Whatever Happened To...ATK?

America's only off-road motorcycle manufacturer plans to sell Korean cruisers at Harley dealerships

Utah-based ATK has a reputation for building high-end dirtbikes, but the low-profile brand is essentially unknown beyond the hardcore enduro world. That could change soon, however, as the 29-year-old company enacts an ambitious plan to introduce entry-level streetbikes into high-profile Harley-Davidson dealerships. This joint venture between ATK and S&T; Motorcycles, the Korean manufacturer of the Hyosung brand, is unexpected to say the least.

The cooperation will initially produce ATK-branded versions of small-displacement Hyosung cruisers like the GV250 Aquila, GV650 Avitar and GV700 Classic. Bikes will be manufactured in Korea and assembled in America where improved brakes, suspension and other components will be installed. Prices are expected to range from $4000 to $7500, with availability as soon as later this year.

ATK's initial distribution plan revolves almost exclusively around marketing to Harley dealers. "We want to be to Harley-Davidson what Scion is to Toyota," ATK CEO Frank White explains-though The Motor Company in no way endorses his plans. White says there is strong demand from Harley dealers for inexpensive, small-displacement "feeder product" to attract customers and improve profitability. This isn't idle speculation: The principal shareholder in ATK (alongside White) is Malcolm Zanca, owner of multiple H-D dealerships and former Dealer Advisory Chairman.

The deal could grant ATK lucrative dealership access, as well as offer S&T; the benefit of marketing its products under an American name-though, admittedly, a name even less familiar than Hyosung. It could even benefit Harley-Davidson by bringing more and different customers into its dealerships-an important concern now that Buell is gone.

Though the deal only involves cruisers at this time, White suggests that it could expand to include Hyosung sportbikes, existing ATK off-road products (now based on the Cannondale platform purchased in 2003) or even all-new, jointly developed machines.

Whatever Happened To...ATK?