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Harley-Davidson's first all-electric motorcycle is now available to pre-order

By Shawn Knight · 44 replies
Jan 7, 2019
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  1. It’s been nearly four and a half years since Harley-Davidson unveiled its first electric motorcycle, the LiveWire. Later this year, you’ll finally be able to get your hands on one.

    Harley-Davidson on Monday at CES 2019 announced pricing and pre-order availability for its first production bike. The 2020 LiveWire starts at $29,799 and can be pre-ordered from US dealers as of writing. Deliveries are expected to take place this fall; additional markets will follow at a later date, we’re told.

    Just like traditional EVs, LiveWire can produce 100 percent of its rated torque the instant the throttle is called upon. This helps propel the bike from 0-60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds. Range is estimated at 110 miles on urban roads.

    Because it’s all electric, there’s no clutch or gear shifting to fool with, a fact that simplifies operation for new riders. Harley says the LiveWire will produce a "futuristic" new signature sound as it accelerates and gains speed.

    Harley-Davidson has also partnered with Panasonic Automotive to equip its new bike with cellular technology. Through HD-Connect, users can view information about the status of their motorcycle including battery usage and available range as well as get service reminders and notifications if their bike is moved or tampered with.

    Those interested in placing a pre-order are encouraged to head over to Harley’s website or visit their local dealer.

    Permalink to story.

  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,263   +4,931

    I like the concept. But talking to Harley Davidson owners, this goes outside the scope of why they love riding them.
    Underdog, p51d007 and ShagnWagn like this.
  3. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,820   +2,173

    Will feature its own signature sound. Why yes, I just gotta have one because of that. :facepalm:
  4. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,108   +1,583

    $30k for a vehicle that will only take you 110 miles? Which really means 90 miles because you don't want to tempt fate being stuck in the middle of nowhere without a charger nearby.

    Tempting, but I'll wait for the 2/3 off sale. ;)
  5. gusticles41

    gusticles41 TS Guru Posts: 394   +462

    30-friggin-grand? There isn't even close to enough bike here to justify that cost. The biggest things their website brags about - Adjustable suspension, tires, and a touchscreen. And "Instant torque" to get you to 60mph slower than a modern 600cc.

    I'm in full support of electric motorcycles. This one's missing every mark though.
    senketsu and p51d007 like this.
  6. netman

    netman TS Addict Posts: 280   +87

    "$30k for a vehicle that will only take you 110 miles? Which really means 90 miles because you don't want to tempt fate being stuck in the middle of nowhere without a charger nearby."

    110 miles for driver only... If you have a trip companion and any other loads, that number would be around 85 miles! With 35 G (tax, destination charge, etc.) you can buy two electric cars!
  7. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 684   +511

    Harleys are famous for their sound, and a major draw for many owners. I love the way they sound, too. They are not my type of motorcycle though. I can confidently say the baby boomer market will by majority not want an electric one.

    110 miles to dead will be a big turnoff. Bikers love to go for miles on end - cross country especially. Kudos for at least trying?
    Underdog likes this.
  8. netman

    netman TS Addict Posts: 280   +87

    "Just like traditional EVs, LiveWire can produce 100 percent of its rated torque the instant the throttle is called upon."

    How can 100% of rated torque can be transferred to the rear wheel when you have chain drive powertrain?!!!
    Some losses there...
  9. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,249   +3,666

    Limited range, absorbent price, and no great rumble? It might be a bike, but it ain't no Harley .... by the way, this was a direct quote from my Soft Tail when I read her the article .......
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,779   +3,906

    To speak metaphorically, this bike is a turd that doesn't have a good, loud, healthy fart, to go with it...:poop:

    Incidentally, "absorbent" is an adjective more appropriate to a tampon commercial..:laughing:

    I think you meant "exorbitant".

    (Although granted, that price would "absorb", much, if not all and then some, of one's bank account).
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  11. toooooot

    toooooot TS Evangelist Posts: 750   +366

    110 Miles sounds like a very short distance. Even if gasoline alternatives have similar range, those at leas twill have more chances to refill on highways. What's this device for, going to work and back? I think they should find a way to extend the range.
  12. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,820   +2,173

    Yes, I know. In fact, they have that sound trademarked and have sued people for violation of their trademark. To me, it just seems frivolous - but then again, I have no attraction to motorcycles at all.

