As we lead in the electrification of motorcycles, we have delivered our first LiveWire motorcycles to authorized LiveWire dealers. We recently discovered a non-standard condition during a final quality check; stopped production and deliveries; and began additional testing and analysis, which is progressing well. We are in close contact with our LiveWire dealers and customers and have assured them they can continue to ride LiveWire motorcycles. As usual, we’re keeping high quality as our top priority.
We also asked how many Aussie orders they had and how many dealers were installing the DC fast charger:
We are not in a position to share any specific details and we are currently working closely with our dealer network as we get ready to welcome what will be a very exciting product for Australian and New Zealand customers.
Phone and other electrical devices can have issues with chargers overheating and causing a fire.
What makes it “Special” is the big 114-cube Milwaukee Eight engine with a whopping 163Nm of torque.
Despite all that thump, there is no clunk on start-up. In fact, it is a refined mill married to a finessed transmission where neutral is no longer difficult to find.
What also makes it Special is the step up in rider-aid technology.
Their RDRS features cornering-enhanced traction control, cornering ABS, linked brakes, tyre pressure monitors,a slipper clutch (Drag-torque Slip Control System) to prevent rear-wheel lock-ups on aggressive downshifts and even assistance to prevent you rolling backward on hill starts!
The suite of rider controls combine to provide more confidence, especially in wet or slippery road conditions.
But they don’t get in the way of your enjoyment.
In fact, you don’t really know they are there until you need them.
On a couple of my exploratory rides through the Sunshine Coast hinterland, I ended up on dirt roads and was glad to feel the engine falter as the back wheel lost traction.
It’s a soft intervention that allows a little bit of wheel spin, but not out of control.
If the conditions get extra slippery or the roads are wet, simply toggle the left switch block traction control (TC) button to bring up the blue cloud and rain symbol on the dashboard. This totally eliminates any wheel spin.
Step up to cornering aids
I also accidentally discovered the joys of Harley’s step up to cornering-enhanced linked braking and traction controls on the tight and twisty Bellthorpe Range Rd.
I came around a blind corner a little too eagerly only to find a peacock strutting its stuff across the gravelly road.
My right foot was not perched ready over the rear brake to tuck the bike into a tighter line, so I grabbed the front brake, instead.
Normally this would stand the bike up and point me directly at the peacock. But because the brakes are linked and “enhanced” for cornering, it allowed me to steer around the strutting bird.
The sprinkling of gravel also activated the Cornering Enhanced Antilock Braking System (C-ABS).
While no amount of electronic rider aids is a replacement for a step up in skill levels, it does save your bacon when a bit of inattention and bad luck could otherwise have dire results.
As for the Vehicle Hold Control (VHC), it’s actually quite handy at the traffic lights.
All you do is add a bit of extra brake lever pressure when you come to a stop and it will hold the bike and allow you to relax at the lights without having to hang on to the brakes.
It lets go as soon as you let out the clutch or activate the throttle for a smooth and faultless hillstart. That’s reassuring when you are on a steep incline with a full load and a pillion!
I’m not a big fan of built-in infotainment systems where the music is inaudible at anything over 80km/h.
However, the integrated BOOM! Box GTS infotainment system on this bike works well.
I love the fact that the bike asks you if you would like to guided to the nearest service station if you are low on fuel or tyre pressure.
It has a TFT display with edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass that is touch sensitive, even with gloves and in the wet.
You can also control all functions from the two handlebar toggle switches.
For an extra $300 (approx) you can fit a wireless interface module that adds Apple CarPlay for access to some of your iPhone apps.
Or you can press the speech button to activate Siri and tell the system what to do.
Next year, Aussie buyers will also have access to Harley’s subscription-based OneConnect app that alerts the owner to tampering or theft and provides real-time tracking.
Suspension was updated the previous year.
It comes with Showa Dual-Bending Valve forks with bigger pistons for improved damping that takes away that “jackhammer” affect through the grips while retaining a sharp and light steering feel.
At the back, Harley moved from air shocks to emulsion shocks with 15-30% more preload adjustment using a single hand-adjustable knob behind the left pannier.
Ride quality is firm, but not harsh.
However, the rear shock is a bit short for bumpy roads and heavy loads, although I never got it to bottom out.
The first hint of summer arrived just in time for my test.
It’s always going to be hot sitting on top of massive V-twin behind a “barn door” fairing.
