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Harley-Davidson unveils new electric bicycles

Milwaukee motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson appears to be thinking of venturing into the rapidly growing electric bicycle niche.

© Brad Chaney   Harley-Davidson Inc. has prepared prototypes of electric bicycles but is saying little about any plans for the vehicles.

By Rick Romell, USA TODAY

Harley-Davidson has developed a few new bikes — as in bicycles.

The Milwaukee motorcycle manufacturer, which has been on a quest to grow ridership of its big and pricey machines, appears to be thinking of venturing into the rapidly growing electric bicycle niche.

The company unveiled prototypes at a recent dealers meeting in Milwaukee. Harley is keeping mum about its plans but has released a photo of three electric bikes.

"Is it going to be the core of our business?" said Todd Berlin, who is general manager at Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson in Thiensville and was at the dealers meeting. "Absolutely not. Internal combustion engines are still what we do.

"But is it going to be a great addition? It's going to be a wonderful addition to what (the) Harley brand is all about, which is building new riders for the future.”

Harley didn't provide dealers with information on possible pricing or dates when the electric bikes might be available, Berlin said.

"But they are coming," he said.

Electric bicycles, which have small, battery-powered motors that provide an assist to riders as they pedal, have become popular in such European countries as the Netherlands and Germany. They still represent only a small share of the U.S. bicycle market, but sales have nearly tripled in the last two years, to $176 million for the 12 months ended in June, according to market research firm NPD Group.

Harley recently introduced small, electric bicycles for children after acquiring California-based StayCyc Inc.

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Autos Magazine: Harley-Davidson unveils new electric bicycles
Harley-Davidson unveils new electric bicycles
Milwaukee motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson appears to be thinking of venturing into the rapidly growing electric bicycle niche.
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