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H-D 21 Virtual Broadcast

The H-D 21 virtual broadcast was an all digital event to announce new 2021 motorcycles, parts and accessories.

The new model launch yesterday came less than a year after the motor company reported plans to streamline its product portfolio by 30% while overhauling its launch timing (historically every August) and go-to-market practices for maximum impact.

As soon as the media, dealers and consumers logged into the Harley-Davidson online portal, I knew this year’s product launch was going to be … different.

The event opened with a long video montage on the joys of the motorcycling experience.  I watched Jason Mamoa gush about his Harley family, or “Ohana” — you’ll remember him as Aquaman.

As someone who has served time in the trenches creating marketing campaigns, this was the traditional entertainer-as-a-promotional vehicle initiative.  The idealized figure introduced Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz who teased the audience with a number of motorcycles and projects that he apparently can’t speak about yet.

Huh?

As the motorcycle launch wore on, with a selection of motor company smooth-talking prognosticators from various departments sharing bits of information about updates to Cruiser, Touring and CVO models, the value of an all-virtual Harley-Davidson product roll-out actually became less clear. The new products, which we usually look forward to, felt less exciting. It’s hard to determine the viability of any product by watching a slick video about it in a browser. The discussions about the Harley-Davidson future of motorcycling felt less like revelatory conversations and more like a TED Talk that I’d scroll past in my Twitter feed.

For me the serendipity of discovery was gone. One of the most exciting parts of a product launch has been finding out about something or learning about something new through pure chance. At a virtual H-D 21, that’s a virtual impossibility.

Street Bob 114

But, I’ve digressed.

Cruiser Updates
Harley stated that the Street Bob 114 is the lightest Softail model to be equipped with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine. The legendary Fat Boy receives refreshed styling for 2021, getting brilliant chrome instead of satin chrome on the engine and exhaust, the front end, the rear fender struts and console.

Touring Models
The 2021 Touring lineup includes three baggers that feature the Milwaukee-Eight 114 motor: Road King Special, Road Glide Special and Street Glide Special. The Street Glide Special and Road Glide Special get new two-tone paint options, and a choice of a blacked-out or bright chrome styling treatment – a choice between dark and sinister, or brilliant and more traditional.

Fat Boy

Road King Special and Street Glide Special models get a new brilliant Daymaker LED headlamp. All Harley-Davidson Touring models that are equipped with the colour touchscreen Boom! Box GTS infotainment system that now have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The feature requires a wired connection to a smartphone rather than going through Bluetooth.

CVO Models
Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) motorcycles are the poster child for Harley-Davidson’s styling and performance. The Milwaukee-Eight 117 V-Twin engine is exclusive to CVO models as standard equipment. For 2021, the CVO Street Glide and CVO Road Glide models receive all-new Harley-Davidson Audio provided through an exclusive partnership with Rockford Fosgate.

CVO Limited

The audio systems, featuring speakers and amplifiers, were designed specifically for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. These components will also be made available through Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Parts & Accessories for 2014 and newer Touring models equipped with a Boom! Box infotainment unit.

The 2021 CVO models (CVO Street Glide, CVO Road Glide, CVO Limited and CVO Tri Glide) all feature new paint options and styling features. All four CVO models are also equipped with RDRS safety equipment, including Cornering Enhanced Electronic Linked Braking, Cornering Enhanced ABS, Cornering Enhanced Traction Control, Drag-Torque Slip Control, Vehicle Hold Control, and Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

Pan America 1250

Pan America Global Reveal
The upcoming and over exposed Pan America 1250 adventure tourer was previewed in the virtual launch broadcast, but the most important details weren’t provided as it’s official launch is set for February 22nd. Mark your calendar and register for the event HERE.

It will be interesting to compare how this virtual launch broadcast performs in attracting potential motorcycle buyers and if it will drive demand for products or make an emotional connection to the Harley-Davidson brand.

It’s been my experience that: “People don’t buy “what” you do, they buy “why” you do it.”  — Simon Sinek

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Nobody ever thinks it will happen to them or their systems.

