Fully adjustable Showa suspension, Brembo monoblock brake calipers, seven riding modes, a single-speed transmission and, most importantly, an all-electric powerplant. These depictions don’t exactly characterize a traditional Harley-Davidson motorcycle. However it will soon be as Harley-Davidson starts a new chapter of its history with the introduction of its all-electric motorcycle, the LiveWire.
I’ve been following Harley’s development of the LiveWire since the prototype was first unvelied in 2014. I’ve sat on the bike and revved the engine. I’ve ridden other electric bikes. It’s a fascinating project but maybe not for the reasons Harley wants it to be. I know there are readers of The Loop who are riders and I want to post this to ask the question – do you think this will be a success for Harley-Davidson?
HD has said publicly and privately they are targeting a “younger crowd”. Problem is, does that demographic want a Harley-Davidson? Surveys have said not really. Will that demographic pay the HD premium? HD’s lowest price bike is the 2018 Street 750, priced roughly $8k. So the LiveWire will cost more than that. The “equivalent” Zero electric bike is about $10K. I’m betting the LiveWire will come in around $15K, if not more ($20K?). Will the “younger crowd” pay that much for a bike from a company they traditionally don’t show much interest in?
I’m betting no. And the “traditional” Harley-Davidson buyer has made a lot of noise (see what I did there?) about having little to no interest in an electric Harley.
The range of this bike, based on other electric bikes, is likely to be around 225 miles in perfect conditions. For some, that might be a weekend ride. For me, that’s barely getting started (I regularly ride 400+miles/day). So I think this bike is caught between a rock and a hard place for Harley-Davidson.