However, Harley has advanced the ignition, dropped the rear header down from the exhaust port and moved the catalytic converter rearwards to make it cooler for the rider.
It still gets hot in slow traffic and your pillion’s right leg cops a lot of the hot air that has been moved backwards.
Unfortunately, even the short sporty windscreen blocks a lot of cooling air.
Yet it also creates a bit of turbulence around the top of my helmet.
I’m 183cm, so shorter riders might find it ok. You can also buy taller screens.
I added a windscreen extension which reduced the turbulence but also diverted cooling air.
This torque monster delivers plenty of raw grunt, but with finesse.
It will also provide a step up in comfort and safety on long trips, thanks to its suite of hi-tech rider aids.
VIVID BLACK $A39,250 ($NZ42,250)
FUEL SYSTEMElectronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
EXHAUSTBlack, 2-1-2 dual exhaust with tapered mufflers
SEAT HEIGHT, UNLADEN690 mm
GROUND CLEARANCE125 mm
RAKE (STEERING HEAD) (DEG)26
TYRES, FRONT SPECIFICATION130/60B19 61H
TYRES, REAR SPECIFICATION180/55B18 80H
FUEL CAPACITY22.7 l
OIL CAPACITY (W/FILTER)4.9 l
WEIGHT, AS SHIPPED359 kg
WEIGHT, IN RUNNING ORDER375 kg
LUGGAGE CAPACITY -VOLUME0.071 m3
ENGINE TORQUE TESTING METHODEC 134/2014
ENGINE TORQUE3163 Nm
ENGINE TORQUE (RPM)3,000
LEAN ANGLE, RIGHT (DEG.)32
LEAN ANGLE, LEFT (DEG.)31
PRIMARY DRIVEChain, 34/46 ratio
GEAR RATIOS (OVERALL) 1ST9.593
GEAR RATIOS (OVERALL) 2ND6.65
GEAR RATIOS (OVERALL) 3RD4.938
GEAR RATIOS (OVERALL) 4TH4
GEAR RATIOS (OVERALL) 5TH3.407
GEAR RATIOS (OVERALL) 6TH2.875
WHEELS, FRONT TYPE6Gloss Black Prodigy
WHEELS, REAR TYPEGloss Black Prodigy
BRAKES, CALIPER TYPE32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear
That was a twin-shock Dyna. Now it’s part of the updated Softail family with a stiffer and lighter frame and improved handling.
Price is now $A27,995 ($NZ29,995), up from $25,995 in 2016 when it had a 110 engine and $3500 more than the standard Low Rider.
Apart from the extra cubes — and there is no replacement for displacement, right? — riders get a cruiser that looks the business. That is, if Sons of Anarchy business is your business! That little headlight fairing, aggressive mid-control riding position, blacked-out finishes and solo seat is very SAMCRO.
Harley calls it the “SoCal West Coast” look, but we all know they are going for that popular SAMCRO style.
It’s knuckles to the wind for Jax with the 2.5cm (one-inch) diameter motocross-style handlebars mounted on 10cm (four-inch) straight risers.
The Low Rider S powertrain, primary cover and tank console are finished in Wrinkle Black, the derby cover, intake, and lower rocker covers are Gloss Black, the mufflers and exhaust shields are Jet Black and the forks, triple-clamp, riser and handlebar, and rear fender supports are Matte Black. Even the LED layback tail lamps have a smoked lenses.
It sits on very tasty bronze cast-aluminium wheels and comes in Vivid Black and Barracuda Silver.
Harley flew me to Sydney for the media launch which was truncated by wet weather to a half-day ride from Manly about 30km to Akuna Bay in Ku-ring-Gai National Park with about 40km of riding along West Head Rd for photos.
It was just enough to get an introductory feel for the Low Rider S. A longer review will come in the next month.
The business end
The business end of this bike is the 114 M8 engine.
While the counterbalanced 107 M8 is a refined and sophisticated engine that feels like two hippos bouncing on a trampoline, this has more thump, more grunt and a little more “character” — like two elephants on a trampoline!
It pulls from low down in the rev range and surprisingly revs out without losing a lot of puff.
Yet for all that mechanical thump, it feels smooth, doesn’t jolt when switched on and clicks into first gear without a lot of clunk.
Clutch pull is fairly heavy, so you will be glad at every set of lights that neutral is quite easy to find.
