A few years ago, American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson stunned the world and its fans when it unveiled the LiveWire. The concept bike didn’t feature Harley’s iconic rumbling V-Twin motor but instead was a silent, emission-free look at the future of motorcycles. Now, four years since that day of silence, Harley has taken the wraps off the production-spec Livewire ahead of its launch next year.
Only 1% of the original concept has made its way onto the production bike. The Livewire remains a zero-emissions bike powered by electric motors. Harley-Davidson’s designers though went over every part of the concept and changed it to what you see before you today.
The cowl and the ‘fuel-tank’ of the Livewire electric motorcycle are painted orange, which provides a good contrast to the rest of the bike, which is painted a stealthy black. The fuel filler cap is actually the door to access the charging mechanism for the Livewire. The seats, tail section and the swingarm of the production Livewire are brand new as well. Also new is the full-colour display that features smartphone connectivity via Bluetooth for calls, music, navigation and diagnostics.
The pseudo-fuel tank up top reminds us of the one on the XR1200 but in the Livewire, it houses the battery pack underneath the glitzy flair. The batteries themselves are sealed inside an aluminium casing that Harley claims will help dissipate heat faster and more efficiently, considering the bikemaker’s claims that the electric bike is ‘very fast’.
Here is what it sounds like
Harley has not released any details about the powertrain but the production Livewire is expected to easily blast past the concept’s measly 65-kilometre range. Braking duties on the Livewire are handled by disc brakes from Brembo. The twin discs up front are a departure from the concept, though the single disc remains at the rear. Suspension duties meanwhile are handled by Showa’s adjustable suspension set-up with USD forks up front and a monoshock at the rear.
Here’s what Harley Davidson has to state about the Livewire, “We know some of the first buyers will be existing Harley owners but in order for us to be successful, it will need to reach a broad spectrum of people. We expect some of the first adopters will be electric vehicle enthusiasts who might not be motorcycle riders right now. They’re the sort of people who want to be first, they want to innovate and they don’t mind paying for what will be a premium product.”
The Livewire sees Harley-Davidson head towards a new future with its electric bikes. With Royal Enfield also moving towards electrification, who knows, we may see India playing host to a battle of not just small bikes, but also the future.