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May 08, 2008

Retooling a Classic

Harley_2Dark Custom Cross Bones may sound like a character from J.K. Rowling, but this brand extension is pure Harley, not Harry. A sub-brand from Harley-Davidson, Dark Custom features stripped-down designs inspired by vintage post-war bikes. Gone are chrome and gleaming paint, replaced by blacked-out wheel rims, fenders, hubs, engine assembly, and the handle bars that lend the line its sinister name. Losing the chrome makes Dark Custom more affordable to younger riders, with some models selling under $10,000 (touring Harleys can cost upward of $35,000). With the average age of a Harley buyer around 46, an authentic, gritty sub-brand is a smart way to reach the next generation of Easy Riders. And because Dark Custom stays true to Harley’s roots and builds on the company’s heritage, it shouldn’t alienate the older wrinkly riders.


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It would be nice to tour Europe with this bike. I heard its one of the fastest.

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Brand extensions are all around us — clothing from the Sierra Club, furniture polish from Steinway and, yes, even the kitchen sink from Jacuzzi. TippingSprung, a New York-based brand-extension consultancy, publishes an annual survey on brand extensions with Brandweek. If you spot a noteworthy extension for the blog or survey, email us.



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