Harley-Davidson Moves Research to Northern California

Well I have to say I was wrong twelve years ago about diesel motorcycles. No matter how patient I was for those Kawasaki to arrive, in the back of my head it was clear that hackers around me loved the zero-power-curve of electric bikes more than the long-distance of diesel.

At one point many years ago I was stuck in a long car ride around rural France (ask me another time about war-driving) with an aeronautical engineer and to kill time I opined about the benefits of light motorcycles with batteries easily outperforming gasoline. Only a few months later, back stateside, I received an email thanking me because he had built one himself and now was commuting effortlessly and with a smile.

I was gruntled, yet still awaited news of a diesel. Something about the plug-in/range didn’t suit my sense of riding.

With Harley, king of the long-haul open-road bikes, making a major electric research announcement like this, I officially give up on diesel bikes making it to civilian life:

Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE: HOG) announced today it will establish a new research and development facility in Northern California to support its future product portfolio, including the company’s first complete line of electric vehicles.

Many, many years ago I worked on Cabletron switches, which in a bizarre twist led me to Milwaukee, WI. Unbeknownst to many, if not most, Harley was at that time doing cutting edge IT deployments. Also I attended wedding parties there of Harley workers that ended with the couple describing Harleys they would ride to California. I mean high-tech Harleys in California does make sense, in spite of their oil-splattered tinkering owners group heritage.

Until now my heart still ached for that Kawasaki diesel dual-sport we were promised. Oh well. The time has come to say diesel bikes aren’t going to make headlines. Perhaps electric range soon will be less of an issue as Harley clearly thinks about that spectrum. But will HOGs be able to keep their tinkering ways or is DRM also coming?

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