The Harley Davidson LiveWire is an American muscle bike to match any motorcycle on the market, yet all its power comes from an electric motor. You have the same joy of riding any Hog, just without the distinctive exhaust sounds you associate with a Harley.
If you were ever in doubt that riding an electric motorcycle would be anything different to riding a petrol machine, jumping on a Harley Davidson LiveWire quashes that immediately.
Harley has developed a powertrain with extraordinary performance allowing the rider the same thrill or as was my experience riding it, better than most standard machines. Due to instant power delivery to the rear wheel, the acceleration is blistering if you want it to be, and you will trust me.
The buzz you get when you open the throttle and whizz forward is addictive, yet quiet. Overtaking is a breeze with no downshifting required you open up then rocket past.
The Livewire has quite strong regenerative capture once the throttle is released, you don’t get a coast as you would with a standard bike, but you get the benefit of this action. It is like applying a brake without touching the brakes.
Another advantage of the regenerative braking is power going back into the battery to create more range. When using the Rain Mode, the regenerative braking appears to be disengaged so when you release the throttle the bike coasts.
The bike handles well even though I found when moving it around my forecourt or in car parks it seemed front heavy. This impression disappears as soon as you start riding, quickly changing direction and leaning in bends. In town or out on B-roads the LiveWire gives you the confidence to manoeuvre.
The cast Aluminum frame is strong yet light combining with an optimised centre of gravity, allowing for accurate and responsive movements with superb traction, braking and cornering.
I was impressed with the charger arrangement on the LiveWire, and the unit sits precisely under the seat which pops up when a lever is activated. You plug the male end into the female socket on the bike, then the three-pin plug into any domestic power supply. Full charge in eight hours, a faster charge is achieved by visiting any public Level 3 DC Fast Charge station for 80% charge in 40 minutes or 100% charge in an hour.
The high-voltage battery has a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty. A full charge provides 146 miles (235 km) of city range or 95 miles (152 km) of combined stop-and-go and highway range.
The LiveWire is crammed with electronic rider aids keeping you out of trouble before you step offline. RDRS are the Reflex Defensive Rider Systems which combine to provide control and confident riding in any situation. They include Enhanced Anti-Lock Braking, Cornering Enhanced Traction Control and Drag-Torque slip control.
Seven selectable Ride Modes are available which electronically control the performance characteristics of the motorcycle and the level of RDRS intervention. I found myself using Sport mode most of the time as the performance is thrilling, although putting power on early coming out of a roundabout I had a little slide from the back end. I quickly changed the mode using the controls on the right handlebar, selecting Rain.
An excellent digital display is on the LiveWire showing all essential information which you can adjust to your taste to see preferences. It is a Touchscreen and works well even with gloves on, and is bright in any light conditions.
Summing up is quite hard as I love the LiveWire, wanting to ride it every day I had it. Yet I probably could not justify buying one myself. I say yet because I would own one without a shadow of a doubt, I can’t afford one which is the dilemma. Across my social media, people loved what I was saying about the LiveWire and how it looks, but they kept saying would you buy one?
My answer was always the same, yes if I had the money. Once you ride one, yours will be the same, with a smile on your face.
Harley Davidson LiveWire – Where and How?
- Price starts at £28,995.
- 0 to 60 mph (0 to 100 kph) in 3.0 seconds and 60 to 80 mph (100 to 129 kph) in 1.9 seconds.
As a low-emissions motorcycle, LiveWire benefits from a government grant of 20% of the initial purchase price, up to a maximum of £1,500, plus a £350 contribution towards the cost of purchasing and installing a dedicated home ChargePoint unit.
Businesses can benefit from the Workplace Charging Scheme, and VAT-registered customers and business users can claim back the 20% VAT associated with a business or promotional use.
For more information, visit www.harley-davidson.com.
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