Harley LiveWire: an electric luxury concentrate

Harley’s gaze turned to the future

The Harley Davidson LiveWire is the first electric motorcycle produced by Harley Davidson. Despite the conservative nature and traditional audience of the brand, Harley has heavily invested in the development of this bike. Harley wanted to create a motorbike that would stand out but not completely move away from the brand imprint. To create something new, but unique, just in the style of Harley Davidson but that looked to the future winking at electrification.

The project started in 2010 and took so many years due to the numerous challenges that the Milwaukee brand had to face. But finally, in 2019 Harley presented the LiveWire to the public and commercialized it.

LiveWire’s engine and battery

The power unit is a three-phase water-cooled permanent magnet unit which generates 105 hp and 116 Nm of torque. It covers the 0-100 km/h in 3 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 177 km/h. The engine is located under the battery to lower the center of gravity and improve driveability. It has a tunnel construction and a singular transverse arrangement, which had not yet been seen on an electric one. The crankshaft is therefore longitudinal and requires a bevel gear to bring the motion to the final. This solution also determines a mechanical noise which becomes the acoustic signature of LiveWire.

harley-davidson-livewire-engine
Harley Davidson LiveWire engine

The battery is a “classic” air-cooled lithium-ion unit of 15,5 kWh that has an autonomy declared by the house of 158 km. It recharges in about 10 hours with classic columns or the domestic plug, while with fast charging columns with direct current the battery recharges at 80% in 40 min and 100% in 1 hour. In September Harley stopped production of LiveWire due to a battery charging problem which was resolved in October.

Chassis and cycling

harley-davidson-livewire-chassis
Harley Davidson LiveWire chassis

The die-cast aluminium frame embraces the battery and enhances the engine, making it beautiful to see and easy to drive with a weight of only 249 kg. It has advanced fully adjustable Showa suspension with the SFF-BP fork including separate functions and the mono BFRC. It mounts Brembo monobloc calipers and 300mm double disc at the front and a 260mm disc at the rear. One of the most brilliant innovations is the driving assistance platform called RDRS (Reflex Defensive Rider Systems).

It combines:

  • ABS and cornering traction control,
  • release torque control system (DSCS),
  • anti-lift and anti-wheelie functions.

Is easy to figure out that this system makes the LiveWire extremely intuitive and safe, managing perfectly the very high torque in any situation, on any type of terrain and type of route. But on the other hand, it may irritate riders who want to have complete control over the bike. However, it is possible to deactivate the DSCS if you’re a brave one who wants more freedom.

harley-davidson-livewire-suspension
Harley Davidson LiveWire suspension and brake

Harley LiveWire price and equipment

The result is a high-end motorcycle certainly not for everyone, with a base price list of €34,200 or $29,799 for the USA market, but it has everything you can imagine on a 2020 motorcycle. starting with assistance systems to the 7 riding modes, passing through electronics and connectivity.
The LiveWire has a configurable 4.9 cm TFT  touch display that keeps constantly updated on the status of the motorcycle. The bike includes also, obviously, the H-D Connect service. Which allows keeping track of important information like viewing the charging status, the location of the bike, tire pressure, battery level and so on.

The TFT Screen (Thin Film Technology) is a resistive touch screen activated by any object, from a finger to a pencil eraser to the tip of a credit card. Anything will activate the touch screen since it is made of two materials, that when pressed together, connects a circuit, letting the processor know where the touch took place. So it is certainly possible to interact easily also with gloves on.

The 4,9 cm touch screen display
The 4,9 cm touch screen display

Harley with this bike takes a big step towards sustainable mobility and the future. However, there is no shortage of problems. For example in the first sales period, the LiveWire did not achieve the intended objective. Many customers do not see a real Harley Davidson bike in the LiveWire and the ecological turnaround hasn’t attracted new customers. The only ones interested in buying a Livewire are so far only the most enthusiastic supporters of the Milwaukee Brand.

Nevertheless, Harley still believes a lot in design and electrification. What do you think about an electric future? Let us know your opinion here in the comments and subscribe the newsletter to stay updated! See you next time!

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