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2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire Ride Reviews Rolling In – Good Bike, But Performance Numbers Don’t Justify High Price

LiveWire 2018

Branding is critical to many buyers, and, not surprisingly the 2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire relies heavily on the Harley cachet to justify the starting price of $29,799.

MD is not at the press launch, but we note the publication earlier today of a riding report from friend, and talented motorcycle journalist, Basem Wasef for Autoblog.

With 105 horsepower and 86 pound/feet of torque, acceleration to 60 mph in 3 seconds flat, and a combined range of 98 miles, the LiveWire performs well, but is thoroughly out-gunned by some much less expensive competitors, such as Zero’s SR/F – more powerful, significantly greater range, lighter and more than $10,000 cheaper.

Take a look at Basem’s full report, and you can follow this link to Harley’s LiveWire web site.


See more of MD’s great photography: Instagram

135 Comments

  1. Ed says:

    Harley still has enough low t boomers w/ cash to buy the initial offering, but compared to Zero, the Zero is 2/3 the price with better performance. It will fail because of dealers, when it gets hard to sell it will get the Buell / Vrod treatment. The service departments have a hard enough time with 20th century technology, just can’t see them fixing these when they go down, but the good news is most will become garage art and very few actually ridden. It’s great to see the technology but HD execs just can’t hit the broad side of a barn. It’s sad a Icon such as HD has such a disconnected leadership team. I haven’t bought a new HD since 2008 but have bought a couple since from retiring riders. I am a real buyer, but Harley won’t court me, I am not into the boobs, beer and tough guy wanna be culture, so most of my machines have been metrics and the newer Harleys have been used. When it comes time to pop for an ev it’s likely to be the Zero not just for price but I don’t need to pay a premium for the HD culture.

  2. Jeremy says:

    I think most of the negativity is coming from minds that think in terms of practical value. From such a perspective, it is hard to make sense of things that don’t fit a particular model of value. In that world, the price for such a bike cannot be much out of line with it’s performance/capabilities, especially when compared to very similar offerings like the Zero. If it does, like the Livewire, then it is worthy of only mockery.

    I personally think HD is making a bold wager with the Livewire. And I also think it is the right move.

    From a subjective standpoint of looks and panache, I think the Livewire will find a lot of fans. HD is the only major mfg currently making a stab at this, and the fact that old school HD is making a next gen motorcycle – while the technologically advanced Japanese and European manufacturers sit at the sidelines – gives the Livewire and HD some cool factor in an ironic sort of way, IMO. (They should have called the bike the Iron-E). And with a new line of very unconventional (for HD) motorcycles soon rolling out, the Livewire is also the perfect marketing statement to the world that HD is no longer afraid to change.

    It doesn’t have as much range as the Zero, but if it has enough range to do what potential buyers want to do with it, I don’t think that matters

    It costs $10K more than the Zero, but $10K is frankly nothing to many people. HD has built a novelty, not a practical motorcycle. The target market will be buyers that appreciate novelties and probably already have a garage with a few novelties in it. They won’t care that a Zero is cheaper or performs better. They will care that the Livewire is a luxury brand, that it is HD’s boldest move ever. That it’s something you can’t buy from Yamaha or BMW or Ducati. That it will be recognized by others, unlike a Zero.

    HD already has a lot of novelty seekers that frequent their dealerships. I suspect their “success” target is a very low volume number. I also bet that number is just over how many units Zero is expected to sell, which would allow HD to claim that they are the largest producer of high capacity ebikes.

    I don’t think HD are stupid or crazy. I just think they are coming after this from a different angle.

  3. red says:

    Not interested in a livewire (or any e-moto at this time) personally, but pulling for them to succeed. So the bike looks good, but does not compare well spec and price wise which is often the case with HD. Hopefully the name and dealer network will overcome that.

    HD has really painted themselves into a corner with their customer demographic. We’ve all seen it coming for years, but seems to be happening now. Not sure there’s a long term way forward for them at this point. Hope they find one.

  4. falcodoug says:

    Not a bad looking e-bike.

  5. Neil says:

    It’s ugly and expensive. End of story. It looks like Harley, who for some reason fail to hire designers and give the designers room to create.

    • Dave says:

      That’s how traditional Harley haters feel about the bikes they’ve been making all along. They know better than to try to make an electrified version of a cruiser, even if the weight & performance expectations of that rider are probably more compatible with the difficulties of designing an electric motorcycle.

  6. gpokluda says:

    Another ride report from a different source tells a different story. Yes, the bike is still over priced, but the technology, fit and finish, and components set a higher bar than its competitors. Ride quality and ergonomics are on point. So, as with everything else; you believe what you want to believe.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Is this HD’s new approach to making motorcycles? They are still going to produce junk at heavily inflated prices. It is still going to be about image and not function. They’re just changing the image. At least they continue to give us something to laugh at.

    • bmbktmracer says:

      I’m not a cruiser-bike fan by any stretch, but I do read almost every moto report published and I’ve heard only good things about every Harley produced over the past few years. I’m struggling to understand the animus.

      • Tom R says:

        Yes, everyone should avoid talking out of their animus.

      • Ralph W. says:

        “I’ve heard only good things about every Harley produced over the past few years.”

        When testing Harleys journalists compare them to other Harleys and other cruisers, and quite rightly so. They are correct in saying new Harleys are great bikes, when compared to old Harleys. They are operating on a ‘low base’. I hate all cruisers because, compared to other types of bikes, most of them have poor performance, all of them handle poorly, and the feet forward riding position is just plain silly because it doesn’t give you the same control over the bike like a conventional position does. They are designed for cruising which is a very sedate form of motorcycling. And that is not how I ride.

  8. Jeremy says:

    Harley never needed to be concerned with value before, so maybe they don’t now either.

    • paul says:

      Jeremy, your statement perfectly illustrates the stupidity of the masses. Stroke a check and instantly you are somehow a somebody. That is what the H-D “followship” is all about.

    • Grover says:

      Bingo!

      • Jeremy says:

        “Followship” is something that affects all brands, especially luxury ones like HD. I don’t think it’s wrong or stupid. If someone gets a kick out being part or a club or group because they bought a certain type of motorcycle, then they made the right purchase.

        I oversimplified when I said HD didn’t need to be concerned about value. They’ve always sold on value, but they specialize in a different kind of price-benefit relationship to which many of us performance-oriented riders don’t relate.

  9. VLJ says:

    desibikes, since you signed up to buy a Livewire, the obvious question is, why the LiveWire instead of the functionally superior, much less expensive Zero? Greater range, more power, lighter weight, more than $10K cheaper, and Zero probably won’t hit you with the msrp price, either. I’m not asking why you decided to buy an e-bike to share garage space with your Road King. Nope, I’m wondering why on earth you paid so much more to acquire so much less, when you could have sated your e-bike jones with the more proven, more fun, much less expensive Zero?

    Is it really that important to have the H-D logo on your e-bike? I mean, okay, I sorta get it, if we’re talking anachronistic V-Twin cruisers. In that world the H-D logo, the H-D sound, the H-D heritage all mean something. An e-bike, though? H-D has no heritage there, and there certainly won’t be any potato-potato-potato sounds. If anything, Zero has all the heritage cred there, at least compared to Harley.

    Sorry, but I’m at a loss as to why anyone would cough up $30K for an inferior product that also holds no additional cache merely for being a Harley. What was your thought process there?

    • bmbktmracer says:

      I think when money isn’t a big limiter people just buy what tickles their fancy. It is a great looking bike, after all. Hopefully they’ll sell all of them and continue development so that the rest of us can benefit some day. I agree with you that on hard numbers the bike makes no sense, but as a toy or commuter for the well-funded it’s pretty darn cool.

