Harley-Davidson has unveiled a new line of motorcycles that were developed under Project Rushmore, an initiative meant to bring a new level of sophistication to the brand’s biggest motorcycles.
“It’s the largest scale new model launch in the company’s 110-year history,” said company CEO Keith Wandell, under whose direction the project was started. Mr. Wandell asked for a reassessment of how the company builds motorcycles, starting from the ground up. “Right down to the last nut and bolt.”
The new bikes come at a time of significantly increased competition in the American-made motorcycling market. Polaris Industries recently unveiled a lineup of three motorcycles in its revived Indian Motorcycles brand.
These 2014 model year bikes, while refined, are still unmistakable as Harley-Davidsons. The saddlebags hold more, the fairings direct air away from the rider, the infotainment system is more capable, the bikes have cleaner lines and are more stable at top speeds – especially in crosswinds.
More importantly, the Project Rushmore bikes are more powerful, stop faster, and handle more proficiently. They are apparently lighter and more fuel-efficient although Harley-Davidson did not provide exact figures.
Customer feedback was key in re-shaping the bikes.
“Project Rushmore is a pure expression of our relationship with our customers and a shared passion for riding motorcycles,” said Mark-Hans Richer, senior vice president, in press materials delivered at a dealer meeting Monday in Denver, where the bikes were unveiled. “It’s resulted in some outstanding innovations, but from day one we’ve been focused on taking the total rider and passenger experience to the next level.”
The new models include the 2014 Harley-Davidson Road King, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Ultra Limited, Tri Glide Ultra and CVO Ultra Limited and CVO Road King.
Performance-wise the bikes are outfitted with new high-output, fuel-injected Twin Cam 103 engines, linked anti-lock brakes, and LED headlights.
The expanded infotainment system offers Bluetooth connectivity, GPS, navigation, phone, intercom and CB radio options.
A new “batwing” fairing was designed via wind tunnel testing to improve aerodynamics and significantly reduce wind buffeting for the rider.
August 20, 2013