HARLEY-DAVIDSON does the unthinkable and announces an electric motorcycle
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