Harley-Davidson Brings Two Electric Concepts To 2019 X-Games
Will The Price Point Sink the New Harley-Davidson Electric Bikes?by Allyn Hinton, on
No doubt about it, electric bikes are becoming more viable all the time, and even the Harley-Davidson Motor Company is getting in on the action. Milwaukee has teased us, literally for years, with tantalizing tidbits from its Project: LiveWire initiative. It finally announced a 2020 release for its streetwise spark-o-matic not long ago, and immediately went about the business of teasing us with two more EV bikes. Well, now we have the skinny on them. The MoCo was at the 2019 X-Games in Aspen, Colorado, and it brought the two new rides for the crowd’s consumption. They’re still in the concept phase, and as such are not necessarily what the production models will look like, but ya’ gotta’ start somewhere.
Harley-Davidson Starts Expanding Its Urban Mobility Stable
They're meant to be lightweight, maneuverable and generally easy to handle. From what I've seen so far, the factory hit all those marks.
Harley hasn’t even released a proper name for these rides yet, but instead lump them into a generic “Urban Mobility” category. Both are obviously geared toward younger riders, and I’m not entirely positive that either will ever lead to a street-legal version, but I’d be happy to be wrong. The bikes are meant to be lightweight, maneuverable and generally easy to handle. From what I’ve seen so far, the factory hit all those marks. Additionally, both share a modular battery design that you can pull out and carry into your home/work/whatever to charge from a standard 110-Volt household outlet.
Harley-Davidson Shows Us A Scooter-Like Concept
It's is a scooter-like machine reduced to the absolute essentials: frame, wheels, forks, seat, and the battery and motor that make it all work.
At the bottom of the range is a scooter-like machine reduced to the absolute essentials: frame, wheels, forks, seat, and the battery and motor that make it all work. I’m sure it was no accident that the footboards look like someone ripped a skateboard in half and bolted the pieces on, no doubt to appeal to the youngest possible rider base.
Laced wheels, usd forks and street tires lend it a supermoto-esque look with what looks like a DRL ring where a headlight would be. Honestly, I don’t know exactly where such a ride would be useful, other than tooling around the neighborhood or some kind of event venue. Maybe the performance specs will paint a different picture when they’re released, but I doubt it.
Harley-Davidson Teases Us With An Electric Mountain Bike Concept
Harley knows what to do with torque and how to use it to climb a hill..
Next up is a mountain bike-like ride that rolls on wire wheels and knobbies to give it some off-road capability, though the factory is quick to point out that it also “unlocks” the city. Like the scooter, this bike isn’t set up for street-legal operation, and I’m guessing it goes too fast to ride on the sidewalk, so I struggle to envision how this can be any sort of serious alternative for your commute.
However, it looks like loads of fun once the blacktop turns to brown with telescopic front forks and a coil-over rear shock to soak up the bumps. Let’s face it, Harley knows what to do with torque and how to use it to climb a hill. The factory even took care to give it some upper bodywork that is vaguely sportbike-ish, maybe even a little café-tastic, but most importantly, it doesn’t look like someone slapped a motor and battery on a mountain bicycle and called it done. I can see a set of stealth knobbies turning this into a proper little dual-sport EV, but meanwhile, this is what the MoCo has for us.
Harley-Davidson Has Never Been One To Use Price As A Selling Point
The next generation of buyers are not into paying an arm, leg and first-born son for a luxury item like a two-wheeler and have no brand loyalty to motivate them to dig deep.
A lot is riding on the price point, methinks, ’cause we are talking about H-D here with their outrageous price points. The MoCo has never been one to use price as a selling point; well, maybe except for the $4,999 Sportster back in the day. Harley is treating these rides as a way to rope in the next generation of buyers, but that generation grew up during a recession, and are not into paying an arm, leg and first-born son for a luxury item like a two-wheeler and have no brand loyalty to motivate them to dig deep. Time will tell on that point, but meanwhile, I’m happy to see H-D thinking outside the box.
See our review of the Harley-Davidson LiveWire.
Harley-Davidson Iron 883
See our review of the Harley-Davidson Iron 883.
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