A report issued last week highlighted Harley's flat growth in sales to 18-35-year-olds.

Investment management and research firm Alliance Bernstein downgraded the company from 'outperform' to 'market perform'. It claimed that the age group's lack of passion for motorbikes was to blame. That the 'Millennials' were not developing the same interest in motorcycles as previous generations.

One reason for this, the report says, is because Millennials grew up partly during a recession. This creating the mindset of buying only what is essential. Unless they're using a bike as their main form of transport in a city, Millennials are less likely to consider splurging on one than generations before.

Another possible reason why younger people aren't buying from Harley is that its bikes don't appeal to them. Younger people are much more likely to seek speed, lightness and agility from their bikes. Harley's heavyweight cruiser-style machines do not fit this bill.

It doesn't help that the Harley brand is one that has traditionally appealed to older riders. Think of a Harley rider - one that you would most associate with the iconic brand. They are almost certainly not going to be in their 20s. I Google Image searched for 'Harley rider' when writing this article and the first three suggested tags to come up were 'old', 'badass' and 'old school' - enough said.

This combination of Millennials not being as interested in riding and Millennials who do ride not being as interested in Harley has meant the brand is struggling. Its sales were down 1.6 per cent in 2016 overall, 3.9 per cent in the US.

The company is launching 100 new models in the next 10 years. We imagine a lot of these will be aimed at Millennials. But with rider growth looking so bleak, it is hard to see how Harley's efforts will have much of an effect.

Are you an 18-35 year old? If so, we'd love to know what you think of the Harley brand. Email us at

Related Posts

Do you ride a Harley? (2017 February 09)
A nice Saturday trip... (2015 August 10)
The Harley Davidson Sportster... (2015 February 03)
Papal Harley Davidson... (2014 November 27)


19/07/17 - My thought would be show me an 18 year old who could afford to buy and insure a harley.

19/07/17 - No way it's because of all the Euro crap rules you have to go through to get a full license if I was a teenager again now I wouldn't bother either I was direct access 21 yrs ago

19/07/17 - Maybe because it's so bloody hard to afford a house or a car or just get a decent job. People want a place to live and a job before they get themselves a bike

19/07/17 - Not even that. I think Harley's problems are they are stuck in the past. The xr/xs sports style bike is the way forward. But to little to late. Myself I prefer street bikes. Something I can customise. And while there is a big scene for them I don't like choppers. Give me a street fighter or cafe racer anyday

19/07/17 - Hmmm, are ye sure it's not the lack of cash ?

19/07/17 - Not helped by the fact it's harder to get a bike license these days.

19/07/17 - Well 23 and just bought a brand new Harley had a few jap bikes had a BMW and 3 aprilias and loving the street bob much better than the jap crap choppers I've tried

19/07/17 - Harder to get full bike licence & mega expensive nowadays as well is a major factor. I own a 2016 hd ultra glide & a 2016 m1800r suzuki. Both great bikes though very diffrent to ride. Anyone who says hd are in the dark ages needs to ride a modern 1 that's a fact. The price of them.....they never have been cheap ffs!. Show me a cheap Ducati or Bmw......same thing really.

19/07/17 - Price is prohibitive as are crazy bike test laws ( uk)

19/07/17 - Nothing to do with the fact they are pig ugly and very overpriced by any chance . Nothing to do with the fact they are pig ugly and very overpriced by any chance .

19/07/17 - I think all the laws now to get a full bike licence is crushing bike sales whe a 17 kid can pass the car test and just jump into a car whose pwer is only defined on theirs or daddies bank balance but then again Harleys build quality and finish is shit

19/07/17 - People are less interested in motorcycling in general now because most of them can afford cars and those are easier to use. A lot of people rode bikes years ago because they couldn't afford cars. That entire market of people riding bikes out of necessity doesn't exist anymore leaving only the hobbyists. Not to mention the prohibitive licencing laws, it's as if the government want to remove bikes from the roads....

19/07/17 - The faggots are too busy watching love island and playing space

19/07/17 - It wouldn't have anything to do with Harleys shite,overpriced bikes would it?

19/07/17 - Why would anyone want to buy a tractor like a harley. They are for old men who like to pose

19/07/17 - That age range are the cotton wool generation. Never allotted to have a 50 cc because that's too dangerous. But wait a year and you can put all your mates at risk too.

19/07/17 - How very unAmerican and unpatriotic of them ! Mr T will pass a law I am sure !

19/07/17 - Not a lack of interest in something that parts fall off of when you ride it then? I'm surprised I have to say.

19/07/17 - The only people who buy Harley's nowadays are spice boys who've spent to long wanking off to sons of Anachy fucking flamers

19/07/17 - Insurance costs has a lot to do with it.

19/07/17 - The motorcycling world doesn't revolve around Harley Davidson. Typical yank findings.

19/07/17 - I blame the internet for Harley's decline. People simply did a quick Google and noticed how much better all the other bike brands are.