    This whole thing about the sound, though, reminds me of a video I saw about Ford and them surveying people as to what those people thought about various vehicle sounds - and then applying that sound to their more recent Mustang models through the use of a tuned resonator. In other words, the sound is fake. It is not really how the engine sounds. Now every time I see and hear a Mustang, I think of the tuned resonator. Anything to sell something to the gullible.

    sarcasm Modern marketing is an absolute wonder to the modern world. /sarcasm

    To each their own!
    ShagnWagn and gusticles41 like this.
  13. gusticles41

    gusticles41 TS Guru Posts: 394   +462

    Milwaukee area resident here. The Harley sound gets really...really old after 1 summer of obnoxious stoplight revving.

    I love motorcycles. I have a v-twin. The difference is mine isn't aircooled, it's quieter, and makes nearly twice the hp/tq with comparable displacement. "Millennials" want value, which means performance. Not noise and chrome. Or a ridiculously overpriced electric bike with no enticing tech.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
    MilwaukeeMike likes this.
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,779   +3,906

    Here are the average mileages for a Harley "soft tail": http://www.fuelly.com/motorcycle/harley_davidson/flstn_softail_deluxe

    The fuel tank's capacity is 5 US gallons.

    Since you're the only "truly technically minded 'regular' here", you do the math.
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,779   +3,906

    Unsurprisingly, since you have no interest in motorcycles, you have it completely backwards.

    The Harley-Davidson engine sounds the way it does because of the design:


    The fact that it has only 2 cylinders of more than 36 cubic inches each, and hemispherical combustion chambers adds to the mystique.

    If you'd ever stood behind one with straight pipes while it was running, you'd understand the sound is far from fabricated.
    ShagnWagn likes this.
  16. gusticles41

    gusticles41 TS Guru Posts: 394   +462

    You're 100% right. The sound is a trademark of HD, but it's also a sound of inefficiency. I think HD is trying to branch out from the sound being their trademark, which is very wise. But a $30k sub-par electric bike is not doing it.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,779   +3,906

    Well, my first bike was a 1948 Harley. Incidentally, the "you meet the nicest people on a Honda", didn't even exist at the time.

    Regardless of how special your bike is, or how much power it has, the standard 55" Harley .Sportster has one of the sweetest bike sounds on the street today.... as long as the stock exhaust system is on and intact!

    Just so you know, I'm not making excuses for the fools on Harleys with straight pipes, and a penchant for annoying everybody with their favorite toy.

    And BTW, not 10 miles from my home is "A & J Cycle Salvage". They're chocked full of the "high performance value 'rice rockets'", that mostly Millennials have wrapped around street light poles.

    And trust me those turds are every bit as annoying as a Harley, when some fool is revving one at 10,000 rpm in the lane next to you.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
    gusticles41 likes this.
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,779   +3,906

    There is a Harley "Mentality", and plenty of undesirables own them. But it does stem from nationalism, and not only white nationalism.

    I don't feel "unpatriotic", when I buy an Asian guitar, but plenty of people willing to be fleeced for the fully American Gibson or Martin product would condemn me for it. (Yet the biggest star in all of country, Garth Brooks, always plays a Takamine).. And Nashville is Gibson's home turf! :eek:

    As far as the ridiculous 30K price of this electric Harley, everybody here seems to justify and dismiss the staggering cost of the newest technical innovations as "research & development costs".

    Shouldn't Harley be afforded that same absolution?
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
    gusticles41 likes this.
  19. gusticles41

    gusticles41 TS Guru Posts: 394   +462

    Haha truth is in the bold.

    And performance is cheap when it comes to motorcycles, hence all of the bad decisions at A & J Cycle Salvage. That's why I can't think of a demographic that will be drawn to HD's electric rig. Millennials? Nah. Existing HD fans? Nah. Electric motorcycle fans? Ye...wait, $30k so nah. I'm sure it's a hoot to ride, but I don't know who would actually buy one.

    Even for motorcycle fans with that kind of "FU" money it's a stretch based on other electrics available.
    captaincranky likes this.
  20. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,820   +2,173

    What I said was HD has their sound trademarked, and I consider it frivolous.

    And that Ford's Mustang sound is fabricated, which I also consider frivolous.

    But once in a while, you do surprise me by actually reading one of my posts with attentiveness. ;)

    I think they are obnoxious whenever I hear them. Then again, I am extremely sensitive to sounds.
    Charles Olson and cliffordcooley like this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,696   +786

    Cool concept but I don't think it will sell either, at least not to their current customer base. Though who knows, they may catch a new niche and it takes off. Most Harley riders now would not care for a bike that isn't incredibly loud. They like this for many reasons, some also believe it to be safer as others can hear them and know where they are at all times. You are never going to get this level of noise out of an electric motor.

