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Harley-Davidson LiveWire Pricing Announced – In U.S. Dealers This Fall

Several years after MD rode a prototype, the Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle is finally coming to U.S. dealerships this Fall with an MSRP of $29,799. Harley claims a 0-60 MPH time of under 3.5 seconds and 110 miles of battery range riding “urban roads”.

Here are all the details from Harley, along with information on two electric concepts (pictured below).

LAS VEGAS (January 7, 2019) – Harley-Davidson, the company that has defined the motorcycle industry for the past 116 years, today revealed two new concept electric two-wheelers and announced pricing and pre-order availability for LiveWire™, its first electric production motorcycle, at the biggest show in consumer electronics in Las Vegas. The 2020 LiveWire™ motorcycle is now available for US dealer pre-order at h-d.com/LiveWire with deliveries expected this fall and select global markets announced at a later date.

The LiveWire represents the future of Harley-Davidson, bringing high-performance electric propulsion, evocative design, and cellular connectivity to today’s rider. The first of a new electric portfolio of motorcycles that provides an all new two-wheel experience, LiveWire delivers thrilling acceleration, agile handling, premium materials and finishes, and a full suite of electronic rider aids and interfaces for a completely connected experience. 

The performance of the LiveWire motorcycle will deliver an exhilarating ride for seasoned motorcyclists, while its clutch-free design also makes the experience for new riders easier than ever. Harley-Davidson also debuted two additional, electrified future concepts that further explore the potential of urban mobility. In keeping with LiveWire, both concepts bring Harley-Davidson’s expertise in expressive two-wheeled experiences and push boundaries in design and technology. These motorcycles are a significant part of the More Roads to Harley-Davidson plan to accelerate building the next generation of riders through new products in additional motorcycle segments, broader access and a commitment to strengthen dealers globally. 

H-D Electric Concept 1 and 2

“We’re at a historic juncture in the evolution of mobility, and Harley-Davidson is at the forefront,” said Matt Levatich, Harley-Davidson’s President and CEO. “Innovation that moves the body and soul has always been at the heart of our brand, and this next chapter in our history is about creating products and opportunities for existing and aspiring riders of all ages and walks of life.”

“Our vision for the future is all encompassing,” said Levatich. “For all ages, from urban professional to exurban retiree, and from commute-minded to thrill-seeking, we are creating the products and opportunities for existing and aspiring riders to feel the transformative power of the two-wheeled riding experience. These two concepts are further statements towards that our commitment to lead in the electric mobility space that begins this fall with the production 2020 LiveWire.”

LiveWire Pre-Order Details

For more information on the new Harley-Davidson LiveWire motorcycle (US MSRP $29,799), as well as updates on future additional bikes, visit Harley-Davidson.com/Electric

An All-New Riding Experience with Iconic Harley-Davidson Power

Accessible to new motorcyclists and a thrill for accomplished riders, the LiveWire motorcycle is the perfect combination of power, performance and technology. Features include:

