What is it?
It is a Harley-Davidson with the Harley-Davidson missing. Yes, this is one motorcycle from Milwaukee without a V-Twin motor. Instead, there is an electric induction motor tucked into a cast aluminium trellis frame making 74 bhp and 7.2 kgm of torque right from standstill. It weighs just 210 kg which combined with the power figure can propel the Livewire to 100 kph in under 4 seconds (claimed).
Oh, and before you get all excited, it isn’t in production just yet. The Project Livewire is essentially a prototype. Right now it is being previewed to a customer and select media to get feedback that will hopefully shape the first production electric motorcycles whenever it comes.
Is it fast?
Hell yes! Harley claims 0-100 kph in under 4 seconds and it is limited to roughly 150 kph. But the numbers don’t do it any justice. The moment you sit on the Livewire and twist the throttle, your brain sort of explodes. It is a strange sensation to be propelled to massive speeds with none of the sensations that you are familiar with from IC engines. No vibrations, no noise, no gearshifts. In Power mode, the Livewire just sort of catapults away and the power just does not let up. Right from standstill to the top speed, the motor delivers power in a seamless linear onslaught. It really is something else.
Does it handle well?
The Livewire has all its mass centred really low in the frame. And with a low COG comes better handling response. The Livewire is by far the best handling Harley I have ever ridden. It uses fully adjustable upside down forks up front and a single shock absorber at the rear. Direction changes are quick and it holds a line through corners really well and it’s quite hard to upset with quick direction changes. Tip it over and gas it and you can get a massive powerslide too. The ergonomics are perfect for sport riding and you can lean it over as far as you’d like with full confidence. I do wish there were some heel plates that I could hang on to. But other than that I have no complaints.
Should you buy it?
I don’t know how you feel about electric motorcycles, but if the Livewire were on sale and I wanted a fast city bike, I would definitely consider it. I used to think electric motorcycles were going to kill motorcycling as we know it too. But after riding the Livewire, I can totally see myself riding an electric motorcycle every single day. This is one Harley I want to own.