      • VLJ says:

        Cooler than the Zero, though? How? The LiveWire isn’t even as good as the Zero at commuting.

        • gsbeliever says:

          It must be a real burden for you, being so smart and all, that you feel obliged to pee in somebody else’s corn flakes. Did desibike spend YOUR money on the HD?? Exactly what kind of answer do you expect from him?
          If only we were all as intelligent as you, the world would be a better place./s

          • VLJ says:

            See his answer below.

            Pretty simple process. I asked him a question, and stated my reasons for asking the question. He answered the question, stating his reasons for his preference.

      • RyYYZ says:

        Great looking bike? Are we looking at the same bike? Matter of taste, I guess, but I think it’s fugly. Weird, awkward shape.

    • desibikes says:

      VLJ, why would anyone buy a Rolex for thousands of dollars when they can get a Casio for far less that does the same thing, maybe better? It really doesn’t matter to me that Zero claims to have a slightly better riding range or goes a couple MPH faster and is a few LBS lighter. I’m not interested in putting my money into buying a bike from a company that has a very limited dealer network and sold a couple thousand bikes last year. I’m putting my money on Harley because its the one I like the looks of better, I feel the hand controls are of better quality, I know I can get parts from one of hundreds of dealers, they have been around a long time, and its my money I’m spending so I can do with it what I choose. So many people claim one bike is so much better that others based on opinions in articles written, but yet so few actually go out and buy. Did you buy a new Zero? Are you planning to? If so that’s great, if not why do you care that I decided to spend more money on what you feel is so inferior?

      • VLJ says:

        “I’m not interested in putting my money into buying a bike from a company that has a very limited dealer network and sold a couple thousand bikes last year. I’m putting my money on Harley because its the one I like the looks of better, I feel the hand controls are of better quality, I know I can get parts from one of hundreds of dealers, they have been around a long time.”

        I was simply curious as to the mindset of the LiveWire buyer. I asked for your reasoning, you provided the answer.

        Thank you.

    • mkv says:

      HD has something that no other dealer does best.

      IT’S THEIR DEALER NETWORK

      Ironically ZERO has zero dealer network like harley does

  10. ABQ says:

    They should have made an electric powered mountain bike.

  11. Mikey says:

    30+ grand for this bike?
    As Consuela says… https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=FshkO8HqQ10

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think they should have made the battery look like a V twin –but as said before –i hope they do well with this

  13. John says:

    I’m not or ever have wanted to own a Harley. But I still want the company to succeed. It’s a publicly traded American company. So what this bike isn’t for me. I still hope they sell well. Good for the entire industry

  14. bmbktmracer says:

    In response to “negativity” comments, I think folks are just saying that $30k for a bike with a 90 mile range is probably not a winning strategy. Based on current gas prices (go ahead flame throwers, let me have it) a motorcycle covers about 10 miles per dollar (40 MPG/$4/Gal). Thus, it’d take 150,000 miles to recover the $15k price premium, assuming the electricity is free. If economy is a big deal you’re probably riding a $10k bike and going 15 miles per dollar, thereby needing 300k miles to recoup the difference. Assuming you invested that $15k to $20k price difference…

    As a toy, sure. For the well-heeled it’s a great bike if you never venture more than 40 miles from home. Remember…you still have to get back. hahaha

    • desibikes says:

      For Harley, this is a really small production run in comparison to any model they offer, there are only 200 U.S. dealers signed up currently to be able to sell one, each getting 8 Livewires for MY2020. It’s great to see that Harley is offering something so different from anything they’ve offered in the past and that they are looking to reach a new customer that never would have considered a Harley, or even thought to walk into a H-D dealer. I’m buying one simply for the fun factor on my commute to work and a toy on the weekends. It’ll never replace the feel of an internal combustion engine, however after I rode this electric Harley, I knew I had to have one because it fits my style and what I intend to use it for.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry, desibikes, your use of optimism and reason doesn’t fit in with the narrative here on M.D. If you can’t think of anything bad to say, don’t say anything at all!

