I got a chance to sort of test ride the Harley Davidson’s Livewire electric motorcycle. I attended the Chicago International Motorcycle Show back in February. In the Harley Davidson area they had the Livewire mounted in a contraption that let the rear wheel spin freely, but kept everything else in check. Very similar to what Harley Davidson does with their internal combustion power motorcycles at the show.
I have ridden the Zero electric motorcycle several on occasions. So this isn’t my first rodeo with electric motorcycle. Right of the bat the Livewire looks “cool.” The Livewire looks compact and sleek. It’s on the small side. If you have long legs I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be groovy for you. The seat is also on the small side too. The seat is set back a little so you’re leaning forward to reach the low mounted bars.
Under the heading of way cool the grips, front brake lever and control buttons are standard Harley Davidson issue. These provide a great feel or transition from Harley Davidson internal combustion models. The speedometer looks like an IPhone on steroids. Probably a great platform for displaying more data for the rider to see as the Livewire progresses through time. It looks like the Livewire has LED lighting front and rear.
If you never been on an electric motorcycle the first thing you’ll learn is about torque in action. From the very first rotation of electric motor shaft about 95 % of the maximum torque in generated. An internal combustion engine on the other hand needs RPMs to generate torque. That’s why an internal combustion engine on a motorcycle requires transmission.
Once you have turned the throttle on Harley Davidson Livewire all hell breaks loose. The high pitched whine of the electric motor replaces the one-potato two-potato sound. I was surprised how linear the throttle control felt. The guy run the display told me “go ahead and crank the throttle.” So, I did. The motorcycle leaped like a cheetah launching itself after prey on the African plain. The force caused the front forks to compress and backend lift up.
Now remember the Livewire was mounted in a contraption that let the rear wheel spin freely. So the motorcycle was unable accelerate which would have absorb the energy transmitted to the rear wheel. The suspension and the roller that rear wheel sat on absorbed the energy. Either way the Harley Davidson Livewire seam pretty damn powerful.
I’m hopeful the Livewire demo truck will make it to my part of woods this summer. If it does you know my butt will be waiting in line to ride one.