I used to be fortunate sufficient to be invited alongside to the Australian press launch of the 2020 Harley Davidson Livewire, the corporate’s first official foray into pure electrical bikes. Sure, I’m a really fortunate sod.
Upon arriving on the Sydney HQ of the 117-year-old bike producer, I used to be instantly struck by two issues. First, it was the gleaming fleet of twelve model new Livewires absolutely charged and able to go. Life doesn’t get a lot better for weirdos like me.
Secondly, it occurred to me that these twelve bikes alone had bolstered the whole fleet of street registered 100% electrical bikes in Australia by round 10%. This situation alone makes me need to rejoice and assist Harley Davidson as a result of it’s the first leap ahead in years.
The sort of us at Harley Davidson generously handed me a traditional fashionable trying gloss black Livewire and gave us an intro. “We’re going to begin you all in a decrease energy mode and work up from there all through the day” they mentioned to a collective groan. Nevertheless, primarily based on the moment experimentation by just about each rider, I’m fairly assured those that hadn’t ridden electrical earlier than all breathed a fairly sigh of aid and had been too busy grinning wildly to care.
We spent wonderful day driving round Sydney from Lane Cove to Brighton Le Sands then onto Cronulla, Kernell and again throughout city with loads of stops for ready photographers and a few refreshments alongside the best way.
The Electrical Bike Market in Australia
Electrical bikes are a distinct segment product in a distinct segment market (EV’s) and the Livewire has been intentionally designed to create yet one more area of interest – the super-premium electrical sports activities cruiser bike.
At slightly below $50,000 the corporate doesn’t count on it to be mass market product. What it does count on, primarily based on suggestions and deposits positioned up to now, is that it’ll attraction to sufficient patrons to kick off the following evolution of its bike historical past in an analogous technique to early and equally costly Tesla’s, for instance and will likely be adopted by a wider vary.
If you’re attempting to check its worth and worth to electrical vehicles, you’re lacking the purpose. Cease it.
If you’re attempting to check to different premium bikes, you’re getting a lot nearer.
As weird because it may appear to non-motorcyclists there’s a marketplace for premium bikes in Australia. Together with Harley Davidson, MV August, Ducati, Aprilia, Indian, BMW and even Brough Superior all checklist fashions at or near $50,000 and fairly just a few method greater than that.
Though official statistics aren’t publicly accessible, I’d take a guess primarily based on different mannequin gross sales that this phase may be just a few hundred bikes every year at finest in Australia. But it surely’s a really good market if you may get to it.
Premium bike patrons are clearly pushed to buy with 99% ardour and 1% logic. They’re pushed by a mixture of exclusivity, model loyalty, efficiency, nostalgia, and technological options with a heavy observe of thrill seeker inbuilt.
When you concentrate on the provide like this, it seems eminently logical, is totally the very newest expertise and is a great distance from the most costly choice in case you are that sort of purchaser.
So what about present electrical bike house owners like me?
Our hardy gang of round 100-150 native house owners are virtually completely early adopter motorcyclists. We’re hyped by the tech and excited by the efficiency. We’re ready to take the substantial threat that we may very well be left stranded with Zero assist after buying our bikes at a considerable premium after a comparatively brief time.
I can consider a handful of mates who can or would by the Livewire. All of us completely need one and the promise of higher than Zero service from such a longtime model is price one thing – however is it price $20,000 to us? Perhaps a fortunate few.
Together with a number of the different potential patrons we’re nicely researched and know that world wide there are some extraordinarily potent rivals who can provide a mixture of higher energy, higher vary and a wide range of kinds for much less cash.
The Zero SRF and Italian Energica are proper on the prime of that pack when it comes to quantity and affordability plus there’s a good mixture of exotics, just a few unicorns (Lightning) and a rising vary of off roaders and entry degree Chinese language made bikes.
However right here’s the catch mate.
Proper now, in Australia you solely have one selection for a beautiful, stump pulling all new electrical bike as a result of the Livewire is the one one accessible. So, begin saving.
Sure, it’s – with no shadow of a doubt – absolutely sick.
When it comes to key specification, the Livewire will do 0-100km in 3 seconds and has a prime pace slightly below 180kmh, which I completely didn’t check.
In sport mode, punch the throttle and you’re rewarded with gorgeous acceleration that none of my friends had something however reward for. In case you pin the throttle and blink the following nook will likely be in entrance of you and also you’ll be counting on regeneration and twin disks to get smart. Belief me.
As I had hoped, the throttle management is excellent and virtually with out exception higher than any petrol bike can ship, as a result of its absolutely programmable, digital and just about direct nature. You have got at your disposal just about any mixture of throttle response you can dream up for any driving situation – which is actually, actually essential on a motorbike.
It has a 15.5kWh (nom) 13.6kWEh usable battery pack utilizing Samsung SDI pouch cells, that are good for a claimed 235km of metropolis vary or 152km of freeway vary. Primarily based on my private expertise with an 11kWh pack, I’d say that they’re fairly sensible expectations.
The bike has wonderful dealing with and braking due to a sporty stance, nice tyres, excessive finish Showa absolutely adjustable suspension and the compulsory Brembo brakes. I intentionally put the Livewire by means of potholes, tough curbs, gravel and pace humps and it dealt with all of it fantastically. You’ll love punting this bike quick alongside winding mountain roads.
