The Motor Company introduces the first bike in their standalone EV brand
The future of motorcycling is coming, and it is electric. Resistance is futile. EVs are here to stay, and nearly every motorcycle brand is working R&D to develop machines for this rapidly emerging segment. We sampled a few last year, Harley’s first LiveWire in early 2020, then the Zero Motorcycles SR/F and SR/S. We came away pleasantly surprised and impressed with all three. The Harley in particular had insane torque, acceleration and speed, and though introduced rather pricey for most tastes, the bike showcased a new direction the legendary brand was willing to venture into.
Road Dirt’s Phil riding the first-gen LiveWire at Daytona Bike Week 2020; Rob and Phil with the Zero SR/S and SR/F last spring.
Now, Harley-Davidson has launched LiveWire as its own standalone brand, and the first new bikes are dubbed the LiveWire ONE. Backed by the lineage and learnings of H-D over the past decade or so preparing for this, the new LiveWire ONE bikes promise improved electronics, ergonomics, performance and overall experience over the first gen. Here’s a listing of a few features, some of which we find quite intriguing-
- BIKE WITH A PULSE: Haptic heartbeat—adding a touch of humanity to electricity (this has us curious)
- DIGITALLY CONNECTED: Stream directions, monitor alerts, and track your recharge status
- INSTANT ACCELERATION: Smooth power from the electric motor that can produce 100% of its rated torque instantly
- FAST CHARGING: Recharge DC Fast Charge 0 to 100% in 60 minutes/0 to 80% in 45 minutes
- FAR RANGING: 146 miles of city range, capable of traveling beyond the urban grid
- CUSTOM MODES: Define how LiveWire ONE performs and personalize your experience
- CONTROL: Advanced rider systems and a 6-axis IMU tracks and anticipates change
The new LiveWire ONE, in pearl white and jet black. Note the company’s logo. Photos by Harley-Davidson.
The price point comes in at a more affordable $19,799 (after a $2,200 EV tax credit) for a base model, and LiveWire is positioning and marketing the ONE as an “electric motorcycle built for the urban experience, with the power and range to take you beyond.” While 146 (+-) miles isn’t on par with most petrol-powered motorcycles, and the charge rates are still up to or over an hour, we predicted the technology development would speed charge times, increase range, lower weight, and lower the cost of entry. Those things are happening, rapidly, in this growing EV bike segment. And hey, public charging stations are generally pennies on the dollar compared to gas prices right now.
The LiveWire ONE looks to make a head-snapping 105 HP instantly at the wrist, has a 30” seat height, is powered by Harley’s proprietary Revelation PM motor, and is loaded with modern connectivity we’ve come to expect and more. Surfing the website, we found a cool “Bike Builder” interactive feature to accessorize a machine to one’s liking. Not a lot of options yet, but that will expand as the new independent brand does. The ONE comes with a 110v charging system for any standard wall socket, and the J1772 adapter will fit any available public fast charger.
The ONE will literally pulse with a “Haptic Heartbeat”. Photo by Harley-Davidson.
We were puzzled by the “haptic heartbeat” feature the new ONE possesses, and the site has a section devoted to it under the “LiveWire ONE” tab up top. Scroll down to “Connection-2 A Bike with a Pulse”, and they give a vague description of a built-in, 3-setting feature in the powertrain that creates a palpable pulse, apparently felt through the controls and seat. Fascinating. Brad with LiveWire states, “The bike has a heartbeat… We looked at the powertrain, and we were able to do some very interesting things with it to make sure the bike feels like its alive when you’re on it.”
With advanced tech like independent front and rear wheel ABS, cornering ABS, traction control with an enhanced cornering traction, Drag-Torque Slip Control (DSCS) which mitigates rear wheel slip and prevents wheel lock when using the regenerative braking, the LiveWire ONE looks like a quite the leap over the original LiveWire we rode, and as we stated, we were impressed with it.
Simple “plug then ride” port access. Photo by Harley-Davidson.
As much as we love our shaking, shifting, petrol-powered motorcycles, its time to admit that the future appears to be electric. The entire automotive industry is navigating into those waters, and motorcycling for future generations will embrace electric. Most of us will continue to embrace combustion over electric pulse for as long as we ride, of course. Yet this sport, pastime, passion, love we have for riding is what we want to pass on to the next generations, so they will venture out and experience the world around them on two wheels as well. That’s really the legacy we should endeavor to leave.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to get your take on this.
For more on the new LiveWire ONE bikes, click here: