Harley Promises to Rumble at Laconia Motorcycle Week

Harley-Davidson continues to raise its presence at bike rallies, promising to make a big splash at the upcoming Laconia Motorcycle Week.

Boasting a new Weirs Beach venue, Harley says it will be at the rally from beginning to end of ‘The World’s Oldest Motorcycle Rally’, taking place from June 10th through the 18th in scenic New Hampshire.

For the first time in years, all Harley-Davidson exhibits, events and free demo rides on new Harley-Davidson motorcycles will be conveniently located directly across the street from the entrance to the drive-in across from the Weirs Beach landmark sign on Endicott Street North.

Laconia Motorcycle Week is a motorcycle rally held annually in June in Laconia, New Hampshire. The rally has its origin in the Loudon Classic motorcycle race started in 1923 and the Gypsy tour, where many motorcyclists passed through Laconia.

“Since 1918, the annual run to Laconia has been a defining event for riders in the Northeast,” said Bill Davidson, Vice President of the Harley-Davidson Museum and great-grandson of Harley-Davidson co-founder William A. Davidson. “As this historic gathering of riders approaches its centennial celebration, Harley-Davidson has teamed with Laconia Mayor Ed Engler, local businessman Al Mitchell and Laconia Harley-Davidson owner Anne Deli to secure a fabulous new location near the lake for Harley Headquarters.”

The Laconia rally dates back to June 1916, when a few hundred motorcyclists gathered at Weirs Beach in Laconia. Seven years later, the event was officially recognized as part of the Gypsy Tour by the Federation of American Motorcyclists, later known as the American Motorcyclist Association, where motorcyclists celebrated races and hill climbs for an entire weekend.

Official Harley-Davidson activities will be consolidated at one action-packed venue located at 76 Endicott Street North. Open June 10-18, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with free motorcycle parking, this expansive Harley-Davidson venue will replace the previous New Hampshire Motor Speedway location. The new location will offer:

  • Motorcycle demos: See and ride new 2017 Harley-Davidson models including the just-released Street Rod plus the new Road King Special and other Touring models powered by the potent new Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine. The demo fleet also includes the nimble Harley-Davidson Roadster model, fabulous 2017 CVO models and bikes fully customized with Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories.
  • New Milwaukee-Eight Display Truck: Experience the all-new Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine through technical displays (June 12-18) and feel the rumble of this exciting new V-Twin on the Harley-Davidson JUMPSTART Rider Experience. Check out the customized Harley-Davidson Rebel Freightliner truck and a display of new items from Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Parts & Accessories.
  • See It/Try It/Buy It: Test out new Harley-Davidson helmets and riding gear when you demo-ride a bike. Laconia Harley-Davidson will offer a selection of new Genuine MotorClothes for purchase on site.
  • H.O.G. Pin Stop at Laconia: Join Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) staff members at the Harley Headquarters and pick up a cool pin (exclusively for H.O.G. members).

The upcoming rally could be a welcomed distraction for the iconic motorcycle brand which is facing some negative headlines over its efforts to open plants in different parts of the world. The motorcycle manufacturer announced last Thursday it will build a plant in Thailand, a major Asian automotive hub, to serve the growing Southeast Asian market. This move not only makes it more cost-effective to distribute the brand in that part of the world, but can also ease some tariffs and taxes involved in shipping bikes to certain countries.

Add in concerns about the heavy motorcycle market in North America, and there’s reason for some urgency around this expansion.

The Thailand facility "will allow us to be more responsive and competitive in the Asean region and China," Harley-Davidson public relations manager Katie Whitmore told CNBC.

"Harley-Davidson has been the crown jewel of American manufacturing. It's an iconic brand that represents true American spirit,” said United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard, taking a slightly different view to the expansion. “Management's decision to offshore production is a slap in the face to the American worker and to hundreds of thousands of Harley riders across the country“.

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