Click through the gears and it rides around town in fourth. It will even go into sixth as low as 80km/h with enough roll-on acceleration for overtaking without changing down.
At the end of the day, I suspect you’ll return decent figures of around 5-5.5L/100km.
To harness the extra oomph of the 114 M8, Harley has swapped out the traditional telescopic forks for inverted 43mm Showa forks with a steeper 28-degree rake compared with 30 on the standard and 32 on the older Dyna.
This set-up sharpens the steering so you feel more connected to the road with lighter and more precise turn-in.
Yet on the joyously swooping corners of West Head Rd, it still feels balanced and stable thanks to the 19-inch front wheel and long 1615mm wheelbase.
You also have the ability to safely correct your line mid-corner and dodge those water run-off lurking around blind corners.
Together with the underseat single coil-over monoshock hydraulically adjustable for preload, it should have reasonable ride even though it’s a short 11cm spring.
I couldn’t tell because the roads were all fairly smooth.
As we rode back and forth along West Head Rd, my confidence grew and the bike complied with extra throttle in an exciting, but reassuring way.
The Michelin Scorcher tyres have plenty of grip, even across the wet and dry patchy surface.
As the speed climbed, so did the turbulence from the sporty fairing. Either no fairing or the optional larger fairing might be better.
As it is, there is a blank behind the fairing that is bland and ugly. Perhaps Harley should decorate it with another bar-and-shield logo!
The analogue speedo and tacho dials sit on top of the tank and are angled toward the rider for a reasonably clear view.
However, the accompanying LCD screen is a little small and difficult to read in bright sunshine.
All the info is available via the usual toggle on the left switchblock.
The target market market for this bike is obviously not ageing Baby Boomers like me.
I found the riding position more like a yoga position with my knees sitting high and akimbo which put pressure on my dodgy hip nerve.
Even though I’m 183cm (6’) tall, it is still a bit of a reach to the bars.
The overall effect is like sitting on a potty while holding on to the towel rail.
Not very comfortable for the duration of the expected 380km from the 18.9-litre fuel tank.
That’s a strange tank size for this “coastal cruiser”.
While I often criticise modern bikes for having small tanks, this is one that could have got away with less fuel capacity.
At least the solo low 690mm saddle is very comfortable with an extra hump of lower back support.
All the same, I would probably go for the optional forward controls to ease the hip pressure and make it easier to flick the side stand up.
They might also improve the already generous (for a cruiser) 33.1-degree lean angle.
However, I’m not the target market for this bike.
Harley is targeting a younger, hipper (no pun intended), more nimble and supple rider who is genuinely excited by the SAMCRO looks and the 155Nm of elephantine grunt.
But not too young as they might not be able to afford it!
Harley-Davidson Low Rider S
Ride-away price: $A27,995 ($NZ29,995)
Engine: MilwaukeeEight 114 (1868cc) V-twin
Bore x stroke: 102x114mm Compression: 10.5:1 Length: 2355mm
Gold Coast Harley-Davidson has won top honours in the 2019 Australian and New Zealand Custom King category after winning the Harley-Davidson custom motorcycle build-off competition, Battle of the Kings as one of five finalists.
From the 26 participating dealerships across Australia and New Zealand, the five finalists were selected by the general public. Each finalist was judged and scored against three categories – character, styling and x-factor – by the carefully selected Battle of the Kings Judging panel made up of experienced industry professionals and ambassadors.
Using a Softail Slim as the base model, Gold Coast Harley-Davidson entered their custom motorcycle into the CHOP category – one of three new design categories implemented for the 2019 build off – to create a masterpiece that pays respect to the old Panheads and Knuckleheads of past years.
The springer front end stands out as a main feature of the build, with custom bars, an original style muffler from a 1930’s Harley-Davidson and a custom made 2-1 exhaust setup with old school ribbing and a chain and sprocket.
The Milwaukee-Eight engine has the most identifiable heads since the Shovelhead and were a key feature in the build alongside an original style Solo Saddle seat slimmed down and a paint scheme that pays respects to Harley race bikes of the 1940’s, completing the vintage look.
The custom build named “Hollister Riot” is a reference to the Hollister Riot of 1947 at the AMA Sanctioned Gypsy Tour Motorcycle Rally in the town of Hollister California, where Harley-Davidson enthusiasts gathered to party hard while the number 16 is a reference to Jimmy Chan, who made history with his three consecutive wins of the Springfield Mile and was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.
