Harley recalling thousands of 2017 touring motorcycles

More than 57,000 bikes possibly shipped with improperly installed clamp

An improperly installed clamp on several Harley touring motorcycle models can cause an oil line to let loose and spill oil, potentially increasing the risk for a crash.

An improperly installed clamp on the oil cooling system of nine touring motorcycle models is prompting Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson to recall thousands of 2017 model year bikes.

The recall applies to 2017 Electric Glide Ultra Classic, Police Electra Glide, Police Road King, Road King, Road King Special, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Road Glide, and Road Glide Special motorcycles.

“This is a voluntary recall by Harley-Davidson Motor Company in the interest of customer safety,” the company said in a statement. “Customer safety is our highest priority.”

The company determined the improperly installed clamp could allow the oil line to detach and cause a sudden loss of oil. Undetected, the problem could lead to oil on the rear tire, increasingly the possibility of loss of control or a crash.

Harley initially began investigating the issue in March after the company was told an oil line had detached while a motorcycle was being operated on a dynamometer at a Harley-Davidson dealership. An initial review determined there were no systematic issues in the field and the matter was closed April 13.

A week later the company was informed of a potential incident where a crash occurred after an oil line detached, leading Harley to reopen its investigation. The second review found nine cases where the line has detached, causing two crashes, including one with minor injuries to the rider.

Harley estimates 57,138 motorcycles were shipped worldwide with the issue, including 45,589 included in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall notice. The affected motorcycles were built between July 2, 2016 and May 9. The company has since added an extra inspection process to ensure the clamps are properly installed.

Dealers have already been notified of the issue and owners will be notified starting June 6. Owners are asked to arrange service with an authorized Harley-Davidson dealer who will inspect the clamps and repair if necessary.

Owners may also contact Harley-Davidson customer service at 1-800-258-2464. Harley-Davidson’s number for this recall is 0170.

The recall is another setback for the Harley’s Milwaukee Eight engine, which was unveiled last year for 2017 touring models. The company decided to hold back on delivering 2017 model year motorcycles to dealerships after market weakness in the middle of 2016 led to increased inventory at the end of the year.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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