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Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle review: The real deal

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Harley-Davidson LiveWire electrical bike evaluation: The true deal

On a latest journey to Los Angeles, I acquired my palms on the brand new Harley-Davidson LiveWire electrical bike. Over my weeklong journey it grew to become my trip all over the place. From winding down Mulholland Drive to cruising alongside Sundown Boulevard to weaving by means of visitors on the 101, the LiveWire and I acquired to know one another fairly effectively throughout our comparatively quick time period collectively.

And through that point I realized so much in regards to the bike. It’s not excellent; the LiveWire certainly has its deficiencies.

But it surely additionally has plenty of redeeming qualities that make it significantly deserving of a re-evaluation. And that additionally provides me hope for a way Harley-Davidson can play a number one position within the quickly evolving electrical bike {industry}.

I wish to be clear. The Harley-Davidson LiveWire is an costly electrical bike whose $29,799 price tag doubtless places it out of attain for practically each rider studying this text. It’s certainly out of attain for me.

However regardless of that, the LiveWire is definitely a extremely well-made, high-performance electrical bike that could be a thrill to trip. Harley-Davidson didn’t construct it with a view to promote a ton of them. They constructed it to show the extent of high quality and innovation they may convey to the electrical bike {industry}, and to get people excited about their more affordable electric motorcycles to come.

Harley Davidson LiveWire video evaluation

Take a look at my video evaluation of the Harley-Davidson LiveWire electrical bike. Then preserve studying for the total expertise.

How did I get right here?

A couple of years in the past, I by no means would have anticipated to search out myself having fun with a Harley-Davidson bike this a lot. If you understand something about me, you’ll know I’m an electric motorcycle guy. The final time I used to be on a gas-powered Harley was the day I acquired my bike license.

I couldn’t say goodbye to the factor quick sufficient — I needed to get again on my electrical bikes after not with the ability to use them for the check.

Now quick ahead to a few weeks in the past. Right here I’m, flying down the 101 on a Harley.

On an electrical Harley.

harley-davidson livewire electric motorcycle

As I placed on the miles, I developed a brand new appreciation for what Harley was doing with this bike.

I can’t say that I perceive Harley tradition, particularly as an outsider trying in all these years. However I can now say that I not less than acquired a style of it on this bike.

In all places I went, heads turned. I used to be adopted a number of occasions by individuals who needed to ask me in regards to the LiveWire. Bike cops chatted me up. Even typical die-hard, seasoned Harley riders gave me nods of approval at pink lights — significantly.

I used to be in, oddly sufficient. And I hadn’t even tried. I used to be merely someway a member of a neighborhood. And off track I wasn’t in it to be in a membership — I used to be in it to trip an superior bike. However I’m not going to lie, it felt sort of cool to be wordlessly welcomed right into a tribe.

Although not as cool because the Harley-Davidson LiveWire felt.

harley-davidson livewire electric motorcycle

Harley-Davidson LiveWire trip expertise

In the case of efficiency, Harley wasn’t messing round. The 78kW (105hp) motor is greater than you’ll ever want. In Sport Mode, the acceleration is outrageous, blasting you to 60 mph (96 km/h) in round 3 seconds. Although “blasting” isn’t the correct phrase, really. In reality, it’s virtually eerie how easy it’s. I virtually felt just like the speedometer on the digital display was mendacity to me as a result of the launch feels so…. calm. So relaxed. It felt like I couldn’t presumably have reached these speeds so shortly, so calmly. One second I’m ready at relaxation for the on-ramp gentle to show inexperienced. Three seconds later I’m at freeway pace. And it appears like not a lot occurred in between. One second I’ve acquired two toes on the bottom. The following second is a delicate blur.

I didn’t attain the bike’s prime pace of 110 mph (177 km/h), however I went quicker than I ever deliberate to (and quicker than I ought to most likely admit). And contemplating how a lot the bike nonetheless needed to present, I’ve little question that the electronically restricted 110 mph prime pace is attainable. Not that anybody would ever really want it.

The trip is solely one of many smoothest I’ve felt on an electrical bike, combining extreme energy with a snug and controllable trip expertise.

