Harley-Davidson recalls 175K motorcycles for failing brakes


Less than a year after another large recall, and amidst disappointing earnings reports, a depressed sales forecast, and the consolidation of their Kansas City and York manufacturing facilities, Harley-Davidson announced a new recall of approximately 175,000 motorcycles for malfunctioning and failing brakes.

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The new recall (Harley-Davidson recall number 0171) affects every Touring, CVO Touring, and VSRC motorcycle built in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 with antilock brakes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That includes over 30 Harley-Davidson models in total, including police models:

  • Road King
  • Road King Police
  • Electra Glide Standard Police
  • Electra Glide Classic
  • Electra Glide Ultra Classic
  • Street Glide
  • 2008 VROD
  • CVO Road King 4
  • Night Rod
  • CVO Ultra Classic 3
  • Night Rod Special
  • 2008-2010 Road King Classic
  • 2008-2009 Road Glide and Electra Glide Standard
  • 2009-2010 V-Rod
  • 2009 CVO Ultra Classic and CVO Road Glide 3
  • 2009-2011 Night Rod Special and V-Rod Muscle
  • 2010 CVO Ultra Classic 5 and CVO Street Glide
  • 2010-2011 Electra Glide Ultra Limited and Road Glide Custom
  • 2011 Road Glide Ultra 103
  • Street Glide 103
  • Road King Classic 103
  • CVO Ultra Classic 6
  • CVO Road Glide Ultra
  • Road Glide Custom 103
  • CVO Street Glide 2

According to the recall, “deposits” can form “on components within the brake system if the DOT 4 brake fluid is not replaced for a prolonged period of time beyond the two-year maintenance schedule.” If a motorcycle’s front or rear brake pedal feels “hard” (or cannot be activated at all) at startup or after an ABS event, it may already be affected by deposits in the bike’s antilock braking system.

Over 40 complaints — including three crashes and two injuries — gave cause to the NHTSA to pressure Harley-Davidson to declare a national recall. The agency had been investigating complaints about the problem since summer 2016.

Harley-Davidson dealers will flush the brakes of every motorcycle covered by the recall and replace the fluid with Platinum Label DOT 4 brake fluid, according to the recall, at no cost to the owner. Recalls are scheduled to begin Feb. 12; owners are urged to contact Harley-Davidson customer service with questions.


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