        • desibikes says:

          Haha, I guess having a positive spin on something new doesn’t make for good internet conversation in 2019. I’ll be sure stay close to home on my new Livewire and watch out for all the real “motorcyclists” riding adventure bikes on-road standing up for 2,500 miles a year 🙂

      • mickey says:

        So desibikes, you actually bought one? How much did the dealer dicker on it?

        • desibikes says:

          MSRP on the Livewire, no additional markup. Just waiting on the vin so I can get insurance… should be taking delivery towards the end of August.

          • mickey says:

            How is the price of insurance on an e bike compared to an ice bike?

            I always thought it went by CC and bikes intent ( sportbike etc) but there are no CCs on an e bike

          • Tom K. says:

            And, what was the minimum amount of chrome that you had to purchase in order to only pay MSRP? Sorry if I just hit the “nostalgia” button for thousands of Harley dealers, they’re all likely saying, “Man, oh, man, the Good Old Days”, as they wistfully stare at the cobwebs on the floor models. But hey, maybe the Live Wire can get a new generation to purchase $40 Indonesian-made tee-shirts that say “American Pride”.

            (Man, just typing the above paragraphs got me to hate Harley and its dealer network all over again, I thought all that was in the past…)

          • desibikes says:

            Mickey, still waiting on the insurance quote, the bike is so new that progressive does not have numbers just yet. I’d imagine that it’ll be similar to my Ducati Hypermotard as far a rates go, guess I’ll find out in a month when the bike is in showrooms.

      • todd says:

        Again, this bike does not affect Harley’s production one bit as the bike is not designed or manufactured by Harley. Maybe some day they will get serious and bring development and manufacturing of e-bikes in house but Harley really has no skin in the game on this one!

  15. Provologna says:

    Wow! An overpriced and underperforming H-D. Whodathunk?

  16. desibikes says:

    If you haven’t ridden one, why do so many people have so many negative comments on this bike? It’s expensive to some, yes, but it’s not intended to be a cheap bike or a long distance bike by any means. It’s a premium electric motorcycle that is a blast to ride (I just rode one a few weeks ago in Milwaukee and it far exceeded all my expectations!). It’s great to see that more companies are starting to offer electric motorcycles into the marketplace. Zero makes a good product, and so does Harley-Davidson, neither is going to appeal to every motorcyclist, which is ok, the industry needs diversity, which it has. I’m not your stereotypical Harley rider, I’m 32 with no tattoos, and have a Road King for my daily rider that I occasionally take long distance trips on… and I just ordered a new Livewire because I like it and it’s different in so many ways than any other bike. Bottom line, there are more really good motorcycles available today for every budget and riding ability than ever before, quit complaining about everything, go ride some more and have fun while doing it!

    • joe b says:

      easy to see, coming off a Road King, gosh any bike would be better. I agree with you, 30K isnt cheap. No one is complaining any more than you. We are just speaking our minds, we probably have higher expectations, thats all. Road King…

      • desibikes says:

        Funny you think I’m complaining Joe B, if I was I wouldn’t have already ordered the Livewire, just wondering what’s up with all the negativity. BTW, the Road King is not my only bike, just the one I ride the most. Happy riding! 🙂

    • Ralph W. says:

      Until they produce electric bikes which have an acceptable range, charge times, price and battery life, I will always be negative about electric motorcycles. The exception, of course, is if I wanted a bike for short range commuting. But in that case I would only want it if it was cheap.

  17. JR says:

    I predict that this ridiculously priced motorcycle will go over like the Green New Deal, as just another very over priced stupid idea.. not based in reality.

  18. Roger says:

    Hells Angels is going electric!

