already plenty of Road Glide trikes seen on the road – albeit built by some custom builder or the customer himself. Harley-Davidson saw the light shining like freshly mint money and realized the potential of this model as a factory-made trike.

The H-D Road Glide Trike has 18-inch rear wheels, Milwaukee-Eight 114ci engine, fancy infotainment system, Daymaker LED headlights, bobtail read fender, et al.
 
Nightster Special
Nightster Special

 

There is more money than meets the eye. It seems, the H-D research team found that there are young couples in their 20s and 30s desiring a comfortable performance driven trike. So its not just for old people who can’t push or pick up a Road Glide!!! We have seen those photos of young Hollywood folks on Can-Am Spyders. Well, imagine a couple choosing to experience the engaging of all five senses instead of a sitting ‘indoors’ in a van or RV? Wouldn’t this Road Glide Trike be a dream come true? Factory-fitted, certified, bonafide, under warranty, and guess what, a collectible as well!
 
Heritage Classic
Heritage Classic

 

The engineers at Harley-Davidson emphasized that people don’t realize how much safety and handling is measured and ‘incorporated’ in their trikes. For example, an extended rake angle makes it harder to tip over. So be careful customizing your brand new models. Use authorized parts and accessories from H-D or the warranty goes far away.
 
H-D Breakout
H-D Breakout

 

The Nightster Special still has the Revolution Max 975T engine but gets a handlebar riser to compete against Indian Rogue. It also gets a passenger seat. The design team for this one was young and dug into the AMF years of Harley-Davidson Sportster. The ‘special’ tank on the Nightster Special mimicks the logo of that era. Featured in this photo, the Industrial Yellow color makes it look very retro and desirable. You think?
 
Freewheeler
Freewheeler

 

The Freewheeler Trike front end, headlamp nacelle, tank console, hand and foot controls, engine and exhaust all get blacked out. The very opposite direction from the chrome finish this trike had last year. It also gets 18-inch rear-wheels. There are pinstripes with the stylized logo. The effort propels it toward the ‘Tourer’ range of models.

Softails will be available in the maximum among the limited edition anniversary models. Total of 3,000 Fat Boy units and 1,700 Heritage Classic units. There will be 1,600 units each of the Street Glide Special and Road Glide Special. The Ultra will have 1,300 units out and Tri Glide Ultra trikes will be limited to 1,100 units. CVO Road Glide will be limited to 1,500 units only.

Pricing and availability in various markets will be announced soon.
 
Anniversary Editions
Anniversary Editions

 
 
Of course, these can’t be all that’s offered. What’s happening with the ADV Pan America and the Electric LiveWire? So much more awaited by one and all, especially after the boss announced that H-D will be all-electric in the near future. One can also expect lot of activities at the H-D Museum and for those mortals who can’t buy one or more motorcycles, there will surely be ‘limited-edition’ apparel, tee-shirt tie-ins and new jackets and boots....

The big 120th birthday party itself is slated for July 2023,  full of entertainment, festivities, and all things Harley-Davidson. So stay tuned and start counting your cash for the countdown.
 
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Motorcycling Events, News, Updates, Products, Reviews and More....delivered to you once a week for free. Click & Go !!!

 
 

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Reader Comments


When will Harley Davidson come out with a Fat Boy with an automatic transmission ? That would really be a first and it’s about time they did.

A lot of new customers would at last be able to ride the best looking model
without having to deal with clutch and shifting transmission, just the throttle
and brakes. It takes looking out of the box! I think it’s about time they did!

Rafael
Kemah , TX
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Just finished a tune up on my coming back too the world; years ago I did finally get a sofa glide, compfy. These are still harly'snot this new over priced crap that you can no longer work on.

Alex Jemery
Deland, FL
Monday, January 23, 2023
Editor Response I've shifted to working on and building older shit.
--Bandit
A Chinese Harley-Davidson with a Benelli 353cc motor, who ever authorized that should be beaten like a baby seal. lol

James Ferrantelli
Tavares, FL
Saturday, January 21, 2023
Editor Response And American jobs?
--Bandit

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