EUROPE’S LARGEST FREE MOTORCYCLE FESTIVAL CELEBRATES 120 YEARS OF HARLEY-DAVIDSON
100,000 moto-enthusiasts joined together to celebrate 25 years of Harley-Davidson European Bike Week
FAAK AM SEE, AUSTRIA, 11th September 2023 – Harley-Davidson® returned to the beautiful lakeside festival setting of Faaker See in Carinthia, Austria, from September 5-10, 2023, in what was a truly iconic year for European Bike Week. Approximately 100,000 people and more than 70,000 motorcycles joined the festival in the Austrian village of Faak am See to celebrate Harley-Davidson in a stunning alpine setting at an event that was free of charge and open to all riders.
European Bike Week in 2023 was an extra-special celebration marking three milestone anniversaries for the American motorcycle brand. It signalled a major highlight of the year-long 120th anniversary celebrations of Harley-Davidson. 2023 also marks the 40th anniversary of Harley Owners Group® and the 25th Anniversary of the first Harley-Davidson European Bike Week event at Faaker See, in 1999. This significant milestone called for a combined celebration, which included giving festival-goers the opportunity to conquer the most beautiful roads in Carinthia and neighbouring Slovenia on free tours guided by the H.O.G. Kärnten Chapter.
Whilst anniversary years help us to reflect, the future of this iconic event was sealed during this European Bike Week and the brand’s special relationship with the Carinthia region. Harley-Davidson is delighted to announce it is formally extending its direct partnership with the region to continue delivering European Bike Week annually through 2030. This commitment ensures customers and fans of motorcycles can continue to experience the largest European motorcycle gathering in beautiful Southern Austria every year in September.
As a mark of Harley-Davidson’s continued commitment to the town, and to build on the already strong presence in the area, a new Harley Boulevard was opened in honour of the extended relationship. This new spot adds to the existing Harley-Davidson landmarks including the iconic lakeside ‘Harleywood’ sign and the legendary biker sculpture on the main road from Villach.
Festival-goers had the opportunity to explore the heart of the celebrations in the Harley Village – a site of around 40,000m2 – filled with authorised Harley-Davidson dealers from across Europe, as well as a variety of other traders offering accessories and apparel. Those looking for entertainment did not have to look far as the party atmosphere was felt across the site, including the newly designed Saloon Bar and Harley Bar, as well as two stages rocking with 25 international artists.
The Harley-Davidson EXPO featured the latest motorcycles from the iconic brand, including the newly launched CVO Street Glide and CVO Road Glide, the most technologically advanced Harley-Davidson Grand American Touring motorcycles ever made, which pulled in a large and excited crowd. The H-D Demo Zone was fully booked throughout the festival, with over 1,700 riders having the opportunity to test out the latest models. A true highlight for many was the Pan America Adventure Zone, a technical off-road area right at the heart of the site with Dakar legends Joan Pedrero (Spain) and Mick Extance (UK) and off-road expert and instructor Ralf Wiesenfeller (Germany) providing demonstrations, dynamic displays, rider tuition and in depth off-road tutorials.
On Friday, the Custom Bike Show sponsored by Metzeler took place in the Customizer Area. Around 78 custom creations were registered across six categories, with trophies awarded for Best in Category, Best in Show and People’s Choice. Best in Show was unanimously awarded by the panel of judges to Mirko Perugini from Italy, for his beautiful creation incorporating a very early motorcycle-era vee-twin engine. Continuing the tradition of prizes, Saturday night saw lucky participant Boris Zanki from Split in Croatia win the Sportster S on stage in front of a huge crowd at the H-D plaza.
10,000 riders took to the roads around Carinthia from Lake Faak, Villach and Finkenstein during the parade on Saturday, making it one of the largest and most celebrated motorcycle parades in Europe.
Kolja Rebstock, Harley-Davidson VP for Europe, Middle East and Africa says: “European Bike Week is one of our biggest events of the year, and we are pleased to be able to confirm our commitment to running this magical event through to 2030. Delivering lifestyle experiences like European Bike Week to our customers and motorcycle fans is what makes our brand so unique.”
Harley-Davidson celebrations continue next year with the 30th edition of the Annual European H.O.G. Rally, a free event open to all riders which will take place in the historic town of Senigallia, Italy from June 6-9, 2024. The outstanding location is less than two hours from Bologna and features iconic renaissance architecture, a stunning coastline surrounded by rolling hills and winding roads, making it a perfect location to plan a tour to in 2024.
European Bike Week will return to Faak am See from September 3-8, 2024.