  • Amazing acceleration: from 0 to 60 mph in under 3.5 seconds. The instant torque provided by the H-D Revelation™ electric powertrain can produce 100 percent of its rated torque the instant the throttle is twisted, and 100 percent of that torque is always available.
  • Twist-and-go ease of use: Electric power requires no clutch and no gear shifting, greatly simplifying operation for new riders. All riders will appreciate the braking effect of the power regeneration mode as it adds charge to the battery, especially in stop-and-go urban traffic.
  • H-D™ Connect Service: The LiveWire motorcycle is equipped with H-D™ Connect, which pairs motorcycle riders with their bikes through an LTE-enabled Telematics Control Unit coupled with connectivity and cloud services using the latest version of the Harley-Davidson™ App. This technology makes the LiveWire motorcycle the first North American mass-market cellular-connected electric motorcycle. With H-D Connect, data is collected and transferred to the app to provide information to the rider’s smartphone about:
    • Motorcycle status: Information available through H-D Connect includes battery charge status and available range from any location where a sufficient cellular signal is available. This allows the rider to remotely check the charge status including charge level and time to completion. Riders will be able to locate a charging station with ease thanks to an integrated location finder built into the H-D App.
    • Tamper alerts and vehicle location: H-D Connect indicates the location of the parked LiveWire motorcycle and alerts can be sent to the rider’s smartphone if the bike is tampered with or moved. GPS-enabled stolen-vehicle tracking provides peace of mind that the motorcycle’s location can be tracked.* 
    • Service reminders and notifications: Reminders about upcoming vehicle service requirements, automated service reminders and other vehicle care notifications.
  • Performance and range optimized for the urban street-rider: Able to travel an estimated 110 miles of urban roads on a single charge.
  • Handling and control: The LiveWire motorcycle chassis is designed to deliver agile handling for confident control on urban streets and a thrilling ride on curving backroads. The H-D Revelation™ powertrain sits low in the motorcycle to lower the center of gravity and help the motorcycle handle well at all speeds and make it easier to balance when stopped. The motorcycle also features advanced technology including standard cornering-enhanced Anti-lock Braking System and Traction Control. The systems are fully electronic and utilize the latest inertial measurement unit and ABS sensor technology.
  • Distinctive Harley-Davidson sound, minimal vibration: The H-D Revelation electric powertrain produces minimal vibration, heat, and noise, all of which enhance rider comfort. The LiveWire model is designed to produce a new signature Harley-Davidson sound as it accelerates and gains speed. This new futuristic sound represents the smooth, electric power of the LiveWire motorcycle.

For more information on the “More Roads to Harley-Davidson” plan, go to https://investor.harley-davidson.com/news-and-events/accelerated-strategy. 


See more of MD’s great photography: Instagram

207 Comments

  1. Bubba Blue says:

    Make it slower and less expensive with a longer range. It doesn’t need that much power. Less is more. Make it about as quick as a motorscooter. WHo needs 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds in an electric motorcycle? What’s the point? The point is … well, I don’t really get the point of an electric motorcycle. That’s not that fast anyway. My Hayabusa was about 2.8 seconds. Quarter mile times would be more informative.

  2. Steven says:

    You can buy a Prius for about 24K. This is crazy, what is HD thinking? This might be the end.

  3. Auphliam says:

    I like the bike. Hate the price. Just way too expensive. People scoffed at Victory for trying to sell what was basically the same level of performance for 10K less. I don’t see that much more value in an IMU and a smart phone app.

  4. ben says:

    I would not buy it if it were $2500. Pigs will fly before I purchase an electric motorcyce

  5. I’m guessing if the H-D MoCo, is serious about this Livewire adventure. They’ll only build these as ordered. Otherwise at $29G these will sit on the sales floor until heavily discounted. I’m sorry not interested.

  6. DON M. says:

    $30K? OMG, even with HD’s level of arrogance, surely they can’t expect these to sell. If you build them, they will only stack up in warehouses.

  7. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    I just watched a couple YouTubes of a promotional nature about the first versions of the LiveWire and was struck by how deliberate the verbage walked around all the faults of the bike. It looks like HD new very well how impractical the design was and did nothing to fix the resident issues in the last couple years. Somebody here mentioned “Hail Mary play”.

  8. Magnus says:

    Awesome bike, just need to chop the motor, batteries, and controller, hang a big twin from the trellis frame, and we’ll be cooking with gas! As for the concept bikes, too little, too late. Bosch, Yamaha, and Shimano (amongst others) are already producing their second and third iterations of this idea.

  9. mickey says:

    Electric bikes have their own noise, and although I appreciate quiet bikes, the noise an electric makes I find quite irritating. Whirring or whining, what ever you want to call it, and yes I have ridden one. I didn’t find the lack of gears off putting, and the Zero S I rode had plenty of power. The brakes were good. I found the suspension very stiff. I also found it most disconcerting to pull up to a stop light or stop sign and receive no feedback from the bike. It was like it stalled or just quit. That was probably my fourth biggest complaint about the bike, although one would certainly get accustomed to it I suppose. My wife’s Toyota does basically the same thing. Pull up to a stop light and it quits. My wife likes it. Drives me nuts. My first three complaints about the e bike were the price, range and recharging time. The new Harley does nothing to address those issues and even makes it worse with a 33% premium in price.

