Shares of the Milwaukee-based company were rising 9.9% to $31.87 in premarket trading.
Harley-Davidson reported earnings of $120.2 million, or 78 cents a share, compared with $86.6 million, or 55 cents, a year ago.
Adjusted earnings came to $1.05 a share, well ahead of FactSet's call for 28 cents.
Revenue totaled $1.16 billion, down from $1.27 billion, but beat analysts estimates of $844 million.
Global retail motorcycle sales in the third quarter of 2020 were down 8% from a year ago, Harley-Davidson said, reflecting, among other things, the company's shift in timing of the launch of new model year motorcycles from August each year to early first quarter to better align with seasonality.
Harley-Davison plans to concentrate on about 50 markets, primarily in North America, Europe and parts of Asia Pacific, that represent a high percentage of the company's expected volume and growth potential.
Harley-Davidson said it has progressed on its makeover plan, dubbed "The Rewire." The new operating model eliminated duplication and complexity across global operations, resulting in "significant expected ongoing SG&A savings," the company said.
Part of the plan includes refreshing the leadership structure, Harley-Davidson said, with most of the leaders being new to their roles.
"We have driven significant progress across each key element of The Rewire playbook, and we believe the positive changes we have executed are setting our course for a winning future," Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO, who took over the top position in February, said in a statement.