Harley-Davidson, best known for its iconic motorcycles, has launched a new company to build electric bicycles, trying to appeal to a new generation of consumers.
The new firm, Serial 1 Cycle Company, plans to introduce its first line of products in spring 2021.
The company takes its name from "Serial Number One," the nickname for Harley-Davidson's first motorcycle. Harley-Davidson is counting on its experience in two-wheel vehicles to help the start-up build a product and brand that will have wide appeal to the E-bicycle customer.
"When Harley-Davidson first put power to two wheels in 1903, it changed how the world moved, forever," said Aaron Frank, brand director for Serial 1 Cycle Company. "Inspired by the entrepreneurial vision of Harley-Davidson's founders, we hope to once again change how cyclists and the cycling-curious move around their world with a Serial 1 E-bicycle."
The E-bicycle project came out of Harley-Davidson's Product Development Center, guided by both motorcycle and bicycle specialists. They worked together to design and develop an electric bicycle that Harley-Davidson fans would both accept and appreciate.
Company executives say the new E-bicycle will allow biking enthusiasts to expand their range. They foresee the new product as being used for both recreation and urban commuting.
In announcing the new product, the company did not release any performance details of the first bike in its lineup. However, a video accompanying the press release announcement shows a black metal, lightweight bike frame with fat tires that looks very similar to the very first Harley-Davidson motorcycle, introduced in 1903. That’s apparently no accident.
"The dynamic, fast-growing E-bicycle space is at the forefront of a global mobility revolution," said Frank. "The formation of Serial 1 allows Harley-Davidson to play a key role in this mobility revolution while allowing Serial 1 to focus exclusively on the E-bicycle customer and deliver an unmatched riding experience rooted in freedom and adventure."
The transition to an electric motor bicycle comes as Harley-Davidson’s core customer, the baby boomer, is aging and buying fewer motorcycles. The company recently launched a restructuring plan that reduced its workforce by about 700 employees.