While we’ve known for almost a year now that Harley-Davidson was completely changing its corporate strategy, it’s only recently that the Motor Company went into details about what its new Hardwire plan was going to entail. Most of the big lines are pretty much the natural continuation of The Rewire strategy Harley rolled out in March, 2020. There is one new element that stands out from the lot, however—electric bikes.
Not only is Harley committing to the development of electric motorcycles, but it’s doubling down by creating a separate division to help streamline that process. While our contact at Harley declined to expand on the subject since the company is going to announce all the details at a further date, they did mention that the new division is going to allow them to develop electric bikes faster.
That could be huge for Harley, which was severely criticized for the LiveWire’s five-year turnaround. Considering it’s planning to become a serious player in the electric market, it needs to be able to react a lot faster—something it claims the new division will allow.
We have a lot of opinions about a lot of things at RideApart. We’re also great armchair quarterbacks when it comes to giving bike makers our two-cents about how they should go about their business.
So, of course, we have something to say about Harley’s future electric division. We figured we’d share our opinions about what electric bikes we think the Motor Company should come up with, purely for the fun of imagining what could be.
This is all speculation and some of these are probably terrible ideas, but that’s the fun of imagination—it doesn’t cost anything and doesn't hurt anyone. In a world where Harley actually becomes as dominant in the segment as it hopes and ends up with an entire electric-powered lineup, here are some of the models we’d like to see.
Come and take a seat in our armchair and tell us what electric bike you think Harley should come up with.
Ok, bear with us here. As things currently stand, we don’t know what’s going to happen with the Harley-Davidson Bronx. The company unveiled the model back in 2019 alongside the Pan America as the two bikes use different versions of the same new Revolution Max engine (975 and 1250cc).
While the Pan America is set to debut in February, the Bronx has fallen off the radar. We’re not sure whether it means the launch is going to be pushed back or that the model is dropped altogether.
The bike is pretty much built already, so, if the 975cc Revolution Max isn’t on the cards for Harley anymore, then maybe an electric version could be considered. The streetfighter look is incredibly cool and if Harley manages to bring down the features to a more affordable level, it could easily compete with the top-shelf Zeros.
This. Do we really need to explain it? Yes? Ok, fine. Technically speaking, the LiveWire ADV already kind of exists. There are two of them—the ones used by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman in Long Way Up. Harley dedicated an entire crew to the modification of its road-oriented model to make it adventure-ready.
That included increasing the suspension travel, swapping the street tires for a pair of knobbies, and adding a touring windscreen. It also borrowed a few components from the Pan America including the triple clamp and steering head.
We even asked Harley whether it would consider launching an adventure package for the LiveWire, something the representative declined to comment on. That’s not a yes, but it’s also not a no...
The First Electric Cruiser
We’ve seen electric sportbikes, dirt bikes, and streetfighters, however, we have yet to see a proper e-cruiser. It's not that nobody’s had the idea—several companies and startups are currently working on their version of an electric cruiser, but let’s be honest here. Who better than Harley to take on the e-cruiser challenge?
Ok, this one’s probably one the worst ideas of the lot, but also maybe not.
There’s one thing electric bike manufacturers have to be mindful of and that’s the weight. With the current technology, the battery’s capacity is directly related to its size, which means that companies have to decide whether they want to sacrifice a few (or many) pounds or range. The battery also has to fit on the bike, right?
That’s not a problem you’d have with a Trike. Think about it. In this case, weight definitely isn’t a concern which gives Harley the liberty to cram the biggest battery it can fit inside the frame without worrying too much about how heavy the resulting bike is. On top of that, because there are two wheels at the back, it also creates an additional space to have more cells.
Of course, the company would need to find a balance between the weight and the amount of energy required to move the mass but that shouldn’t be a problem for a division dedicated to coming up with new electric solutions.