Leaked Online: 2014 Harley-Davidson 500 Photos

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The first photos of the 2014 Harley-Davidson 500 have appeared on Indian forum Team-BHP. Several members report spotting the bike on local roads, apparently undergoing validation testing prior to the model’s release early next year.

Three years ago, Harley exclusively confirmed to RideApart that such a model was under development, stating that it was intended to replace the just-killed Buell Blast, serving as a learning tool in the firm’s Rider’s Edge training program here in the US and a good first bike for new riders looking for an H-D smaller than 883cc in capacity — the size of its current smallest bike, the Sportster.

Then, at last weekend’s 110th birthday celebrations, the company disclosed further details, saying the model would be built at its Gurgaon, Haryana factory and targeted at the massive Southeast Asia motorcycle market.

“I’ve ridden it — it looks great, sounds great, it’s a Harley, and it’s priced right,” stated H-D’s COO, Matt Levatich, of the new bike.

The model’s development is hardly a secret. In fact, according to Forbes, it serves as the linchpin of H-D’s strategy to expand its foreign markets.

“In India, Harley is now developing a new 500cc motorcycle made specifically for the country with a starting price of less than $7,000,” reports Forbes. “The company has also set up assembly plants locally to circumvent the high import duty. The company only sold about 2,000 units in India last year, but the sales could easily grow multi-fold as its portfolio of lower-priced products rises. Harley expects its India sales to touch 10,000 units in the next 2-3 years.”

2014 Harley-Davidson 500

Which brings us to these pictures. We know the capacity should be in the neighborhood of 500cc, which is reflected in the diminutive size of the v-twin motor seen here. In a move departing with company tradition, there appears to be a radiator hidden between the front frame rails. Harley just released its very first water-cooled models with its 2014 touring range.

2014 Harley-Davidson 500

The rest appears fairly conventional. A large fuel tank features an off-center cap, enabling easy fill ups when the bike is on its stand. The two-person seat and plastic tail section has hints of XR1200 in it and, in a possible sign that it could be US-bound, the bike features the orange reflectors on its side uniquely required for road legality in this country.

Team-BHP forum members note that the registration plates are from the Indian state where Harley’s facility is located and that the bikes appeared battered and worn, a possible sign of endurance testing.

“In normal running, there was almost no audible sound,” notes Team-BHP user ‘Metallica’ who snapped these shots. “When revved, it did make some noise but that was in no way similar to the usual familiar one of HD.”

We’ll bring you more material as this story develops. Until then, visit Team-BHP for more details and stay tuned to RideApart for updates.

  • http://statesofmotion.blogspot.com/ FastPanda

    2014 Harley-Davidson Sprint?

    Aside from the initial oddity (and amusing double meaning) of an Indian-built Harley, this just might work. Price would be a touch issue – it’d be nice if it was closer to $6000 but no idea how realistic that is. (Is water cooling really necessary for this model?)

    Been daydreaming about a heavily modded Sportster lately. This might be a whole lot more rational – if it’s right. Will be very interesting to see.

    • Davidabl2

      India=hot climate and India has signed the Kyoto accord so it has high pollution standards on new vehicles. Kyoto is what finally killed off the old iron-barrel,carbureted Enfield Bullets..

    • Mykola

      I’ve got to disagree and say this won’t work, for the U.S. market anyway, and likely the Europeans, Australians, and Japanese as well.
      I had a long and wordy reply with my reasoning why this bike just isn’t an H-D by any stretch.
      I scrapped it and tried again with a shorter reply about what links H-D motorcycles together visually and thematically, and identifies them as built by that brand. That didn’t work either.

      I’ll just simply say that right now it looks indistinguishable from the likes of the Honda Shadow 750 or Kawasaki Eliminator 125, and distinctly unrelated to any H-D.
      -That rear fender/taillight is completely wrong. It needs to be ditched for either something a little longer that will fit the taillight nearly universal on H-Ds, or for combined turn/brake lights.
      -That Eliminator 125 megaphone muffler needs to be replaced with an H-D style tapered tip muffler or mufflers.
      -H-D gas caps are centered when there isn’t a tank-mounted console.
      -All the ancillary bits need to be the H-D parts shared by the rest of the lineup: turn signals, gas cap, footpegs, 1″ handlebar w/ switchgear, levers, mirrors, etc.
      -The test mule looks purposely ratty, of course the production models will need the same high quality level of finish of any other H-D.

