HAR­LEY-DAVID­SON does the un­think­able and an­nounces an elec­tric mo­tor­cy­cle

Esquire Middle East - - IN THIS ISSUE THE EDIT -

The world is chang­ing. But don’t take our word for it, just ask Har­ley-david­son.the epit­ome of a man’s man brand has just launched its first ever all-elec­tric bike. But is it any good?

THE NAME HAR­LEY-DAVID­SON is pretty syn­ony­mous with leather-clad, petrol-fu­elled men who refuse to grow old qui­etly, or to give their eardrums a rest. But thanks to its new re­lease, the leg­endary mo­tor­bike brand seem to have changed its tack to­wards chas­ing af­ter those non-old-white-guy rid­ers.

At a mo­tor­cy­cle show in Mi­lan last month, Har­ley­david­son un­veiled a brand new, all-elec­tric mo­tor­cy­cle called the Livewire. With an elec­tric mo­tor that sits low in the bike (giv­ing it a lower cen­tre of grav­ity), 17-inch wheels, ad­justable sus­pen­sion, a liq­uid crys­tal dis­play, Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, and what Har­ley prom­ises is in­stant ac­cel­er­a­tion, the Livewire is a model made for ur­ban street rid­ing.

Along with bring­ing that Mil­len­nial friendly word “sus­tain­abil­ity” into the con­ver­sa­tion, Har­ley has made a mo­tor­cy­cle that seems eas­ier to con­trol. With an elec­tric en­gine, the rider does not have to en­gage a clutch or shift through gears to reach full speed. And while that sounds nice to those who pre­fer au­to­matic, it does de­tract from that vis­ceral, man­ual ex­pe­ri­ence that draws so many peo­ple to mo­tor­cy­cles. It also brings the bike a lit­tle bit closer to scooter ter­ri­tory.

And ob­vi­ously, an elec­tric mo­tor­cy­cle won’t nat­u­rally pro­duce that ear-split­ting, brain-rat­tling roar so closely as­so­ci­ated with the Har­ley-david­son name. In­stead, the Livewire makes “new sound that rep­re­sents the smooth, elec­tric power,” which in­creases in pitch and vol­ume as the bike ac­cel­er­ates. Any noise that can de­scribed as “smooth” is a big de­par­ture for the com­pany.

When in­tro­duc­ing the Livewire, Har­ley-david­son stated its goal is to “ag­gres­sively, but wisely” in­vest in elec­tric tech­nol­ogy to be­come an in­dus­try leader. It has also made clear its in­ten­tion to win over young peo­ple, women, mi­nori­ties, and ur­ban folks. That doesn’t sound like sur­ren­der, at least not yet. Will Mil­len­nial fe­males of colour who live in cities take to elec­tric bik­ing? We’ll know soon enough; the Livewire is set to hit the streets in 2019.

The Livewire is Har­ley-david­son’s first all-elec­tric bike

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