Steve Schilling – Dealer Principal from Gold Coast H-D
“It is absolutely fantastic to win, as the competition was very strong, so to take out the ANZ Battle of the Kings Crown is a credit to the team involved from Gold Coast Harley-Davidson as well as those who assisted with the build, photos and video. It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to represent ANZ and with the fierce international competition, we know it will be tough to win. I have seen the U.S.A. finalists here in Milwaukee at the 2019 Harley-Davidson Dealer Show and to have ‘Hollister Riot’ in the same category is a credit to our team.”
Nathan Hindmarsh – Battle of the Kings Judge
“Once again these builds have amazed me. The creativity and attention to detail has blown me away. Congratulations to everyone involved in this year’s competition.”
Gold Coast Harley-Davidson will now go on to represent ANZ against other International Winners. Four winners will be selected via online voting from International markets, meeting the U.S.A winner at the EICMA in Milan, Italy to battle it out for Global Custom King title on center stage.
The Winner of the 2019 Global Battle of the Kings Competition will be announced this November.
Keith Waddell – ANZ Marketing Manager
“Another fantastic year for the competition, with even more amazing custom motorcycles which generated record amounts of public engagement and excitement. The three style categories, Dirt, Race and Chop showcased the versatility and creativity of our dealers when it comes to creating world class custom builds. However, there can only be one winner and we couldn’t be happier to have Hollister Riot from Gold Coast Harley-Davidson represent Australian and New Zealand with their modern twist on the ageless heritage of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.”
Public voting to nominate your favourite international finalist opens on 2nd September. For more information on the Battle of the Kings competition visit www.h-d.com/BattleOfTheKings (link) and for all the information on the models used and genuine Harley-Davidson parts and accessories visit www.h-d.com.au (link).
At $57,495 the CVO Limited commands quite a premium over the $41,495 sticker price of the Ultra Limited from the regular Harley Touring range that the model is based on. So what do you get for your extra 16-grand..?
The headline act is the 117-cube iteration of the Milwaukee-Eight engine that is reserved only for CVO machines. With 166 Nm of torque at 3500 rpm the 117, in Australian guise, boasts only modest gains over the 114 engine fitted to the regular Touring models, which Harley rate for 164 Nm at 3000 rpm. The CVO Limited claims 106 horsepower at 5450 rpm.
Both the CVO Limited and the Ultra Limited score Harley’s new suite of electronic rider safety aids for 2020. Lean-angle responsive ABS and traction control married to an electronic engine braking control system and hill hold control functions. Tyre pressure monitoring also comes standard on both models.
They both also get the BOOM GTS full-colour TFT infotaintment system while the CVO Limited also comes standard with a bluetooth headset.
Of course the CVO machine scores special paint and surface finishes along with ‘Tomahawk’ rims.
Harley’s Tri-Glide took a long time to arrive in Australia for various reasons, but for model year 2020 H-D have given the Tri-Glide the full Custom Vehicle Operations treatment with the release of a new CVO Tri-Glide for those that love the Tri-Glide concept.
Harley stated that they have had more requests for a CVO variant of the Tri-Glide than any other model in the two-decades since Harley’s Custom Vehicles Operations department first came into being.
Starting from $73,250 in Australia it is one expensive take on tripedalism but it might fit the bill nicely for riders that seek an open-air motorcycling type of thrill, but are no longer able to enjoy riding a conventional motorcycle.
Tipping the scales at 563 kg (dry), the CVO Tri-Glide is motivated by the special CVO version of the Milwaukee-Eight dubbed the 117. Shifting is carried out by conventional six-speed Cruise Drive gearbox.
The front hoop is a relatively narrow 130/60-19 while the 18″ rears are shod with car-like 215/45-18 rubber. The premium touring suspension package controls the ride with rear pre-load adjustable via a hand-wheel.
The CVO variant of the Tri-Glide scores ‘Tomahawk’ contrast cut alloy rims along with what Harley dub the ‘Kahuna Collection’ acccessories that include special pegs, rider/passenger floorboards, muffler tips and heated grips/seats.
All lighting is LED with a ‘Daymaker’ headlamp, fog lamps, trail/brake lights and turn signals. The dome lit Tour-Pak carrier rack is standard on the CVO Tri-Glide which also scores CVO custom-fit luggage along with a trunk organiser.
