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    Harley Davidson E Bike! PROJECT LIVEWIRE

      The week of June 23rd Harley Davidson will introduce its first electric bike. This will shock people for what is considered by some to be the rocket ship on a silent hum from a company known for its loud exhaust.

    G. David Felt

    Alternative Fuels & Propulsion writer


    Harley Davidson E Bike!

    The Experience Tour!


    The week of June 23rd Harley Davidson will introduce its first electric bike. A company known for its big loud touring bikes and iconic brand plans to become a leader worldwide in developing technology and standards for electric vehicles.

    At an invitation only event in New York, Harley will show off its handmade demonstration models. The company will then take the bikes on a 30-city tour to allow people to test drive the bikes and provide feedback. This tour will allow Harley to refine the bike so its engineers can plan to bring it to market over the next few years.

    Risky is an understatement since no market exists for full size electric bikes. The market is almost exclusively driven by scooters and low powered bikes in Asian countries like China. Yet these investments by a well-know icon could very well create demand. Regardless of immediate demand, the long term potential for Harley should be a win no matter what.

    The LiveWire bike is expected to sell on performance more than environmental awareness or what is called the green factor. The sporty bike can go from 0 to 60 in approximately 4 seconds with no need to shift gears. Like a jet airplane taking off, the engine is silent except for the meshing of gears which emits a hum.

    The lead engineer Jeff Richlen states, “People get on thinking Golf Cart and get off thinking Rocket Ship.”

    Hurdles for the company are the current battery pack lasts about 130 miles and takes up to 1hr to recharge. Hitting the highway will likely frustrate riders for road trips due to the short range and long recharge time.

    Harley does see this as an outstanding suburban and city commuter bike. With sales of more than 260,000 motorcycles last year, the potential for EV bikes cannot be ignored.


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    I am not big on normal bikes, let alone this.  Loud pipes save lives?

    Here I have to disagree with you in regards to noise, the one thing I have come to HATE about Harley is their open loud exhaust that is not needed and OFFENDS more ears than it pleases. Just because the company was building junk they got the gov to give them an exception to emissions rules and required mufflers that everyone else has to have. Not only are they way too loud on normal suburban streets but in the cities their noise bounces off the tall buildings creating even more NOISE POLLUTION.


    While I have not heard these bikes, what Harley has released about them is that they do make a noticeable hum that I bet they have tuned to be a specific recognizable sound.


    With Harley always having saddle bags, I can easily see this bike all over cities being used for delivery duties of small packages, letters, etc. I can also see this being very popular with the High-Tech crowd that wants a 21st Century bike to ride to and from work. Yes the old Viatname / Korean war crowd will not like it, but then they can keep the old out of date shaking to pieces noisy Harleys and the rest of us will welcome the 21st century E bike.

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    Harleys do not come from the factory with no mufflers. Factory Harleys aren't very loud, but the culture of HDs has many owners immediately alter/change mufflers to let that Twin sound be heard. I have seen the sentiment blu posted for years & years on stickers, and have heard it expressed; MCs are much more dangerous WRT impacts & a much smaller footprint out on the road, where a bit of noise can make oblivious motorists take heed. I am of the camp that believes it IS a safety thing. That said- some go way beyond that sound level, but some of the import bikes do this too.

    Having a silent MC is a real thought-provoker, that's for sure. 
    So is having a bike that is the effective anti-thesis to the HD image. Will be interesting to watch.

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    The LiveWire is a surprisingly compelling vehicle from a company better known for two-wheeled lawn-tractors. I'm interested to see how the bike evolves and wouldn't mind having one in my garage after its release. From sound samples, the bike is akin to a 'pod-racer' from Star Wars, whic
    'Loud Pipes' don't save lives because they don't indicate the rider's actual location on the road. All they do is cause motorists and the broader community to loathe motorcyclists, which potentially makes riding more dangerous for us yet. In the case of Harley's, many aftermarket pipes haven't even been accompanied with an ECM remap, so riders who think a louder bike is a more powerful one, are actually riding something that is less powerful than stock. 

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    I love the thought provoking discussion that is evolving on this thread. I felt strongly that this new product from Harley and their road show this summer will be one to watch and see how people respond.


    So the road show will start in NY this week and by the end of the week be in Milwaukee and then onto Boston next week and then Philly. Seems they are rolling out 4 stops at a time on the web site but be interested to see if this makes it to the west coast or to at least cities where C&G members could ride it and check it out.

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