Update, November 9, 2018: found a video of the LiveWire electric motorcycle in action, demonstrating what the bike sounds like at speed. We've added the video to the article below, which was originally published November 8th.
For years, Harley-Davidson has labored under the image of a retro company disinterested in doing anything new or novel. That's hardly a fair assessment—the Motor Company has been putting out some cutting-edge stuff, just wrapped in vintage style.
And now it's taking that combo to a whole new level. Meet the production-ready LiveWire, the first electric motorcycle from Harley-Davidson.
H-D has been talking about doing an electric motorcycle for years—the first LiveWire concept was shown in 2014. But this week at the European motorcycle show EICMA, the motorcycle company took the wraps off the production-ready EV bike.
The LiveWire uses a permanent-magnet motor powered by a lithium-ion battery. The electric drivetrain sits low in the chassis, contributing to a low center of gravity and better handling, Harley says. Since it's electric, there's no clutch or shifter—just twist the throttle and go. The bike has twin 11.8-inch disc brakes up front, 120mm front and 180mm rear tires, ABS and traction control.
It also sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie:
H-D didn't release performance specs or riding range, but the company did note that the LiveWire is "optimized for the urban street rider." The bike comes with a built-in Level 1 charging cord that plugs into a standard household outlet, with adapters for Level 2, Level 3, and other charging standards. H-D says all dealerships that sell the LiveWire will be equipped with DC fast charging stations.
The LiveWire will go on sale in 2019, as the first of what the company promises will be a full portfolio of electric motorcycles available by 2022.