So long Sportster: Harley-Davidson withdraws longstanding range
After decades of sales, Harley-Davidson have confirmed that the venerable Sportster range will make a quiet exit from Europe due to the upcoming Euro5 emissions regulations.
Small updates aside, the fundamental air-cooled, two valve engine architecture has remained the same since the mid 1980s and updating it for Euro5 would have been a herculean task.
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Although there’s been no official word from the mothership in the US, Harley-Davidson’s French importers have confirmed that the Sportster will be no more, as well as the 750 Street range (although purists won’t be shedding many tears for those bikes).
With finances under a tight squeeze at Harley in recent years, and with incoming CEO Jochen Zeitz shelving handfuls of new projects, it seems the old bar and shield thought it would be simply too expensive to update the aging platform compared to the level of sales they could expect.
We also shouldn’t forget that due to the European Union’s ongoing trade war with the States, Harley’s imports are currently suffering a 25% tariff that the company has been swallowing until now.
So what’s next? The Pan-America will feature a new water-cooled Revolution engine, which has a modular design making it easy to produce small capacity options. In time this will likely take over but Harley could be stuck without an EU-friendly entry level machine for years.