    Fail to see how this will sell in any significant numbers. Could be wrong.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’ve owned 6 Harleys in my life. Only one was new ($6k sportster). Now that I am retired and 63, my next bike will be a Ninja 650 or 400. I would love an electric scooter that goes at least 60 mph with a 100 mi. range.

    • mickey says:

      I’ve always thought a scooter would be the perfect platform for an electric bike.

      • Dave says:

        I agree. Even gas scooters represent some of the most efficient personal transportation you can get (check out the Yamaha X-max 300). I feel the same way about cars- I think the Checy Bolt or Nissan Leaf is much closer to ideal personal transportation than anything Tesla makes, but unfortunately, a transportation revolution must pull at the consumer’s heart strings and we consumers generally covet performance metrics that aren’t really practically important (acceleration, top-speed, super-long range). If people were really honest with themselves about how they used their vehicles and informed their purchases that way, the transportation landscape in the US would look completely different. Scooters and small cars would be far more common on our roads.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Indeed. Is BMW the only mainstream OEM that makes one?

  11. Magnus says:

    Love the bike! Just need to chop the motor, battery, and controller out of it and hang a big twin from the trellis frame and we’ll be cooking with gas! As for the concept bikes, way too little, way too late! It’s already being done very well by others; Bosch, Yamaha, and Shimano plus a number of lesser known names.

  12. Gerald says:

    The price, range and weight. It should sink like an anchor in the Mariana Trench.

  13. SeTh says:

    Is H-D Electric Concept 1 for sale? Not interested in anything else.

  14. Anonymous says:

    keep selling t-shirts!

  15. jimjim says:

    Bar hopping range…perfect!

    • Anonymous says:

      The same as plenty of ICE bikes with small gas tanks. A stupid idea whose time should never have come. This thing is worthless except for people with green egos.

      As for its HD signature sound? Probably sounds like a vacuum sucking your wallet dry.

  16. Mick says:

    I never expect much technical excellence out of Harley Davidson. Here is an example why. $30k for a bike that is obsolete out of the box. With the kind of range that only a city dweller can use. I wouldn’t be able to get to the nearest city and back on a charge.

    Given that Zero claims of highway miles are half that of urban miles. This bike is probably good for about 55 highway miles. That’s a darn short leash for a premium priced bike. One with less than half the range of a bike that costs half as much.

  17. Fred says:

    A technological marvel I am sure.
    How does it translate ‘Whirrrr Whirrr’ into a seriously dB loud ‘Potato Potato’ without means of external speakers ?
    Ah, a wonderful marvel of engineering that for sure, even if it took 6 long years.

    • Reginald Van Blunt says:

      Obviously, it will do the mashed potato, or savory potato depending on how hep the rider wants to appear.
      I am trying to find a place in my minds eye to catagorise it and nothing works, which may be the bigger problem in the long run for HD. Cruiser, Sportbike, Standard, Sportster, Bagger, Moto, Adventure Tourer, Triumph Rocket 3 wannabe ? The crotch rocket ergoes appear to be the greatest discontinuity of image.

  18. Anonymous says:

    A technological marvel I am sure. Does it translate ‘Whirrr Whirrr’ into a high dB ‘Potato Potato’ without the use of speakers ???
    I seriously doubt it.

  19. Ghostryderinthesky says:

    Should be good for at least 10 trips to Starbucks between charges.
    Don’t forget to get your free cup card punched.
    You’re gonna need it.

  20. Bad chad says:

    The Zero SR. The zero can go over twice as far for almost half the money. I’ll give the HD the edge on looks, but that knee bend looks like a lot.

  21. slimlidlicker says:

    Dear HD. Please fire your styling department and your marketing department.
    Styling – Not that this bike looks bad, but, it is a problem if you spend too much time dressing for the party that you miss the actual party. Let the HD Engineers rule the roost for once. They will turn out a good looking, more functional, machine in half the time. Development lead-time on this bike was sad.
    Marketing – Fire who you have working in this department and hire some folks that eat, sleep and live in their helmets. Preferably, people that ride to work and preferably people that do not ride HDs to work. HD marketing is disconnected from motorcycling and it is ruining your company.

    • todd says:

      Wow, you just described a whole group of people that wouldn’t want to work for H-D.

