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2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire Electric Motorcycle

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Harley-Davidson unveils the production bike to the public ahead of its release next year.

Of all the new Harley-Davidsons we’ve seen in the past few months, the LiveWire is arguably the most forward thinking. For a brand that trades on American muscle, 115 years of heritage and that ‘potato potato’ sound, the whole project is a huge leap into the unknown.

"This is a big moment for us because our engineers have been working away on it for years and now they finally get to show it to the public," says Paul James, Director of Programme Management. "It’s kind of a relief in many ways. We’ve done so much work to move it on.

"A lot of people are looking at it and thinking – 'hey I rode that bike two years ago' – well this one is totally different. Less than 1% of the parts on the production bike are shared with the LiveWire from four years ago.

'This thing kicks out a fair bit of heat when it’s going at high speed' - Paul James, Director of Programme Management
"One big step forward is the connectivity, so as well as phone connectivity such as calls and mapping it will also pair with your phone to tell you when it’s done charging."

It’s not all about Bluetooth and WiFi though – there’s still good old fashioned power too.

"We went to great lengths to ensure the air-cooling fins on the power pack were just right," adds James. "They’re functional too – this thing kicks out a fair bit of heat when it’s going at high speed. And let me just say it’s very fast."

Reaching a broader spectrum of people
Even for a big brand like Harley-Davidson, there will be challenges in getting people to buy into electric vehicles.

"We know some of the first buyers will be existing Harley owners but in order for us to be successful, it will need to reach a broad spectrum of people. We expect some of the first adopters will be electric vehicle enthusiasts who might not be motorcycle riders right now. They’re the sort of people who want to be first, they want to be innovate and they don’t mind paying for what will be a premium product."

Harley won’t be drawn on price just yet, although looking at the final spec and finish, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was in excess of £30,000. There are plans for cheaper bikes in the long term though with four more electric motorcycles by 2022 that will fill in the rest of the range. Guess we’ll just have to wait that little bit longer then.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire top features
Top spec: The LiveWire clearly has performance in mind as it's fitted with Brembo monoblocks and fully-adjustable Showa suspension front and rear.

Fill ‘er up: The LiveWire can be fast charged through the tank, or you can charge it from a wall socket with the leads under the seat.

Get connected: The full-colour TFT dash has connectivity in mind, so it can pair with a phone over Bluetooth for calls, music, mapping and bike diagnostics.

The specs: No word from Harley on range, power or price yet but they have promised that it will come with all the latest rider aids and that it will be powerful enough for you to need them.

Twist and go: The LiveWire has a twist and go transmission through a step down gearbox, which Harley-Davidson think will make it more appealing to non-riders.

An all-new Harley-Davidson range
The below video is a preview to a series of new Harley-Davidson models, which were revealed to the world around a month ago.

With 21 new bikes planned across the next four years, including an adventure bike, sports naked and urban mobility e-bikes, the brand's change of focus is aimed squarely at attracting a newer, younger audience.

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