Harley-Davidson shocked the motorcycling world when it unveiled its Livewire electric bike concept earlier this year. It seemed to go from vague rumors to a full-on, existing piece of machinery in just a matter of days. Even more amazing, the company immediately launched a test-ride campaign throughout the US to gather the opinions of the brand's fans. Of course, if you're Jay Leno, such exotic machinery comes straight to your front door – because he is a huge fan, for starters, though the popularity of Jay Leno's Garage likely doesn't hurt, either. This week, he takes a look at the future of Harley and even takes it for a ride.

While it's rideable, the Livewire is still very much a concept that is still in development. The range is limited to a little over 50 miles for the demo units, and the top speed right now is limited to 92 miles per hour. Leno actually seems a little dubious about the Harley at first when he's checking it out in his garage and openly points out some of the design features that grate on him.

Once he throws a leg over it for a ride, though, some of those little complaints seem to melt away. In its current state, Leno compares the ride of the Livewire to that of a 500cc bike, and he especially loves the regenerative braking and lack of noise. It might not be perfect in Jay's mind right now, but he definitely warms to the idea.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 35 Comments
      jonnybimmer
      • 4 Months Ago

      "he especially loves the regenerative braking and lack of noise

      As slim of a chance as it may be, one can only hope other Harley riders will feel the same. 

        johnb
        • 4 Months Ago
        @jonnybimmer

        As a long time Harley Rider. I love this thing.  My 30 mile commute would be a joy on something like this. 

          Duk3ofN3rd5
          • 4 Months Ago
          @johnb

          Not to mention for everyone else that does not have to endure the noise on your commute...

          bcidoc
          • 4 Months Ago
          @johnb

          I hear you and I would enjoy the commute too, but… and it's a big but… [assuming you're not in the in the same tax bracket as Jay] are you prepared to pay $20k+ for a *second* motorcycle that just sits in the garage on the weekends?

      Breather
      • 4 Months Ago

      Thoughtful comments by Leno.  I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that it was HD that pulled this rabbit out of their hat and not someone like BMW or Honda.  And HD did it without collaborating with someone like Tesla, or just buying Zero Motorcycles.  As an old-guard rider, I saw the Motor Company as  more interested in selling the lifestyle than breaking new ground.

      Well-played, HD.  Hope you make this mean something significant to those of us that just want to head for the horizon.

        John Hansen
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Breather

        Harley actually does really good engineering. People think of them as being low-tech because of their air-cooled engine, but the truth is that a lot of engineering goes into making an air-cooled engine efficient and reliable, while also meeting strict emission requirements.

        They've been making air cooled v-twins because that's what people want to buy, even though it's a lot more difficult to design an air cooled v-twin than an equivalent water cooled engine.

          johnb
          • 4 Months Ago
          @John Hansen

          air cooled motors do have a whole series of technical challenges.  Anyone who's ever driving an oil leaking VW beetle will know this. 

      FallingTitan
      • 4 Months Ago

      I never liked bikes but this would get me on a bike.  A harley hater....I was.  Because of the douche bags who own them and are so dam loud.


      Now I wanna buy a harley!  I can't believe it.   Good job Harley!

        Steve
        • 4 Months Ago
        @FallingTitan

        once your on your QUITE eco-ride & trying to dodge the cell phone texting cage driving idiots on the road, you'll wish your little sewing machine made more noise.........

          SteveM
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Steve

          A tired, overused, and pointless argument made by thousands of middle aged "juvenile delinquents" who are in love with their own badd assery and the useless pointless noise they make. Get over yourself. I sincerely hang on to the hope that this is a fad and that sanity will come back to motorcycling.   

          John Hansen
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Steve
          Why yes, an electric motorcycle is QUITE an eco-ride. :)
          But seriously now, the "loud pipes save lives" crap was debunked years ago. Drivers just barely pay attention to things that they can see, sounds don't register at all. On the other hand, if the motorcycle rider can actually hear the cars around them, then they'll be a lot safer.
          Loud pipes are dangerous to motorcycle riders.
      sebringc5
      • 4 Months Ago

      This is exciting! As a current electric bike owner I an really impressed to see an OEM like Harley get involved. I likely suspected them to be the LAST ones onboard!


      All the best,

      Aaron Lephart

      smartcar451.com

        Bill
        • 4 Months Ago
        @sebringc5

        Way to go Harley. I have a  2003 100th anniversary Soft tail and always will. My third Harley.  I would buy an elect Harley for short trips around town. It does look cool. Also those Rag Heads could drink there oil. 

        Bill

        ps.

        Thanks Jay


         








        Anniversary






        Anniversary



      Bernard
      • 4 Months Ago

      If the lack of noise makes you feel less safe, there are horns for motorcycles that are incredibly loud.

      Bavarian818
      • 4 Months Ago

      59 Mile range is scary...  I wonder what the real world e Mpg is....  I ride a VFR 800 and my 150 mile range under "normal" riding conditions frustrates the hell out of me....  New battery technology needed...

      Timothy
      • 4 Months Ago

      You guys for the most part suck. You all seem to be negative most of the time. Also most of you seem to act like you have all the right ideas for everybody else that are oh so wrong. Its even worse if the vehicles are American made, or its a American motorsports event. Well try some of this on for size all you know-it-alls. Why don't you go out and build something better with your superior intellect and engineering skills? And with your oh so obviously fantastic driving skills , show us all what you can do and how to do it. Or you could just write about what you see and do and quit trying to be quite so clever. But I doubt that will happen. But I will keep hoping .It would be nice to see something from all of you not so predictable and boring.

      Car Guy
      • 4 Months Ago

      It will never make it as a Harley.  Re-brand it something else.

        johnb
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Car Guy

        it would definitely make it as a harley.  

      what?
      • 4 Months Ago

      Strait up this is the future of motorcycles. Extremely simple stuff to work on, being able to plug it in for fuel, max torque at 0 rpms, simple enough that anyone can learn to ride it, hippie cred, tax breaks, etc... electric bikes are going to be 100% accepted long before cars switch over. Keep the bike looking good, top it out at 100mph, and give us a 250 mile range (and fix that god awful interface) and every other house on the street will own one. Im not sure which company is going to pull it off first but it would be nice to see an american company like HD do it.  

      usugo
      • 4 Months Ago

      when a large company like HD produces something lame like the lamewire EV. You understand that their aim is just to keep people buying the coventional bikes

        Firefly
        • 4 Months Ago
        @usugo

        when an individual like you produces something lame like the non-progressive comment you displayed. You understand that your aim is just to keep people buying into your conventional ignorance... 

      Stinkyboy
      • 4 Months Ago

      Why is Leno the authority on motor vehicles? his money.

        rex
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Stinkyboy

        The media/politician driven class warfare bs sure has you in its grip.

      Cool people
      • 4 Months Ago

      I'm in favor of electrification of motorcycles. So much potential in light weight transportation. Fast and Quiet is neat. I won't piss off the neighbors anymore.

      So we don't get the famous, potato, potato..sound V twin.

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