    • Rimfire Hunt says:

      Love your post. You nailed it and in an entertaining way.

    • TimC says:

      Nailed it so hard. H-D has always been about selling bikes to bikers, not motorcycles to motorcyclists. The “ride to work” part nails it – when I rode to work in SF I don’t recall ONE H-D EVER in any motorcycle parking slot.

      If the Fashion Party is over, H-D is lost when it comes to figuring out anything non-H-D Image people might want to ride.

  22. StevenT says:

    I’ve read motorcycledaily pretty much every day for many years, but this is my first comment. I have had more motorcycles than I would want to count, from dirt to cruisers to liter bikes to my current KTM SDR.

    I really like this bike! I agree it should not have taken 4 years from prototype to dealership, but this is full size, real electric motorcycle, it looks great, and it’s sold by a (mostly) American company. Sure, I wish it was $19K rather than $29K, but this thing is NOT a turd. Not even close. I want one!

    I challenge anyone to point out a real competitor to this for less money. The closest is a Lito SORA, and it costs $77K!

    • Gary says:

      Harley riders are notoriously brand loyal … but only if the bike is a v-twin with enormous pistons. They will buy nothing else. The real question: Can Harley lure non-Harley people with electric tech. In that case they are competing against gas-powered bikes, which offer similar performance at a much lower purchase price. Tesla has proven it is possible, and I wish Harley all the luck. But I’m very skeptical.

      • TimC says:

        Enormous pistons are the big trucks of bike-land

        Oh and electric tech/luring? No way – if non-bike people were fascinated by this every bun-head in the land would have a Zero already.

    • Rimfire Hunt says:

      I can see your point. You are saying it’s the best ebike for it’s money. So if it was 20k you would buy it because it has better performance and about equal range to it’s nearest competitor (another ebike). I’m a sportbike guy so I would buy it at 30k if it had similar styling, range, speed, agility, as a Honda CBR1000RR. For 20k I would expect supersport performance (600cc). So I would pay roughly twice as much for similar performance. But this bike isn’t a sportbike. It can’t match even supersport performance. So does this bike compete against a gas naked standard or cruiser? Against naked standard it has equal performance less range and is over 3 times the price. Against a cruiser this is 1/3 more than the V-Rod was correct? Will cruiser riders buy it. People make the Tesla comparison but Tesla competes against similarly priced Luxury cars. Price out a high BMW vs a Tesla S and a BMW 3 series against the low end Tesla. But cars are primary forms of transportation. Bikes in the U.S. are hobby items. My problem is I don’t think the market is big enough for it even as a luxury bike.

  23. graham mccullough says:

    I don’t know how many they expect sell, but at $29,800 I don’t think it will be very many.

  24. Gary says:

    Looks like a Hail Mary to me. I wish them luck.

  25. John Fisher says:

    I am on my fourth Honda. Over the years I paid far less for all four of them than the price of this Harley. As I get older (70) I keep looking for a reason to buy a Harley. This is not it.

  26. Fuj says:

    Zero it is then.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Hey, how about showing a little optimism. No more exploding cam chain tensioners and misaligned flywheels with excessive pinion shaft run out.

  28. Tommy see says:

    Chip n Charge at every Dealership. Good luck HD. Finally a smooth n quiet ride.

  29. todd says:

    Maybe Harley shouldn’t have stabbed Alta in the back – but then, maybe they were afraid of them becoming competition and had to eliminate them?

    • todd says:

      Oh, and then Harley opens an electric motorcycle development facility nearby to poach all the employees now looking for a job. Much cheaper than a partnership. Making ‘Murica great!

  30. Ed says:

    It almost seems that HD is following the Sears business model. HD management isn’t to blame, its the share holders that allow such a bunch of incompetent leaders to manage the MOCO.

  31. azicat says:

    This reminds me a lot of the Leica camera company. They released a range of eccentric, buggy, and anachronistic digital camera designs about 5 years after other companies had already sold mature digital products for less than half the price. People still bought the Leicas though, and the company continues to limp along at the boutique brand market segment.

  32. bmbktmracer says:

    One wonders if they might have been wiser to create the first hybrid motorcycle rather than a full-on electric. I also wonder about the near silence, as HD is the home of the “loud pipes saves lives” crowd.

