The first bit of news is the newly redesigned Sportster 1200 Custom. Gone is the skinny 21" front tire (thankfully), replaced by a fat 16" (130/90B) front tire. Gone too are the spoked wheels, replaced by aluminum wheels that remind me of the mag wheels from a 60's muscle car. There are also some other minor styling tweaks, primarily around the new front end and a new LED taillight but the remainder is still classic Sportster including the 1200 cc quad cam twin. Even with the restrictive factory spec intake and exhaust choking down the power this motor puts out almost 80 ft/lbs of torque at 4000 RPM. Horsepower specs are not release (ever) but it doesn't take much to turn this motor into a stump pulling, Big-Twin stomping, beast.
I wish H-D would open up the breathing of the Sportster motor and offer a six-speed transmission. But then how would they up-sell anyone with a clue on a big-twin...
Now, as excited as I am about the new XL1200C the H-D1 program is, potentially, the biggest news.
Beginning with the 1200C and, hopefully to be rolled out to other models soon, H-D1 gives you and me the tools to design our own custom bike and order it directly (sort of) from the factory. In addition to providing the tools to allow a customer to pick their own color schemes and such, the tool allows increased customization capabilities at more reasonable cost. For example, instead of being stuck with a chrome engine finish based on the manufacturer's choice this is an easily specified "factory option." Going from the standard chrome to an all blacked out engine treatment option (like on my bike) is a $250 change. To do this at the dealer would be closer to $2500. I have already been to the site and built my "dream" bike (now if I could just come up with the cash to buy it).
|My "dream" XL1200C|
If they work it right the H-D1 program could allow not only increased customization for buyers but also give H-D the capability to implement a build to order assembly approach similar to to high tech companies like Dell or Apple. Such an approach, if combined with just in time inventory could decrease costs which would, hopefully, be passed on to the customer (yeah, right).
Hang in there