  19. Rhinestone Kawboy says:

    What a bunch of negativity for a bike that I bet no one here so far has ridden, and most probably don’t even understand about what goes into these. For my part, and up to this point I have not been a Harley fan, I have to give kudos to Harley for attempting this. I think the design and looks of this bike are decidedly Harley, and they have done a great job there. They use super quality parts in it’s manufacture as I see here and in other previous reports to it’s unveiling. However, I will agree that Harley is depending too much on their previous heritage or name recognition to charge about 30,000 dollars for this model if that is what they actually go for by the time the bargaining at the dealer is done. Unfortunately, most Harley dealers are not known for the deal making abilities. In my opinion, Harley would have go come down to a more reasonable price as almost Tesla Model 3 pricing for an electric motorcycle is just too high even given the much lower production numbers that this motorcycle will see to amortize costs. The new Zero SR/F will be a major competition for this bike, and offers more for less. The looks of both are distinctly different, but 10,000 extra dollars will be a major deterrent. I do wish Harley the best of luck with this new model, and think it IS a step they needed to take, but went overboard when it comes to price regardless. People seeing this out in pubic I think will help Harley a lot, but the price will be the major stumbling block. I’m sure the charging issue will be minor in the future, after I’m sure an upgrade to CCS charging becomes a reality.

    • fred says:

      Almost all of the negativity revolves around the price. If the MSRP was $5k, we’d all love it. “Great new commuter bike with amazing acceleration!” “A bit heavy, but still has great handling!” etc

      At $8-10K, we’d like it. “E-bikes have arrived in the real world!” “Harley offers up a possible alternative to thumping V-Twins!” etc.

      At $30k, we laugh and scoff. Both at H-D, and at the whole eBike industry. Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. Build an average mousetrap and charge 2x-6x what it’s worth, and the world will mock you.

      • mickey says:

        Great post fred

      • Rhinestone Kawboy says:

        Fred, your right on most of that. Except don’t think that a new technology EV anything will be less than their ICE counterparts at this time. The VHS players were $1,200 when they first come out, and over time went to about $100 or less. Harley did build a better mousetrap in many ways with the new livewire. Compare it to the older Zeros and that will be apparent. They had lighter frames, flimsy brakes and forks in comparison etc. However, as I stated, I think Harley is just expecting too much profit at this point for their otherwise very good electric bike. Victory did the same with their Victory Empulse only they took an existing Brammo model and lightly reworked it, and still charged too much. I understand that there wasn’t many more than about 100-150 of those sold. We would like to think that major manufactures could get the price more reasonable with their larger capacity and dealer networks, so far, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Time will tell.

  20. fred says:

    Great bike! Terrific range and speed, and a bargain price as well. /sarc

  21. viktor92 says:

    The only Harley that I would like to try

  22. RyYYZ says:

    I don’t know what sort of fool would pay $10,000 more for a bike with less range and performance, and which IMO looks stupid, just because it has the words “Harley Davidson” on it. To me, H-D may have some cachet when associated with big cruisers, as they’re essentially the original, but in other class of motorcycles? No.

    • Dave says:

      There is just such a “fool” posting about his purchase of one on this chat board. Give them a read. He’s given good reasons why he chose this.

      HD has been selling “inferior” big cruisers throughout their whole history, and winning at it in the segment. There’s a lot more to ownership than spec sheets.

  23. gpokluda says:

    The Triumph Rocket III engine would be awesome in that chassis

  24. Crazyjoe says:

    Didn’t Ford figure if you built in house you can keep the price down and sell in quantity? Electric bikes are great commuters. Just not getting them price wise. When they start putting all types of driver assist like blind spot alerts it won’t get cheaper.