    Also, just as a bit of info, EVs always have better urban range than highway range. EVs use little power at a standstill and are very efficient at less than 50% peak power. If the bike has an urban range of 110 miles, most likely the highway range will be less than 75 miles.

    It is a cool-looking machine and it’s possible they went with this look to try and draw those without vests and chaps into dealerships.

    • Todd says:

      Correction: EV motor efficiency has almost nothing to do with power usage. Electric motorcycle range is primarily affected by the drag caused by air resistance which increases geometrically with speed.

  33. Bernie says:

    They will still have that same iconic sound “potato potato”. Part of the sound system! Optional amplifiers of 20,000 watts will be available. Disclaimer: mileage may be reduced with use of these amplifiers.

  34. bad Chad says:

    It has less than half the range, and yet its almost double the price of a Zero SR, INSANE!

    • Fivespeed302 says:

      Comparing this to the SR isn’t quite fair. The Zero is made from the cheapest components available. Everything from bargain bin turn signals, to crappy brakes, to flimsy plastics is used on the Zero. The Harley is definitely not a bargain however, and I wouldn’t even consider buying one. After my experience with owning a Zero, I wouldn’t consider owning another one of those either.

  35. steveinsandiego says:

    HD became popular, rich, and famous when the baby-boomer dudes embraced its products – fine’n’dandy, but i doubt many guys and gals younger than i (70) will turn head over heels for this new product, much less the continuing line of big cruisers.
    as i’ve mentioned before, i tested a new 2015 or 2016 street bob. i loved everything about it, but i couldn’t justify the price, even tho’ all cash was burning a hole in my pocket. heck, if i wait a year, say, maybe i’ll find a new one for 10K 😉 😉

  36. Scottie says:

    I went down to the store on Broadway here in Manhattan the day they had test rides. Didn’t have time to ride but it looked interesting. In case you were wondering, that was JULY 2014! By the time this gets to dealers, FIVE YEARS will have elapsed. You can’t survive in today’s world unless you move more quickly.

  37. Rimfire Hunt says:

    Needs to be around $12k-15k

    Harley Stock today $36.48 per share

    52Wk Range

    31.36-56.50

    Harley really needs a cash cow as it’s stock is under performing vs it’s low P/E ratio Normally folks would pounce on this stock with the low ratio. So investors aren’t buying in yet. They see an aging customer base, a slow market for bikes and new riders are going elsewhere. Here on the Techy west coast Tesla owners aren’t the types to have HDs in the garage. Having a Tesla is a fashion statement and status symbols that says I’m successful, environmentally conscious and a love high tech. The cars are beautiful and fun to drive. But Teslas are their daily drivers. For more fun, if a Telsa owner does have a bike it’s more likely to be a Ducati. Ducatis are also chic here and I see the younger techy types riding the lower end Ducati bikes like the Monster and Supersport. Those Ducati bikes have good tech, especially the Supersport. Too bad they killed Buell. A high end electric sportbike designed by Buell would attract the high end techy crowd.

  38. stone996e says:

    30K and it goes approx. 100 miles on a charge? DOA.

  39. carl says:

    WTF 110 mile range?? For this price maybe harley and starbucks could come together, offer life time latte’s with every bike sold. Does anyone remember the Polaris impulse. Very similar looking, they couldn’t give them away.

  40. Jon says:

    If the hard core Harley fans hated the V-rod(I have one and love it), what makes Harley think this thing will sell. Especially considering the price.

    Nice concept but I predict not many will be seen on the street.

    Sadly, Harley just doe not make anything I would consider buying at this point.

    • mechanicus says:

      I’ve owned 10 HD’s since ’82. Agree 100%. I cant see it selling – who is the target mission or audience? I don’t see anything I need in that thing.

    • TimC says:

      V-Rod – exactly. A fine bike by many accounts but not what the H-D standard market wants, and also proves that if they try to redefine that market it just doesn’t work. Which means there’s probably several lessons in there….

