American cult bike makers Harley-Davidson have surprised the world by announcing that the company is diversifying and looking to enter multiple segments including the 250 to 500-cc segment in the coming decade. H-D already have a Street 500 available in certain markets abroad, however, this bike isn’t as widespread, and is based on the larger Street 750 platform. These ones, on the other hand, would be based on an all-new platform purpose-built for these smaller displacement engines. Yesterday, H-D made an announcement where they confirmed four new bikes starting with the launch of the Livewire in 2019 followed by three more bikes by 2020. However, the company also talked about partnering with an Asian bike maker to design and develop small-capacity motorcycles with engines ranging from 250 to 500-cc. This piece of news is interesting as there is a high chance that H-D might tie-up with an Indian partner to develop smaller motorcycles that will primarily serve Asian and other growing markets.
However, H-D are keeping quiet at this point about their new partners. It is no surprise to see Harley-Davidson diversifying because the current global trends demand manufacturers to have more than just one genre of motorcycle in their portfolio. In the recent years, we have seen big players like BMW Motorrad tie-up with TVS Motor Company for manufacturing small-capacity motorcycles in India. Triumph Motorcycle too entered a partnership with Bajaj Auto limited for the same reason. And based on this trend we won’t be surprised if H-D signs up with an Indian manufacturer to churn out small-capacity motorcycles. Since there is no clarity on who the Asian partner will be, we can speculate that if Harley-Davidson partners with an Indian manufacturer it could be with Hero MotoCorp as India’s biggest two-wheeler manufacturer has the production capability and expertise to manufacture small bikes.