Motor Company Debuts New Models in Global Virtual Launch


Harley-Davidson took to the Internet for their 2021 new models unveiling, holding their first-ever “Virtual Launch” January 19. To participate, invitees registered via a link to the showcase site, and at 11:00am EST, the launch went active. We at Road Dirt tuned in, and we must say, it was quite the production.

Opening with wide, sweeping footage of Harley riders rolling through breathtaking scenery across America, a woman narrated the opening scenes with a dramatic monologue to “Just Go.” It was a captivating introduction. Company president Jochen Zeitz then introduced the special unveiling from within the halls of the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, describing the new vision for the Motor Company, firmly rooted in its long and storied history. Zeitz prefaced the Virtual Launch by outlining the bikes that would be highlighted- The four new CVO models, the three “Hot Rod Bagger” editions (the Road King Special, Road Glide Special and Street Glide Special), and two models in the Cruiser line, the Street Bob 114 and the Fat Boy 114.

Harley interspersed between each model unveiling a series of testimonials from actual riders sharing their stories, why they love riding their Harleys, amidst rolling footage of each riding their bikes in their respective home landscapes. Those testimonials could each be their own standalone videos, they were done so well.

Beginning with the CVO line, various company personnel introduced each model being unveiled, discussing the new features, the variations in paint and accessories, and then sharing their impressions of riding that particular bike in the lineup. Very effective. We enjoyed seeing our friend Paul James as one of the spokesmen for the CVO line. Paul hooked Phil up with a LiveWire at Daytona last year, and Phil chased him around central Florida all day for our review of the bike.

After a segment on the Bagger Specials the Virtual Launch shared a brief history of Harley colors, as they unveiled the current offerings. This was followed by an explanation of their “color shift technology”, which was fascinating to learn. Segments on H-D apparel and riding gear were included too, with department personnel discussing how they conceptualize and create their garment and gear lines.

Each model unveiling and description was preceded by a testimonial with riding footage as we stated, and these effectively set up the subsequent model discussion. We particularly appreciated the testimonial of Davide Berruto, an Italian/American discussing the concept of “la dolce vita”, or “the sweet life”, and his experience of it on a motorcycle. His segment preceded the unveiling of the Fat Boy 114, which is once again chromed stem to stern. Notably, the Fat Boy was introduced and discussed by two of Willie G’s children, Will and Karen Davidson. They gave a history of the bike, its striking design points, and a special nod to the massive tires front and rear the model sports.

I (Rob) particularly enjoyed the segment on the Street Bob 114, as the styling of this machine really appeals to me. The bike almost looks like the big brother to the Iron 1200 Sportster, with a distinctive 1970s vibe that hearkens back to the bikes I remember a high school friend owned, and I was enthralled with in moto mags and out on the road. Very “old school” in my opinion.

Jochen Zeitz teased the premier of the forthcoming Pan America, which will be unveiled on February 22nd. They shared the short film of Jason Momoa riding the Pan Am, then concluded with more sweeping ride footage and riders sharing their love of motorcycling in an almost “Why We Ride” style segment- “For me, riding is organic. You really do become one with the bike.” “All you senses just kind of come alive when you’re riding a motorcycle.” With nods toward Sturgis and even flat track racing, the conclusion was stirring, even for those of us who ride other brands.

The whole virtual launch was about 40 minutes long, but contained no reveals on the “Street” line, which is what the Sportster models are now categorized as, the rest of the Cruiser or Touring lines, nor the Electric or children’s’ Balance Bikes. Those can all be found on their website. We also found no Street 500 or 750 models in the virtual launch, nor in their 2021 model lineup on site. Discontinued?

In all, we found their “H-D 2021 Virtual Launch” quite captivating, and very enjoyable to view. Harley did a great job creating mood, stirring emotion for those who love to ride, hopefully enticing new riders, and they represented their brand very effectively, both celebrating their long history while pointing out their new models for the year. Well-done, Harley-Davidson.

For a look at the Media Intro to the Virtual Launch, check this out:

Just Go

For more on the upcoming Pan America unveiling, click here:

Pan America

For their full 2021 lineup, have a look here:


*All photos and footage provided by Harley-Davidson, 2021.


  1. Marcos dosruedas

    I keep looking for something new in the lineup and not finding it, which may be the point. Does anybody else see HD as the Mr Potatohead of bikes: take one of two rolling chassis (Sporty or Glide), snap on a different fairing, tank, and bags, and voila—new model!

    • Rob Brooks

      Looking forward to the Pan America unveiling in a couple of weeks, as H-D sticks it’s toes in the ADV pond. Time will tell if this is a good move or not for them. I wish they’d not shelved the Bronx project- I felt it held promise in the naked sportbike arena. Hopefully they’ll return to it in a year or two.


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