  41. mickey says:

    According to the video link I posted earlier from Jay Leno’s garage the first electric motorcycle was patented in 1897 and by early 1900’s Popular mechanics said they would go 75-100 miles on a charge. Here’s the link again, watch the first 2 minutes at least.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyJr8BoklC0

    Tell me again how far we have come with electric motorcycles? lol

  42. JR says:

    Well… for 30 grand.. they should expect to sell at least two.. maybe three. Yes.. lets all park our gas powered vehicles and drive electric. Yes.. good idea.. have anymore jokes to tell?

  43. Gary says:

    I really wanted a solid win for H-D. I was hoping the Livewire would be their Phoenix. At $30k this will be a limited production model that will not finance additional R&D to more mainstream electric bikes. If H-D can’t produce a model more aligned with other commercial offerings from this design, it appears to be a dead end. Perhaps H-D is just looking to hose early adopters.

    I agree that this bike isn’t intended for motorcyclists or bikers. But at $30,000 I don’t see it attracting riders who want to develop riding skills, but rather show off their wallets. H-D has always attracted posers…it looks like they are targeting a new type of poser.

  44. kawatwo says:

    Cool but not for 30 grand. I would like to see a trend toward cheaper more practical freeway capable electric motorcycles. I will wait for the Chinese knockoff:)

  45. Rapier says:

    Why does it essentially have rear sets? So you won’t want to ride it more than 50 miles? Otherwise the rider triangle looks all screwed up.

  46. Michael says:

    Way too expensive. Also, the claim of 110 mile city range and 0-60 of 3.5 seconds are mutually exclusive. City range will be more like 40-50 miles with a few 0-60 runs.

    • HS1... says:

      …And a bigger range devil is likely hiding in the detail or definition of their carefully worded term, “urban roads” . Does Harley believe these to be 30 or 45 MPH routes? It definitely seems to be a weasel worded phrase.

    • bmidd says:

      Sweet. My 2005 VFR800 will go 0-60 in 3.4 seconds. And will do it after riding 200 miles without stopping for fuel.

  47. G Hill says:

    I’ll take the Concept on the right For $2500 Alex. What is 25 miles. Put on some bags and it is good for 90% of my riding. Distinctive HD sound?? Please tell me it is a speaker going Potato potato.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Harley is about to step on a live wire.

  49. VLJ says:

    0-60 in 3.5 seconds is ungodly slow for any sort of performance-oriented motorcycle, never mind an electric motorcycle. A 110-mile range (only when ridden ultra-conservatively) makes this bike worthless for anything other than urban commuting, assuming you also have access to charge-up stations. $30K will buy you a decent electric car AND a KTM 790 Duke, if your tastes really do run toward electric, orange, weird, and having actual fun.

    The best comment I’ve read here so far mentioned the main problem with this bike, and why it will languish on showroom floors, after being jammed down dealers’ throats in the first place. Obsolescence. Every other Harley model is immune to the Japanese Sportbike Issue, Circa the 1990s and early 2000s, during which the manufacturers updated their supersport models every two or three years, rendering your three-year-old model no longer the fashionably cutting-edge scoot it was at the time of purchase. Or, since we’re talking electric products, think of any smartphone. No one wants a five-year-old iPhone or Galaxy. Technology moves too quickly, and your top-o’-the-line Galaxy 4S all too suddenly becomes worthless to you.

    This LiveWire will absolutely need to receive massive tech-upgrades and a much lower price before it can become a competitive product, so who in their right mind (besides wealthy collectors of novelty items) is going to shell out $30K for something that is already woefully obsolete? Every year, hell, every month that it languishes on that showroom floor it will only fall further and further behind the field, and Harley will be forced to improve the tech, rendering your first-year, over-priced Beta tester ever more obsolete.

    So, what’s the point?

    • Dave says:

      I don’t think there will be much cross-shopping going on. People who will be interested in this probably won’t be interested in a ICE bike on any level. This is a toy for the wealthy, almost none of whom are going to look at this for it’s utility, and HD probably don’t expect to sell 1,000’s of them, anyway.

      As for the performance, 3.5 sec zero to 60 is VERY FAST, for any vehicle. The best 600 SS bikes are only .5 sec faster and I’d wager that the vast majority of riders can’t pilot any motorcycle to 60mph that quickly, regardless of what it’s actually capable of, just the launch would to too difficult for most.

