But all signs now point to the maker of high powered touring bikes taking another tack, as they look to an electrified future.
US-based cruiser bike specialist Harley-Davidson Monday said it will develop a small displacement motorcycle for Asia primarily targeted at Indian buyers.
This new product and broader distribution are meant to fuel Harley-Davidson's customer access and growth in India, one of the largest, fastest growing markets in the world, and other Asia markets. More electric models, including smaller and lighter bikes, will arrive through 2022.
Industry experts have said electric motorcycles - that have no gears or clutch and are a far cry from Harley's loud, bulky cruising bikes - may not appeal to loyal Harley fans.
Although it is looking to embrace new avenues for revenue, Harley-Davidson is not turning its back completely on its roots.
Harley-Davidson are planning a new middleweight platform encompassing motorcycles from 500cc to 1250cc and will spawn Harley's first adventure-touring machine. During that time, the company also wants to gain 2 million new riders to reverse declining sales. There's also an e-bike and scooter concept, both of which reference Harley-Davidson's sensible commuter options (many of them rebadged Euro machines) which were common enough until the Japanese took over the market in force in the late '60s and early '70s, with cheaper, more reliable options.
Rather, Harley - which recently said it would close a factory in Missouri to concentrate manufacturing in the USA - is up against three distinct challenges. "It might bypass licensing requirements in certain states, which is a real game-changer".
First, the motorcycle market in the U.S. has been in decline for years.
About 46 per cent of riders are over 50 and only about 10 per cent are 30-34.
Harley-Davidson's plans are expected to intensify competition for Eicher Motors Ltd's Royal Enfield, which is a segment leader and has nearly no competition as yet in the domestic market.
Already affected by the Trump administration's 25% tax on steel and aluminum exported from the European Union, the Wisconsin-based company announced in June it would move production of bikes sold in Europe out of the US due to retaliatory tariffs imposed by the EU. Royal Enfield has more than doubled its sales in the last four years to 8 lakh units.
Sales in Canada fell 0.5 per cent over the past 3 months, and are down 4.9 per cent over the past six months.
American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson has just announced its latest strategy which sets out its roadmap for the coming years. The company has confirmed a small displacement motorcycle in the 250cc to 500cc space.
There are owner clubs and events worldwide as well as a company-sponsored brand-focused museum.