      -I can’t see the engine very well, but it looks like a narrow-angle v-twin with a side-intake, (vestigial?) cooling fins, and maybe a pushrod cover just barely visible in the top photo, which will be credible enough to market as an H-D motor. H-D has already ventured beyond a lineup of exclusively 100% air-cooled, 4-valve OHV, under-square, 45-degree v-twin motors.

      I’m not saying it needs these things to make it a good bike, the above items are all superficial, just that it needs these things to avoid being a complete farce in the countries where the Milwaukee-built bikes are a more familiar sight.

      • Piglet2010

        As you say these are test mules. Could be that H-D is using off the shelf parts intended for other bikes while they sort the power-train and chassis, while the final styling is being hidden from spy photographers.

        • Mykola

          Sure, but the exhaust and rear fender still look specific to this bike and would be terrible for its H-D branding.

        • ron garrett

          Actually there is a story about, and picture of, this scooter in the 12/13 issue of CYCLE WORLD. It is a “liquid-cooled, sohc 750cc V-Twin, fuel-injected to the tune of about 50 hp”. It is “built in India using a majority of Indian-made parts”.

  • travellin

    Looks like there’s a pulley on the rear wheel.

  • John

    I keep thinking of how much better off the entire world would be if Harley headquarters had been struck by a meteorite decades ago.

    • David Kent

      If our illustrious, all knowing Federal government hadn’t bailed them out with a $700 Japanese import tariff in the late ’70s, the collateral damage of a meteorite wouldn’t be necessary today!

      • John

        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

      • Robert Horn

        “$700 Japanese import tariff in the late ’70s”
        Huh?

        • luxlamf

          The angry little Gnats get so excited to type their garbage that they some times make typoes

      • Piglet2010
        • David Kent

          Thanks for jogging my ever clouding memory!.I never did any research, I just remember talking to two separate local non Harley dealers about it when it was imposed. The actual tariff was for bikes over 700CC, not $700 per bike. Now that I think about it, that would have been about a 33% tariff on a CB 750 during those days! Either way, the point I made that was Uncle Sam that saved Harley’s butt, and not their superior product or stellar customer service.

          • CruisingTroll

            Not exactly accurate. The protectionist tariff on imported motorcycles is partially responsible for saving H-D. H-D is responsible for the other part. Had H-D continued operating in the same fashion as they did under AMF, the company would be gone now, tariff or no tariff. H-D is simply one of the few companies that actually changed it’s ways under the opportunity the tariff afforded.

            H-D seriously improved the quality of their product, and of their marketing. No tariff – they’d be gone. Keep doing same-old-same-old, they’d be gone. (This isn’t to say that H-D is making high performance bikes, rather, they are making reliable bikes that their market wants.)

            • luxlamf

              Excellent point.

    • luxlamf

      Oh look the “Pole in the Butt” crowd showed up on an HD story, how suprising. How much better would it be actually? What point does this Co have any effect on your idiotic life?

      • John

        Well, I had to buy a detuned motorcycle that was nothing like competition for Harley since it was actually fast and smoother and reliable or pay a huge price. Not to mention that the price of motorcycles stayed high even after the tariff went away. Fascism at its finest.

        All to protect a totally unproductive, non-innovative company that relies on uninformed people as customers. And now that buying stupidly is popular, all the innovative companies had to stop innovating and put out crap too.

        So, yes, Harley’s horrible quality did impact my life, thank you very little.

      • John

        Also had to ride really slow on a ride once because our Harley buddy’s bike can’t corner and because it also kept stalling out. Fun times.

  • Piglet2010

    Don’t they sell riding boots in India?

    • Corey Cook

      No, in fact most people ride in their sandals. Just like the rest of the undeveloped world. Safety gear is a western luxury, believe it.

      • Piglet2010

        Except that the rider has a full-face modular lid, what appear to be moto specific gloves and jacket, and works for H-D (who can afford to provide employees with proper gear).

    • Richard Gozinya

      You’re not very familiar with the habits of riders in India, are you?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE3XsZaL-zo

      • Davidabl2

        Quick, nominate that guy for an honorary Darwin award.

    • Stuki

      Can’t kill a sacred cow, just to wrap it’s hide around your dirty feet, now can you……

      • Piglet2010

        SiDi boots and some others use synthetic materials instead of leather.

    • LS650

      I thought that odd as well. Considering that these guys are supposedly factory test riders, you’d think they’d have half-decent footgear on.

