Harley named official motorcycle of Spartan obstacle racing

Continues to seek younger riders

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A Spartan race participant takes on an obstacle during a race. Photo courtesy of Spartan Race Inc.

Last updated on August 9th, 2019 at 01:20 pm

In a continued effort to attract new riders, Harley-Davidson is tapping into a market centered on offering consumers the same sense of thrill and adventure the company says comes with riding a motorcycle.

The Milwaukee-based manufacturer announced earlier this week that it has partnered with Boston, Massachusetts-based fitness and lifestyle brand Spartan Race Inc. as its official motorcycle.

Touting itself as the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand, Spartan puts on more than 250 annual events across more than 40 countries on six continents, according to its website. Its three- to- 30-mile races, which draw more than 1 million participants per year, are best known for their challenging terrain and obstacles like vertical climbs and ropes courses. 

Harley said the partnership highlights the companies’ shared core values such as community, adventure and a sense of freedom. 

“Racing in Spartan and riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle may start from two different roads, but they lead to the same journey for many,” said Ann Janikowsky, director of marketing, community and experiential at Harley. “Along that journey, racers and riders alike discover what they’re capable of, experience the unbreakable bond of those who help them along the way, and whether iron or body, learn that their machine delivers a sense of personal freedom and thrill unlike any other.”

As part of the new partnership, select U.S. Spartan events will include a Harley-Davidson area where racers and spectators can test out the company’s Jumpstart simulator bikes and enter to win Spartan race entry and Harley-Davidson Riding Academy pass.

The company’s brand will also appear on the barbed wire portion of the obstacle course at all U.S. Spartan events.

“I grew up riding and know that much like our events, riding a Harley-Davidson makes you feel alive, it gives you an unbelievable sense of freedom and the same adrenaline rush,” said Spartan CEO and founder, Joe De Sena. “We want to continue to provide our community opportunities to pursue their next adventure, and learning to ride a Harley-Davidson motorcycle offers just that.”

In addition, select Harley-Davidson dealerships will host Spartan Workout Tours, which are 90-minute bodyweight classes led by Spartan coaches for people of all fitness levels. Attendees who sign up for Harley-Davidson Riding Academy will receive free entry to one 2019-20 Spartan race.

Harley has made attracting new riders one of its top priorities, targeting 2 million new riders in the United States by 2027.

It has also secured sponsorships this year with World Surf League and Envision Virgin Racing, a Formula E race team based in the United Kingdom.

President and CEO Matt Levatich said in April that the company is making progress toward that goal, adding 278,000 new riders last year. According to the company’s data, the group is the most diverse across age, ethnicity and gender since it started tracking those metrics in 2001.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer started as an intern reporter at BizTimes in summer 2015. She currently covers entertainment, sports, tourism and restaurants. In May 2017, she graduated with a journalism degree from Marquette University where she worked as an in-depth projects reporter for the Marquette Wire and Marquette Tribune.