HD Pulling the Plug on Sidecar Production After 96-year Run

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October 22, 2010 | By: Scott Holton

Harley-Davidson has seen a significant decrease in demand for sidecars since sales of the Tri-Glide models began in the 2009 model year. The Tri-Glide was the first three-wheel Harley since the Servi-Car was discontinued in 1973. As a result, the company has just announced it is getting out of the sidecar business.

This is a pretty big move since sidecars have been a part of Harley-Davidson since almost forever. It’s another move in the company’s efforts to concentrate on its core business, which is pretty much down to the basics now. How much more can be tossed overboard in HD’s efforts to keep the company afloat without losing what Harley-Davidson represents? I figure there’s potentially one more cut remaining if things get really tight. Let’s just hope things get rolling so this is the last one.

In a press release made public this morning, Harley-Davidson said that, “as a result of the decline in retail demand for Harley-Davidson sidecars, which accelerated following the introduction of the Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide family of trikes, Harley-Davidson has made the decision to exit the sidecar business. After nearly a century of making the passenger ridealongs, the company will end sidecar production upon completion of remaining 2011 model year orders. Effective immediately, no new sidecar orders will be taken.”

More from Harley-Davidson:

Harley-Davidson is committed to continued support of its dealer network and customer support for sidecar owners and will support current customers by continuing to honor warranty repairs and supply service parts and technical support. The sidecar was first made available to Harley-Davidson customers in 1914 and will remain a proud part of the company’s history.”

What is shocking to me is the fact that the 45-cubic-inch Servi-car trikes were available for 50 years with no impact on Big Twin sales. Personally, I find riding a trike to be an unnatural experience. At least with a side hack, you can unhook it and ride the motorcycle like it was meant to be. My heart goes out to those enthusiasts that wanted a sidecar in the future.

Does this cost-saving move say anything about other services that might be cut back? I’ve made a pretty good living from the Milwaukee Marvel, so let’s hope this isn’t the beginning of the end.

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