Two new special Softail models with high performance engines, two new Dark Custom Sportsters and the return of the Road Glide Ultra spearhead Harley-Davidson’s 2016 line-up.
Two months ago the Harley-Davidson Motor Company presented its 2015 second-quarter (Q2) earnings displaying a minor drop in the range of 1 percent compared to the same period last year. While the situation may not be severe, the company’s stock has been under some pressure since the beginning of 2015 and a return to positive figures would be most welcome.
H-D appears to hold its ground in the global market, yet a closer look at the data reveals a revenue rise only in the Asia-Pacific region where booming markets such as India and China, which represent relatively new territory for big motorcycles, offer immense growth possibilities. In every other market we note a slight, yet noticeable drop, with the exception of Europe, Middle East and Africa which understandably take the biggest hit.
The 2016 line-up features some powerful new motorcycles and updates to existing models that you'd expect almost any rider in the street to ask for. The biggest overhaul in the company's history (dubbed Project Rushmore) has been taking effect in the last two years, and during that time Harley will no doubt have collected an abundance of customer feedback. One result of this is the return of the ever popular Road Glide series – whose abolition from the company’s lineup in 2014 was not well received – culminating in the return of the Road Glide Ultra for 2016.
Upgrades like the beefed-up brakes of the entry level Street series and the new Sportsters with higher spec suspension are another indication that Harley-Davidson is listening to people’s remarks, especially in these two families that include its most affordable models – the entry point for tomorrow’s loyal customers.
Let’s take a closer look at the highlights of the 2016 model line-up.
Two new limited edition models are introduced for 2016, the Fat Boy S and the Softail Slim S. Both are equipped with the Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine, a high-powered unit that until now was reserved only for the exclusive CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations) models.
As is the case for all Softail models as of 2016, electronic throttle and cruise control will be part of the standard equipment.
The Fat Boy S will be available in an all-black color scheme, while the Softail Slim S opts for a olive gold look.
Prices are yet to be announced for these two limited editions.
Road Glide Ultra
Two years ago Harley-Davidson scrapped the Road Glide family from its Touring line-up. In 2015 the basic Road Glide and the Special return, having undergone the Project Rushmore treatment. Now it’s time for the top of the line FLTRU Road Glide Ultra to come back.
The Road Glide Ultra is powered by the Twin-Cooled High Output Twin Cam 103 engine and sports ABS, cruise control, radio and a security system as standard equipment.
The high end bagger will go for $25,699 to $26,999 in the US depending on the color option.
Based on the large capacity Sportster, the Forty-Eight comes with a fresh Dark Custom styling and several technical improvements.
The most important updates for 2016 feature new front forks with cartridge technology and triple-rate progressive springs, combined with new triple clamps and a fork brace, as well as a fresh pair of emulsion rear shock absorbers with 50 mm of preload adjustability.
Upgrades also include a newly designed seat, new cast aluminum wheels, black belt guard and chrome exhaust shields.
The new Forty-Eight will be available in USA for an MSRP ranging from $11,199 to $11,649, depending on the color of choice.
The updates previewed for the Iron 883 are similar to those Harley-Davidson applied to the Forty-Eight. The bobber that is based on the smaller capacity Sportster model gets a new front cartridge fork and two rear emulsion shocks with adjustable preload.
Several blacked-out elements include the belt guard, front fender, brake rotor, air cleaner cover and both exhaust mufflers.
The new Iron 883 is priced at US$8,849 for the solid color options and $9,299 for the Hard Candy Custom colors.
Here's a quick run down of other notable changes to the range:
- At public request, the Street 750 and 500 models get upgraded Brembo brakes.
- All the members of the Softail family feature for the first time electronic throttle and cruise control as standard.
- The 2016 Heritage Softail Classic enjoys refreshed styling and a new engine, the air-cooled High Output Twin Cam 103.
- The High Output Twin Cam 103 is as of 2015 the standard engine for all Dyna models – although for some reason the Street Bob is excluded from this update.