On Saturday, I went to Paradise Harley-Davidson in Beaverton, OR to check out the company's newest creation - LiveWire. Project LiveWire, as it's officially called, is an electric bike that features a 74 hp, 52 pound of torque motor. The current range is just 53 miles but the bike is still a prototype and not available for purchase. At the end of my test ride I was given the opportunity to provide my opinion on the bike which Harley-Davidson will use before they roll-out a final product.
Here is my review of Harley-Davidson's LiveWire Electric Motorcycle.
The bike was extremely comfortable and I felt like I could ride for hours without having to take an extended break. The seat was great, not too hard, and not too soft. The riding position was an upright riding position with your feet just about directly beneath you. The handlebars were great and Harley riders should feel right at home as the company based these controls from their other bikes. I really can't complain about the comfort of the bike.
I really liked the touch screen display for your dash. It worked great with or without gloves on. There were many different options you could sort through for what you wanted displayed and it was pretty easy to navigate.
The power delivery was surprising smooth and Harley did a great job keeping it from being jerky. Accelerating was smooth and very powerful. We were told it would go 0-65mph in 4 seconds. One thing I did notice on the power delivery when accelerating is the throttle twist seemed a bit longer than what I am used to. I am thinking maybe Harley did this to help prevent accidentally putting to much power to wheel to fast, because this thing definitely has a lot of it.
"Engine Braking" was great. When letting off the throttle the bike uses regenerative braking to give some power back to the battery. It acts like engine braking on a gas-powered bike. No matter how fast or slow I was going, when I let off the throttle it was a very smooth and gradual "Engine Braking" that worked surprisingly well. How well the "Engine Braking" worked could be a good thing and a bad thing. When riding around you could get away with never having to touch the front or rear brake unless you had to come to a quick stop for some reason. While this seems neat it keeps you from using the brakes and actuating the brake lights.
You have to consciously remember when you start slowing to at least tap the brakes to indicate you are slowing down to the people behind you.
It was a bit weird at first riding without a clutch. I actually adapted to it surprisingly quick though, maybe about five minutes into the ride. The other thing that was different is the blinkers have a switch on their respective side of the handlebars. So turning right was a bit weird having to push a button on the throttle side. The nice thing though, is that they were self-canceling blinkers. As stated previously Harley riders should feel pretty much at home as the grips and bars closely resemble current production Harley controls.
The bike felt great on the road. Currently the model they are demoing weighs in around 460 lbs. It felt surprisingly light and nimble in the corners. The bike just went where you wanted it to go with ease. There were two power modes to choose from while riding. You can choose from "Normal" mode which will get you around 60 miles on a battery charge or "Power" mode which gets you about 30 miles before needing a charge. It takes about 3 hours to fully charge the battery. Normal mode felt great and had tons of power, in fact plenty of power to put a smile on your face. Power mode is supposed to be similar but has a lot more low-end power. Both will get you to the top speed, which is about 100 MPH.
Written by: Ryan Baeschlin