Harley Davidson Electric Bike Revealed
Harley Davidson is probably the most iconic motorbike firm in the world. Part of the reason why the American motorcycle maker is held in such high esteem is because of the noise generated by their V-twin powered bikes. Even though the tune’s changed slightly since Harley bowed down to EU pressure in the late 1990s and lowered the engine’s noise, their bikes still produce the unmistakable “Harley Sound”. So how can a Harley Davidson electric motorcycle fit into the range?
The “Harley Sound” is one of the components that’s missing from the new Harley Davidson electric motorcycle. According to fans of the brand who witnessed it’s unveiling in New York, the eco-friendly beast was subdued. Some long time Harley owners have complained that the new electric bike may as well be a scooter because it’s so quiet, but the Harley Davidson Livewire prototype makes a rasping hum as it clicks through the gears, so it’s not all that quiet.
The new machine has a pretty modest 74 bhp and a top speed of 92 mph so it’s not going to appeal to speed-freaks who would normally jump onto a superbike. Harley is claiming a 0-62mph time of 4.0 seconds, but that’s unproven.
Before the bike makes it to sale, a selection of customers from America will get to ride it and provide feedback. This project’s been called “Livewire” and rather than letting the select few loose on the roads with the new machine, Harley have organised a trip down the famous Route 66. The bike will stop at 30 dealerships on route to allow customers to experience it.
This is a massive departure for the American motorcycle maker who is known for producing big twin-cylinder engines. This is a firm for whom the noise is a key part of their brand. So much so that in 1994 they filed a patent for a sound trademark to make sure that competitors couldn’t copy the distinctive exhaust sound produced by the V-twin common crankpin motorcycle engines they’re known for. How is a silent electric Harley ever going to catch on?