Harley Davidson LiveWire Electric Motorcycle – First Rev
As I was driving in my cage/car to get an oil change, I saw a group of motorcycle riders out of the corner of my eye. Usually, the sound would get my attention first, but this ride seemed different. As they turned the corner I realized all the bikes were alike, a very cool cafe racer meets cruiser style. Then I realized, they were the new Harley-Davidson LiveWire Electric Motorcycles! I ditched my oil change plans and drove back home to get my gear, sadly though, the demos had been booked for weeks. Harley has thirty-two of these bikes touring the country in two semi-trucks, and it was Tampa Bay’s turn at Harley-Davidson of Brandon, Florida. These bikes are not even available for sale to the public, Harley created this tour in order to get feedback from us, the riders, before completing development. What a concept!
Although I didn’t get to ride the LiveWire, they did have a stationary demo bike that we could sit on and rev-up (video below). The first thing you notice is the lack of clutch and shifter, that would take some getting used to. The bike felt good to me though, being only 5′ tall, I felt like I had decent footing. The body position is more like a sportbike, than a cruiser, which might not make Harley fans too happy, but I liked it. So, let’s start it up! The demo-man says “not over 65”. Ooops, well hello there 85, that came really quick. Go easy on the throttle, it wants to go. The sound is a high pitch scream that increases in volume and pitch the with speed. It doesn’t hum like other electrics, but it definitely does not sound like a traditional Harley. As I let off and rev’ed more carefully the second time, the throttle was smooth, but there was a lot of vibration in the bike itself, much more than I would expect with an electric motor.
I chatted with Meri Beth Dudich of Harley-Davidson Brandon, Fl and Kris Schoonover of from Harley Davidson Racing, Milwaukee, WI who shared a few LiveWire facts with me. Total weigh is 460 pounds it runs on a 3phase AC motor with a range of about 60 miles. It charges on 220V for a full charge in about 3 hours. They explained that it has regenerative braking, that helps to keep the bike charged each time you brake. It has all LED lighting and and very slick display console. They tell me that riders have been most surprised by the torque.
I wish I could give you a ride report, but maybe you can share yours. Check HD’s website and if the LiveWire Experience is coming to your town, sign up and please let us know what you think in the comments below.
Harley is not the first to produce an electric motorcycle, there are a few good ones currently on the market like, Brammo and Zero, but Harley is the last one I expected to see delving into the electric bike world, I must say that I am pleasantly surprised.