  • kevin

    It’ll be interesting how much power (or how little, rather) this 500cc motor makes. Considering the 883 sportster engine only makes some ~45hp at the wheel and has a nearly 400cc advantage. My gut says around 50 horsepower would be perfect in this size bike, but I can’t see HD selling many 883′s if the 500 makes the same power. So, I bet this bike is really under powered.

    • Richard Gozinya

      Either that or they’ll finally replace the Evo engines they’ve been sticking into Sportsters since the 80′s.

      • Eric Shay

        Right? If Ducati can do 200HP in a 1200, Harley can push 80HP? Or am I being optimistic of alll this new Harley “engineering?”

      • enzomedici

        Evo engines are awesome. HP is only around 70hp, but the engine is very reliable and 78 lbs of torque (105nm) is higher than a lot of sportbikes.

        • Richard Gozinya

          Evo engines aren’t anything special, very old technology, put into a heavy package.

        • Piglet2010

          Remember, that torque at the rear wheel is what counts. Since sport-bikes rev much higher than cruisers, they can use much lower gearing for greater torque multiplication, which is why (in addition to lower weight) a 600cc supersport that makes 48 lb-ft of torque at the crankshaft will blow away a “big-twin” that makes 105 lb-ft of torque at the crank.

    • Piglet2010

      I would guess no more than 47-HP, so it can be sold in Europe to A2 license holders.

    • runnermatt

      My bet is that is based on the V-rod engine. Traditional Harley riders wouldn’t care if this 500cc engine makes more power than the 883 Sportster for one reason alone, its water cooled.

      • Stuki

        I’m thinking production in India, for a more cost conscious market, would dictate a different approach to engine design than the V-Rod.

        Like Piglet, I would be surprised if Euro A2 does not factor into the calculation.

        HD management isn’t stupid; they know they have already sold a Big Twin or Sportster to every home equity once-was-rich Baby Boomer that could conceivably want one; just as Honda figured out wrt CBRs and Goldwings. This one will likely be designed to chase a market similar to what Honda is aiming at with their 500s; just going about it in a slightly more Harleyesque manner.

        Funnily enough, the ultimate vindication would be if they bikes were so capable, reliable and economical that they ended up being ridden by Taliban fighters. No amount of sissified wannabes in Hells Angeles outfits, come even within miles of those guys for sheer and utter badassness.

        • mentalmental

          The Talibans arent from India

    • juliansr

      horsepower is not torque, and torque is what moves a fat ass. the 883 would be more relaxed and make better low end cruising power for the typically plump Harley rider. He’d probably have to rev the little 500 to it’s top engine speed to get all 50hp and that’s just not the type of maxxed out riding Harley owners typically do on the way to Hooters.

    • CruisingTroll

      It will make exactly 46.999 hp. H-D will keep it under the A2 licensing limit so they can export the bike to Europe in the future. A simple Stage 1 mod (probably just an ECU flash) will allow the bike to make up to 5 hp or so more, in order to beat out the CB500 engine, since the two bikes will undoubtedly end up going head to head in many markets. Likely already be flashed for markets that don’t adhere to the EU licensing scheme.

  • Corey Cook

    “If” they did it right, a liquid cooled (see radiator above) 500cc v-twin could and should be an awesome little engine. Not holding my breath though…

  • VagrantCoyote

    Searching for anything positive to say about this. Um, yeah.

  • http://ericrshelton.com/ Eric R. Shelton

    Still too foot-forward. I guess I’m getting a Grom after all.

  • David Kent

    I seriously doubt that the target audience for this bike would grasp the necessity for the apparently mandatory piss poor attitude toward anyone who doesn’t ride in on a Harley. That’s been my universal experience with their dealerships. Guess they’ll have to sell them at a satellite location, with newly hired, separately trained salespersons.

    • Piglet2010

      That is what H-D should have done with Buell.

      • David Kent

        Most definitely!

    • Devin Byrnes

      Your experience varies widely from my own. The one’s I have visited were extremely friendly and very interested in selling me a bike.

  • Mark D

    Looking forward to when we find out its just a Buell single-cylinger, with a “custom ultra evo” dummy cylinder next to it.

    • Davidabl2

      They’d get the last laugh if the 2nd cylinder served as a blower for the first..so they got the low taxation on a smaller cc bike & the power of a bigger bike. It was something that was done decades
      ago..

