With sales going down the road (-6.7% overall, -8.5% in the US in 2017), Harley-Davidson needs as much advertising as it can – but it also seems to be losing ground in this field . Today, the presence of the largest US motorcycle manufacturer has been “taken for granted” in Marvel Comics’s pro-heroes. An American motorcycle for the American Superman’s archetype – what else could Captain America do? And yet, watching the trailer scenes of the latest Ant-Man movie Ant-man and the Wasp, we see something unusual. The participating motorcycles are no longer Harley-Davidson, but Triumph and specifically the Thruxton R model. On the trailer we attach, we see the bikes at 46th second and then again in 1 minute and 46 seconds.
For many years, HD motorbikes have been included in the necessary accessories of the Marvel Comics cinema universe. In 2011, the participation of an HD in the first film of “Captain America: The First Avenger” was not only a successful marketing move but a necessity: Harley-Davidson has always had a very close relationship with the US war effort. You have a complete array of military versions of her models and it is believed that her relationship with the US Armed Forces has greatly contributed to her survival in the years after the financial crisis. In subsequent Marvel Comics films, the relationship between HD and the studio was strengthened, reaching the point in 2014 to showcase the brand new Street 750 first in the movie “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and then in the press and the audience!
Next year (2015) we were surprised by the “Livewire” electric prototype that took part in the 4th sequel of Avengers titled “Age of Ultron”. Livewire is expected to appear in the Fall Reports in autumn 2019, according to Matthew Levatich, CEO of the company. And in 2016, in the third Captain America movie titled “Civil War”, we met Street Rod – again a new model – more than a year before it officially appeared in the exhibitions. But after Ant-Man Marvel Comics decided to work with Triumph. The lack of a logo on motorcycles makes it difficult to identify them. With a somewhat closer look and comparison with the Thruxton R factory photos, we see the front brake pump, the fork top and the base of the projector being identical and unchanged.
At the end of the steering wheel, where the Thruxton R carries a pendant mirror, we see the mirror base very close to the trailer’s motorcycle. In the same drawing of the trailer, we see the key of the bike out of focus but clear enough to discern that it has a red triangle pattern on a black background. Just like the key of Thruxton R. Other points of reference are the golden suspensions, the double exhaust, the base of the front wing, the rear lantern, the cowboy and the crossing of the tank with the cap on the right side. All of this is characteristic of Thruxton R.
It seems that Harley-Davidson and Marvel’s long-standing partnership has come to an end. For who took the decision, whether the interruption is temporary or if Triumph now has the contract no information is available. The next films from the Hollywood Studio may be able to shed some more light. More interesting, though, is that the action scenes are both fiddling and plausible.