Harley-Davidson on Tuesday began what appears to be the very slow process of fully presenting its LiveWire electric motorcycle, with the bike getting its official European debut via EICMA and a smattering of details about the bike being released.
THE RIDE TO EICMA USED UP A LOT OF GAS MONEY
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I’ll save you a little time and let you know that most of the details I wanted to know were not provided – those being the numbers on horsepower, torque, range, and price. It’s probably a safe bet, however, that in that order the numbers will be low, high, low, and high. Probably really high for that last one. I mean, if the MoCo can charge £19,855 for its FXDR with a straight face, just imagine the mortgage-level price tag on this thing.
That’s not necessarily to say it won’t be deserved. The bike looks absolutely fantastic in person and I am very, very eager to ride it. I’m a fan of electric bikes – having previously enjoyed the Zero DSR and Zero SR – and would be more than happy to own one, as the typical bike’s range far exceeds my daily commute. But I get the sense that Harley sees this as something far different than a daily hack.
Expect the word “premium” – and a whole lot of words like it – to be used when the LiveWire starts hitting dealerships in 2019. But hope for a lower-priced version springs eternal. Harley says the LiveWire is just one of a “portfolio” of electric bikes it’s planning to deliver by 2022.
“Propelled by the immediate torque of an all-electric motor, the LiveWire motorcycle is capable of astounding acceleration with just a twist of the throttle – no clutching or gear shifting required,” claims a Harley-Davidson media release. “A low center of gravity, rigid aluminum frame and premium adjustable suspension components give the LiveWire dynamic handling. Performance and range are optimized for the urban street rider.”
Whereas the company that made Milwaukee famous won’t give us numbers, it did at least share some info about the chassis, which combines the powertrain as a stressed member within the aluminum frame to increase rigidity. The LiveWire features fully adjustable Showa suspension. Brembo brakes grip dual front discs and a single rear disc. Harley says the front tire is 120mm wide, whereas the rear is 180mm wide, though it doesn’t give rim size, so it’s hard to know whether it will take better shoes than the Michelin Scorchers it will be wearing out of the factory.
The level of technowhizzbangery is impressive. The LiveWire features cornering ABS and traction control as standard. There are seven rider modes, information on which will be delivered to the rider via a TFT display. The display unit is tilt-adjustable “to afford most riders a perfect viewing angle,” according to a Harley-Davidson press release.
The release also says that the TFT screen also “allows the rider to access the interface for Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, music and more.” I’m not sure if that means the bike will have built-in GPS or if it will simply allow you to connect to Google Maps in the guise of a branded app, as with the Triumph Scrambler 1200‘s set-up.
One major selling point for me is that the LiveWire can apparently be charged not just at home via a standard plug. It will also be chargeable at most of the charging stations that are popping up everywhere. That means you could actually ride from Exeter to Glasgow (450 miles), since there are charging stations at all motorway services. It might take a little while, but you could do it; I hereby volunteer to be the first.
Harley has not indicated when in 2019 it will be rolling out the LiveWire, but here’s hoping it’s sooner rather than later. I am all-in for this thing.