electrical mountain bike 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 a lot better for weirdos like me.
Secondly, it occurred to me that these twelve bikes alone had bolstered the overall fleet of street registered 100% electrical bikes in Australia by round 10%. This concern alone makes me need to rejoice and help Harley Davidson as a result of it’s the first leap ahead in years.
The sort people at Harley Davidson generously handed me a traditional trendy trying 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 mentioned to a collective groan. Nonetheless, primarily based on the moment experimentation by just about each rider, I’m fairly assured those that hadn’t ridden electrical earlier than all breathed a fairly sigh of reduction and had been too busy grinning wildly to care.
We spent wonderful day using 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 Bike 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 just below $50,000 the corporate doesn’t count on it to be mass market product. What it does count on, primarily based on suggestions and deposits positioned thus far, is that it’ll enchantment to sufficient patrons to kick off the following evolution of its motorbike historical past in an identical technique to early and equally costly Tesla’s, for instance and can be adopted by a wider vary.
In case you are attempting to match its worth and worth to electrical automobiles, you might be lacking the purpose. Cease it.
In case you are attempting to match to different premium bikes, you might be 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 approach larger than that.
Though official statistics aren’t publicly out there, I’d take a guess primarily based 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 will get to it.
Premium motorbike patrons are clearly pushed to buy with 99% ardour and 1% logic. They’re pushed by a mixture of exclusivity, model loyalty, efficiency, nostalgia, and technological options with a heavy word of thrill seeker in-built.
When you concentrate on the provide like this, it seems eminently logical, is completely the very newest expertise and is a good distance from the costliest possibility in case you are that sort of purchaser.
They may promote.
So what about present 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 value one thing – however is it value $20,000 to us? Possibly a fortunate few.
Together with a number of the different potential patrons we’re nicely researched and know that around the globe there are some extraordinarily potent rivals who can provide a mixture of higher energy, higher vary and quite a lot of kinds 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 degree 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 out there. 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 just below 180kmh, which I completely didn’t check.
In sport mode, punch the throttle and you might be rewarded with beautiful acceleration that none of my friends had something however reward for. Should you pin the throttle and blink the following nook can be in entrance of you and also you’ll be counting on regeneration and twin disks to get wise. Belief me.
As I had hoped, the throttle management is excellent and virtually with out exception higher than any petrol bike can ship, resulting from its totally programmable, digital and just about direct nature. You have got at your disposal just about any mixture of throttle response you could possibly dream up for any using situation – which is de facto, 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 sensible expectations.
The bike has glorious 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 via potholes, tough curbs, gravel and pace humps and it dealt with all of it superbly. 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 burden distribution is extra versatile, they usually carry their weight down very low and naturally they don’t have any centrifugal mass to beat when turning.
The Livewire is bristling with tech as you’d count on and has a superb show and management system. Throughout our journey I cherished gaining access to all kinds of knowledge even with out my cellphone being synched up which prevented full Bluetooth integration and GPS capabilities via my helmet.
All the usual information is there plus some preferences, 4 customary journey modes, three customisable journey modes and entry to a bunch of rider aids like stability management, anti-slip, ABS and many others. As an skilled electrical motorbike proprietor, I cherished this management and performance and the mix of handlebar and glove-touch sprint management system was sensible.
Throughout one in every 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 snug and at house so throughout 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 acquired a scrumptious little rear wheel drift earlier than my mind linked to my wrist and the bike settled properly. So naturally on the following lap, I attempted once more. This time a number of the rider aids kicked in and linked my mind to my wrist by settling the bike down for me. Good!
You’ll simply must take my phrase for it that in case you journey bikes and really feel snug unleashing 105 horses with 116NM of torque in a linear line with no gear modifications, 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 via a bevel gear association to drive the beefy belt and create a little bit of noise. The motor controller can 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 via fairly a trendy die forged battery pack housing and a few air vents. Will probably be attention-grabbing to see how this performs as a result of I do know another electrical bikes endure from “thermal mass construct up” inside packs which can be being labored arduous; as soon as they warmth up they will 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 completely burdened a part of the chassis. There are two die forged body rails that bolt on to guard it and add some rigidity; an attention-grabbing design alternative in comparison with most different names.
On board there’s a 1.4kW charger for Degree 1 charging. Most producers keep on with this form of energy degree 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 needs to be at the very least double if not triple that measurement and simply restricted via the sprint to keep away from nuisance tripping.
Having mentioned this, it does have Degree 3 DC quick charging functionality via a trendy petrol cap changing CCS port on the fake tank so if you could find one just like the DELTA unit at HQ, you possibly can smash it with as much as 20kW, thanks very a lot.
It was fairly cool watching the crew 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 might 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 crew and you may learn extra from the official PowerPoint presentation right here.
In my pre-ride put up, I mentioned : “I need 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 trendy styling and also you wouldn’t choose something that didn’t seem like respectable high quality. It seems quick and materials. It does characteristic a couple of plastic panels right here and there however in true Harley fashion a beneficiant bunch of glitz and equipment can be found.
And I requested “Can I work on it? Is it put collectively in a approach that makes issues accessible and simple? How will HD help me if I’m an proprietor?”
I assume it is perhaps potential, 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 regular hog (roughly annual) though they highlighted the price can be decrease resulting from simplicity. Nonetheless, 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 appears 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 go well with totally different moods? Does it deal with nicely?”
This can be a resounding sure. It felt subtle, had an amazing journey really feel and felt like high quality gear. I can tweak it a lot and it dealt with actually properly to me. It’s virtually two seconds faster than my six 12 months 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 in case you are within the purchaser demographic get all the way down to an accredited HD supplier and get a check journey and a recent grin.