Harley-Davidson News Update


Last week, Harley-Davidson unveiled a new electric bicycle that will go on sale in the Spring of 2021.  Harley-Davidson is also unveiling its e-bike motorcycle division as a separate company called Serial 1 Cycle Co.  The brand takes its name from “Serial Number 1,” the nickname for Harley-Davidson’s first motorcycle.  Most reviews seem to be very positive, focusing on how it looks – white tires contrasted with the dark, minimalist frame, leather-like seat and an overall classy appearance.  The Serial 1 products are pedal-assist electric bicycles.  They are bicycles that you can ride in bike lanes or on bicycle trails, anywhere you would ride a bicycle.  The difference is that it has a small electric motor and a battery that will give you power assistance for 1-4 times what you are putting into the pedaling.  A rider has to be pedaling in order to get the electric assist.  At this time, we do not know the exact Serial 1 e-bike specs, which means we do not know exact information as to power and range and weight, nor do we know the price.  Even though there are no specifics regarding range, etc., the e-bike will be charged via a regular household current and it is anticipated the full charge would take 3-6 hours and the range could be 20-70 miles.  It looks like there will be more information released on the Harley-Davidson website in mid-November.  Here is a link to the introductory video put out by Harley-Davidson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNShB6Z-LNY

A Statement about the e-bicycle was released by Aaron Frank, Brand Director for Serial 1. Some of Mr. Frank’s comments are set out below, and they deal with the motivation behind the production of the e-bike.

“Serial 1 Cycle Co. combines Harley-Davidson’s world-class product development capability and leadership in two-wheel electric propulsion with the agility and innovation of a start-up brand dedicated exclusively to the e-bicycle product and customer. . . . The brand was born as a skunk-works deep inside Harley-Davidson’s product development center . . . 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 did not involve a subway or a bus . . . Bicycle sales, period, are just through the roof right now . . that is definitely motivating us to get to market quickly. You are going faster, you are going further and you are riding with less effort . . . so if you want to (ride) to work without being covered in sweat, just tone down your pedaling and have a nice easy cruise and get to work fresh.”

The e-bicycles will be available via direct-to-consumer sales online and select Harley-Davidson dealers online.  They will not be sold at independent bike shops.

Accident on an e-Bicycle

What happens if an e-bicycle rider is injured in an accident that is due to the fault of another driver.  The e-bicycle rider would be able to make a liability claim with the other driver’s insurance company.  But, what if that other driver at fault can be identified but has no liability insurance, or the at-fault driver does not have enough liability insurance coverage to cover the e-bicycle rider’s medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and permanent injuries.   Even though the e-bicycle is not an insurable vehicle under any type of motor vehicle policy, the rider would be considered an insured under their own motor vehicle policy for purposes of being able to make a claim for uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage.

Third-Quarter Earnings Report

On the surface, it would appear that Harley-Davidson third-quarter earnings might not be considered a success.  Total revenue was down 8% to 1.67 billion, retail motorcycle sales in the US dropped overall by 10% and Harley’s market share in the US, regularly above 50% not long ago, dropped 8.4 percentage points to 41.9%.  So, these numbers would indicate that Harley-Davidson continues to shrink.  But, it could be that these numbers show that the company is turning around under the new CEO, Jochen Zeitz.  For the quarter Harley-Davidson reported net income of 120.2 million, up from 86.6 million this time last year.  Harley-Davidson reported that it was the best third-quarter net income since 2015.  In announcing the third-quarter earnings report, Mr. Zeitz indicated, “We are building a strong foundation,” and “We can now focus our resources where they can make the most impact.”

Gary Poole, North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Attorney, “On the Side of Those Who Ride”



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