  • Davidabl2

    I would be astonished if Harley were to try to import a made-in-India bike into the USA. I don’t see any way
    that that would not be a P.R. disaster for a company that’s always wrapped itself in the American flag.

    • Richard Gozinya

      I don’t see why not, they sell lots of accessories and clothes that are made in China. Lots of it wrapped in the American flag too.

      • Davidabl2

        We live in a country where most of the American flags are made in China..
        And everybody’s clothes as well.
        But somehow having the whole damn motorcycle made there crosses some sort of line.
        It’s a “go figure” kind of thing. But if you talk to any number of the faithful I think you’ll find that it’d make them quite unhappy.

  • Hooligan

    The small capacity Triumphs for the Indian market (and elsewhere methinks) looks more like a goer these days. It will be built in Triumphs Thai factories. Which as they are part of the Eastern Free Trade group will be Indian import duty free.

  • Justin McClintock

    I’ve read elsewhere that this isn’t a Harley, it’s something else. I’m inclined to feel that way as well. Regardless of whether or not it’s air cooled, this engine isn’t a 45 degree twin. And I see no reason Harley would be developing anything different.

    • Richard Gozinya

      As others have already mentioned, Harley does make the Revolution engine, which they put in their V-Rods. That engine is a 60 degree twin.

  • John

    Now we can finally have a crappy motorcycle that’s affordable!

  • bluemoco

    One quibble with this article — Harley did not “release its very first water-cooled models with its 2014 touring range.” Everyone knows that they’ve been building the liquid-cooled V-Rod for years.

    • luxlamf

      I had to go outside and double check that my 2002 VROD did have a radiator after reading that.

  • Chris Cope

    Isn’t there already a company that’s building overpriced, outdated and underpowered 500cc motorcycles in India? Why is Harley muscling in on Royal Enfield’s game?

  • juliansr

    Bring it on Harley, just bring it home to US. Please replace the Buell Blast in our collective memories ASAP.

  • bammerburn

    That thing probably has like, 10 horsepower. If it’s kept in accordance with Harley’s typical engine characteristics.

    • luxlamf

      That’s weird, mine has 109hp, do you make a living or live off public assistance with such limited mental abilities? I hope they didn’t issue a MC lic and only carry a bus pass.

      • bammerburn

        Having a V-Rod is cheating.

  • luxlamf

    I love your website and articles but once again I have to stress your ability to NOT Fact check your articles is cumbersome, I have a 2002 Harley Davidson VROD, it now has little over 106,000 miles on it since I bought in in 2006 and runs brilliantly still, it came from the Factory with a Radiator, fans, Water Pump and all the other fancy assorted items that come on Water Cooled Vehicles Hence the “2014 Touring bikes” are NOT the 1st Water cooled HD’s as your article states.. Can you hire a Proofreader or at least do some Fact Checking in future atricles as you can see the numbskulls below in the comments area do not know any better already and you should not prolong their ignorance with misinformation such as this.

    • Kevin Boggs

      They’re too busy dissing Harleys to do any fact checking. Can’t you tell?

  • Devin Byrnes

    Finally, another small displacement naked that is actually naked. Love it.

  • Kevin Boggs

    I love my old Sporty but I have to admit that it would be nice if the MoCo would make a seriously competitive modern bike. Look at Triumph. They’ve kept the Bonneville for the nostalgia crowd but they also have some pretty killer new bikes too. Don’t see why HD can’t do this too. It would be great to see HD on the leader boards at the GP circuit. Just my Pirate/Cowboy/Greaser 2 cents.

  • Ed Hunt

    Of course, the idea is not to sell more bikes to aspiring pot-bellied pirates. They are trying to reach NEW markets. If you are a 25 year old with a skinny girlfriend, 500 cc is plenty for buzzing around town – and probably will seem like a big step up from a 150 scooter. Not performance, but pleasant. Nice to see the pegs are at least under you enough to stand up on them – that’s the one thing I hate about my old Vstar 650.

  • LS650

    I’m not sure what some people are complaining about. Some folks have said for years that Harley needs to be more competitive and try new ideas – but then when HD actually try it, some people still whine!
    I will be looking for a 500cc commuter in about another year. If this new bike is available and has decent reviews I will consider buying it.

  • aircraftmech

    Sigh….it’s still an HD. The RE’s are still going to have their fan base, no matter what. I’d buy an RE long before buying an HD.

  • orangelion03

    Hey look! H-D reinvented the VT500!!!