Is this what younger riders actually want?
Harley-Davidson hasn’t exactly been a huge draw with The Youths over the past few years. Featuring mainly heavy, loud, and expensive cruisers, the company’s range doesn’t exactly speak to frugal-minded and environmentally-conscious Millennials and Gen Z. Of course, Harley did release the all-electric LiveWire in 2020, but with an MSRP of $29,799, it appealed more to wealthy collectors than cash-strapped youths.
With a price tag that rivals the Nissan Leaf, the LiveWire went the opposite direction for the Motor Company, but input from the younger generations might help Harley target a new customer base. Product designer Tanner Van De Veer recently graduated from the Industrial Design program at the University of Cincinnati College of DAAP and drew on his background and experience for a new vision of a Hog. He aptly named the project the Harley-Davidson Revival.
To help drive down costs and draw in more young blood, Van De Veer proposes a subscription-based battery program. Touting a swappable battery system, the Revival would provide more convenience and eliminate downtime due to charging. Using an economy of scale, the larger the subscription base the more individual owners gain cost-benefits.
Now, this is just an exercise in design, but the Revival does its best to appeal to younger riders. From the Carhartt-branded saddle to the sleek lighting and instrumentation, the renderings align with contemporary and urbane tastes. In theory, the bike is a treat for the eyes, but it’s hard to say if it would work in practice. The premium materials, high-end components, and sophisticated fit and finish would probably make this project just as expensive as the LiveWire.
Aside from economics, the ergonomics look a bit cramped as well. Yes, the design calls for adjustable footpegs, but with them swinging toward the ground, you’re sacrificing lean angle and trading one discomfort for another. Fresh eyes can undoubtedly bring a new perspective and novel ideas to the drawing table, but without practical knowledge, the designs are just pretty pictures on the page.