Posted on Jul 10, 2014

Much of the recent hype about Harley-Davidson had to do with the unveiling of its new electric powered motorcycle, the LiveWire. Although the bike is just being tested at this point for practicality and consumer interest, it is unknown whether it will actually be offered for sale in the future. A more ominous news item received much less fanfare and attention from the media. Harley-Davidson initiated a voluntary recall of 66,421 Touring and CVO Touring motorcycles from the 2014 model year. The problem deals with the location and routing of the front brake line. Apparently, the line could be pinched between the fuel tank and frame causing the brake fluid pressure in the line to increase, which could result in the front brake activating and even locking up. That is a serious condition and could possibly cause a crash.

There have already been some crashes reported because of the brake line issue, and it was the warranty work being done on those bikes that alerted Harley-Davidson to the problem. Recently, Harley-Davidson also had to voluntarily recall over 25,000 Touring models and over 3,000 Softail CVO and Trike models because of a problem with the clutch not fully disengaging, which resulted in making it harder to slow down or stop the motorcycles.

The new brake line problem will be fixed for free as owners bring their motorcycles in for the needed repair after receiving a notice that their bike is affected by the recall. Harley's competitor, Polaris, maker of the Indian and Victory motorcycles, also underwent some voluntary recalls recently, dealing with engine cooling problems with the Indian and some fender weld problems with the Victory.  Polaris reported that its motorcycle division posted a 52% increase in sales in the first quarter of 2014. It will be interesting to see how the two motorcycle giants finish the year and if the recalls will slow sales for either company.

Tony Sanfelipo
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Senior Motorcycle Accident Investigator