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Harley-Davidson spins off retro-styled e-bike brand, Serial 1 Cycle Company

Published October 27, 2020
Updated: the bikes will be sold D2C and through Harley-Davidson dealers. Pricing TBA.

MILWAUKEE (BRAIN) — Harley-Davidson, which has been eyeing the e-bike market for several years, announced Tuesday that it will create a dedicated e-bike division launching in March 2021.

The Serial 1 Cycle Company is named for the nickname of Harley's first motorcycle model, "Serial Number 1."

"It’s been a real long project," Aaron Frank, brand director for Serial 1 Cycle Company, told BRAIN.

"We've been working on it for a couple years now. Interruptions due to the COVID pandemic have kind of messed with our schedule in the last year, where we were hoping to be speaking about this a lot sooner. It’s really exciting now to be able to launch the brand and explain our partnership with Harley-Davidson fully. It’s a really good day for us."

The Serial 1 brand is led by a team of Harley-Davidson alumni including Frank, Jason Huntsman, its president; Ben Lund, the vice president of product development; and Hannah Altenburg, the lead brand marketing specialist. 

Lund is a former design engineer at SRAM who joined Harley-Davidson in 2018.

"The pandemic has been both a blessing and curse, from an operational standpoint," Frank said. "From a manufacturing standpoint, it’s been a bit of a disruption, but the overall positive effect, if we can say that, is the effect it’s had on the bicycle industry as far as getting people on bikes as a safe way to socially distance and exercise. Especially in urban areas, this is a really great alternative to mass transit."

The company will announce its model line-up, pricing and categories soon, Frank said. "Over the next couple years, we're planning a full portfolio," he said, adding they will be distributed primarily direct-to-consumer and through select Harley-Davidson dealers in North American and select Western European countries. 

The bikes are designed and developed in Milwaukee and produced by a global contract manufacturer with facilities around the world that Frank declined to name. 

Serial 1 Cycle Company, LLC, is a Delaware-registered limited liability company.  On Tuesday Harley released its third-quarter earnings report. The company said dealer inventory was down 30% from last year and while U.S. motorcycle sales were down 10% — the 15th consecutive quarter with declining sales — that exceeded analyst projections and is better than the 25% decline last quarter. It reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.05.

Harley has been hinting at an e-bike since 2018, first suggesting that e-bikes would be part of its LiveWire electric motorcycle program. Harley also bought StaCyc, an electric balance bike brand sold in bike shops and motorcycle shops, in 2019. 

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike, Earnings/Financial Reports

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