Harley Davidson: Culture and 2018 Updates

Harley Culture is known worldwide as having a massive following. It has worked hard to create an image of rebels and rogues. The outlaw archetype was reinforced by big screen movies in the 50’s and 60’s such as The Wild One and Easy Rider, which still remain popular today. These films only cemented the idea that dangerous gang members are recognisable by Harley-Davidson’s and black leather, not knowing if this is an accurate representation or not!

In contrast to the outlaw image, the HOG (Harley Owners Group) movement began in 1983 operated by Harley-Davidson. The HOGs are made up of law-abiding, mainstream, biker enthusiasts who uphold family values within the community. Even though the HOGs have a different orientation to the outlaws, they still wear the same uniform including black leather, denim and black mat open face helmet, which means they are completely indistinguishable from the outlaws.

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Something really interesting is the hierarchy when road riding.

Harley culture means formation riding, which usually includes (front to back):
  • Road Captains
  • Road Marshals
  • Lead Road Captain
  • Mid-Group Captains
  • Rear Road Captains or ‘Sweepers’

Each group has its own slightly different take on this or titles of these formation points but the basic idea is the most experienced and usually most popular, the long-standing member is at the front. The rest of the captains are staggered through the group keeping everyone moving together. The sweeper will make sure no one is left behind. If someone has stopped, they will see why.

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Who Are Buying?

In order to capture new audiences, Harley has made more affordable. Smaller bikes to become accessible to people that aren’t quite as physically strong. With the new smaller bikes, they have expanded their demographics into young adults and females. Which is great, as women bikers are on the increase, as seen in my last blog.

Harley has targeted this audience well creating Instagram campaigns posting youthful photos. Donating to high schools and employing younger ‘edgier’ applicants in their marketing positions. This is grabbing the attention of the perfect people. There are many groups such as the Fevvvvaa, primarily young, attractive, alternative women riding Harley.

Not everyone agrees with the change in the target audience. The General Manager of the Scottsdale Harley-Davidson says that the brand should not be altering. The product is truly for those who can afford the bikes, priced at $28,000 upwards.

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They must be doing something right, as according to Harley-Davidson U.S. There has been a big rise in the sales to young adults between ages 18-34 from 2008 – 2014. As well as women buying 601cc+ Harley’s:

U.S. Young Adults Market Share                        U.S. Women Market Share

Harley is worldwide, but not surprisingly its birthplace is the biggest seller. Statistics of Harley-Davidson worldwide sales in the fiscal years of 2015 according to Statista:

AreaRetail sales in units
Canada9,669
Latin America11,173
Asia, Pacific32,258
Europe, Middle East, Africa43,287
USA168,240

What Does 2018 Hold?

Aside from the culture, Harley Davidson has an exciting year ahead they have made a few great announcements. Most recently with the introduction of three new motorcycles in the Softail range. This range will be revealed in India, on February 28th, 2018.

Harley hasn’t disclosed any details about which new models will be launched. The word on the street is that they have been working on the Harley-Davidson Softail Slim. As well as the Sports Glide and maybe Softail Low Rider. The line up will feature new chassis, 107 Milwaukee-Eight v-twin engine. Possibly the 114 Milwaukee-Eight v-twin engine in some models.

We are now only days away from seeing the new additions. So keep your eyes open next week and let us know what you think after the big reveal!

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