It's a concept with a prototype that's still a work in progress, which just about describes the new Harley Davidson electric bike all set to tour across the nation starting next week. Harley Davidson knows that after being the king of the bikes with substance then coming down the pike on an electric bike that this is going to be a hard sell. For now, it's not about the sell, they're just looking for feedback and suggestions, according to NewsMax on June 20.
Some of things that you might think about when riding a bike that carries the Harley Davidson name is sound, power and that vibration coming from the engine. The Harley rider knows the ride is an experience and if you take away the power, sound or the vibration, then you've lost an important piece of that experience.
So what's up with the electric bike called Project Live Wire? Well the folks at Harley have the prototype ready to go and they plan to make 30 stops on a nationwide tour. What they are looking for is "honest feedback" when they roll into your town.
Between the folks working to improve the prototype today and the feedback that they are hoping to get during this trip, there will most likely be some final modifications before it hits the market. One of the things the folks at Harley have already done was to give this electric bike a noise of its own to replace that rumble Harley enthusiasts love so much.
They describe the noise they created for the engine sounding close to a jet thrust and they hope this noise does it for the bikers who love those original Harley machines. "Think fighter jet on an aircraft carrier" if you want a good description of the noise, according to CNN Money today.
It appears that the noise is an add-on and not a noise this bike makes from the engine working. It is created to replace that unmistakable rumble from a Harley.
Right now the bike can only travel 53 miles on a single charge, which negates part of the original Harley experience. You want to get on that road without restrictions of time for your ride, Harley has always symbolized freedom of the road.
When you plug the bike into a charge, your wait-time is 3.5 hours. It takes that long to bring it back up to a full charge, which really doesn't make the new electric bike a great candidate for long road trips.
Having to look for a place to plug in and charge up every 50 miles is not something you'd expect from the king of bikes. The 74 horsepower with 52 foot-pounds of torque pushes this bike up to a top speed of about 92 mph.
The promotional tour kicks off next week from a Manhattan dealership, where the company plans to launch its entire electric fleet it is planning to build. One Monday, 33 promotional electric "Live Wire" bikes will be riding through the streets of New York.
The 30 stops will all be at Harley dealerships around the country and next year they'll expand this tour to cover Canada and Europe. Eventually Harley plans to build docking stations around the country, again another restriction on where you are going to go on these bikes. You can't head anywhere out of a 50 mile range of a docking station or someone nice enough to let you plug into their electrical current.
The projected date for the bike to go on sale or what the sticker price will look like is not available at this time, right now they are still in the development stage with the "Live Wire" bikes. They plan to come back to the drawing board with your suggestions to see if there's any modifications needed.
Harley Davidson has been building bikes for the last 111 years. Will this new electric bike pull too far away from the real deal of a Harley ride? It almost sounds as if Harley wanted to create something for the aging baby boomers, who have a lot of time on their hands.
Do you remember when rock music started to use the electronic music, while it gave the impression that a guitar or the drums were being played, but it wasn't the real thing? This almost sounds like Harley might be doing the same thing with these electric bikes. It will try hard to give the impression of a Harley, but will it make the grade?
Most Harley die-hards are going to want to hear that engine roar and rumble, not some added on sound to give the impression of great power. How are they ever going to simulate that vibration, which is different on a Harley than any other bike?
"Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolf is a great song that's about being on the road with your bike starts out with, "Get your motor running and head out on the highway." For today's Harley electric bike purposes it will be more like "Get your motor plugged in so you can head out to the next docking station in another three hours when your bike is charged." Not a pretty song or a pretty picture!
That just doesn't sound like an experience that resembles anything that Harley had offered up for the past century. What do you think about the possibility of riding an electric Harley one day? The way it sounds now is that it is the most restricting ride you'll ever take on the king of bikes.