Harley-Davidson makes biggest changes to lineup in history

Company trying to hook young people

PARRYVILLE, Pa. - With motorcycle sales down nationwide, Harley-Davidson is adapting its business strategy.

The iconic company made major changes in its 2018 bikes, with an eye on some new demographics.

"This is the biggest revamp ever in 115 years," said Geno Giunta, the general sales manager of Keystone Harley-Davidson in Parryville, Carbon County.

While he said Keystone's sales are steady, Harley sales across the country are down, and new bike sales have plummeted industry-wide, reportedly 50 percent in the last decade.

"The country's changing. The world is changing, and Harley felt that it was time to keep up with some of the changes that are now going on in the world," said Giunta.

Part of the company's strategy is to make bikes with a sleeker, different look -- the 2018 "Fat Bob," for instance, with a rectangular headlight you wouldn't normally see on a Harley, or the new "Breakout," which has simple, digital instruments instead of large speedometers and tachometers.

"They've taken this and they've made it look retro, but they've taken all the technology and put it into the handlebar mount," said Giunta.

Perhaps Harley's biggest challenge is attracting young people, with less disposable income.

"They're still paying for colleges, and they're still paying for a new mortgage. They're looking for the most bike for their money," Giunta explained.

To try to hook young people, Harley is selling less expensive bikes and the smallest ones they've ever built, like the "Street 750" starting at around $7,500.

"It's under 500 pounds, so the bike is a very light bike. It's not heavy at all to maneuver," said Giunta. "Again, adapting to everyone's needs."

Some of the new Harley-Davidson models are made at the company's plant in Springettsbury Township, York County.

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