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Why LiveWire Motorcycles Aren’t Selling

LiveWire's electric offerings. Media sourced from LiveWire.
LiveWire's electric offerings. Media sourced from LiveWire.

Last week, we covered Harley-Davidson’s 2022 Q4 sales results; this week, we consider Harley’s decision to go public with LiveWire and why it was a sound idea.

Harley bikes are, in a word, iconic. From their signature rumble to their clear ownership of the entire 9’-18’ parking space, the brand’s vibe (and her niche in our industry) is/are irrefutable. 

…It makes all the more sense when revising that style, then, requires cashing out on anything with big hype that might not completely align. 

Something like a luxury EV motorcycle brand.

LiveWire's electric offerings. Media sourced from LiveWire.
LiveWire’s electric offerings. Media sourced from LiveWire.

The industry’s numbers for EV riders is irrefutable; MIC’s coverage (on states that over a third of 2021’s EV-happy hooners were completely new to motorcycling. 

Contrary to Harley’s +18% sales hike and +9.6% shares increase, LiveWire’s fourth quarter displayed a downtrend of -28% in bikes sold, rolling out an exclusive 69 bikes in 2022’s Q4 (via’s blog). 

Don’t misunderstand; electric motorcycles are the new black for our industry as a whole – in fact, “GMC’s all-electric Hummers and all-electric Ford F-150s” are selling like hotcakes.

The difference between GMC and LiveWire, then, has to do with consumer demand – as evidenced by the findings of an H-D dealership in North Carolina. 

LiveWire's electric offerings. Media sourced from LiveWire.
LiveWire’s electric offerings. Media sourced from LiveWire.

“They see how fast it is, how nimble it is, how easy it is to shift…[but] they miss the sound. They want that rumble. They want it to make that noise when they’re coming down the road,” admits Casey Harrold, the dealership’s marketing manager on

Jefferies analyst Anna Glaessgen agrees:

“The person who is buying a Harley-Davidson – everyone can picture in their mind – is not necessarily the same person who is going to gravitate towards an electric, sportier type of bike.”

It seems, then, that Harley-Davidson’s appeal to younger (newer) generations will have to account for the current market demands – and Seth Weintraub from Electrek is calling it the “meat flag.”

LiveWire's electric offerings. Media sourced from LiveWire.
LiveWire’s electric offerings. Media sourced from LiveWire.

“At highway speeds, no real motorcycle gets more than 100 miles of range,” explains Seth; in this equation, aerodynamic drag means EV batteries are pushed to their limit, resulting in less time had on the road. 

That means electric motorcycles don’t find the majority of their competition in the long-weekend crowds, but the super-urban, conveniently-sized, small-capacity-inclined ones – ebikes, scooters, and otherwise. 

With Harley maintaining an 89.1% investment in LiveWire, we’ll be curious to see what the brand announces next; stay tuned for updates, subscribe for access to our twice-weekly newsletter, and as ever – stay safe on the twisties. 

*Media sourced from

  1. They admit that due to several limited range they only compete with scooters and ebike, but nobody pays 20-40k for a scooter or ebike. Give them usable range if you want to sell them

  2. Sorry, but it’s just a battery-driven piece of eco-crap… No soul, no personality, just a flat electric hum. Riders going down the road could hear themselves fart in heavy traffic on a windy day.

    1. In truth, the Livewire has some form of soul. Its transmission whine sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie. I’m no fan of EVs, and own one of the nosiest Harleys in the country, but this bike is something different. If it were in the $15k range, it would be a pretty cool urban commuter bike. That said, riding around on a battery that makes up the majority of the cost of the bike, and is guaranteed to degrade to the point of being useless under normal use, is just a part of the trendy cash-grab started by Tesla. I’d be all about a Fuel Cell livewire bike, though.

      1. Under normal use the battery will last 20 years useable. They use solid chemistry and the BMS is top notch. Your understanding of battery longevity is 10 years behind and so is the cost, more like 30% of the cost only to get cheaper and lighter 😉

    2. Just because you don’t appreciate the cartoon spaceship sound doesn’t meant that is not a new form of soul with a new form of machine. The personality is fine for the targeted market (younger non-Harley owners) This is literally a problem with cost and range.

    3. You’re misinformed. Have owned several Harleys, my LiveWire is by far the best. I have only owned Harley’s so I cannot speak to whether its better than another brand. Ride one before you pop off 😉

      1. Junk . Plastic crap using earth damaging Chinese lithium sourced batteries. I am glad you like yours. I wouldn’t ride one if I was paid to .
        The bike is ugly and I just happen to ride because I love internal combustion. Riding on 2 wheels is dangerous. Jive wire just isn’t a pleasure worth the risk to me.

  3. I have owned Harleys for over 30 years. I love the rumble and wouldn’t have it any other way!
    I wouldn’t own an electric motorcycle if one was given to me!

  4. Speak for yourself, but my Energica Experia gets more than 100 miles highway range without a sweat.

    1. 100 mile range???? You’re satisfied with that??? I ride twice that distance before lunch most any Saturday…..I’m glad that works for you.

      1. Berk! Lol.
        Amanda is a newbie. Got to cut her a little slack .
        These days a degree in journalism is worth more than how many miles one rides before breakfast .

  5. Amanda…please go over your copy and eliminate cliches like “in a word” and “selling like hotcakes.” Come on, you can do better. Signed, Your English Teacher

    1. Yo, Sparky!

      I typically like critical feedback for self-improvement, but I’m still not sure how to take this particular posited morsel.

      WBW Readers haven’t given negative feedback of my clichés until now, so I haven’t made too much effort to adapt in that sector. There is quite a bit of demand for accurate, catchy verbiage – the kind to get the point across without tossing the babe out with the bath water. Clichés often speak to that writing style, though even I’ll admit that I’m human and “ain’t perfect.”

      I see you are of the group that dislikes a space after your ellipsis points (ellipses)… care to banter? 🙂

      Cheers and kind regards,


      1. I disagree with you . As a reader of motorcycle news, I want to read about … motorcycle news. When u jazz it up it comes off as if you really don’t know the machine . You also should pay attention to whom you are writing for. young new to motorcycles kids may very well identify with hotcakes. But this article is featuring a bike well out of the price range of IHOP buss boys.
        But what do I know? I have only been riding and wrenching and reading for over 50yrs.

        1. Hey Hacksaw,

          Great feedback. We have all different types of readers here on WBW, but I respect your advice.

          Stay tuned, and thanks for stopping by.


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