Who’d have thought Harley-Davidson, the US giant famous for its huge, petrol-guzzling combustion engines, would be the first of the traditional manufacturers to offer a production electric bike?
Well, that’s exactly what it’s done in the form of the LiveWire.
And it’s nothing like how you imagine the typical Harley to look.
Styling wise, it has the appearance of an aggressive but refined naked super bike, with the high-quality manufacture, finish and attention to detail immediately obvious.
The big silver lump slung underneath is what it’s all about – the “Revelation” permanent magnet electric motor.
It produces 105hp, which is perfectly commendable, but the more important figure is the highly impressive 86ft lbs of torque.
And, of course, as with all electric vehicles, that torque and power is absolutely instantaneous.
And by that I mean from a standstill or whatever speed you’re doing, it makes no difference, the surge forwards is instant and awesome.
There are four ride modes – Sport, Road, Range and Rain, plus three customisable settings.
Even in Road or even Range, the acceleration is phenomenal and Sport just takes your breath away – 60-80mph in 1.9 seconds!
So what about range and charging?
Well, urban riding will see you to around 145 miles and combined figures are about 90 miles.
Using a good quality DC fast charge that you might find in a town centre car park (or at a Harley dealership), you can get from zero to 80% in 40 minutes and from 0-100% in about an hour.
At home, you can plug in to a normal three-pin socket via the cable which is stored under the seat and the socket in the false tank.
But that is slower, taking up to 12 hours for a full charge – so an overnight job.
So what of the handling?
Again, it’s a more than pleasant surprise – in fact, it’s superb.
At just under 250kg, this is not a light machine, but out on the road, you don’t notice that.
The excellent aluminium beam chassis, the fact the motor is slung below giving a very low centre of gravity, plus fully adjustable Showa forks and rear shock, mean its a beauty through the bends.
The H-D Scorcher tyres (made by Michelin) are pretty good in the dry, but less reliable on wet tarmac.
The LiveWire come with an impressive array of electronic trickery and rider aides, including Cornering ABS, cornering enhanced electronic linked braking, cornering traction control, cornering wheel slip control and hill-start technology.
You also get a colour TFT dash, LED lifts all round, keyless ignition and tyre pressure monitor.
Download the H-D Connect app on to your phone and you can check vehicle data, ride data and find charging stations.
So, is the LiveWire the future?
Maybe not quite, but it’s a major step in the right direction – it’s seriously quick, handles beautifully, looks great and is built and finished to a superb standard.
It’s an electric experience!
Max power: 105bhp
Max torque: 86 ft lb
Colours: Black; orange; yellow
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