A part of that’s doubtless the delicate six-axis Bosch IMU and its state-of-the-art traction management, anti-wheelie management, ABS cornering bank-angle logic and different embedded rider aids. The totally adjustable high-end Showa Separate Operate Huge Piston fork and the Steadiness Free Rear Cushion-lite shock certainly add to the expertise. And the Brembo Monoblock brakes give the stopping confidence wanted for such a robust bike. And for such a heavy bike. Extra on that in a second.

No matter your emotions about Harley-Davidson as an organization are, you may’t deny that they know the right way to construct bikes. And whereas the electrical car world is new to them, they have been nonetheless capable of leverage their appreciable expertise to construct a bike that performs in addition to among the greatest within the electrical bike {industry} at the moment. And for my part, it would look even higher.

Principally, the trip felt pretty much as good because the bike appears. The match and end is impeccable. The eye to element is what you’d anticipate of a premium firm. And whereas I nonetheless assume practically $30k is so much to ask, the LiveWire does supply plenty of options which might be onerous to search out on many different industry-leading electrical bikes at the moment. Keyless operation means by no means having to mess with pulling out your keys (an annoying job when sporting bike gloves). Stage 3 DC Quick Charging means you may utterly cost the battery in round 40 minutes, or extra doubtless get a top-up in beneath quarter-hour. Auto-canceling flip indicators imply one much less operation to drag your focus away from the highway.

I might sit right here and record fancy options all day, however the level is that this: The Harley-Davidson LiveWire is solely a nicer, extra luxurious bike than just about anything at the moment accessible within the electrical bike market. Sure, it’s costly. However you’re not simply paying for the H-D badge, you’re really getting a well-made bike with some very good (and unique) options.

Model factors

One factor that persistently impressed me was the best way Harley-Davidson was capable of incorporate their gas-bike influences with out getting too heavy-handed. I can’t blame them for attempting to sneak in a few of their heritage. As an alternative, I’ll commend them for holding it delicate in a means that enhances the electrical expertise as a substitute of detracting from it.

Take the pulsing sensation, for instance.

It’s a faint, rhythmic pulse that runs by means of the bike whereas idling, and is impressed by the gasoline bikes that Harley is used to constructing. I don’t actually know the place the heart beat comes from, however I really feel it as a slight sensation in my palms and thighs once I’m idling at stoplights or on the point of pull out of the storage. Harley included the function as a mixture of a security warning and an expertise enhancer. Since electrical bikes idle silently, unfamiliar riders may not even understand they’re “on,” which might end in unintentionally blipping the throttle and rocketing away. The heartbeat not solely serves as a non-intrusive reminder that the bike is able to roll at any on the spot, but additionally provides yet another sense to additional meld man and machine.

Different heritage-inspired notes aren’t fairly as elegant, however appear to be included in a measured means.

Positive, the bike has a fake gasoline tank. But it surely’s minimal and really enhances the traces of the bike properly. And making the cost port appear to be a filler-cap is a bit on-the-nose. However once more, it doesn’t have a look at all unhealthy.

However what in regards to the vary?

Ah sure, the vary. The great, outdated black-and-orange elephant within the room.

Listed below are the numbers:

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire will get a metropolis vary ranking of 146 miles (235 km) and a mixed metropolis/freeway vary of 95 miles (153 km) mixed utilizing the MIC Metropolis and MIC Mixed (70 mph) exams, respectively.

My testing was in Los Angeles and the encompassing areas (Hollywood, Lengthy Seaside, Santa Monica, Azusa, Carson, and so on). I’d trip throughout the day and cost at night time in my storage on Stage 1 charging. Although the LiveWire provides a fast fill-up with Stage 3 DC Quick Charging, I by no means as soon as wanted to make use of it. I didn’t do greater than 100 miles in a day, so it simply wasn’t essential for me.

For people who trip lengthy distances day by day, possibly this isn’t the bike for you. The vary isn’t astounding, and Harley doesn’t fake that it’s.

However you understand what it’s? It’s ample for most individuals. I spent loads of time cruising metropolis blocks, and I additionally spent loads of time at speeds that my spouse mustn’t ever learn about. I had a hell of a superb time using throughout, and by no means as soon as thought I’d run out of cost.

In fact I wasn’t doing touring or making cross-country journeys, both. And to be truthful, I wouldn’t attempt that. Not that it isn’t an choice. The actor Ewan McGregor simply rode over 8,000 miles from Argentina to California on a Harley-Davidson LiveWire. So it’s potential with a little bit of planning. But it surely’s not what the bike was meant for, by way of on a regular basis utilization. And it’s important to know that stepping into.

So the likelihood is there for prolonged enjoyable. However most individuals will have the ability to deal with their commute with out even a shred of vary nervousness.

The LiveWire is sweet, nevertheless it’s not excellent

That being mentioned, the LiveWire nonetheless has some room for enchancment. My record of execs is lengthy, however I’ve an inventory of cons as effectively.

First, I can’t stand the Harley-Davidson split-turn sign factor. I don’t wish to management my left and proper flip sign buttons with completely different thumbs — I need a single. I don’t know why they’ve at all times carried out that, nevertheless it’s annoying as hell. The one redeeming factor right here is that the auto-cancelling flip indicators imply I solely want to the touch the flip indicators as soon as.

Talking of buttons, I get a little bit of button overload when all of my choices on the bars. Jeez, that’s quite a lot of buttons. To be truthful, the LiveWire has quite a lot of options, and its onboard pc provides you a number of customization and management choices. However rattling, that’s quite a lot of buttons.

Subsequent, what’s up with the quick charging cable? It’s solely about 6 toes (2 meters) lengthy. Thankfully I occurred to have a ceiling-mounted outlet in my storage proper above the place I parked, which meant the cable was excellent for me. However not everybody has that choice, and a 6-foot cable doesn’t provide you with a lot room to play with out within the wild.

Lastly, the bike is heavy. Positive, it rides nice and also you don’t actually discover the 549 lb (249 kg) weight whereas transferring. However maneuvering the bike within the driveway was a little bit of a exercise. I used to be on a type of outdated Hollywood driveways that’s steeper than it’s lengthy, which didn’t assist issues. At one level I practically dropped it on the backside of the driveway whereas navigating the angled terrain. You know the way these moments go, that sluggish movement, “Oh shoot, this factor is leaning too far,” realization? I wrenched with all my core to maintain the bike upright because the bike appeared to pause on the level of no return earlier than lastly starting to reverse course. I swear, if I had carried out one much less sit-up in my life, I’d have dropped that bike.

As you’ve most likely observed, none of those are very vital complaints. I’m actually looking for issues to gripe about so it doesn’t appear to be I’m in Harley’s pocket. I swear this isn’t a paid evaluation. (Electrek’s opinions are by no means paid). Moderately, the LiveWire actually is such a well-made bike that I’ve to scrape the underside of the barrel to dig up any downsides apart from the worth.

So is it value it?

No, after all not. It’s a virtually $30,000 bike, jeez!

Did you assume I used to be going to say it’s best to exit and purchase one, primarily based on how a lot I’ve been speaking up the bike?

Alas, I’m not going to do this. Sure, I nonetheless consider it’s an unbelievable bike. It’s well-made, and it performs amazingly. It’s an absolute pleasure to trip. And I completely perceive that Harley-Davidson has to attempt to recoup 5 years value of R&D that went into this bike.

But it’s still nearly $30,000.

harley-davidson livewire electric motorcycle

At that worth, it’s nonetheless a luxurious for the elite. And for those who’re the sort of individual that doesn’t want to have a look at the worth tag whenever you go bike buying, then sure, I completely suggest the LiveWire. Purchase it and by no means look again. You’ll like it. Every trip will likely be an emotional expertise.

For the remainder of us residing in the true world with actual paychecks, simply sit tight. And pray that Harley-Davidson can maintain on lengthy sufficient to convey us the next four electric motorcycles and two-wheelers it has coming over the next two years.

Oh, and go take a check trip on a LiveWire at your native Harley-Davidson vendor. You most likely gained’t purchase it, however it’s best to not less than expertise it. It’s a trip like no different. If nothing else, it is going to make you’re taking a second have a look at Harley-Davidson and the brand new route the corporate is forging.

FTC: We use earnings incomes auto affiliate hyperlinks. More.

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