First ride: Harley-Davidson's new all-electric motorcycle

First ride: Harley-Davidson's new all-electric motorcycle


Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire electrical motorcycle is right here and it’s spectacular. (Harley-Davidson/)

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Like many, I used to be shocked again in 2014 when Harley-Davidson, maybe probably the most tradition-steeped motorcycle producer on the planet, unveiled a prototype electrical motorcycle with intent to carry a whisper-quiet hog to market. It was a daring step for a model with legions of devoted disciples baptized in fuel, oil, and ink. However the 2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire electrical motorcycle is right here, on schedule for an early fall 2019 supply to 150 collaborating North American Harley-Davidson dealerships. I just lately rode on the platform’s worldwide press trip staged in Portland, Oregon, which marked the fruits of a near-decade-long growth program.

Why electrical, why now? “The limitations to entry are a lot decrease than conventional product,” Harley-Davidson President and Chief Government Officer Matt Levatich stated on the occasion. “We are able to get individuals on an EV motorcycle and get them up the training curve of full enjoyment a lot faster. Then participation follows and funding in studying trip conventional bikes follows, when you catch the fever.”

Harley-Davidson sees its investing heavily in electric vehicles both as a new revenue stream as well as an entry into traditional motorcycles. The LiveWire is The Motor Company’s first electric model, setting the stage for what is to come.

Harley-Davidson sees its investing closely in electrical automobiles each as a new income stream in addition to an entry into conventional bikes. The LiveWire is The Motor Firm’s first electrical mannequin, setting the stage for what’s to return. (Harley-Davidson/)

Levatich then added, “We see EV as an important catalyst. It’s a part of our new product funding, however not all of our new product funding. We’re persevering with to spend money on nice conventional Harley-Davidson bikes. We purpose to steer within the electrification of this sport. That is a part of the way forward for Harley-Davidson and we’re investing to steer in it.”

The LiveWire is supposed to be a “halo” electrical motorcycle product to showcase the potential of the expertise, and at $29,799 it’s priced as such. LiveWire shouldn’t be possible nor even anticipated to promote in nice numbers, nevertheless it declares the corporate’s dedication to new avenues of product development and growing ridership, whereas setting the stage for extra reasonably priced and assorted Harley-Davidson electrical fashions presently within the works.

The 2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire will be hitting dealers fall 2019 with a price tag of $29,799.

The 2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire can be hitting sellers fall 2019 with a price ticket of $29,799. (Harley-Davidson/)

However these are for the longer term. Proper now it’s time for my first trip on the manufacturing 2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire motorcycle. Approaching the bike for the primary time, I dig the bike’s modern no-nonsense styling and sport-standard stance. And to my eye the LiveWire efficiently conveys a real Harley visible really feel, with a contact of XR and Buell Lightning affect. Match, end, and supplies are of premium high quality, as are the sourced chassis parts such because the absolutely adjustable Showa Separate Operate Large Piston fork and Steadiness Free Rear Cushion-lite shock. A six-axis Bosch IMU delivers state-of-the-art TC and ABS cornering bank-angle logic, whereas the pair of radial-mount Brembo Monoblock entrance calipers and braided-steel brake strains will cease you in your tracks.

On the core of the bike reside lithium-ion battery cells encased in a cast-aluminum housing that includes stylistic/useful warmth sink battery cooling fins. Harley calls this an RESS, or Rechargeable Vitality Storage System, that energizes the H-D Revelation permanent-magnet electrical motor beneath. The RESS battery carries a 5-year guarantee with a 10-year projected service life and is claimed to be a modular design permitting for future upgrades as storage expertise advances. Claimed output of the Revelation powertrain is 105 hp and 86 pound-feet of torque, with vary rated at a formidable 146 miles within the metropolis and 70 miles at 70 mph throughout sustained freeway use.

This is the first step of Harley-Davidson’s electric vehicle future: the RESS lithium-ion battery and Revelation permanent-magnet electric motor.

This is step one of Harley-Davidson’s electrical automobile future: the RESS lithium-ion battery and Revelation permanent-magnet electrical motor. (Harley-Davidson/)

I gained a way of the bike’s 549-pound curb weight because it took some effort to raise off the sidestand, however its 30.7-inch seat top and my 5-foot-10-inch body permit strong footing at stops for a straightforward stability (there’s additionally a 1-inch-lower “slammed” accent saddle obtainable).