  25. Tommy D says:

    There is one electric motorcycle that I believe can save motorcycling and breed Harley loyalist from a young age. The Harley concept drawing that was displayed back when the Livewire was announced. The flat-tracker styled lightweight bike built for kids but strong enough for adults. A scoot that is marketed to 10-16 year olds so that they can get the taste of riding but in the back yards of slightly approving moms as it doesn’t have that scary, noisy, hot motor. This is how the 60’s launched a large demographic of motorcyclists. Small, inexpensive, full dealer supportable mini-bikes. If Harley, Honda and other brands would do the same with e-motorcycles they would foster a next generation of riders. I see a lot of grandpa’s lining up to buy something like this for their grand kids. I see adults buying them and having back yard flat-track races. Make them the same price as a CRF150 and watch what happens.

  26. advrider says:

    For 30K they need to put a solar panel charger on this thing so you dont have to stop every hour to charge. You would be charging more than you would be riding it! Guess this is something they didnt consider.

    • todd says:

      A solar panel on top of the “tank” would be around 5 watt-hours. It would take 3,100 daylight hours to recharge.

  27. Anonymous says:

    And I thought buying and then pretty much immediately selling MV was the dumbest thing HD had ever done.

    FTMC

  28. Jimmy says:

    From the looks of it, you can give a ride to someone since the part of the seat seem short. Their backside might slip into the motorcycle tires.

  29. EZMark says:

    I’ll be honest, I thought the Harley wave would die after 5 years or so. I never would have thought they could prosper for so long selling such expensive bikes on mostly image.
    Another expensive image bike isn’t likely to save them either. This is the age of Amazon, not Tiffany’s. Harley had better come up with some quality affordable bikes soon.

  30. RBS says:

    Interesting read on HD’s path forward and it’s chances of success:

    Endgame for Harley-Davidson
    https://medium.com/@michael_51801/endgame-for-harley-davidson-f3bd691ec8ca

  31. Grover says:

    Too little, too late, too bad.

  32. MGNorge says:

    I’m thinking HD has got other designs/models of e-Bikes in the pipeline. This may just be their intro/halo bike of sorts? In that regard then I don’t think this one model will save them.

  33. gpokluda says:

    Great idea. Poor execution. Try again H-D.

  34. bmbktmracer says:

    For the first go-round, Harley should have focused on building a cool city bike for under $20,000. At least it’d make sense. But I absolutely don’t get the point of a cruiser company entering the electric market by building a $30,000 sportbike with a 75 mile range. Perplexing.

    • todd says:

      You don’t actually believe Harley built – much less designed this bike, do you? Is there anything anywhere that actually suggests this is a Harley, designed and built in-house?

      • bmbktmracer says:

        Plucky bastard, aren’t you? Can you recommend a PC set of words one can use in this international age where no one actually builds 100% of anything in-house anymore?

        • todd says:

          This bike suggests to me that Harley does not believe electric bikes are a viable “thing”. They are setting it up for failure. I can almost hear them saying “no one really wants this bike but we need to drum up some news so people will come in to dealerships and buy what they really want – a big twin – when they see how much better and a value a real motorcycle is”.

          If Harley was serious about this, they would be bringing this in-house and pricing it to move bikes. If Harley was serious, they wouldn’t have knifed Alta Motors in the back, they would have brought in all that amazing talent and IP, cleared out a bunch of factory cubic feet for it and invested heavily in this. Instead, they treat this like a custom show bike or a halo bike and don’t intend on selling many, if any. And they want to price it so it won’t sell and they won’t need to bother doing all that stuff. No one at Harley actually WANTS to build electric motorcycles.

          • MarkP says:

            Yup. They’re not serious. They’re treating this exactly how they treated Erik Buell and the Buell bikes. Bet virtually all the dealers will offer the same crappy service for it, just as most of them did for Buells.

    • DP says:

      Side of anti-Harley sentiment, which is not entirely fair I’d say following.

      By going into far away and radically different approach to motorcycle H-D in fact says: “look we do not believe in what we were doing up to so far and in fact we look for life wheel(which we also know will not work)”. It is like cutting branch you sit on.

      Wish them well, but that does not alter natural course of events. They will be marginal brand in just couple of years. Will they survive in a sort of niche form? Probably yes. But their pricing will be off the board, lot more than it is now.

  35. Has Any Harley Davidson’s performance ever justified it’s high price?

  36. joe b says:

    I usually spend 5 min at the gas pump, this says it’ll be 12.5 hours, after 70 mi. for $30K? really? it wont be long before used ones show up for sale, and the seller wanting $30K+ to try and dupe the next gullible buyer. … and its ugly. I predict low sales, and a few years from now, it will be talked about, but as the sales flop.

  37. Doug Misconish says:

    I’ll bet the paint quality is incredible…

  38. Ralph W. says:

    Basem said, “It (regenerative braking) works wonders on twisty roads: just focus on modulating the throttle, and there’s virtually no need to bother with the brakes.”

    Regenerative braking only works on a driven wheel – in this case the rear wheel. Most of the braking power on a motorcycle comes from the front wheel because weight transfer reduces the grip on the rear wheel. Using only regenerative braking is the same as only using the rear brake, which means you aren’t riding quickly – not even close.

    • Anonymous says:

      doubt anyone riding these is going to be doing high speed stoppies. The rear wheel will be on the ground regenerating virtually 100% of the time.

      • todd says:

        Even with the rear tire on the ground, it can’t much braking. Deceleration transfers weight onto the front tire, immediately, albeit progressively. It’ll be on the ground but it will be sliding. This probably has some form of ABS / traction control for the rear so regen braking would be limited regardless.

        • Anonymous says:

          Lol maybe on a 160 hp sport bike or a Moto GP bike, but on this, regen from rear wheel braking even on a spirited ride will not be an issue I’m sure

          • Anonymous says:

            You must be a slow rider, Anonymous. Without using the front brake you get less than half of the braking power, and that is not spirited riding. As for doing stoppies, if you don’t use the front brake it is impossible.

          • Anonymous says:

            wonder who is really the faster (slower) rider…anonymous or Ralph W since they both like to intimate on an internet website where no one knows them how fast they are.

          • Ralph W. says:

            “who is really the faster (slower) rider”

            That question is easy to answer. The faster rider is the person who knows how to use brakes.

    • fred says:

      Regen braking (properly engineered) works fine for “normal” driving or riding. As the pace or amount of traffic increases, manual brakes become more necessary.

      Other than the additional wear on the rear tire, bikers will/would be able to adapt to using regen for the majority of their slowing. Since many riders prefer to ride in a more sporting manner, they will/would continue to use the brakes normally.

      There really isn’t a downside to regen (other than the rear tire wear) – the only question is just how much benefit it gives.

      If you read Nick Ienatsch’s “The Pace”, you will find a great presentation of how to ride quickly without over-working the brakes. The LiveWire would seem to work well with that mindset, at least until it runs out of power.

      • Ralph W. says:

        This bike looks like a naked sports bike, so it is only natural to wonder what it is like for aggressive riding through the twisties. Instead Basem told us what it is like for cruising, because that is all you are doing if you are not using the front brake. That is why I made that comment. So we have to assume that if he had tried to push it hard he would have had to say it handles like and overweight pig and doesn’t live up to the image it projects. But then, bikes with an image but have poor capability is all that HD has produced for many decades.

  39. John says:

    Everyone has a gloomy sales prediction on the live wire. Sadly I think they might be correct with their assumptions

    Even though I’m not a Harley rider and never wanted to be, I still hope they are successful with this bike. It’s an American company traded on the stock market. I wish them all the best and for doing the unexpected. And for this alone they are successful

  40. Mark Schaeffer says:

    Seriously, did anyone think that this bike would save the day for HD ?

  41. Michael says:

    I had an electric bike, a $15k one (Alta), they’re neat and quiet but for the sacrifice in range, longevity (I’m yet to be convinced they’re more reliable than an ICE bike) and the hassle of lengthy recharge times, they should be cheaper than ICE bikes, 30% more $$ is just not realistic. The only useful e-bike to me is one that gets 50-70 miles range and priced around $5k that is used primarily for commuting, you cannot go fast on them for any length of time and you sure can’t tour on them, unless you’re a tech geek and like the challenge of finding charge stations and riding at a granny pace.

