Unique launch for Harley’s electric LiveWire

As you read this I am flying to Portland, Oregon, for a unique media launch of the Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle.

There are many things that make this launch unique.

Unique bike

For a start, this is the first full-size electric road motorcycle from a traditional motorcycle manufacturer.

The now-axed Victory Motorcycles slapped their brand name on an electric Brammo in 2015, but it wasn’t their product. (When we tested it on a Colorado racetrack, at least we got to see it being recharged.)

Victory Empulse TT electric motorcycle dial poised historic events
MBW rides the Victory Empulse TT electric motorcycle

Honda and BMW have produced electric scooters, while Yamaha and KTM have a couple of small electric trail bikes.

Oliver van Bilsen living with an electric BMW C evolution scooter electric motorbike historic
BMW C evolution electric scooter

Other major motorcycle companies such as Triumph are feverishly working on electric motorcycles.

Unique guest list

The usual motorcycle media will not be present.

Magazines that usually attend Harley product launches have not been invited.


Maybe because Harley has identified electric motorcycles as appealing to a different market.

In fact, it may not appeal to any current (‘scuse the pun) Harley owners and lovers.

Instead of the motorcycle mag crew, there are newspaper, TV journos, “influencers” and, of course, websites like ours.

Unique rideHarley-Davidson poised for historic events history unique

Most global motorcycle model launches feature quite a long ride, sometimes even track time.

It is not unusual for rides to go over more than one day so journos get a good feel for a motorcycle.

In this case, the ride is a mere 60km through downtown Portland and out into a little bit of country.

This is not only unique but surprising, given one of the biggest hurdles to electric motorbikes is the lack of range.

Harley recently released details that claim city range of up to 235km and 152km of highway range. (Click there for the LiveWire specs.)

They also claims their Fast Charge (DCFC) technology will recharge a flat battery to 80% in 40 minutes and full in 60 minutes.

So why not ride 60km, charge them over lunch, then head back?

Maybe it’s because they fear moto journos will “give it the berries” which will flatten the batteries faster than the selectable economy mode.

After all, I know I will be testing their claim it goes from 0-100km/h in a mere three seconds!

At least it’s better than our 2014 ride around the block in LA on the LiveWire prototype.

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MBW riding the LiveWire prototype in LA in 2014

Unique soundtrack

Harley launches are usually accompanied by the “potato-potato” roar of big V-twins.

This time it will be a subtle “whoosh”as the bikes roll along in near silence.

I found a muted turbo-jet sound on the prototype which was achieved by “meshing” the drive gear.

Speaking of gears, there won’t be any. It is a “twist-and-go” throttle like a scooter.

Just another unique feature in a totally unique event!

Harley-Davidson Livewire electric motorcycle specs strikes diverse
Harley-Davidson Livewire

Unique price

The LiveWire goes on sale shortly in the USA at about $US30,000.

It will arrive in Australia late next year probably at more than $A40,000 which is more than some of their Touring models.

Harley-Davidson Australia say they won’t have a definite figure until closer to our launch.

Stay tuned for our ride test later this week.

(Harley-Davidson is paying for our flights, hotels and meals.)

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

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