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Harley-Davidson's 2016 models get power boost

Harley-Davidson's 2016 models get power boost
Harley-Davidson's 2016 lineup includes new Iron 883 and Forty-Eight models. (Benedict Campbell / Harley Davidson)

The hogs are beefing up. Harley-Davidson's 2016 lineup will feature motorcycles with more power.

Bigger engines will go into the company's Fat Boy, Slim and Softail models, and a Road Glide Ultra is being added to Harley's Rushmore line.

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The Softails will all get an upgrade to the High Output Twin Cam 103 engines, previously available only in Harley's larger touring bikes, as will all the Dyna models except the Street Bob. The new engines will get a horsepower and torque boost.

The newly introduced Fat Boy S and Softail Slim S will be powered by the company's Twin Cam 110 engine, previously only available in the CVO line.

"People have been asking for more power," said Harley's Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Mark-Hans Richer.

Also new for the year are a refreshed Iron 883 and Forty-Eight. Both models will feature new wheels and improved suspension. The Sportster line will get new suspension, too.

The new Road Glide Ultra joins the Road Glide and Road Glide Special, and joins two Electra Glides in the Ultra category.

Richer said the 2015 introduction of the Street 500 and 750 machines had helped the company continue to dominate the U.S. motorcycle market, and to increase the brand's popularity among consumers who are new to it -- particularly to a younger, more urban consumer than has been attracted to Harley in the past.

Harley, Richer added, is now the No. 1 seller, in terms of new motorcycle registrations, to young adults, women, African Americans and Latinos -- groups that Harley includes in its "outreach" program to target new riders.

"We're reaching new consumers and building relevance with them," Richer said. "We're seeing a lot of first-time Harley riders coming through the door."

Sales to outreach consumers, Richer added, have grown twice as fast as sales to "core" consumers, those who are already Harley owners or likely buyers.

Richer credited the Street line in part for creating that boost, especially among young adults -- who are attracted to the bikes' raw looks and lower MSRP -- and among buyers overseas. Richer said the Streets have helped make Harley the No. 1 brand in Australia, and have become the top selling Harley of all time in the Asia Pacific region.

The 2016 line will feature Streets in two new colors -- Superior Blue and Velocity Red Sunglo -- in addition to the current Vivid Black and Black Denim.

Richer said it was possible that more Streets might be coming.

"It wouldn't be a great shock if you saw us iterating off that platform," Richer said.

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Harley said the new models will be rolling into dealerships right away.

 Twitter: @misterfleming

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