Harley-Davidson’s Electric Flat Track Concept Looks Awesome


Harley electric flat tracker

What’s the Price on This One?

The electric revolution for motorcycles could be the basis for Harley’s rebirth. The company totally bungled the LiveWire in the eyes of many, but this electric flat track concept looks friggin awesome. Harley recently released some updated design images for the motorcycle. 

The one at the top of this article is the most recent, though I kind of like the image shown above, which is a little older and more of a sketch. The idea of this bike is a great idea. Flat track bikes are killer machines and just the kind of thing that Harley needs to spice up its lineup. The fact that it’s electric is also smart because it is a logical next step after the LiveWire. 

Harley electric flat tracker

The biggest issue with this is the same that the LiveWire has. It’s range versus price. LiveWire’s math simply doesn’t work. $30k for about 100 miles of range is not good enough. This bike has to be more affordable and offer about the same range. 

This bike is seen as a middleweight motorcycle for the brand. Some folks are calling it a mid-range electric bike. I hope that’s just a term and not a suggestion that the bike would have less range than the LiveWire. This bike doesn’t work if it gets only like 60 to 70 miles per charge unless you can charge it in something like 10 minutes.

I want Harley to succeed. I’ve accepted that they’re going to be putting out plenty of electric bikes in the future, and I think it may be a smart long-term move. However, the bikes have to make sense when it comes to range versus price or they can forget it, no matter how cool this flat track racing-inspired bike looks. 

12 Comments

  1. Cameron Martel
    January 23, 2020
    Reply

    Was just gonna say… if it’s hilariously expensive, as good as it looks, nobody is going to ride it.

    • Wade Thiel
      January 23, 2020
      Reply

      Yep. Better be way less than the LiveWire.

  2. Avatar
    Brian T. Rice
    January 23, 2020
    Reply

    The battery pack looks to be half the size of the Livewire’s. Expect the range to be half and (I’m guessing) the price to be half.

    • Wade Thiel
      January 24, 2020
      Reply

      If it’s an even trade like that (half the range, half the price), I still say it’s not worth it. If it’s something like $12,000 for 80 miles per charge that would be enough to make it competitive.

  3. Avatar
    Paul Blez
    January 27, 2020
    Reply

    While the gist of what you say is right, when it comes to electric motorcycles (and I’ve ridden far more of them than most) the range is so dependent on riding style that to just mention ‘a hundred mile range’ or ‘an 80 mile range’ is almost meaningless. You have to ride a Zero with a 14.4kWh battery very gently to achieve a 100 mile range. If you ride it normally, in a mixture of city, suburban and open road going, you should just about get 80 miles. If you thrash it down the highway, you’ll be lucky to get 50.

    • Wade Thiel
      January 27, 2020
      Reply

      You’re not wrong, Paul. The riding style has so much to do with it. Bike manufacturers (and anyone reporting on the subject) kind of have to give people the range in miles because they need a distance they can grasp to decide if the bike is worth it. The same can be said of gasoline-powered bikes. The harder you ride, the more gas you burn up. It’s not as dramatic as with an electric bike, but it does matter.

  4. Avatar
    JackPowersIII
    January 27, 2020
    Reply

    This bike will go the way of the ‘Livewire’, dead on arrival…
    First thing every biker recognizes is that 80-to 100 miles charge range is not going to sell this bike! H-D could offer it to the public for $2500.00, and it still wouldn’t be worth the cost. Can you show me a biker who will pay $5000.+ for this toy? None of my friends will. When WE ride we like to tour for hours and range out to 250 miles or better. Let’s face it; if you live in a big-bad U.S. city and only travel 50 blocks & back daily, maybe it’s for you. If you may be a dispatch-rider inner city, this bike may find that market. But, what about Charge-Rate; will you wait around for 30 minutes to an hour before you can go home? I’ll be gassing up in ten minutes or less and do another 300 miles before fueling again. How to make electric-motorcycles viable? ans., regenerative braking, low-resistance recharge redesign of the lithium batteries being used to energize these over-priced toys. That science-development as yet to be realized. Battery design, structure and internal resistance to charging may require an entirely different battery substrate and chemical-design. Gasoline power is here to stay.

    • Wade Thiel
      January 27, 2020
      Reply

      I question the wisdom in the statement “Gasoline power is here to stay.” This is definitely true in the short term. Electric bikes can’t compete yet, but the technology is progressing at an impressive rate. Sooner rather than later electric bikes will be able to rival gasoline-powered motorcycles and when that happens, there will be a struggle to decide which is better. In the end, I see electric bikes winning (whether I like it or not).

    • Avatar
      January 27, 2020
      Reply

      Jack, your knowledge of electric motorcycles is clearly somewhat limited, and blinkered. I’m willing to bet you’ve yet to actually ride one? (And I suspect that none of your biking buddies has either!). To put you right on just one point: regen braking has been available from the very first serious electric powered two wheelers, starting with the Vectrix in 2007. Energicas have had it in spades since they first went on sale in 2015, to the point that most people wind it back from max.

  5. Avatar
    Bob G
    January 27, 2020
    Reply

    Why don’t we wait and see before jumping to conclusions. The LiveWire was obviously a “halo model.” Electric motorcycles won’t be for everyone just as sport bikes or cruisers aren’t. Let’s see what develops. Exciting times for sure.

    • Wade Thiel
      January 27, 2020
      Reply

      Not a bad sentiment, Bob. There will be a market for gas-powered bikes for decades to come, but electric motorcycle technology is going in the right direction. I believe Harley screwed the pooch with the LiveWire and can make up ground with future electric models. I also see a lot of HD people not wanting to buy them, but then that’s kind of the point, right? To attract new buyers. Definitely exciting times.

  6. Avatar
    JackPowersIII
    February 21, 2020
    Reply

    Okay, okay, you must know I’d come back for a counter punch: First, yup I’ve ridden 1. Second I brought up regen-braking to initiate just the convo I got so thank you and Third, Electric magnetic fields have an aweful effect upon human-cells. Now no one is talking tech about fuels-(gasoline). Why leave liquid btu without a defense? We are producing OIL with natural-gas as the ‘feeder-stock’. How dare anyone of us rule out a new, refined-reformulated liquid-energy supplied by good ol’American Chemistry. It’s on the verge of happening fellows. Barking Exhausts for ever because internal-combustion is motivation!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *