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Mid-Size Harleys for 2023

Harley-Davidson will be launching a new mid-size bike late in 2023, and it will be significantly cheaper than the current upmarket V-twins. It will be first fruit of the company’s new agreement with the Indian giant Hero MotoCorp, which has the capacity to mass produce smaller bikes at far lower cost than Harley ever could. The aim is to build cheaper Harley-badged bikes for India’s massive home market – at 20 million bikes and scooters a year, this rivals China as the biggest in the world. Hero and Harley-Davidson are collaborating on mid-size bikes which could benefit both companies.

Hero’s Chief Financial Officer Niranjan Gupta recently revealed that the first model will be in the 350-800cc segment, and is now being readied for a launch towards the end of 2023. Inevitably, more variants will follow, expanding Harley’s mid-size range.

“Over the next two-year time frame, you will see models in the volume and profitable segments of the premium, as well as the platform we are developing jointly with Harley,” Gupta is quoted as saying by Indian publication Business Standard.


The deal should work for both sides. Hero’s current flagship is the 200cc XTreme, and it badly wants a slice of the 350-800cc market, which is dominated by Royal Enfield, currently enjoying a 75% share, thanks to its successful 350 singles and 650 twins. Hero’s other Indian rivals already have agreements with Western brands to move upmarket – Bajaj is in bed with Triumph, while TVS builds the smaller BMWs.

For H-D, the Hero deal is a second assault on the mid-size Indian market. Until September 2020 it built the 500 and 750cc Street V-twins in India, but the factory was closed as part of a major restructuring project. The Streets were styled as big Harleys in miniature – it remains to be seen whether the new Hero-Harleys will have more of an Indian flavour.

Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF, said: “Hero are certainly determined, this joint venture with Harley only weeks after the announcement of their Zero project. At the moment that 350-800cc sector is a major growth area, as many riders move away from the high-performance market, with its costs and irrelevance in an era when that’s starting to look rather ‘out of time’. The Royal Enfield sales pitch has all been about the experience, not high performance, which is an ethos that H-D fit right into.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of RS Motorbike Paint