Past and Future — A Look at the 2017 and 2018 Launches

It’s that time of year again. Soon the 2018 Harley-Davidson® models will be announced and new bikes will start arriving at your local dealerships. But what can we expect?

Let’s get the lay of the land first.

Harley-Davidson® was founded almost 115 years ago in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since then, Harley-Davidson has grown into an iconic international brand known all over the world. The company has evolved year after year, and with each evolution comes a new, dedicated generation of fans.

Since the motorcycle manufacturer was first established over a century ago, we have seen the company change and mature. Every year Harley-Davidson® comes up with something that will improve their products and keep their customers coming back for more.

At the model launch last year, Harley-Davidson® made several announcements on what we could expect from the 2017 lineup.  These included announcements for a new suspension on the touring bikes, new paint colors, and a new Big Twin engine, the Milwaukee-Eight.


Harley-Davidson® made a significant effort to freshen up and modernize the lineup and show that they were ready to grow along with their customers. All in all, it was a great roll out for features.

But what about the bikes themselves?

Harley-Davidson® also announced the production of two new models. The first was a re-imagined Road King® called the Road King Special®. This bike has the bones of the Road King® but with a more modern look to it. The second was the Street Rod®, which is the newest member the Street® family.

The Street Rod® was everything we dreamed the original Street 750® would be. The suspension has been fixed and the engine has a little more pep to it, making it a more entertaining ride than the 750.

From all of that, we can see that Harley-Davidson® is listening to their customers and improving. Is this a sign of what we can expect from the 2018 launch?

It seems last year’s release was a little lack-luster. We saw the disappearance of some models from the lineup, with only the addition of 1.5 models. We also saw the overhaul of a suspension system, and the release of a brand-new engine. What does the 2018 launch have in store for us?

At the beginning of this year, Harley-Davidson® president and CEO Matt Levatich announced plans to introduce 50 new motorcycles during the next five years. He goes on to say that “[he is] confident [Harley’s] 2018 line will also help with sales”. As a company, it seems they are certain that their upcoming projects “will change the way people view Harley-Davidson®”. These statements give us an optimistic outlook for the future of Harley®.

Harley-Davidson® has been tight-lipped about what’s in store for the 2018 models. We can go ahead and guess on a few things.

  • There is a high probability that there will be some new paint colors. While Vivid Black is a great classic, we like to have different options available to us and it seems Harley is always happy to provide us with that. We need to stand out and express ourselves somehow.
  • There will be some improvements to models already in the lineup. We might see remodels for the Sportster®, Dyna®, and Softail® families.
  • The CVO® family might get an overhaul to be more attractive to a younger demographic.
  • Maybe Harley-Davidson® will even announce the release of their electric bike, the Livewire®, for mass production (Although we don’t think it’s time for that just yet).
2009 Harley-Davidson Night Train
2009 Harley-Davidson Night Train

Now for a shot-in-the-dark guess at what could come with the launch of the 2018 lineup. Harley-Davidson® has recently released a limited-edition collection of Guns N’ Roses t-shirts to commemorate the band’s tour heading back to the US. With the launch of this new collection and the company celebrating this iconic band, could this mean the return of the Night Train®? 

Only time will tell what will come out of the 2018 launch. Harley-Davidson® is trying to be more inclusive and modern with the brand, but what does that mean for the new lineup?

Will we be seeing more new models in the lineup? Will more models disappear? Will they release a new line of scrambler-style bikes to appeal to those hipster kids or crotch rockets to attract a younger audience?

The 2018 launch is coming up and the possibilities for what is to come are endless.

Do you have any speculations or ideas of what’s going to come from this year’s launch? What was your favorite part of last year’s launch? Let us know in the comments!

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