Are They Out Of Their Minds?

Harley-Davidson reveals the price on their new LiveWire electric bike, slated to be the first bike in a portfolio of EV rides, but at $30k, we have to wonder if the folks in the corner office have lost their minds.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire Release

Harley-Davidson Announces The Price On Its LiveWire
- image 804469
Milwaukee is reaching out to a totally new kind of rider; one who is all about that sportbike life and into displaced-footprint drive systems.

I gotta’ give the MoCo credit, it certainly knows how to cultivate anticipation. It was 2014 when we were first teased with the prospect of an all-electric Harley-Davidson model, and here we are five years later and the LiveWire is finally slated for release in August of 2019. EV bikes were extremely niche when the original announcement came out, but the field has since exploded and H-D finds itself entering a far more established field than any of us reckoned on back in ’14. Not only are there more players in the game now, but some of them are on their second and third generation of development, so it’s a more complex situation than it was when this was still just a concept bike. Also, Milwaukee is reaching out to a totally new kind of rider; one who is all about that sportbike life and into displaced-footprint drive systems.

This is really designed to enter into a new segment with new customers, particularly in the urban environment, because this is really built for that,” says Heather Malkenshek, chief marketing officer for Harley Davidson. “We’re trying to bring in the new generation of riders, because this is a very easy bike to ride.”

Harley-Davidson LiveWire Price

Harley-Davidson Announces The Price On Its LiveWire
- image 804458
The factory, in its infinite wisdom, will debut its entry into the EV market with a $29,799 price tag.

So, many of us were waiting with bated breath for the official release, and more importantly, the price. Well, here we are, and I’m still waiting to exhale. The factory, in its infinite wisdom, will debut its entry into the EV market with a $29,799 price tag. Yeah, that’s right, the new H-D will cost as much as a nice SUV, and it’s in my humble opinion that Harley is shooting itself in the foot. Why, you ask? Allow me to explain.

The factory knows, as evidenced by the statement from the chief marketing officer, that this bike is built to target younger riders. Too bad H-D fails to understand that the new generation of buyers aren’t into paying more for a bike, ostensibly a luxury item, than many spent on their education. The price looks like the factory is keeping to the same business model that kept it afloat all these years, but while the lifeblood of the classic internal-combustion bikes has been largely from the hearts and wallets of the Boomers who are at an age where they have some disposable income, younger riders aren’t in that position yet, and lately have shown themselves to be more frugal than any other current generational group.

To make it worse, they don’t have that brand loyalty either. For a long time, Harley was the only game in town, and they enjoyed a monopoly on authentic American-style bikes. Indian has enjoyed a resurgence in the last half-decade, but they too charge an arm, leg and firstborn son for their full-size rides and so don’t take much business from the MoCo on the price angle. But, this is a different bike, with a different drivetrain that’s aimed at a different market, and the target market has plenty of alternatives.

How Does The Harley-Davidson LiveWire Compare?

Harley-Davidson Announces The Price On Its LiveWire
- image 804470
For the price of the LiveWire, you can score a pair of Zero machines that boast greater range, faster recharges and more flexibility in power options.

For the price of the LiveWire, you can score a pair of Zero machines that boast greater range, faster recharges and more flexibility in power options. Even the hot new high-performance Energica Ego is less than $23k. In other words, H-D is probably pricing itself out of competition before it ever starts.

I’m sure it is expensive paying for all that unionized labor, but guys, this dog ain’t going to hunt. You are treading into new territory against companies with a home-field advantage, and if you expect to survive in this climate, something is gonna’ have to give. Maybe consider building a factory in a right-to-work state where you won’t be held hostage by the mob for exorbitant wages that drive the prices through the roof. It’s been long held that the factory has never relied on price as a selling point, but that’s going to have to change if you expect this EV initiative to gain traction.

no article
- image 660059

.

Further Reading

Harley-Davidson LiveWire

2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire
- image 804460

See our review of the Harley-Davidson LiveWire.

Zero S / SR

2019 Zero Motorcycles S / SR
- image 812126

See our review of the Zero S / SR.

Energica Ego

2019 Energica Ego
- image 809198

See our review of the Energica Ego.

Motorcycle Manufacturers Are Scrambling For New Riders

Motorcycle Manufacturers Are Scrambling For New Riders
- image 725024

See our article on the new target buyers.

Harley-Davidson

no article
- image 809334

Read more Harley-Davidson news.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: harley-davidson.com, honda.com, zeromotorcycles.com, energicamotorusa.com

Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Motorcycle Finder: