The electrical hog that goes like stink
I used to be fortunate sufficient to be invited alongside to the Australian press launch of the 2020 Harley Davidson Livewire, the corporate’s first official foray into pure electrical bikes. Sure, I’m a really fortunate sod.
Upon arriving on the Sydney HQ of the 117-year-old bike producer, I used to be instantly struck by two issues. First, it was the gleaming fleet of twelve model new Livewires totally charged and able to go. Life doesn’t get significantly better for weirdos like me.
Secondly, it occurred to me that these twelve bikes alone had bolstered the full fleet of highway registered 100% electrical bikes in Australia by round 10%. This problem alone makes me wish to rejoice and help Harley Davidson as a result of it’s the first leap ahead in years.
The type of us at Harley Davidson generously handed me a basic fashionable wanting gloss black Livewire and gave us an intro. “We’re going to begin you all in a decrease energy mode and work up from there all through the day” they mentioned to a collective groan. Nonetheless, primarily based on the moment experimentation by nearly each rider, I’m fairly assured those that hadn’t ridden electrical earlier than all breathed a fairly sigh of reduction and have been too busy grinning wildly to care.
We spent superb day driving round Sydney from Lane Cove to Brighton Le Sands then onto Cronulla, Kernell and again throughout city with loads of stops for ready photographers and a few refreshments alongside the best way.
The Electrical Motorbike Market in Australia
Electrical bikes are a distinct segment product in a distinct segment market (EV’s) and the Livewire has been intentionally designed to create yet one more area of interest – the super-premium electrical sports activities cruiser bike.
At just below $50,000 the corporate doesn’t anticipate it to be mass market product. What it does anticipate, primarily based on suggestions and deposits positioned to this point, is that it’s going to enchantment to sufficient patrons to kick off the following evolution of its bike historical past in an analogous strategy to early and equally costly Tesla’s, for instance and shall be adopted by a wider vary.
In case you are making an attempt to match its value and worth to electrical vehicles, you’re lacking the purpose. Cease it.
In case you are making an attempt to match to different premium bikes, you’re getting a lot nearer.
As weird because it may appear to non-motorcyclists there’s a marketplace for premium bikes in Australia. Together with Harley Davidson, MV August, Ducati, Aprilia, Indian, BMW and even Brough Superior all checklist fashions at or near $50,000 and fairly a couple of approach increased than that.
Though official statistics aren’t publicly out there, I’d take a guess primarily based on different mannequin gross sales that this section could be a couple of hundred bikes annually at finest in Australia. Nevertheless it’s a really good market if you will get to it.
Premium bike patrons are clearly pushed to buy with 99% ardour and 1% logic. They’re pushed by a mixture of exclusivity, model loyalty, efficiency, nostalgia, and technological options with a heavy be aware of thrill seeker in-built.
When you concentrate on the supply like this, it seems to be eminently logical, is totally the very newest expertise and is a great distance from the most costly possibility if you’re that kind of purchaser.
So what about current electrical bike homeowners like me?
Our hardy gang of round 100-150 native homeowners are nearly completely early adopter motorcyclists. We’re hyped by the tech and excited by the efficiency. We’re ready to take the substantial danger that we could possibly be left stranded with Zero help after buying our bikes at a considerable premium after a comparatively quick time.
I can consider a handful of mates who can or would by the Livewire. All of us completely need one and the promise of higher than Zero service from such a longtime model is price one thing – however is it price $20,000 to us? Perhaps a fortunate few.
Together with a few of the different potential patrons we’re nicely researched and know that all over the world there are some extraordinarily potent opponents who can supply a mixture of higher energy, higher vary and a wide range of kinds for much less cash.
The Zero SRF and Italian Energica are proper on the high of that pack when it comes to quantity and affordability plus there’s a good mixture of exotics, a couple of unicorns (Lightning) and a rising vary of off roaders and entry stage Chinese language made bikes.
However right here’s the catch mate.
Proper now, in Australia you solely have one selection for a stunning, stump pulling all new electrical bike as a result of the Livewire is the one one out there. So, begin saving.
Sure, it’s – and not using a shadow of a doubt – totally sick.
By way of key specification, the Livewire will do 0-100km in 3 seconds and has a high velocity just below 180kmh, which I completely didn’t check.
In sport mode, punch the throttle and you’re rewarded with beautiful acceleration that none of my friends had something however reward for. In case you pin the throttle and blink the following nook shall be in entrance of you and also you’ll be counting on regeneration and twin disks to get wise. Belief me.
As I had hoped, the throttle management is excellent and nearly with out exception higher than any petrol bike can ship, attributable to its totally programmable, digital and nearly direct nature. You will have at your disposal nearly any mixture of throttle response you could possibly dream up for any driving situation – which is actually, actually necessary on a motorbike.
It has a 15.5kWh (nom) 13.6kWEh usable battery pack utilizing Samsung SDI pouch cells, that are good for a claimed 235km of metropolis vary or 152km of freeway vary. Based mostly on my private expertise with an 11kWh pack, I’d say that they’re fairly reasonable expectations.
