The electrical hog that goes like stink
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 motorbike producer, I used to be instantly struck by two issues. First, it was the gleaming fleet of twelve model new Livewires totally charged and able to go. Life doesn’t get significantly better for weirdos like me.
Secondly, it occurred to me that these twelve bikes alone had bolstered the full fleet of highway registered 100% electrical bikes in Australia by round 10%. This subject alone makes me wish to rejoice and help Harley Davidson as a result of it’s the first leap ahead in years.
The type people at Harley Davidson generously handed me a traditional fashionable wanting 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 stated to a collective groan. Nevertheless, based mostly on the moment experimentation by nearly 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 Motorbike 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 one more area of interest – the super-premium electrical sports activities cruiser motorbike.
At slightly below $50,000 the corporate doesn’t anticipate it to be mass market product. What it does anticipate, based mostly on suggestions and deposits positioned to this point, is that it’ll enchantment to sufficient patrons to kick off the subsequent evolution of its motorbike historical past in an identical technique to early and equally costly Tesla’s, for instance and will likely be adopted by a wider vary.
If you’re making an attempt to match its value and worth to electrical vehicles, you’re lacking the purpose. Cease it.
If you’re making an attempt to match to different premium bikes, you’re getting a lot nearer.
As weird because it might sound 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 listing fashions at or near $50,000 and fairly a couple of method larger than that.
Though official statistics aren’t publicly obtainable, I’d take a guess based mostly on different mannequin gross sales that this phase is perhaps a couple of hundred bikes every year at finest in Australia. However it’s a really good market if you may get to it.
Premium motorbike patrons are clearly pushed to buy with 99% ardour and 1% logic. They’re pushed by a mix of exclusivity, model loyalty, efficiency, nostalgia, and technological options with a heavy notice of thrill seeker inbuilt.
When you consider the provide like this, it seems to be eminently logical, is completely the very newest expertise and is a good distance from the most costly possibility if you’re that sort of purchaser.
They may promote.
So what about current electrical motorbike 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 danger that we might be left stranded with Zero help 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? Possibly a fortunate few.
Together with among the different potential patrons we’re nicely researched and know that around the globe there are some extraordinarily potent opponents who can provide a mixture of higher energy, higher vary and a wide range of types for much less cash.
The Zero SRF and Italian Energica are proper on the prime of that pack by way of quantity and affordability plus there’s a good mixture of exotics, a couple of unicorns (Lightning) and a rising vary of off roaders and entry stage Chinese language made bikes.
However right here’s the catch mate.
Proper now, in Australia you solely have one alternative for a beautiful, stump pulling all new electrical motorbike as a result of the Livewire is the one one obtainable. So, begin saving.
Sure, it’s – with out a shadow of a doubt – totally 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 take a look at.
In sport mode, punch the throttle and you’re rewarded with gorgeous acceleration that none of my friends had something however reward for. When you pin the throttle and blink the subsequent 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 consequence of its totally programmable, digital and nearly direct nature. You’ve at your disposal nearly any mixture of throttle response you may dream up for any driving situation – which is basically, actually vital 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 lifelike expectations.
The bike has wonderful dealing with and braking due to a sporty stance, nice tyres, excessive finish Showa totally adjustable suspension and the compulsory Brembo brakes. I intentionally put the Livewire by 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 load distribution is extra versatile, they sometimes carry their weight down very low and naturally they haven’t any centrifugal mass to beat when turning.
The Livewire is bristling with tech as you’ll anticipate and has a superb show and management system. Throughout our journey I beloved gaining access to all kinds of knowledge even with out my telephone being synched up which prevented full Bluetooth integration and GPS features by my helmet.
All the usual information is there plus some preferences, 4 commonplace journey modes, three customisable journey modes and entry to a bunch of rider aids like stability management, anti-slip, ABS and so on. As an skilled electrical motorbike proprietor, I beloved this management and performance and the mixture of handlebar and glove-touch sprint management system was sensible.
Throughout certainly one of our photo-shoots we did a number of laps below the harbour bridge looping again previous photographers. I’d been on the bike all day and was feeling very comfy and at dwelling so inside 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 once I nailed it and bought a scrumptious little rear wheel drift earlier than my mind linked to my wrist and the bike settled properly. So naturally on the subsequent lap, I attempted once more. This time among the rider aids kicked in and linked my mind to my wrist by settling the bike down for me. Good!
You’ll simply should take my phrase for it that should you journey bikes and really feel comfy unleashing 105 horses with 116NM of torque in a linear line with no gear adjustments, 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 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 fairly a trendy die forged battery pack housing and a few air vents. It is going to be fascinating to see how this performs as a result of I do know another electrical bikes undergo from “thermal mass construct up” inside packs which are being labored laborious; 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 below the bodywork and notably the battery pack housing is definitely a totally confused a part of the chassis. There are two die forged body rails that bolt on to guard it and add some rigidity; an fascinating design alternative in comparison with most different names.
On board there’s a 1.4kW charger for Degree 1 charging. Most producers stick with this type of energy stage largely to keep away from blowing family fuses I believe, however to me, it’s too small for all vital “comfort charging at a good pace” and ought to be not less than double if not triple that measurement and simply restricted by the sprint to keep away from nuisance tripping.
Having stated this, it does have Degree 3 DC quick charging functionality by a trendy petrol cap changing CCS port on the fake tank so if you’ll find one just like the DELTA unit at HQ, you may 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 journey and filling them again as much as 80% in actually 15 or 20 minutes.
I may hold 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 submit, I stated : “I wish 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 to be first rate high quality. It seems to be quick and materials. It does characteristic a couple of plastic panels right here and there however in true Harley model 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 help me if I’m an proprietor?”
I assume it is perhaps doable, 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 typical hog (roughly annual) though they highlighted the fee will likely be decrease as a consequence of simplicity. Nevertheless, I feel 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 seems like, particularly in comparison with my earlier electrical bikes. Does it ship the ability nicely? Is it sooner or slower? Can I mess around a bit with energy supply to swimsuit totally different moods? Does it deal with nicely?”
This can be a resounding sure. It felt refined, had an ideal journey really feel and felt like high quality gear. I can tweak it loads and it dealt with actually properly to me. It’s virtually two seconds faster than my six yr outdated electrical, delivered the ability down decrease and felt considerably sooner total.
Does it go like stink? Did I get off feeling exhilarated and wanting one?
Sure, sure, and sure.
It’s not for everybody, however if you’re within the purchaser demographic get right down to an permitted HD seller and get a take a look at journey and a recent grin.