Because Harley Davidson still hasn’t pioneered its answer to the cafe racer, millennials just aren’t flocking to the big bullish motorcycles the same way their parents and grandparents did.
Harley seems to be long past its prime, with the company planning on laying off factory workers as the demand for large motorcycles fades. According to a recent Bloomberg article:
“The company no doubt is far more alarmed about the disappearance of motorcyclists—as it should be. In the first half of the year, U.S. registrations of large motorcycles declined by almost 7 percent, according to data released Tuesday. Harley, meanwhile, cut its sales forecast and laid out plans to fire factory workers. As boomers—which represent a huge chunk the market—transition from the roadhouse to the retirement home, every bike-maker in the industry is trying to lure young customers with smaller bikes.”
The leather-clad biker culture of old just isn’t attracting young motorcycles, possibly because loud engines and matching leather jackets just aren’t as attractive as speed and fuel efficiency. Also, biker culture has found a way to position itself as a lifestyle that is distinctly not young.
That’s not to say that Harley isn’t trying. The hog manufacturer is hoping to buy actual-hip motorcycle brand, Ducati. So keep an eye out for an obnoxiously loud Panigale.