          19/07/17 - Harley's : best way to convert petrol into noise without the added benefit of power

19/07/17 - I rode the new Indian built liquid cooled 750 Harley. Handles like it has flat and pretty gutless for 750 V twin. Tank looks like its off another bike. Supposedly built for younger crowd so not pricey but not much fun either. Built for Asian poseurs, I guess.

19/07/17 - Doesn't seem to be affecting other manufacturers in the same way.......

19/07/17 - Lol, old men ride harleys, younger riders see no attraction in bandanas and leather tassels. The whole scene is super gay

19/07/17 - It's biking in general not just Harley (although the stupid prices don't help). I have 2 lads 17 & 20 and neither of them are remotely interested in bikes. I even offered to pay for the 17 year old to do his CBT just for a bit of fun. He would enjoy it, but no he's just not interested.

19/07/17 - I like my Harley but I'm over 50 and grey

19/07/17 - For me they are poorly built,unreliable, out of date and overpriced. I owned a Buell which is as close as I want to get to a Harley and that needed constant attention but they are simple to fix if you know one end of a spanner from another.

19/07/17 - Its the price of the f**king things...jesus christ who dose the marketing stats here? Harleys are over priced Over rated and unfortunately OVER HERE! The only people who own Harleys(Well the majority of them) are w*nkers with too much money that are not bikers but behave like pricks when they are out riding!! By the way people these people are easily noticed..they dont wanna talk to ya,when they do theyre names are probably Graham or Leonard and they have theyre over decorated wives with the way the wives have names like Hilary or Joyce more thing...theyre leathers match also!! PS.... Anybody that reads this will have a giggle and agree that im right

          20/07/17 - You ARE right!

          20/07/17 - Utter b*llocks

          20/07/17 - Haha its so true, hardley davidson, the bike for the inexperienced, mid life crisis rider. Not interested in riding but more interested in polishing shiny stick on cr*p from ebay

          20/07/17 - Parcel of sh*te,wouldn't take a gift of one.Don't have have Harley spec handlebar moustache and chaps either thankfully

          20/07/17 - You above all know this !!!

          20/07/17 - Sad but true, 50% I'd say are proper bikers the rest have it as a fashion accessory for summer rides on a Sunday

19/07/17 - I bought a Harley late last year after owning loads of Japanese bikes and BMW's. It was like driving a tractor. God awful. That's why sales are suffering.

          19/07/17 - Slow vibratory poor handling hunks of metal. Awful to ride over 40mph

          19/07/17 - Dan Slim Weston Worst bike I ever owned. Bordering on dangerous at speed.

19/07/17 - Harley don't do 125s or anything much that can take an A2 restrictor kit and maintain a reasonable power to weight ratio to my knowledge, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong

19/07/17 - I love bikes but really don't like Harley's they sound and look horrible

19/07/17 - Not everyone is trying to be a bad ass outlaw in this society.1% means 1%. Not 30%.

19/07/17 - Why would 18 - 35 year olds be interested in Harleys? That's what you buy when you have a mid life crisis

19/07/17 - Interesting reading.

19/07/17 - Articles like this don't help either. I think thse comments are more frustrating to read lol. Ignorant people.

19/07/17 - It's a smoke screen for bad marketing and productivity. Jap bikes are cheaper in every aspect. Younger bikers look for speed and low maintenance. HD aren't that.

19/07/17 - Over priced bikes, and part's. But I still love them, they need to sort the dealerships as well.

19/07/17 - Pay 20-40k for a bike that still uses engines and tech from 1960? No thanks.

19/07/17 - The simple fact is their bikes are over priced and under quality. All the big Jap manufacturers make alternatives which are cheaper and more reliable. I say this as a Harley lover, but I'm a mechanic so I don't have to worry much about repairs. For most people though, owning a Harley and maintaining it just doesn't make sense when there are better alternatives out there. HD need to learn to compete, and stop selling a badge.

          19/07/17 - How does the street rod fall into that? I rode one (my first proper ride on a Harley) last week and was pleasantly surprised- in all honesty I'd have guessed it was a Yamaha if I'd not have known.

          19/07/17 - They're not bad, but they're not a "traditional" Harley.

          19/07/17 - I don't mean to insult them,I just mean that traditional Harley riders don't really seem to be interested in them.

          19/07/17 - I've had 2 Sportsters with no major issues in 60000 miles between them....

          19/07/17 - You've been lucky. I've had friends send back their one year old Twin Cams because the chrome was peeling!

          19/07/17 - You should've seen the new Suzuki Bandit I bought after after a year and half of all weather riding, but regularly cleaned and acf50 sprayed on it. It literally looked like it had been dragged out of the North Sea and Suzuki wouldn't sort it out under warranty. Most unreliable bike I've owned however was a low mileage 600 Hornet.

          19/07/17 - Jap bikes don't usually have that problem. That being said, everything nowadays is built down to a price rather than up to a standard. It's the world we live in.

          19/07/17 - I've had mixed luck with Jap bikes over the years so I'd have to respectfully disagree. But you're right, nowadays everything is built to a price sadly.