I’m talking about building a digital defense and cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Heads up Harley-Davidson!  The more connected motorcycles become, the more likely they are to get hacked.  Each new “connected” motorcycle feature introduces greater complexity, and with complexity inevitably comes vulnerability.

Motorcycle enthusiasts have spoken and Harley-Davidson listened.  Riders want increased connectivity not simply for productivity’s sake, but also for convenience.  It’s easier to, for example,  interact through the head unit and display an interactive map as the motorcyclist drives towards their destination, versus putting the address into the user’s cell phone’s app and trying to watch the map on the phone and drive.  So, riders use apps for Android and iPhone (Apple CarPlay), that leverage the smartphone for the head unit (HU) display.

At what point does the motorcycle become a data center on two-wheels?  Any part of the motorcycle that talks to the outside world is a potential inroad for attackers. And malicious actors have been incredibly productive, creating immense numbers of threats world-wide.

Do you think I’m ‘inflating’ this out of proportion?

Car versus motorcycle hacking makes great headlines and let’s take a look at a few recent vehicle examples: a moving Tesla Model S is hacked and the hacker remotely controls the brakes (Tesla was forced to develop and distribute a software update to resolve); a Jeep Cherokee was remotely accessed via the UConnect entertainment center from a laptop miles away and disabled it’s transmission (Fiat Chrysler, was forced to recall 1.4M vehicles); a 100M Volkswagen vehicles can be unlocked by hacking the signals from their keyless entry fobs; and then there was Hyundai’s Blue Link, a cell phone application for users to interact with their vehicle.  Users are able to lock, unlock, start and stop the air conditioning or heat, and start the vehicle from a remote location. In addition, the app allows for stolen vehicle recovery and vehicle health reports to be emailed to the user and other parties for scheduling service etc.

SOUND FAMILIAR?

Consider that earlier this year the Harley‑Davidson™ App and the H-D™ Connect service launched which allows owners to connect remotely to select 2020 Touring and LiveWire motorcycles.  The H-D Connect service provides cellular connectivity that can link a Touring and LiveWire owners with their motorcycle through their smartphone using the Harley-Davidson App. H-D Connect allows owners to connect remotely to their motorcycles and allows for viewing of key vehicle health information as well as stolen vehicle recovery and other parties for scheduling service etc.

A computerized motorcycle’s main defense against hacking used to be the fact that all of its systems were separated from any network. But with the rise of telematics systems, connected apps, and onboard WiFi, that’s no longer the case. Harley-Davidson owners now face similar security issues to computers or smartphones and, like those devices, “ironclad” software is the main line of defense and will be as susceptible to attack, just as the user’s home and office PC are.

I’ve previously posted about the larger Internet of Things (IoT). Basically, this means everything in your home that connects to the world wide web. Smart TVs, digital assistants, smart watches, fitness trackers, home security devices, thermostats, refrigerators, and even light bulbs are all on the connected list. Add to that all of the fun stuff: remote-controlled robots; games and gaming systems; interactive dolls; and talking stuffed animals … the list is endless.

And now we have connected Harley-Davidson motorcycles.  What do all of these have in common?   They send and receive data.  The essence of the Harley-Davidson digital transformation is interconnectivity. Interconnectivity is about more than the connections between devices — it is about the connections between customers, partners, and suppliers.  But, do you know how that data is collected, where it is stored, for how long and where it is going?

It’s not clear how serious Harley-Davidson takes the threat of potential cyberattacks on their motorcycles. Given the concerns of hackers doing a “drive-by” on your digital life and the number of malicious actors I’d like to see more transparency from them in regards to motorcycle digital defense — or we risk ending a road trip before it really begins.

Harley-Davidson Privacy Policy – HERE
Harley-Davidson Information Sharing Policy – HERE
FBI 2018 Internet Crime Report (PDF) – HERE

Photo courtesy of Cyber Defense Magazine and FBI

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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