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Most Reviewers Like the Harley LiveWire

LiveWire 2018. Spain
Image from Harley-Davidson

Harley’s LiveWire Impressed Many

As you can probably tell at this point, Harley shipped a bunch of journalists out to Portland, Oregon, to have them test out the company’s new LiveWire. The LiveWire is Harley’s somewhat controversial entrant into the electric motorcycle field. The bike would be well received by many more people if it wasn’t so damned expensive.

As it sits, the price is set for right around $30,000. That’s too much money in my opinion, but that hasn’t stopped the company from getting deposits for roughly half of the bikes it’ll send to dealerships.

Harley released technical specs for the motorcycle recently. The bike gets a 15.5kWh lithium-ion battery that sends power to an internal permanent magnet synchronous motor with water jacket cooling. The bike makes 86 lb-ft of torque and 105 hp. It’ll do 0-60 in three seconds.

It’ll do 146 miles in the city, 70 miles highway, and 95 miles in mixed riding. With DC fast charging you can get up to 80 percent of the battery charged up in 40 minutes, which to me sounds like enough time to grab a leisurely lunch.

Opinions from Testers

LiveWire 2018
Image from Harley-Davidson

Harley offered rides to journalists for various publications (we were for some reason excluded) and the reviews have mostly been positive. Here’s what some folks said:

“Hopefully, LiveWire will open potential riders’ minds to a new generation of Harley-Davidson vehicles. Then, the halo will have served its purpose. In the meantime, it’s a fun, compelling ride.” – Jason Fogelson at Forbes

“What’s special about the LiveWire is, despite the new logo, it looks and even feels like a real Harley when you’re on it, even without those hog pipes. After all, perception is reality, right?” – Hannah Elliot at Bloomberg

“I’d argue that you’re paying for a brand name with at least some prestige, a bike that is packed with quality engineering, and style that will snap necks. Is it for everyone? Not a chance. But maybe that’s why it’s good.” – Bradley Brownell at Jalopnik

“Overall, I was deeply impressed with the LiveWire. I did a whole lot of whooping and demented cackling in my helmet as I thrashed it around the twisties outside of Portland. That’s about as good a recommendation as I’ll give any bike. LiveWire is fun.” – Jason Marker at RideApart

All reviewers had their caveats. They all worried about price or performance or Harley in general. I can see why. Harley took a risk here and even if the bike is excellent, the company may have some issues selling it at the price they want to get for it. I have no doubt it’s a fun bike to ride, but I’m unsure if the LiveWire Harley really needs.

  1. This bike is pretty useless to anyone doing anything more than tripping around town! On the weekends, I like to go for 3 or 4 hour rides, and this bike could not handle that. And most i know would say the same. Good Luck HD!

  2. Another joke. What possible use is this thing, in a real world situation. $30,000 bar hopper? I’ll make the same challenge I made to the Tesla fools…coast to coast 20 year old Kawasaki against this….thing…. I go 200 miles on 5 gal. of gas….@70 mph….

    1. Tom, the same could be said of any luxury or high priced machine. There’s always a cheaper option that makes more sense. The LiveWire to me is a waste of money, but I’m sure there’s someone out there who will be happy to spend the money. Personally, I have no use for a $30k bar hopper or commuting machine, but I hope that HD sells these things, because it’ll open the door for other machines that I may find value in.

  3. Personally I’m tired of reading the LiveWire reviews written by reviewers who have never ridden it’s main competition, namely the Zero SR/F and Energica Eva 107 & EsseEsse9. The most accurate reviews I’ve read so far were from and MotorcycleDaily. In the case of they’ve actually tested the competition.

    All the rave reviews over a bike that does nothing better than it’s main competition and does many things worse.

    Let’s see:

    1) Slower DC charging than the Energicas.
    2) No true Level 2 charging (it charges at the 110v rate instead).
    3) Although horsepower is on par with the SR/F and EsseEsse9 torque is far lower than either.
    4) Although a larger battery than either the SR/F or Energicas, range figures that are barely on par with the SR/F (and I’m talking about real world range figures reported by SR/F owners on other forums). Although the LiveWire’s range figures are better than Energica’s it’s not $9k better.
    5) The much touted fit and finish while I’m sure is very good isn’t $9k better than the SR/F and in my opinion no better than the Energicas…perhaps worse in some areas than the Energicas.

    Explain to me again how the LiveWire deserves the praise being heaped upon it by many of these reviewers?

    1. Excellent points. HD’s LiveWire might be an accomplishment for the company, but when you look at the competition, it’s clearly not the best electric motorcycle out there.

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