Water-Cooled, 2014 Indian Follow Up

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October 28, 2013 | By: Scott Holton

14_Harley-CVO-Ultra-ClassicWell, we managed to find another hot button topic when we asked about your opinions of the new “Wet-heads”. We received 274 responses to that blog. This is a follow up to that and a few other things we have discussed lately.

I’m an HD bulletin board junkie, and while I haven’t seen a lot of feedback about the “wet-heads”, I have seen a couple of posts describing coolant overflow issues. As with any new (did I really say that?) technology, there may be some initial issues to work out. Doing an internet search for 2014 Harley water-cooling issues does not bring back much by way of results, so until I can see more data regarding these initial glitches, I’m not going to “Harley-bash.” I’m sure every detail of any problems will become well documented as they occur.

The unveiling of the 2014 Indian-line was also well received. Nice to see that there is an alternative to Mother Harley’s monopoly on American-made motorcycles. Kind of makes me smile as I personally ride a Power-Plus 100 Bottlecap Gilroy Indian engine stuffed in a late 70’s 4-speed FL frame. I never have been one to follow the crowd.

Generally, comments I have seen throughout the industry have been positive about the Polaris-Indian debut, and the current test ride programs. This is encouraging, but in my opinion, it’s too early to say that Indian is going to be a serious thorn in Harley’s side. More dealers to get these on the market, and conquering production issues should be first and foremost at Victory’s headquarters.

Speaking of production issues, Harley has voluntarily recalled 29,000 2014 models due to a hydraulic clutch issue. Recalled models include 25,185 touring motorcycles and 3,861 custom vehicle operations and trikes built between May 3 and Oct. 14, 2013.

The recall includes a “Do Not Ride” notice to owners and a “Do Not Deliver” notice to Harley-Davidson dealers until the motorcycle is fixed.

“Some of these motorcycles may exhibit a condition in which the hydraulic clutch system may lose the ability to generate enough lift to disengage the clutch,” the Milwaukee-based company said in a statement.

Sounds to me like the clutch issue is far more serious than any coolant loss issues. If you have a model produced during this time, see your dealer right away.

You know, for all the negativity expressed about Mother Harley, their latest earning reports say they are doing something right.

Oct. 22, 2013, before Wall Street opening, Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE: HOG) announced its 3rd quarter earnings and dealer new motorcycle sales. Sales rose sharply in the third quarter of 2013 compared to one year ago. Worldwide retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles increased 15.5 percent in the quarter, including a 20.1 percent increase in the U.S., compared to last year’s third quarter. Diluted earnings per share increased 23.7 percent to 73 cents, primarily on strong operating results in the motorcycles segment, including higher motorcycle shipments and gains in plant operating efficiencies, compared to one year ago.

In a related side note, Polaris Industries Inc. said Tuesday that its third-quarter net income rose 20 percent, buoyed by higher selling prices and lower product costs.

The snowmobile and ATV maker also increased its full year earnings from continuing operations and revenue forecasts.

Chairman and CEO Scott Wine said in a statement that there’s continued demand for the Minneapolis company’s existing products. He added that new model year 2014 vehicles and accessories are arriving at dealers and receiving positive customer feedback.

Polaris earned $113.1 million, or $1.59 per share, for the three months that ended Sept. 30. That’s up from $94.3 million, or $1.33 per share, during the same time-frame last year. Earnings from continuing operations were $1.64 per share and revenue rose to $1.1 billion from $879.9 million. The company said that this was the first time in its history that quarterly revenue topped $1 billion.

Snowmobile sales gained 25 percent, while off-road vehicle sales climbed 23 percent. Parts, garments and accessories sales rose 37 percent. In the small vehicles division, sales more than doubled thanks to the Aixam Mega acquisition. Sales for the motorcycles unit fell 6 percent.

The stock rose $1.47, or 1.1 percent, to $137.50 in pre-market trading. It’s up 58 percent for the year to date.

It’s good to be an American motorcycle maker these days. Hopefully this trend will continue into next year and beyond.

Anyway, Scott out here, till next time, be alert, they can’t always see you….

Comments (22)

indian as to get its own customer base. They will never win over the harleydavidson rider. No one can compete with hd. HD is like Led Zeppelin. They are the best and always will be. Everyone wants to sound and be like them and they just cant. timeless

Guess if you can’t baffle them with briliance…

I find this article very confusing! This impliles that Harley Davidson has a coolant leak in their 2014 Indian! What involvement does Harley in the Indian? Why are they recalled? Does the clutch slip on the 2014 Indian? I’m sorry, this doesn’t make any sense.

