Harley-Davidson is taking advantage of this week's Daytona Bike Week to unveil a new addition to its stable of stylish street crawlers. This one is called Breakout.
It's a mean machine, a throaty, growly beast with a low stance and a ton of low-end torque produced by the company's signature massive, belt-driven V-twin powertrain.
The company calls the bike "an urban prowler, a bike ready for a midnight ramble to the roadhouse or a rib joint rendezvous with the crew."
That's about right. With its long, low profile and massive Dunlop 407 8-inch-wide rear tire, the Breakout is no canyon carver. And the absence of windscreen, saddle bags or other creature comforts means it's no touring bike either.
But it has classic Harley good looks -- updated. The forks are wider than usual and sport a lovely tear-drop headlamp over a chopped front fender, and the blacked-out handlebars, mufflers and fork legs look appropriately sinister against the chromed side cases and exhaust pipes.
It also has classic Harley power. The 103 cubic inch V-twin translates to 1688 cc and produces about 73 horsepower. But this V-twin is attached to a six-speed transmission. The speedometer tops out at 120 mph, but at 80 mph on the freeway I wasn't even in sixth gear yet and was cruising at about 3000 rpm.
But like the company says, top speed and handling aren't the point. This Premium Softail Chopper is designed to "turn heads in traffic" and "draw a curb-side crowd on bike night." It'll do that.
Harley is clearly continuing to branch its brand into new markets, offering this model to a more ethnic urban customer than might go for an Ultra Classic Electra Glide.
Harley will be selling the Breakout for $17,899 in Vivid Black, and for $18,299 in Ember Red Sunglo and Big Blue Pearl.
Harley reports that it sold more than 160,000 motorcycles in the U.S. last year, and 80,000 more overseas, up a bit from last year but still down from the 348,000 units the company says it sold worldwide in 2006.