Though it’s on the heavy aspect at 251kg, it doesn’t really feel prefer it and is genuinely fairly nimble for a bigger bike. One of many advantages of electrical bikes is the burden distribution is extra versatile, they usually carry their weight down very low and naturally they don’t have any centrifugal mass to beat when turning.
The Livewire is bristling with tech as you’ll count on and has a wonderful show and management system. Throughout our trip I beloved getting access to all kinds of data even with out my cellphone being synched up which prevented full Bluetooth integration and GPS capabilities by means of my helmet.
All the usual data is there plus some preferences, 4 normal trip modes, three customisable trip modes and entry to a bunch of rider aids like stability management, anti-slip, ABS and many others. As an skilled electrical bike proprietor, I beloved this management and performance and the mixture of handlebar and glove-touch sprint management system was sensible.
Throughout one in all our photo-shoots we did a number of laps beneath the harbour bridge looping again previous photographers. I’d been on the bike all day and was feeling very snug and at dwelling so throughout the pace limits I used to be beginning to mess around extra.
On one loop as I exited a round-about and was nonetheless cranked over after I nailed it and received a scrumptious little rear wheel drift earlier than my mind related to my wrist and the bike settled properly. So naturally on the following lap, I attempted once more. This time a number of the rider aids kicked in and related my mind to my wrist by settling the bike down for me. Good!
You’ll simply should take my phrase for it that if you happen to trip bikes and really feel snug unleashing 105 horses with 116NM of torque in a linear line with no gear modifications, you’ll like this very a lot. It’s addictively enjoyable and oh so easy.
The motor is a everlasting magnet, liquid cooled AC motor which uniquely drives by means of a bevel gear association to drive the beefy belt and create a little bit of noise. The motor controller can also be liquid cooled so two of the first warmth affected parts are managed properly with a single small radiator.
The 254VDC nominal battery is air cooled by means of fairly a trendy die solid battery pack housing and a few air vents. It is going to be attention-grabbing to see how this performs as a result of I do know another electrical bikes endure from “thermal mass construct up” inside packs which can be being labored exhausting; as soon as they warmth up they’ll take alongside time to chill down.
Whereas we’re speaking battery I used to be fortunate sufficient to see beneath the bodywork and notably the battery pack housing is definitely a completely careworn a part of the chassis. There are two die solid body rails that bolt on to guard it and add some rigidity; an attention-grabbing design selection in comparison with most different names.
On board there’s a 1.4kW charger for Degree 1 charging. Most producers keep on with this form of energy degree largely to keep away from blowing family fuses I think, however to me, it’s too small for all essential “comfort charging at a good pace” and must be not less than double if not triple that dimension and simply restricted by means of the sprint to keep away from nuisance tripping.
Having mentioned this, it does have Degree 3 DC quick charging functionality by means of a trendy petrol cap changing CCS port on the fake tank so if yow will discover one just like the DELTA unit at HQ, you’ll be able to smash it with as much as 20kW, thanks very a lot.
It was fairly cool watching the staff queuing up with the fleet after our day lengthy metropolis trip and filling them again as much as 80% in actually 15 or 20 minutes.
I may preserve going however I’m drowning you in phrases already. I hope to have a video up quickly, a podcast not lengthy after together with an interview with one of many staff and you’ll learn extra from the official PowerPoint presentation right here.
In my pre-ride put up, I mentioned : “I need to see how the factor is put collectively in phrases construct high quality. Does it exude craftmanship and high quality? Does it look nice?”
The reply is sure. Bystanders gawked at us. With out a lot exception everybody agreed it was good-looking, a pleasant mix of Harley and fashionable styling and also you wouldn’t choose something that didn’t appear like respectable high quality. It seems quick and materials. It does characteristic just a few plastic panels right here and there however in true Harley fashion a beneficiant bunch of glitz and equipment can be found.
And I requested “Can I work on it? Is it put collectively in a method that makes issues accessible and simple? How will HD assist me if I’m an proprietor?”
I suppose it may be attainable, however I get a number of main clues to the truth that that wasn’t their focus and it has some complexities. The service intervals are the identical as a normal hog (roughly annual) though they highlighted the fee will likely be decrease as a result of simplicity. Nevertheless, I believe that’s okay as a result of if I discover $50k to personal one, then I can discover a couple of dollars to let HD do all of the work too.
I requested “what it appears like, particularly in comparison with my earlier electrical bikes. Does it ship the ability nicely? Is it quicker or slower? Can I mess around a bit with energy supply to go well with completely different moods? Does it deal with nicely?”
This can be a resounding sure. It felt subtle, had an important trip really feel and felt like high quality gear. I can tweak it a lot and it dealt with actually properly to me. It’s virtually two seconds faster than my six yr previous electrical, delivered the ability down decrease and felt considerably quicker general.
Does it go like stink? Did I get off feeling exhilarated and wanting one?
Sure, sure, and sure.
It’s not for everybody, however in case you are within the purchaser demographic get all the way down to an accepted HD vendor and get a check trip and a recent grin.