A proximity fob permits power-up by merely urgent a rocker change positioned on the suitable grip. Boot-up is fast, with the default show showing on the Four.Three-inch TFT touchscreen sprint following an H-D emblem splash display. A lot of the supplied information is acquainted: odometer, twin tripmeters, digital clock, and a “Elevate Facet Stand” warning you may’t probably miss. Though there’s no tachometer because it’s not of a lot use on a single-speed automobile, there’s an non-compulsory speedometer show with an analog-dial look.

A pair of vertical mild bars bracket the instrument cluster, and when lit, yellow signifies standby mode and twisting the throttle has no impact on this state. Arming the drivetrain requires thumbing an adjoining toggle, and as soon as the lights change to inexperienced, it’s go time.

With Street trip mode chosen (Sport, Rain, and Vary are different choices), a slight twist of throttle units the bike into movement. The connection between the throttle and rear tire may be very refined, delivering a communicative sense of management I instantly felt navigating between parked bikes at strolling tempo. The mixture of intuitive throttle response, no clutch or gearbox to handle, and beneficiant steering lock makes parking-lot maneuvering remarkably simple.

Only the whine of the spiral bevel gear primary drive, the sound of the tires on the pavement, and the roar of the wind above 50 mph follow a hard twist of the wrist on the LiveWire.

Solely the whine of the spiral bevel gear main drive, the sound of the tires on the pavement, and the roar of the wind above 50 mph comply with a tough twist of the wrist on the LiveWire. (Harley-Davidson/)

A bit extra throttle enter effortlessly whizzes the bike easily into the city site visitors movement. With no engine vibration or exhaust noise, the LiveWire wakes one’s senses otherwise from any Harley I’ve ridden. The smooth refrain of tire noise and a signature whine emanating from its spiral bevel gear main drive fill my ears till 50 mph when the wind easily speeding previous my full-face-helmet then dominates the soundtrack.

Quietly squirting from one site visitors sign to the following, our pack of bikers nonetheless drew consideration from curious curbside pedestrians. Hear up Portlandia, the Stealth Riders MC is on the discharge! Effectively into our trip on this gentle midsummer day I famous an absence of warmth radiating from the powertrain—a driving revelation in itself. All was not bliss, nonetheless, as sharp-edged bumps riddling Portland streets delivered a dental-jarring trip even with the suspension dialed to a softer setting than customary.

The LiveWire’s Showa suspension is taut, and although it is fully adjustable the ride is still stiff in softer settings.

The LiveWire’s Showa suspension is taut, and though it’s absolutely adjustable the trip remains to be stiff in softer settings. (Harley-Davidson/)

As soon as freed from in-town site visitors, the tempo picked up and the trip smoothed out. I gave the cruise management a go, discovering its operate seamless as a rheostat. It additionally supplies a handy sprint notification of your set goal pace when disabled, which is completed by making use of brake or rolling the throttle ahead past the closed place.

Accelerating from 0-60 mph takes just three seconds on the LiveWire.

Accelerating from Zero-60 mph takes simply three seconds on the LiveWire. (Harley-Davidson/)

Roll-on acceleration at freeway pace is spectacular and the LiveWire pulls regular and powerful by 100 mph. However even that pales to the fun of blasting away from a standing begin with the throttle pinned. Utilizing a Vbox datalogger I verified Harley’s declare of Zero-60 mph in three seconds to be an trustworthy efficiency metric. Whereas I’ve examined gas-powered efficiency bikes which can be faster out of the outlet, none are as simply repeatable—and with out clutch-abuse issues.

The taut trip felt communicative and planted when whistling alongside winding roads outdoors the town limits. Steering was responsive and impartial, requiring mild bar enter to provoke turn-in and holding my chosen line with slot-car precision.

Encountering damp patches on a stretch by the forest proved simply the atmosphere to place the LiveWire rider aids to check. Harley-Davidson’s Reflex Defensive Rider Programs is the mix of TC, cornering ABS, Rear-wheel Carry Mitigation, and Drag-Torque Slip Management, the latter of which prevents rear wheel lock throughout regenerative braking. Even with a customized trip mode set to most energy, throttle response, and regeneration, I used to be arduous pressed to get the bike out of form on nook entry or exit driving at a reasonably fast avenue tempo. I met a supply truck crowding my lane whereas coming into a moist downhill nook, and my belief within the cornering ABS allowed the LiveWire to sluggish up with room to spare.