      • Jon says:

        zero to 60 is a pointless performance measure for a motorcycle – unless you have a typical harley engine in it, they geometry and the tendency to wheelie is the limiting factor. Most bikes bigger than a 500 (again, Harley excepted) will get to 60 in less than 4 seconds.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Since you are effectively taking off in third gear, 3.5 seconds is pretty fast. Not to mention that virtually anyone could achieve that kind of acceleration on an electric bike where as they is probably a very small percentage of riders capable or achieving better figures on any ICE bike.

      The two recent electric bikes I’ve ridden both felt a little lethargic until they past 25 mph or so. But once they get going, they pack a pretty good punch.

      • mickey says:

        I have a question. I have ridden a Zero S. Seemed pretty fast to me from a standing start, but I never tested it’s top speed. But could this Live Wire (or other e-bikes) be faster/slower than the Zero? What contributes to their acceleration/top speed? Amount of watts or something?

        btw When Leno tested the prototype Live Wire he said the top speed was 92 mph which doesn’t seem that fast. That’s 20 mph slower than my electronically nannied CB1100 who people cried about being top speed limited.

        • todd says:

          It’s power to weight ratio that determines acceleration. Add more horsepower (or Watts), accelerate faster. Remove weight, accelerate faster. There are limits of course: the fact that the CG is above the contact patch limits acceleration. Eliminate the CG problem (move it way low and far forward) and now you are limited to tire traction, which is around 1g. Top speed is dictated by horsepower and aerodynamics; weight is not a factor in top speed.

          • Fivespeed302 says:

            You’re assuming that the electric bike’s computer is allowing full power at all times. I’m pretty sure that it’s dialed back at lower speeds so it doesn’t wheelie or spin at every throttle application.

          • todd says:

            I’ve been involved in the design and development of electric vehicles. As Jeremy states, acceleration is really held back by the desired top speed gearing, not electronically. It would be a waste to limit top speed with a low gear ratio (giving “too much acceleration”) just to ALSO limit acceleration electronically.

            Electric motors do have a designed in torque curve to be closer to that of an ICE engine. That is done for two reasons; to reduce shock loading on the gear train and, to make the bike accelerate harder as speeds climb (like an ICE) if they didn’t do this, power would seem to fall off with acceleration due to increasing wind resistance.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          There are several factors, but since all of the electric bikes save for the defunct Brammo use a single gear ratio, the ratio chosen impacts both acceleration and top speed more than anything else, and would be the only factor in cases where the same battery/motor combo are used.

          How many watts can be delivered from the battery to the motor (subject to the motors efficiency in converting electrons into motion) within their thermal limits would loosely be the equivalent of how effectively an ICE can combine fuel an air to produce power.

          • Dave says:

            An electric motor generally has a much broader torque/rpm range than any ICE motor (in the R/C world, electric motors can make useable power from 0-35,000rpm+), especially with dynamic timing advance from the speed controller, so gear ratio is really only a component in efficiency. The motor can pull the gear and it can spin fast enough to go any reasonably conceivable speed with a single gear ratio, it’s more a matter of how much battery power is on board, what the target performance metrics are (acceleration, top speed, and range) and heat management.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            The tiny motors of the RC world can spin that fast, but these bigger heavier motors cannot. Saying an electric motor can “pull” a gear is completely irrelevant – If it will pull a particular gear, it will pull a lower gear easier and thus accelerate faster (and in turn hit the motors limit sooner thus lowering top speed.)

            You can of course use a more powerful battery and/or motor for a given gear ratio and accelerate faster, just like you could put a more powerful engine in a given bike and go faster. But when engineers of an electric bike with fixed gearing are deciding how fast they want that bike to accelerate, they have to decide what compromises they want to make with the gear ratio. Those compromises include efficiency (with respect to range).

    • Joe Bogusheimer says:

      To be fair, I just looked up the performance of the various Zero models, and only their most performance-oriented (and expensive) versions of their bikes do any better in 0-60 performance, and not much at that..

  50. Dave says:

    Ouch!
    When I heard about this becoming a production bike to help HD in its sales slump, I thought they would price it to sell. Too little and wayyyyyy to much (weight and cost).
    RIP HD

    So sorry to see your current management are incompetent.

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