The Dyna lineup isn’t the only platform that has disappeared from Harley-Davidson’s 2018 fleet; it seems the V-Rod is also gone.
With all the news about Harley-Davidson’s new, improved 2018 lineup (Dynas are out, new oil-cooled Softail design is in), nobody has pointed out the sudden disappearance of the V-Rod. At this point, there have been no official announcements that it’s been killed off … but it’s also conspicuously absent from the MoCo website’s section for 2018 models.
It isn’t a surprise (unlike the news about the Dynas). For a long time, the V-Rod platform was the only option if you wanted a liquid-cooled Harley-Davidson, but the H-D faithful never really took to the design. Now, Harley-Davidson has other liquid-cooled designs that are more pleasing to traditionalists (the Milwaukee Eight) or more affordable (Revolution X). For months, people have been whispering the V-Rod was soon headed for cancellation, and now those predictions have come true.
It’s a bit sad to see the bike go with no fanfare, though, as the V-Rod was a bold step forward for Harley-Davidson, even if it was unpopular and perhaps a bit of a poorly-executed design. The factory drag bike built around the V-Rod platform, the Destroyer, was one of the coolest ideas Harley-Davidson had brought to market in years. However, that bike has already been off the market for some time.
With no official announcement, it’s theoretically possible we’ll see the V-Rod back, but don’t bet on it. Instead, we’d guess the Sportster lineup, which is Harley-Davidson’s longest-running engine design now, is probably not far off the chopping block. Emissions standards are making it harder and harder for big-piston air-cooled engines, and the Sportster’s history won’t be enough to keep it in the lineup once government regulations catch up to it. The times are a’changin’ in Milwaukee these days, and the lineup is changing with them.