  42. Tommy D says:

    A major flaw I see is that they are stating the battery will last the life of the motorcycle. That translates to the end user replacing the battery or disposing the bike. Probably the latter as it become worthless in 10 years time. There is no battery that lasts forever no matter if it in storage mode or cycling. For $30K the original owner should get free battery replacement for life. Much like Tesla’s free charging till they caught hold.

    • MarkP says:

      This fact that their batteries degrade, resulting in decreased battery life over time,with no economical way to replace them is a problem common to all currently sold electric bikes. This effectively means they’re disposable after about 10 years, and means used ones will probably take a serious kick to the nuts on resale value, especially bikes like this with already short ranges. I’m not a fan of disposable bikes, especially ones that cost $20-30k.

  43. Tom R says:

    When on or in any vehicle that will go to 60 mph in 3 seconds, it is hilarious to imagine being worried about getting “outgunned” in a matchup with something else. Traffic light acceleration contests will be rare or non-existent. The H-D seems fast enough.

    The real issues are price and range. The former is much too high, the latter much too low. This first edition of the LiveWire is at best a curiosity that will be remembered a decade from now as something purchased in limited numbers by deep-pocketed early adopters (though I think Ed Begley Jr is a bit old now for motorcycles).

  44. Ricardo says:

    Obviously not the same, but for $35K I can purchase a Tesla model 3, what makes HD think that people will shed $30k for this motorcycle? I had told my wife that if HD priced the Liverwire at around $15K I would definately purchase one…not anymore, I will wait for the 2020 MV Agusta Superveloce and see if I can afford it.

    • Dave says:

      For $15k I can buy a Hyundai that’ll never consume the $20k delta in gas/services it’s lifetime. For $3k I can get a great used motorcycle.

      People who buy this don’t care what else their $30k could’ve bought. They want this and they can afford it, and probably have a more expensive version of one of Tesla’s cars (or something of similar value) already.

  45. Paul says:

    The people that would normally pay for an overpriced H-D are not the people that would want to be seen astride this. So that would leave basically nobody who would dump 30G on this thing.

  46. Randybobandy says:

    More powerful, lighter , cheaper, handles better ect……. If it ain’t got chrome and tassels, me and my 300 lb bride won’t ride it. LOL Maybe it is just me, but I don’t see too many “environmentally aware” Harley riders where I live.— Swing and a miss IMHO

  47. Tank says:

    I hope they still have the crusher they used on the Blast.

  48. Shoeman says:

    The late Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler, often said his company was one poor vehicle design away from financial calamity. This LiveWire is a high profile miss. Harley can’t afford many more misses.

  49. Evan says:

    So a Harley-Davidson with significantly less performance for significantly more money, and people are surprised how? Don’t forget, the quality and engineering are also likely to be about par for the course as well. Which is to say; poor.

    HD is not a serious bike brand, but a drinking club. Stupid motorcycles.

  50. Tom K. says:

    This bike only makes sense if gasoline is outlawed and unavailable. Electric cars at least have a cost-saving component to them that provides an incentive. But electrifying a mode of transportation that would get probably 40 mpg to begin with, and is used in a much more limited capacity by the majority of owners, by spending thousands more upfront and greatly limiting range, provides a pretty weak argument for cost savings or convenience.

    Electric motorcycles may become appealing when battery fundamentals (cost, charge density, weight, etc.) become vastly improved from where we are now. But today? They are “gimmicks”. Sorry H-D, this product is a “fail”, and you will have to give them away.

    • Scott G. says:

      When gasoline is outlawed, only outlaws will have gasoline! The headline to this article summarizes HD. Good bike, but performance numbers do not justify high price. Drop the mic.