The CVO Tri-Glide also sports a lower profile windshield while the front fender is cut more aggressively to better showcase the 19″ ‘Tomahawk’ rim.
A CB radio accompanies the premium Boom Box GTS infotainment system complete with bluetooth headset. The Tri-Glide does not get the 600-watt system seen on the CVO Street Glide (Link) but gets the 300-watt set-up that is also fitted to the CVO Limited model.
Harley’s new for 2020 lean-angle reactive traction control and ABS systems are also now standard on all Tri-Glide models along with Hill Hold Control and an electronic engine braking control system Harley have dubbed their ‘Cornering Enhanced Drag-Torque Slip Control System’. Tyre pressure monitoring completes the safety suite of electronics systems.
The original H-D Low Rider was launched more than forty years ago and is seen by many as the first Harley model to come from the factory with already somewhat of a custom bent.
The Low Rider has had many, many incarnations since that first model and in 2016 the Low Rider was joined by a more sporting option dubbed the Low Rider S. Combining Harley’s best engine of the range housed in the most agile chassis available in their Big Twin line-up, it quickly became a firm favourite for many.
For model year 2020 the H-D Lowrider S rides on a Softail chassis suspended by 43mm inverted forks that are raked two-degrees sportier than the regular Low Rider (28-degrees v 30-degrees). The Low Rider S also sports a tweaked version of the single coil-over emulsion shock rear end that promises better travel and damping.
Matte Black motocross style bars are mounted atop four-inch straight risers for a more aggressive rider stance in the high back solo seat.
The Softail fuel tank holds 18.9 litres of go juice and can be had in two different solid colour options, Vivid Black or Barracuda Silver.
Powering the Low Rider is the 114 (1868 cc) version of the Milwaukee-Eight engine with 119 ft. lb. (155 Nm) of torque at 3000 rpm. The powertrain, primary cover and console are all finished in Wrinkle Black while the derby cover, intake and lower rocker covers are Gloss Black.
In Low Rider S guise the powerplant is fed by a Gloss Black Ventilator intake with an exposed element while spent gases exit via Jet Black 2-into-2 offset shotgun cans.
Tipping the scales at 295 kg the Low Rider S is certainly one of the lighter Big Twins.
Low Rider S rolls on 110/90-19 front Michelin Scorcher 31 rubber up front partnered with a 180/70-16 at the rear mounted on cast-alloy Radiate rims finished in Matte Dark Bronze.
The 2020 Low Rider S will retail in Australia from $27,995 and $29,995 in NZ.
Harley’s Street Glide has been a popular mainstay of the American icon’s Touring range since 2006. With hard bags as standard and plenty of creature comforts for the rider it has been a popular for those that like to tour solo.
The Street Glide has also often been the base of a higher end CVO offering and again for model year 2020 Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations have gone the whole hog on the FLHX to produce the FLHXSE.
All CVO models for 2020 receive new lean-angle sensitive traction control and ABS systems along with electronic engine braking controls and hill hold control. Tyre pressure monitoring is also integrated into the motorcycles.
A bluetooth headset designed to interface with the ‘Premium Boom’ infotainment system. A public mode allows the rider to automatically connect to other nearby riders using the same system. The headset also enables the Apple Car Play system to be controlled by voice prompts while riding.
The speaker system on the CVO Street Glide is of an even higher specification than the full dresser CVO Limited model. The FLHXSE sports a quartet of bi-amplified three-way speakers, each rated to 150 watts and each pair of speakers is powered by their own four-channel 300 watt amplifier which brings the total power of the system up to 600 watts of power.
Both the CVO Street Glide and the CVO Limited also score a new adaptive headlight system that Harley have dubbed ‘Daymaker’. It is similar to the system used on some KTM Adventure models whereby extra LED cornering lights are illuminated the further you lean the motorcycle.
All 2020 CVO models score the Milwaukee-Eight 117 powerplant displacing 1923 cc, the largest factory installed engine available from H-D that boasts 125 ft. lbs. (166 Nm) of torque.
The CVO Street Glide carries 22.7-litres of fuel, tips the scales at 377 kg dry, and rolls on a 130/60-19 front hoop and a 180/55-18 rear.
The 2020 CVO Street Glide will retail from $54,995 in Australia and $56,495 in New Zealand. The FLHXSE will be available in the three different colour schemes shown detailed in this article.