LIVEWIRE HARLEY-DAVIDSON driving report – The first electric Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson has ushered in a new era, the new LIVEWIRE electric motorcycle from Harley-Davidson is now registered on German roads and the first orders are scheduled to be delivered to customers in December 2019.

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire in front of a restaurant
The LiveWire in front of a restaurant


An electrical pole is one of two points between which there is an electrical voltage. The LIVEWIRE itself also creates a lot of polarity between it and the old school bikers.

However, they have certainly already stopped using the twin-cam models and still make calls with their Nokia cell phones today. If the company had taken this into account, the legend of Harley-Davidson would have been written years ago.

Some of them have long forgotten what the values ​​of real bikers actually are, time is at the forefront, a real biker is timeless and the next thing is tolerance, just letting others do what they want and giving everyone their freedom, that he wants to live! Tolerance in particular is often forgotten!

A driver is visibly interested in the LIVEWIRE and gives his statement
A driver is visibly interested in the LIVEWIRE and gives his statement

The e-bike does not appeal to the V2 faction, but rather to the new generation that will grow up with e-mobility and in order not to miss this trend, the company has to deal with e-drives. Another reason for the change that manufacturers have to adapt to is the EU emissions standards, which have been approved by the federal government. Which will become a problem, especially for the German automotive industry, in the future.

From January 1, 2020, the EURO 5 standard will apply
to all new motorcycle type approvals, the emissions values ​​of the Euro 5 standard. From 2021, Euro 5 will also be mandatory for all newly registered motorcycles .
Motorcycles currently require EU emissions standards 1 – 4.
Euro 4 has been valid since the beginning of 2016 for all motorcycles that came onto the market after January 1st, 2016.
The Euro 4 standard allows a maximum carbon monoxide emission of 1,140 milligrams per kilometer driven. The upcoming standard will reduce exhaust emissions by around a third.
Stricter rules apply to carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. A second stage of the Euro 5 standard is scheduled to come into force in 2024.
The LIVEWIRE electric motor and gearbox
The LIVEWIRE electric motor and gearbox

10 years of development go into Harley's electric motor

They have been researching electrical technology for ten years and are now bringing the LIVEWIRE onto the road after successful homologation. The LIVEWIRE will not remain alone for long, in addition to the Pedelecs (Harley bicycles), we will certainly see other models from the electric Harley series in the near future.

10 years of development are behind the LIVEWIRE
The LIVEWIRE drives in a sophisticated manner

Maybe not the E -Glide right away, but when you see how the engineers responsible are passionate about the topic but are not allowed to talk about it completely, it is clear that they are fully immersed in the matter. However, secrecy is more effective at Harley than at Apple.

Willy G. Davidson said: “The Harley-Davidson V2 will be around as long as there is gas.”


More Roads to Harley-Davidson

Willy G. Davidson's statement already says that it will not be the case that Harley-Davidson discontinues the V2 engine. Harley-Davidson set the course for the future in 2017, with “ More Roads to Harley-Davidson ” setting the goal of bringing 100 new models onto the road in the next 10 years.

The current Softail models with the Milwaukee-Eight engine are already included there. A slimmed-down Softail (Street Bob) is expected in 2020 and a surprise with the Road Glide, which wasn't actually supposed to come, but the expected version is, if you really think about it, not new.


And now we finally come to the actual topic. I was invited to a LIVEWIRE test drive in Spain to see what the LIVEWIRE is really all about. After a technical presentation, we went to the north of Barcelona, ​​where the road planners were motorcyclists, because great curves and even S-curves await you here, similar to those in the Pyrenees.

The test drive goes into the mountains and to get a feel for everything, we drive on the highway and through the city to gain experience in traffic jams.

The box under the seat for the charging cable
The box under the seat for the charging cable


In city traffic you really notice how easy it is to drive without using the clutch, just turn the electric tap and it starts whirring as if driven by a turbine. It no longer has a gas tap, it wasn't yet clear what it's actually called in German, in the USA they'll probably stick with the “Throttle”.

When the LIVEWIRE is stationary and in the driving position, which can be set at the switch, there is an impulse, which feels like a heartbeat.

The impulse can be dosed via the menu on the 10.9 cm touchscreen and as long as it is in driving mode, you can feel the pulsation when stationary.

This is also the moment when no one else standing next to you should have the idea of ​​trying to turn the handle, then you'll be gone pretty quickly, you should be careful of that when you have such a joker next to you, or briefly deactivate the driving mode as a precaution. Because in 3.0 seconds it reaches 100 km/h, just twitching the tap is enough and it goes off.

The 10.9 cm LCD touchscreen of the LIVEWIRE
The 10.9 cm LCD touchscreen of the LIVEWIRE

There are generally a lot of setting options, the touchscreen is very easy to read and easy to use, optionally also via the joystick from the handlebars. That all makes sense, especially the different driving modes can be easily changed.

HD Connect

HD Connect is of course on board, it's free for the first year, then you pay an annual fee of around €160 for the mobile connection.

Now you should calculate and convert everything that it offers you. In addition to all the settings that can be made via cell phone, it has a GPS tracking system which, in combination with the standard anti-theft system, ensures security as soon as someone is at the machine If you do anything unauthorized, it will sound an alarm via the HARLEY APP.

That alone is actually worth it when you compare it with other GPS alarm systems.

HD Connect for the LiveWire
HD Connect for the LiveWire

It has the convenient keyless-go system and has a second power circuit with an additional battery. This means that all functions, such as the hazard warning lights, remain active should the electric drive fail.


It drives great, you experience a completely new driving experience, the torque of 116 NM with a weight of 249 kilos and approx. 106 HP pushes you forward. If I were to compare it with a V2 model from the current Harley-Davidson model range, the first one that would come to mind would be the Fat Bob 114 .

Here I test the cornering position of the LIVEWIRE
LIVEWIRE test drive in Spain

drives the Fat Bob immediately warm up LIVEWIRE While the LiveWire has a tire size of 120/70-17 at the front and 180/55-17 at the rear, the Fat Bob has a 150/80-16 at the front and 180/70-16 at the rear.

The tire dimensions already show where the LIVEWIRE is best placed. It's a pure cornering witch, the Michelin Scorcher a fine figure on dry roads, but you definitely have to be careful when it's wet, damp roads are not its territory. According to my information from Michelin, this is exactly what they are currently working on.

In the photo you can see what the Michelin Scorcher looks like when the LIVEWIRE comes back from the real race track.

The driving modes of the LIVEWIRE

The LIVEWIRE has a few extra features, so there are seven different modes: Rain, ECO, Recuperation, Sport and three individual setting options.

Rain mode is a very relaxed driving mode; all driving assistants intervene automatically when they are required. What's great is that you can program your settings individually, which remain saved and can be accessed even after the LIVEWIRE is switched off.

The sport mode is very sharp, which really puts you in a good mood, but then the engine brake is not active. This can be programmed in the individual settings, because recuperation not only provides more range, but is also very suitable as an engine brake.

It weighs 249kg and rocks hard, the center of gravity is very low, which is one of the reasons why it is so easy to drive. What is really unusual is the lack of a clutch; you always find yourself thinking that I should shift gears straight away, but that doesn't exist here. It does have a gearbox, but it doesn't shift gears; it pulls full speed from a standstill to a top speed of around 180 km/h.

The driving comfort

The LIVEWIRE seat is sporty but very comfortable
The LIVEWIRE seat is sporty but very comfortable

It is basically sporty, the seat seems narrow, but is very comfortable and gives the driver very good support. As a passenger it seems a little high, but I haven't tried that.

The gearbox provides the turbine sound

The turbine-like driving noise comes from the gearbox, it's not the electric motor that howls like an airplane. The electric drive reaches perhaps 50 degrees when driving at a sporty pace, and it didn't feel like it was more hot on my tour despite the sporty driving style.


The maintenance of the LIVEWIRE

The LIVEWIRE has a gearbox oil and is very low-maintenance, it has the same maintenance cycles as the V2 engines, but requires significantly less maintenance.

The complex braking system

The LiveWire features Reflex Defensive Rider Systems (RDRS), a technology package to adjust acceleration and deceleration forces. This technology will also be used in the new tourers in the 2020 model year.

Brembo brake system
Brembo brake system

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Cornering Anti-lock Braking System (C-ABS)

The ABS anti-lock braking system controls the front and rear wheel brakes independently and prevents the wheels from locking when braking. The cornering ABS (Cornering Enhanced Antilock Braking System, C-ABS) also works when leaning.

The three color variants of the LIVEWIRE
The three color variants of the LIVEWIRE

Cornering ABS also includes rear wheel lift mitigation, which is based on the C-ABS sensors and a 6-axis motion sensor system. It counteracts the lifting of the rear wheel during heavy braking and optimally aligns the deceleration forces with the driver's braking commands.

In this way, the risk of a fall and the braking distance can be significantly reduced. I had a similar situation during the test drive where a Spaniard in front of me just turned his car around, the braking system works very well.

Traction Control (TCS) and Cornering Traction Control (C-TCS)

These two systems ensure directional stability, the power of the electric drive should not be underestimated, as soon as drive is requested from the handle on the right hand, it is there, that is the special characteristic of electric motors.


This is probably the most exciting topic in the conversation about LIVEWIRE. At Harley-Davidson they do everything they can to achieve the greatest possible range. Ranges are my specialty, especially with the Milwaukee-Eight engines I was able to notice that this was always understated, a complete contrast to the car manufacturers.

When driving normally, I often used less fuel than Harley-Davidson stated. Now I have the same feeling with the LIVEWIRE, because we drove around 60 to 70 kilometers on different routes and I still had a capacity of 70%.

I drove a third of the route in Sport mode without recuperation, which would have recharged the battery in boost mode. Unfortunately I wasn't able to test it out exactly, but for me it gives me a good 200 kilometers on one charge. If the battery only needs to be recharged, according to my knowledge so far it is most effective up to 80%.

A range of 200 km is definitely possible if you don't want to go on a big tour. That's enough for some exercise after work to clear your head after work.

LIVEWIRE requires little maintenance
Low maintenance effort

An insurance for the LiveWire

Harley -Davidson Insurance Services launched Elektro Plus insurance for LiveWire . This even covers towing to the next charging station if the battery is empty!

The conclusion!

It's difficult, I'm not at all a fan of this current e-hype, it annoys Greta and when it comes to cars, I love the big diesel engine. And now Harley-Davidson, of all companies, is coming around the corner with an electric motorcycle.

The problem is, it doesn't need gas, but it's still fun!

It's something completely different and I'm sure we'll see them driving on our roads more often than we thought. This turbine on wheels can grab you, at the latest when it is available used, no one will worry about sound or range anymore.

They have done a good job, you don't get the feeling that LIVEWIRE's customer is just another test candidate, but rather that it really seems to be finished.

The LIVEWIRE in Spain
The LIVEWIRE in Spain

Harley gives a four-year guarantee on the LIVEWIRE, but I haven't yet been able to find out whether it has an unlimited mileage limit. They give a 5-year guarantee on the RESS main battery; if it breaks, the entire RESS unit must be replaced.

In five years the technology will certainly be a few steps further developed, so it will probably not be an issue anyway and the engineers at Harley-Davidson are of the opinion that this RESS system is very durable.

It has a good chassis, the lights are all equipped with LEDs and the cockpit is tidy and can be operated without studying.

It doesn't really have any faults, except that the mirrors are too tight; I can see more of my jacket than the person behind me. Heated grips will probably only come with the next special models and no one has given any thought to luggage yet. But sporty accessories already exist; carbon fiber parts and handlebar grips, for example, can already be found in the P&A catalog from 2020, which you here .

Harley 3.0 doesn't exist yet

I would have thought that Harley-Davidson would start offering them at LIVEWIRE via an online configurator, order them right away with the appropriate custom parts and pick them up from one of the thirteen LIVEWIRE Harley-Davidson dealers in Germany. The Austrians have to go to Vienna, where the only LIVEWIRE dealer is so far.

You want to appeal to this target group, but perhaps that's too much politics, because every authorized dealer has their own area.

You can order the LIVEWIRE from any authorized Harley-Davidson dealer, but for service and maintenance you need special training and a corresponding workshop that is expanded to include electrical technology, which you should ask your dealer about.

The entry into a new Harley world has begun

have the entry fee of €32,995

If you want to have a say, you should test it first!

Nevertheless, you should give it a chance and the most important thing is that if you want to have a say, you should simply test it out at one of the thirteen authorized Harley-Davidson dealers, it doesn't cost anything!

I myself am happy that we can continue to drive the V2 engines for a long time, but the LIVEWIRE will certainly help ensure that we can still drive the V2 tomorrow and attend the Harley events with our ovens. As long as politics doesn't thwart our plans, we should enjoy it and see LIVEWIRE more as a supporter for our other old Harley world!

External link to the manufacturer: LIVEWIRE

Go to the technical data

LIVEWIRE charging process
LIVEWIRE charging process

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