Harley-Davidson is fresh off an unexpectedly good quarter thanks to expensive custom motorcycles. Now, Harley is kicking off the next quarter by doubling down on high-margin models with a new custom paint called Apex, which will debut at the upcoming Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Since H-D parts and accessories are running low, at least there’s always pricy paint options to sell.
The new custom paint will be a factory-installed option for premium touring models, or baggers, which have starting prices roughly between $23,400 and $29,200. The motorcycle company hasn’t specified what the custom Apex paint will cost, but it’ll be available on the 2022 Harley-Davidson Road King Special, Road Glide Special, Street Glide Special, Road Glide Limited and Ultra Limited.
There’s no mention of availability on CVO models, Harley’s crown jewel custom motorcycles, that start at about $41,900. I would guess that CVO buyers wouldn’t want their bikes to be mistaken for mass-produced Harleys, so Apex paint might not be a priority on these models anyway.
Harley-Davidson is nonetheless proud of the custom paint, which is supposed to make its big baggers look like competition bikes. Specifically, the custom paint is meant to evoke H-D XR750 flat track racing motorcycle. The new custom finish combines a Vivid Black base with Gauntlet Gray panels and Jet Fire Orange accent stripes. An H-D logo pattern fades in and out of the finish.
Harley says it’s all about expressing “the thrill of speed and competition,” which is a bit misplaced on a big touring bike. Well, except for the bonkers machines competing in King of the Baggers, which the H-D Screamin’ Eagle factory team won in 2021. The new Apex paint is, basically, for baggers that dream of being flat trackers — like an SUV that aspires to a rally stage.
Ah, it’s mostly fine. It’s not like Harley is the only company finding creative (or lucrative) ways around the logistics mess brought on by the global pandemic. Harley’s five-figure touring bikes, such as the Road Glide Limited and Ultra Limited, have been a steady source of profit for the motorcycle company and adding farkles to expensive bikes is a proven strategy. Until the global supply chain starts recovering, Harley’s custom paint can stand in for custom parts.