MENOMONEE FALLS -- In 2018, Harley-Davidson will celebrate its 115th year in business, but you can ride the future now! On Thursday, August 31st, FOX6's Ted Perry was the first to ride one of the 2018 models, and you can too, this weekend in Menomonee Falls.
The Harley plant on Pilgrim in Menomonee Falls isn't Disneyland, but it might as well have been for the bikers lucky enough to pick any ride they wanted.
With FOX6 Web Producer Katie DeLong on board, Ted took out the newest incarnation of the bike he's ridden for years -- the Heritage Softail.
"Our intent was to make these bikes faster, lighter, more responsive and easier and more fun to ride," Paul James with Harley-Davidson said.
Mission accomplished! Ted and Katie reported the new model clearly feels lighter, and the pickup is impressive.
"Definitely a lot smoother," Katie said.
A big change for 2018 are bikes featuring the relatively new Milwaukee 8 engine.
"It makes more torque, less heat, less vibration. We started there with the power train which is the crown jewel of any Harley-Davidson," James said.
On Thursday, company employees, members of HOG chapters from across the country, and our own Ted Perry were able to ride, and they were encouraged to give candid reviews.
"Having something like this where you can test ride anything you want to -- it's awesome. That's why we came from Alabama to test ride the new bikes," Treva Lackey said.
"It's a double benefit because you tour the facility if you've never been through there, so you get to see how to make the motor, so that's always good," Denny Claussen from Davenport, Iowa said.
"We are customer led. We use research from customers to decide what future products are going to be," James said.
The feedback is important for a company trying to stay young at 114 years old.
You can test ride the new bikes Friday and Saturday, September 1st and 2nd from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Menomonee Falls facility.