Sunday, 22 June 2014

LiveWire

Typical!

You stop paying attention to your blog and the rest of the motorcycle world for a week and all of a sudden Harley Davidson releases a ground-braking electric motorcycle!!

Ground-braking? Well, yeah... for a couple of reasons.



Firstly, Harley Davidson is not renowned for forward thinking. I don't mean this in a disparaging way, what I mean is that HD has been churning out 2-valve air-cooled vee-twins since biblical times and that's what their innately conservative buyers want. And every time HD do something to modernise their bikes, it's met with resistance from their consumers.

Harley Davidson were content enough with this arrangement during the '90s and noughties because the baby boomers were buying Harleys in their droves. At least, they were happy until about five years ago when they suddenly realised that their core consumer was getting older and older and they weren't getting any new customers to replace them as they died off.

This was a shocker for Harley and they reacted to it quickly and appropriately. They started selling stripped down Sportsters to hipsters and developed the new water-cooled Street 500 and 750 machines for emerging markets. And in doing this, they stopped being complacent and started being future oriented. And now they've released (well, released images of) a new electric motorcycle...

And secondly, they're the first (to my knowledge) major motorcycle manufacturer to take electric bikes seriously. There are already some pretty cool electric bikes on the market from companies such as Brammo and Mission and there are loads more in development from companies such as Ego, Tacita and Voxan, but these are niche products by relatively small manufacturers. And Mugen (closely affiliated with Honda) are winning races with their electric bike but again, that's pretty niche.

It's interesting that normally conservative Harley Davidson are stealing a march on the Japanese companies. And the bike looks pretty good. It's a sort of a streetfighter and shares DNA with the V-Rod and the new Street 500/750.

My understanding is, that it's not actually being offered for sale but is merely a sort of teaser to judge market response and maybe to tweek the technology a bit. It's exciting nonetheless.

The electric bike is coming. Bring it on...

Harley Davidson LiveWire

Harley Davidson LiveWire

Harley Davidson LiveWire




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