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Harley-Davidson introducing new Big Twin engine, upgraded Touring line

MILWAUKEE -- Harley-Davidson Inc. officials said Tuesday, August 23rd the company is rolling out a more powerful engine for the 2017 lineup of Touring motorcycles. FOX6 News got a rare behind-the-scenes look at the company's Menomonee Falls plant as they launched the new engine, called the Milwaukee-Eight.

Harley-Davidson's new Milwaukee-Eight engine is the ninth Big Twin in the Milwaukee-based company's history. The engine, assembled at Harley-Davidson's Powertrain Operations factory in Menomonee Falls, promises more power and an improved riding experience while retaining the iconic look, sound and feel of its predecessors.

Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine

Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine

 "It's not every day that we launch a new engine!" Randy Christianson, GM of Harley's Powertrain Division said.

Christianson said the name, the Milwaukee-Eight, is a tribute both to the company's Milwaukee history and the engine's structure.

Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine

Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine

"We're proud to build that engine right here just outside of Milwaukee in Menomonee Falls. The Eight really derives from having four valves per cylinder, which is an improvement for us and certainly a first for Harley-Davidson," Christianson said.

Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine

Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine

Christianson said there were significant changes at the plant in Menomonee Falls in order to get the place ready to produce the new engine.

"To incorporate the tooling, incorporate the changes needed, we've had to move or change over 500 different pieces of equipment this year to prepare for making this new product," Christianson said.

Harley-Davidson

As for what's different, Christianson said heat management is improved, and the Milwaukee-Eight offers a more powerful feel during acceleration.

"Mechanical noise is down which gives us the opportunity really to tone the exhaust node and give our customers more of that rumble that they really like to hear," Christianson said.

Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine

Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine

Excited employees said Tuesday launching this new engine gives them a chance to be part of the company's long history.

"It's like a newborn coming into the family. It's our ninth motor so it's something new and exciting," Pierre McDowell said.

Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine

Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine

The new engine is being coupled with new front and rear suspension components designed to enhance comfort and control, according to Harley-Davidson.

Click here for more on this story via the Milwaukee Business Journal. 

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