Harley-Davidson is iconic and highly famous because we’ve never been static, said then-CEO Matt Levatich noted when the company initially revealed its More Roads strategy in 2018, emphasizing “building riders” in new sectors, including small-displacement and electric motorcycles. So, its a good news that Harley-Davidson Returns Attention to Core Products With Icons Collection.
While the company’s steady progress has been significant, Harley-Davidson has become a symbol of constancy in an ever-changing world. The Motor Company’s persistent devotion to the same design ideas year after year has established it a cornerstone of American culture, producing motorbikes for over 120 years.
Harley-new Davidson’s Hardwire agenda turns the company’s significant focus back to its core goods, such as heavyweight cruisers and touring motorcycles, with the More Roads strategy all but abandoned.
The Icons Collection, a limited-production series of bikes commemorating both famous previous designs and future icons, is the first step in this new strategy. Brad Richards, H-vice D’s president of Design, is the brains behind this new line and its debut bike, the 2021 Electra Glide Revival.
Richards mentioned to the Revival as they sat outside of the Old Place, a historic, rustic restaurant located in the canyons north of Los Angeles. “We realized that if we created some family of bikes that had minimal numbers, serialized, that we could do more of these super-niche design ideas, like this motorcycle here that was sitting right in front of me on the design table,” Richards said.
Specific ground rules were set for the collection. First, each motorbike would be built only once, serialized, and restricted to 1,500 units globally. Second, due to the limited production, they had to be priced within a fair range of other models, not unduly marked. Finally, each motorcycle has to commemorate a significant event in Harley history.
The new Electra Glide Revival pays tribute to the FLH Electra Glide from 1969. The first FLH marked the transition from early touring, when owners strapped and screwed on leather saddlebags and a windscreen, to what The Motor Company called “Grand American Touring,” since ’69 was the first year the batwing fairing and hard bags were offered. Unfortunately, these were only available as an accessory and were not color-matched, which is why they are now available in Birch White. Still, it was the first appearance of a shape that has endured for more than 50 years and can be found on Harley-Davidson baggers today.
The Revival is built on a contemporary Street Glide frame with chrome spoked wheels, whitewall tires, a Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, chrome rails surrounding the saddlebags, front fender, and sprung solo seat. They’re almost the same size when parked next to the 1970 Electra Glide. The dimensions are similar, and despite having speakers and an infotainment screen, the 2021 model isn’t any more crowded than the traditional form, which has a windscreen. The bike’s shape has been preserved while technology has been included.
“The design team and engineering team have been meticulous with the development of the form factor over the years,” Richards adds. “Many of these early designs can be replicated since the components are similar. Visually, the linkages are easy to see, so this opens up a lot of possibilities for us to do some amazing things in the future.”
Unsurprisingly, Richards is unable to specify what this future entails. “I guarantee you that it will be as dramatic as this motorbike, but it will appeal to a different generation,” he said.
The Icons program allows designers to express and explore more specialized ideas without adhering to mass-production or mass-appeal requirements. The XR-750 racebike and the Sportster XLCR Cafe Racer, for example, might be reinvented in entirely new ways. What if models like the FXR and Dyna, which are no longer in production, make a comeback as a limited-edition FX Super Glide Revival or FXRS Sport Glide? In a new and exciting way, it focuses on Harley-core. Davidson’s After a period of unsettling transition, it’s a clear depiction of Harley-timeless Davidson’s message and a return to the brand identity we know and love.
“It’s a failing exercise if we keep playing the same riff,” Richard adds. “We have to move about to keep things new and keep people guessing about what will happen next. I don’t believe any period is off-limits.”