Introducing the Harley Davidson LiveWire
Harley Davidson LiveWire: the all-electric muscle bike for the following technology
George Chapman rides the brand new Harley Davidson LiveWire – the model’s first all-electric motorbike
The all-new Harley Davidson LiveWire is the world’s first sequence manufacturing electrical bike from a mainstream producer; fairly an achievement for Harley Davidson, a model famend for following a really conventional recipe when designing and manufacturing bikes. Obtainable now, priced from £28,995 within the UK, it’s positioned amongst the model’s range-topping fashions however faces the troublesome activity of attracting a youthful, extra tech-savvy viewers to the enduring all-American model. However is it an actual Harley Davidson?
From afar the all-new machine possesses greater than a passing resemblance to its massive V-twin engined brethren. The styling of the squared-off headlight cowl and (pretend) petrol tank are clear Harley design cues. On nearer inspection nevertheless it’s apparent that every one will not be fairly because it appears. On the very core of the bike sits its sizable battery, one thing Harley Davidson calls a ’Renewable Vitality Storage System’. In technical phrases, it’s a 5.5kWh high-voltage lithium ion battery pack with a built-in energy technology system. Contained in a forged aluminium case with cooling fins it acts as a harassed chassis member with the body bolted round it. The unit will be charged to 80% in underneath 40 minutes at a public quick charger however takes a lot, for much longer (round 10 hours or extra) if plugged right into a home three-pin socket.
The official most ‘metropolis vary’ for the LiveWire is given as 146 miles, however on check, this proved wholly optimistic. Extra correct is the 95 miles of ‘mixed stop-and-go and freeway’ vary. Make no mistake, this isn’t a motorcycle designed for touring and cautious route planning is important.
Positioned straight beneath the battery is the LiveWire’s ‘Revelation’ water-cooled electrical motor, which Harley Davidson says is sweet for 0-60mph in 3.0 seconds. Ought to the necessity for nearly instantaneous overtaking manoeuvres come up, it could possibly additionally shoot from 60-80mph in a vastly spectacular 1.9 seconds.
The truth is, driving the LiveWire is the place the package deal actually begins to ask questions of conventional petrol-powered bikes. Electrical or not, it is a enjoyable and fascinating motorbike to trip. The driving place feels macho and surprisingly aggressive for a factory-made Harley and reminds you of a streetfighter or muscle bike from the Nineteen Nineties. When you’ve chosen certainly one of seven driving modes (three of that are customisable) to electronically management the efficiency traits of the bike and the extent of digital intervention, the LiveWire’s energy unit gently ‘throbs’ when stationary. This not solely lets you recognize the throttle is energetic but in addition serves to remind you that you’re astride a motorcycle developed to disclose a particular character and a few may say, soul. It feels like a weird idea, however in apply it’s surprisingly efficient.
As soon as underway you possibly can’t fail to spot the smoothness of the motor, the jet turbine-style sound it makes and the distinct lack of gears, which has your left hand and foot typically reaching into skinny air for an absent clutch or gear lever. You additionally shortly heat to the ample energy and torque, all 104bhp and 86 lb ft of it. Delivered in a splendidly controllable and linear method, the system is tremendous easy to function, you merely twist and go. Because of this you’re quickly throwing the bike into corners with all the boldness of an all-season dispatch rider. Able to 114mph flat out, eager riders can be happy to listen to that the LiveWire is a motorcycle extra centered on how simply it goes quick, slightly than merely how briskly it goes.
On the dealing with entrance, there’s much more to have fun. Not like virtually all different Harley Davidsons, and regardless of its 250kg bulk, this bike is really at residence on twisty difficult roads. The trip offered by the big-piston Showa forks and a equally branded rear shock do an amazing job and ship little or no drama till very closely pushed. Traction management and ABS are commonplace, as are a set of monoblock Brembo calipers gripping twin 300mm discs, which do a nice job of hauling the LiveWire down from velocity.
As is befitting of many premium new bikes in 2020, a 4.3-inch color TFT touchscreen gives the rider a variety of data on a show that’s vivid and straightforward to learn. Bluetooth connectivity additionally comes as commonplace, so do you have to want, you possibly can simply settle for calls and listen to navigation directions through your smartphone. The Harley Davidson Join app additionally gives you with useful instructions, trip planning info, seller and occasion areas and the reassurance of with the ability to remotely monitor your motorbike’s safety, utilizing tamper alerts.
From a design perspective, and when it comes to pushing the boundaries of expertise, the LiveWire is an enormous hit on many accounts. Few different electrical bikes out there as we speak are as fascinating, as efficient or as a lot enjoyable to trip. The truth that there’s a Harley Davidson badge on the tank is maybe extra stunning nevertheless, and solely a courageous salesman will try to persuade an present buyer that the spirit of the model is alive and nicely on this impressively high-tech and future-ready machine. So sure, the LiveWire is a superb Harley, however actually not as you recognize it. §