Hey, Abbott & Costello commented, who’s on first ?

Thanks, I’ll stick with my ’45 Chief and my ’74 Shovelhead.

I also have a 45 Chief and a 1983 shovel…would like to see your chief

FYI, Victory’s are not water cooled.

Lol. But any new tech stuff (even though it isn’t new). I would run through my Victory line 1st if I was those Polaris guys – get the bugs out. Before putting it on the Indian line. Like said earlier Indian should be old school with proven tested and tried technology. Style, craftsmanship, and grace with an edge. Be the real HD alternative. For example how about for 2014 why not create a bike that has the electric start with the optional kick start added to it. And put it out as an upgrade for last years buyers of 2013. Something like that may raise more eyebrows.

I love the kickstart idea. Always seemed much cooler to rear up and kick than to push a button.

It aint about being cool son, its about a crowd gathering around out front the bar wisecrackin cuz your on your 20th kick in the middle of August and your bros bring you out a beer and slip back into the AC while you try every combination of timing , gas, no gas , choke [enriching]. til outta nowhere and for no reason the bitch finally decides to fire up.Just got my first electric start last yearafter over 40 years of kicking i can almost walk normal again. Think twice Brother

Electric start is the worst thing that ever happend to motorcycles ! Having to kick start them kept the candyasses off them ,

I thought that also, before my knee problems! I will ride as long as I am alive so if it takes putting an electric starter on my FX-1200, so be it.

Consider that electronic ignition, most, if not all require more revs than kicking!

BR there is no hd alternative. the indians are available only because polaris can take the financial loss of producing them. They have to start their own customer base somehow and good luck with that. indian motorcycles (polaris) will never ever take hd customers away.

Well I think water-cooled is a bad idea for the Indian. Polaris can keep the water cooled for its Victory line. I thought Indian meant old school. Not BS wrapped up behind a brand name what’s next a drive shaft? Then tell your buddies I got an Indian that rides like a Goldwing WTF. Or maybe I’m just the growing crop of young hardcore old school riders who look back at a time when Indians were about style and grace and not how many cool nifty gadgets I can on put her.

Really?

Although the title is confusing, Scott was talking about the new water-cooled HDs separately from the new Indian. He was not implying the Indian would be water-cooled.

I think it was more than just the title being confusing!

Uh, BR, the HARLEY is water cooled. All the new Indians are air cooled.

Neither Victory or Indian are water-cooled. Victory is air/oil cooled. Indian is still air cooled only.

The 2014 Indians are not water cooled. I see the way the headline reads is a little mis-leading.

BR, Need to reread the article. HD has gone wet heads on select models. Victory and Indian are air cooled

Hey Scott, been awhile! I can’t believe H-D is into it’s 16th year of that problematic Twin Cam motor, as many years as the EVO. I was the only guy from New England to do Indian’s Centennial Ride, back in 2001, from Springfield, Ma. to Gilroy, Ca. & back to Springfield, the Birthplace of Indian. I waited for the new Bottle Cap motor, test road several at Sturgis in 2003, almost pulled the trigger on one. Glad, I didn’t, in hindsight, they looked good & sounded great, almost pull your arms off, BUT, they had BIG out of balance crank problems. I know there’s a couple of company’s that specialize in fixing this problem, as I’m sure you fixed yours.

Back in August, after Sturgis, one of Indians demo trucks came to New England for 3 days, riders came from all 6 New England states to test ride the 3 new Indian models. I got to ride a dozen different Indians in 3 days, nice bike, 111 cu in, 119 lbs torque, it pulls & pulls. The demo truck came back last Tues. & Wed., I went out 3 times on Tues., rode all 3 models, again, damn nice bike. I met a fellow rider, who bought one after the 1st demo ride, he’s still waiting delivery. So, I have ridden at least 15 different Thunder Stroke 111′s, the only difference between them, is, the bikes with the Fishtail exhausts, have 15 more horsepower, & sound great. If a demo truck comes to your area, do yourself a favor, take a ride on a new Indian.

After your 1st blog on Twin Cam tensioner problems & your “follow up” blog & the “one of our own bitten” blog, 3 blogs, 900+ comments, 750 ? blown motors, I couldn’t take it any more, we sold most of our H-D stock, we bought at $8-$12, for $65.50 last week. We haven’t bought Polaris stock yet, sitting on a pile of money. What’s funny, is, we sold a bunch of Polaris stock to finance our 2003 trip out to Sturgis, if we only had a crystal ball. Scott, keep up the good work, Boston Jim & Nancy

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