          19/07/17 - Everyone has different opinions man, that's what makes life interesting!

          19/07/17 - They should take a lesson from Ducati and start putting reliability before the label

          19/07/17 - We are torn between an Electra Glde or an Indian Road master,Have ridden the Harley .Nice and am waiting for a trial on the roadmaster

          19/07/17 - Bruce Garley is that the Suzuki GSX 1250FA? As that's the bike I have

19/07/17 - Harley.. always comes to mind. Old american bikers. Steep prices, and big cruisers.

19/07/17 - There are other, more reliable and cheaper bikes than Hardlies. Your paying for a name, which roles of the tongue and their very good marketing department.

19/07/17 - Overpriced slow nonsense.

19/07/17 - I have a 1600 quid commuter yam. Bullet proof and quality. I love it owes me nothing. Harley's. Utter shite.

19/07/17 - Maybe because trek specialised Scott make bikes interesting for the average American lets face it harleys are for boring people who have to much money

19/07/17 - Rust machines, that don't last 30 days in the UK weather. Assuming you're not a fair weather rider?!?!?

19/07/17 - The only Harley I plan on buying is an empty frame I can transplant a diesel engine into.

19/07/17 - Fewer young people seem to want to ride bikes, drive cars or play electric guitars these days. The majority seem content to get lifts from their parents, play acoustic guitar and occasionally take the bus, the pendulum has swung away from the rebellious 1960s it would seem.

          19/07/17 - Want? Have you ever checked the insurance cost for a 16-18yr old rider? I had to switch insurance company as they wouldn't insure me until I have a few years experience. Still paid over a grand for insurance

          19/07/17 - Charles, insurance is very expensive for young drivers and riders alike. But it was never cheap back in the 70s either, my first car insurance cost one third of the price of the car, and my bike insurance was half the cost of the bike itself...

          19/07/17 - Or you can look now a days, kids paying 1.3k for a 600quid car on third party. Im sorry but i dont think now a days is anything like the 70s. Id be buzzing if car insurance was under the value of the car! Just doesnt happen. Pluss what average 18-30 year old A) wants a harley B) can afford one Non of my friends ! Harley riders are stereotypically ass holes and im yet to meet one who breaks that stereo type...

19/07/17 - Should read "Report says 18-35-year-olds' lack of interest in Harleys is to blame for Harley's disappointing sales"

          19/07/17 - So true. Who wants to ride a garden tractor.

20/07/17 - Well, thats a nutty statement. 'We are not doing well because you wont buy our expensive hobby toys'. H.d sound like they need to go back and do some market research to find out where thier potentual customers are going, what choices they are making on  vehicle purchase and why, and then work out what they can do to appeal to thier target customers. For me id never buy a h.d for four reasons 1 dont like the riding postion, it not for someone who likes a street bike that can be ridden at speed around UK roads 2 heavy like a whale to push around(im not built like a muscle bound elephant 3 cost of a new one is ridiculous for what you get, its like choosing between 1940's tractor and a 2017 Ford focus 4 theyre stupidily easy to steal, yet some work is difficult to do unless you have a workshop with lift in it. Must younger generation aim for cars, as motorcycling is either something the family doesnt agree with, or they only see negative news about what could happen or there is no interest due to costs and how difficult it is to get a bike licence than a car Uk bike licence is difficult for new riders to obtain, whereas car is easier

20/07/17 - Beul had a good thing going for a while, sporty looking bikes with a h.d type engine

20/07/17 - When l wasa young Rocker ,no one bitched about other makes of bikes or the people that rode then. Miss those days

20/07/17 - Nothing to do with extortionate prices for a decent Harley or the fact the only nearly reasonably priced ones are designed for small people by which I mean 5'6"" or less

20/07/17 - Not to mention the price... (Not going to mention recalls and wheel wobble Shhh!)

         20/07/17 - Honda have sold slightly more than last year.

20/07/17 - My sisters bf had a Harley for a bit but didn't like it. I prefer adventure bikes for commuting so I can see over most cars.

20/07/17 - Sh*t bikes with sh*t engines, sh*t brakes, sh*t handling, sh*t finish... and overpriced to boot.... can't see what the problem is..

          20/07/17 - But don't they make America great again?

          20/07/17 - Concur Duncan, not worth the bother, expense or the tubes of Solvol!

          21/07/17 - I don't know if it's different in the States but here I associate Harleys with rich, retired baby-boomer couples dressed up to the nines in leather, sitting in cafes drinking tea with their rich, retired baby-boomer friends. You get the feeling they cashed in their chips it was a toss-up between a motor caravan, a conservatory for the house or a Harley. I suppose it's a shame because I hired one for a week in California and it kinda made sense there.

20/07/17 - Greedy c*nts.!!!

Posted by Daisy Cordell
for Wemoto News on 19 July 2017 in General News



Sign up to receive updates and new posts straight to your in-box.



Supplying quality after market motorcycle parts direct to the trade