Harley-Davidson 2020 LiveWire
By Steve Tritt
I have been asked about the new Harley-Davidson LiveWire Electric Motorcycle for Law Enforcement work. I could not answer any of them, I had not ever seen one. Then one of my local Harley-Davidson Dealer, Treasure Coast Harley-Davidson has 4 of them and was offering test rides.
I came to the test ride not expecting a lot. The first thing is the noise. The bike was silent, I was on it and had no idea it was running. There is no clutch handle because it is automatic, so it was a different feel. I twisted the throttle just a touch and the motorcycle jumped. Before heading out on the road I wanted to get use to the motorcycle. I twist the throttle and the motorcycle moves. There is a rear brake pedal and a front brake handle on the right handlebar.
The motorcycle as many settings. Road setting cuts back on the throttle response and will help with saving the battery life during the ride. Sport Setting gives you more response on the throttle and will act more like a racing bike. It has traction control and will give more grip to the tires if it starts to slide. You can also customize the ride settings for more or less throttle response or to ride for a longer time on the battery. The LiveWire is set up for Bluetooth and can sync to your phone and/or headsets.
I sat on the LiveWire and was not sure if I could reach. Surprisingly, I had not problem with height. You sit a little differently. It is not like a sport bike and not like a touring bike. There is a slight forward leaning position. Not sure on how that would feel after a 12 hour day.
I slightly twisted the throttle and leaned the motorcycle to the left and dragged the rear brake. I did a very tight turn and then I transitioned to the right. The motorcycle can turn a very tight circle. If you were to push the motorcycle on it’s side and had the proper throttle it would not surprise me to see a 10 to 11 foot turn.
After a few turns to the right and left I was ready to take to the road. I pulled out of the parking lot and made a right turn on the side street and stopped for the traffic on the main road. I made the right on the main road. I twisted the throttle like all motor officers do, and the motorcycle took off. The 0 to 60 in 3 seconds is not an exaggeration. It caught the traffic in no time at all. It was a rapid take off and a silent acceleration that amazed me. At about 60 the electric motor gave a sound like a turbine engine warming up, that low wine sound. The traffic noise almost droned it out. It was a very smooth ride, like riding on glass. At the stop lights no sound or vibration.
The automatic transmission is smooth. You can not feel the shifting at all. The braking. When you release the throttle the motorcycle starts slowing. With that and combined thrush hold braking the motorcycle stops in a very short distance. I was very impressed with the over all performance of the LiveWire. With that being said. What about for Law Enforcement work?
For Law Enforcement work I could see the motor being implemented but with restrictions. The Range, Riding it in a Law Enforcement Capacity, will get about 100 miles per charge. You will be able to charge it at charging stations. Total empty on quick charge will take 45 minutes. This would be a lunch break if away from the station. You can use Tesla recharging stations to recharge.
You could use it for traffic enforcement but again range will be a factor. The LiveWire will be able to chase down vehicles and sport bikes without a problem, but will have to recharge. The LiveWire can handle the turns and demands of Law Enforcement work. It can hop curbs and make very tight turns. It would be a good PR tool and special events.
The LiveWire can also be put on your Harley-Davidson Police Fleet Lease Program. The MSRP is in between $26,000 to $30,000. There are 3 colors right now. A Yellow/Green, Black and Blue Color. I have to say I am not a big fan of Electric Motorcycles, but I will say the LiveWire was a big surprise.