Bosch’s six-axis IMU informs the LiveWire's lean-sensitive ABS system that controls the four-piston Brembo Monoblocks squeezing 300mm discs.

Bosch’s six-axis IMU informs the LiveWire’s lean-sensitive ABS system that controls the four-piston Brembo Monoblocks squeezing 300mm discs. (Harley-Davidson/)

Touchscreen performance (solely obtainable whereas at a standstill) permits simple navigation of submenus providing customization of varied sprint components and trip mode parameters, whereas thumb-operated twin mini joysticks positioned on the bar have to be used when the bike is beneath means.

When in motion, the rider uses controls on the left side of the handlebar to control the LiveWire’s touchscreen.

When in movement, the rider makes use of controls on the left aspect of the handlebar to manage the LiveWire’s touchscreen. (Harley-Davidson/)

A bar-mounted mode change permits on-the-fly choice of the factory-set trip modes, every providing hard-coded ranges for peak energy, throttle response, regeneration (engine-braking that places cost again into the RESS throughout deceleration), and TC sensitivity. A trio of customizable presets permits for user-defined ranges for these exact same parameters.

A bar graph spans the underside of the instrument show, offering a visible indication of battery cost stage with share remaining listed to the left and miles of estimated vary to the suitable. The vary determine is a dynamic calculation based mostly on current energy demand, a characteristic I discovered myself monitoring often whereas driving. Panel tilt angle is adjustable and the auto-brightness stage makes all of it simply readable in direct daylight. Though I wasn’t in a position to toy with it, Bluetooth pairing a smartphone operating the Harley-Davidson App integrates turn-by-turn navigation, music, and name data to the sprint show.

The LiveWire’s dash angle can be changed and the brightness level is automatic for easy reading in direct sunlight.

The LiveWire’s sprint angle might be modified and the brightness stage is computerized for simple studying in direct daylight. (Harley-Davidson/)

On the completion of the 65-mile check loop my bike’s sprint confirmed 23-percent cost and 19 miles of vary remaining. Contemplating that power conservation wasn’t a priority in the course of the trip, Harley’s declare of 95-mile mixed metropolis/freeway vary appears very believable. Vary and cost time stay crucial elements in EV possession.

The LiveWire comes with a 110-volt charging cable but also supports DC Fast Charge for a 1-hour charge time.

The LiveWire comes with a 110-volt charging cable but additionally helps DC Quick Cost for a 1-hour cost time. (Harley-Davidson/)

The equipped Degree 1 charging cable that comes with the bike (and might be carried beneath the seat) plugs into any 120-volt family outlet and is claimed to require 12.5 hours to completely cost a depleted battery. Whereas that could be effective when you’ve got all night time, for these on the go the LiveWire additionally helps DC Quick Cost which cuts that point to 1 hour. DCFC stations are cropping up at a fast-growing price and the Harley-Davidson App will information you to them. LiveWire house owners will obtain 500 kWh free charging at Electrify America DCFC stations. Higher nonetheless, each H-D dealership that sells the LiveWire is required to put in a DCFC station and supply LiveWire house owners two years of limitless use freed from cost. That provides as much as a fairly attractive incentive and intelligent considering on Harley’s half.

High it up with Edison whereas I kill time testing these new Sportsters and Softails.

2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire Specs

MSRP: $29,799
MOTOR: Revelation inside permanent-magnet synchronous motor w/ water jacket cooling
CLAIMED TORQUE: 86 lb.-ft.
FRAME: Forged aluminum
FRONT SUSPENSION: Showa 43mm inverted Separate Operate Fork – Large Piston, absolutely adjustable
REAR SUSPENSION: Showa Steadiness Free Rear Cushion-lite shock, absolutely adjustable
FRONT BRAKE: Brembo Monoblock Four-piston radial-mount caliper, twin 300mm discs w/ Bosch lean-sensitive ABS
REAR BRAKE: Brembo 2-piston floating caliper, 260mm disc w/ Bosch lean-sensitive ABS
WHEELS, FRONT/REAR: Break up 5-spoke solid aluminum, Three.50 x 17 in. / 5.5 x 17 in.
TIRES, FRONT/REAR: 120/70R-17 / 180/55R-17
RAKE/TRAIL: 24.5°/ Four.Three in. (108mm)
WHEELBASE: 58.7 in. (1,490mm)
SEAT HEIGHT: 30.7 in. (780mm)
WEIGHT: 549 lb. (249kg)
AVAILABLE: Fall 2019


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