    Beyond all that, I'm not sure how comfortable I am about having the potential of a lithium battery fire between my legs.
  22. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,263   +4,931

    Yes loud pipes are obnoxious on anything.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  23. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,779   +3,906

    It's still one of those "chicken or the egg" type questions, since you can't copy the sound, without copying the engine design, almost verbatim. Unless of course, you "fake the sound" via modification of the exhaust system. Were a maker to do that, so as to infringe on Harley's customer base, then trademarking the sound of their bikes make an eminent amount of sense. That's whether your tender ears agree with it, or not.
    Well, maybe, maybe not. The street level noise level is, (whether you admit it or not), directly interpreted by other humans as an indicator of how much power is being produced.

    Or to the contrary as we sometimes scornfully yelled at cars with glass pack mufflers, but without any other obvious performance enhancement, "it must be fast, listen to all the noise it makes".

    All of this is based on the animal side of our nature. The human male doesn't have the plumage of a peacock, the roar of a male lion, or the trumpet of a bull elephant. Accordingly, he feels the necessity to create by any means necessary, sounds and images based in nature, to attract a mate. (Or at least, a mate for the night).

    So, the louder the roar, becomes, (perhaps subconsciously), it becomes interpreted as, the more masculine the male. Which, I would assume you would find extremely offensive, because of your deep affliction with, "Sheldon Leonard Syndrome". :p

    Now, as for Ford "faking the sound of the mustang", you still have to keep in mind that the less restrictive an exhaust system is, the louder it will be. The work Ford may have performed on their car's exhaust, could more correctly be termed as "altering the tonal spectrum", or "equalization", as it's more commonly called. It's very simple, you filter out the yapping bark, but leave the robust low frequency growl. So instead of the yipping of a Chihuahua, you have the growl of a tiger.

    Since I come from "the muscle car era", we used to interpret the mods and performance potential of a car's engine an entirely different way That's by judging how it idled. Fluctuating idle speed, along with an overall roughness, indicated the amount of "cam" that was in the engine. In other words the camshaft's lift and duration is a predictor of how well the engine will perform in the upper end of its RPM range. High lift, and long duration camshafts, allow both the intake and exhaust valves to be open at the same time, which in turn causes the rough idle. At high RPMs, the exhaust leaving the engine actually has "a poor man's supercharger effect", by allowing the incoming fuel mixture to be sucked into the engine by the exiting exhaust pulse rarefaction.

    If this interests you, (which I doubt), you can read this article from the university of Colorado, about the underlying math: https://www.engr.colostate.edu/~allan/fluids/page7/page7.html Frankly, I can only manage algebra while I'm still in the algebra classroom. Perhaps you'll fare a bit better.

    You do know that car companies spend millions of dollars in research on perfecting the sound of their car doors slamming, don't you? By your definition, their door slams are "fake".
    Let's face it, sometimes they're long enough a person has to skim.a bit.
    You know, I don't even have speakers attached to my computers, since the noises made by Windows are so obnoxious, at any volume.

    However, I can tolerate music that I enjoy at ungodly high volumes for extended periods of time. Inversely, I need earplugs when I'm exposed to rap, punk, and disco.

    I'm good to at least 110 Db on this though. Give it a listen. Let me know what you think:

    The female vocalist, Floor Jansen, is widely regarded as the most versatile and likely the best girl singer in all of this genre, which is, "symphonic metal"

    Too much? This is (only very slightly) tamer

    The second track, "The Haunting", is an adaptation from Goethe's "Faust", (*) where the devil tricks Faust into thinking he is the hero's dead girlfriend. Jeez, those guitars are noisy though. Did you pick up the key change at 2:46?

    (*) I didn't want you to think this was just some illiterate wanking by some heavy metal Harley driving thugs.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  24. Knot Schure

    Knot Schure TS Addict Posts: 252   +109

    So, simplified concept, but no simplified price.

    No pistons, cam chains, crankshaft, exhaust, electronic fuel injection etc - I'm expecting electric bikes to cost half as much as usual.

    Frame, battery, and motor. Should be cheap. Yes I'm simplifying, but that is how it is.

    Maybe we need an 'open source' project.
  25. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,779   +3,906

    Is that a fancy way of saying, very stupid and way overpriced"?
    wiyosaya likes this.

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