Time for an update on Harley Davidson’s adventures

Livewire electric bike will cost $40k in Canada, range of 89 kms

More details were released in January about Harley Davidson’s much-anticipated electric motorcycle. The Harley Davidson “Livewire” electric motorcycle is a new product that I, myself, have been greatly interested in, mostly because I’m convinced several of the recent moves HD are making are the wrong ones.

Harley Davidson confirmed the bike, which resembles a sport bike or “rice rocket,” not a traditional HD cruiser, is said to have a range of about 110 miles in urban settings; the Livewire prototype, however, had a range of 55 miles or about 89 kilometers. I’m not joking. That’s how far the prototype could travel on a full charge. You ‘d barely get to Edmonton from Wetaskiwin.

Obviously, if the Livewire is shaped like a sport bike, HD is not trying to market this to their traditional customer: the full-sleeve tattoo, ZZ Top beard-sporting fellow. Those guys aren’t going to be getting on a sport bike, let alone one that doesn’t have exhaust pipes.

The range factor isn’t going to work either. Motorcyclists, regardless of their interest, are known to be unpredictable. Lots of us like to jump on our bike on a warm July morning and just ride west, with no particular goal in mind. Well, with the Livewire and it 89 km range, you better have a map that shows where the recharge stations are.

The Hawg-maker also confirmed the Livewire will have a top speed of about 110 miles per hour, which is roughly 178 km/hr. I have a Honda CBR 500r that, according to the manufacturer, tops out at 200 km/hr, and a 500 cc engine is nothing special in the sport bike world, I can tell you. This Livewire isn’t going to win converts on the drag strip.

HD stated the Livewire is going to have “a new signature Harley-Davidson sound as it accelerates.” Part of this new sound may stem from the fact an electric bike doesn’t need a clutch and doesn’t require shifting; I can’t speak for anyone else, but when I’m riding, I love shifting gears. Fun, fun, fun.

One of the most shocking facts about this bike, though, is it’s sticker price. Harley Davidson confirmed in January the Livewire’s U.S. base price will be $29,799, which would roughly translate to $40,000 CAN for a base model. Holy doodle.

Anyone who’s interested in an electric motorcycle must be aware of a company called Zero, which manufactures such vehicles. According to Zero’s Canadian website I checked Mar. 7, their model Zero S, which appears similar to the HD Livewire, has a 359 km urban range and 180 km highway range with a base price of $14,395. So you could buy this Zero, which appears to have better specs, and keep about $25,000 in the bank.

There’s one final question that’s bothering me: What does Harley Davidson know about electric bikes? This is their initial foray into the industry, and past experience suggests that a manufacturer entering a new industry is going to endure a teething period. Is there going to be a trial and error period where bugs or problems get ironed out? Will the Livewire be reliable?

I guess we’re going to find out this summer.

Stu Salkeld is a motorcyclist who has ridden street bikes since 1989 and writes a regular column for the paper.

Just Posted

National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day is May 18th

Alberta RCMP participates in Canada Road Safety Week during Victoria Day long weekend

‘Shop Stettler’ awareness campaign is underway

Promotional campaign runs through to June 8th

Unveil Studio’s new project, Dream, explores meaning and purpose

The episodic series, shot by Matt and Dan Kooman, consists of inspiring stories from around the world

Stettler’s own Dacia Gramlick performs June 8th at the Stettler Alliance Church

Gramlick heads to Salzburg, Austria in July for an exciting learning opportunity

Steady wins for the Stettler Wildcats

Home games coming up May 28th and May 30th

Grumpy Cat, who entertained millions online, dies at age 7

Grumpy Cat, actually named Tardar Sauce, died of complications from a urinary tract infection

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Speed, alcohol considered factors in deadly Calgary crash: police

Two female passengers in the Corolla, aged 31 and 65, died at the scene

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

‘What’s your number?’: Advocates urge Canadians to check their blood pressure

May 17 is World Hypertension Day, marked to spread awareness on the risks of high blood pressure

National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day is May 18

Alberta RCMP participates in Canada Road Safety Week during Victoria Day long weekend

Alberta issues fire ban in northern part of province due to wildfire threat

The government says the decision was made due to the growing threat of wildfires

Fashion Fridays: White sneakers

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Southern Alberta city pulls plug on $13-million solar power project

Goal was to test whether the technology was a feasible way to make steam at city-owned power plant

Most Read