The bike has glorious dealing with and braking due to a sporty stance, nice tyres, excessive finish Showa totally adjustable suspension and the compulsory Brembo brakes. I intentionally put the Livewire by potholes, tough curbs, gravel and velocity humps and it dealt with all of it superbly. You’ll love punting this bike quick alongside winding mountain roads.
Though it’s on the heavy facet at 251kg, it doesn’t really feel prefer it and is genuinely fairly nimble for a bigger bike. One of many advantages of electrical bikes is the load distribution is extra versatile, they usually carry their weight down very low and naturally they don’t have any centrifugal mass to beat when turning.
The Livewire is bristling with tech as you’d anticipate and has a superb show and management system. Throughout our journey I cherished gaining access to all kinds of knowledge even with out my cellphone being synched up which prevented full Bluetooth integration and GPS capabilities by my helmet.
All the usual data is there plus some preferences, 4 commonplace journey modes, three customisable journey modes and entry to a bunch of rider aids like stability management, anti-slip, ABS and so forth. As an skilled electrical bike proprietor, I cherished this management and performance and the mix of handlebar and glove-touch sprint management system was sensible.
Throughout certainly one of our photo-shoots we did a number of laps underneath the harbour bridge looping again previous photographers. I’d been on the bike all day and was feeling very comfy and at house so inside the velocity limits I used to be beginning to mess around extra.
On one loop as I exited a round-about and was nonetheless cranked over once I nailed it and received a scrumptious little rear wheel drift earlier than my mind linked to my wrist and the bike settled properly. So naturally on the following lap, I attempted once more. This time a few of the rider aids kicked in and linked my mind to my wrist by settling the bike down for me. Good!
You’ll simply need to take my phrase for it that if you happen to journey bikes and really feel comfy unleashing 105 horses with 116NM of torque in a linear line with no gear adjustments, you’ll like this very a lot. It’s addictively enjoyable and oh so easy.
The motor is a everlasting magnet, liquid cooled AC motor which uniquely drives by a bevel gear association to drive the beefy belt and create a little bit of noise. The motor controller can be liquid cooled so two of the first warmth affected parts are managed properly with a single small radiator.
The 254VDC nominal battery is air cooled by fairly a classy die solid battery pack housing and a few air vents. It is going to be attention-grabbing to see how this performs as a result of I do know another electrical bikes endure from “thermal mass construct up” inside packs which are being labored arduous; as soon as they warmth up they will take alongside time to chill down.
Whereas we’re speaking battery I used to be fortunate sufficient to see underneath the bodywork and notably the battery pack housing is definitely a totally burdened a part of the chassis. There are two die solid body rails that bolt on to guard it and add some rigidity; an attention-grabbing design selection in comparison with most different names.
On board there’s a 1.4kW charger for Degree 1 charging. Most producers persist with this type of energy stage largely to keep away from blowing family fuses I think, however to me, it’s too small for all necessary “comfort charging at an honest velocity” and needs to be at the very least double if not triple that dimension and simply restricted by the sprint to keep away from nuisance tripping.
Having mentioned this, it does have Degree 3 DC quick charging functionality by a classy petrol cap changing CCS port on the fake tank so if you will discover one just like the DELTA unit at HQ, you may smash it with as much as 20kW, thanks very a lot.
It was fairly cool watching the workforce queuing up with the fleet after our day lengthy metropolis journey and filling them again as much as 80% in actually 15 or 20 minutes.
I might hold going however I’m drowning you in phrases already. I hope to have a video up quickly, a podcast not lengthy after together with an interview with one of many workforce and you may learn extra from the official PowerPoint presentation right here.
In my pre-ride submit, I mentioned : “I wish to see how the factor is put collectively in phrases construct high quality. Does it exude craftmanship and high quality? Does it look nice?”
The reply is sure. Bystanders gawked at us. With out a lot exception everybody agreed it was good-looking, a pleasant mix of Harley and fashionable styling and also you wouldn’t choose something that didn’t seem like respectable high quality. It seems to be quick and materials. It does characteristic a couple of plastic panels right here and there however in true Harley fashion a beneficiant bunch of glitz and equipment can be found.
And I requested “Can I work on it? Is it put collectively in a approach that makes issues accessible and easy? How will HD help me if I’m an proprietor?”
I suppose it could be attainable, however I get a number of main clues to the truth that that wasn’t their focus and it has some complexities. The service intervals are the identical as a regular hog (roughly annual) though they highlighted the fee shall be decrease attributable to simplicity. Nonetheless, I feel that’s okay as a result of if I discover $50k to personal one, then I can discover a couple of dollars to let HD do all of the work too.
I requested “what it looks like, particularly in comparison with my earlier electrical bikes. Does it ship the ability nicely? Is it quicker or slower? Can I mess around a bit with energy supply to go well with totally different moods? Does it deal with nicely?”
This can be a resounding sure. It felt subtle, had a terrific journey really feel and felt like high quality gear. I can tweak it lots and it dealt with actually properly to me. It’s nearly two seconds faster than my six 12 months outdated electrical, delivered the ability down decrease and felt considerably quicker total.
Does it go like stink? Did I get off feeling exhilarated and wanting one?
Sure, sure, and sure.
It’s not for everybody, however if you’re within the purchaser demographic get all the way down to an permitted HD seller and get a check journey and a recent grin.