There's no denying that Harley-Davidson is one of the most iconic and long-lasting motorcycle brands of all time. For that reason, when it started pursuing the LiveWire electric motorcycle project, there was a potent mixture of hope, interest, and skepticism about what would result. 

Once people got their hands on it, the first LiveWire proved to be a strong, fun machine. A little pricy, sure, but all new tech is pricy when it starts, then usually comes down in price over time.

After Harley spun LiveWire off into its own company, it introduced the LiveWire ONE. It had all the things that riders loved about the first LiveWire, but the price suddenly dropped to just $21,999. Since the OG LiveWire came with an MSRP of $30,000, it was a significant decrease for the price of the experience.

While $21,999 still isn't exactly cheap, LiveWire also promised that it would be coming out with a more affordable, everyday electric bike in the near future. The S2 Del Mar was that bike, meant to hit the sweet spot between reliable performance and affordability. Could it deliver what riders wanted from a naked electric street bike in 2023? Maybe.

LiveWire S2 Del Mar - Right Side

LiveWire S2 Del Mar

2024 Zero S - Parked

2024 Zero S

Except for the fact that, well, Zero Motorcycles exists. Unlike Harley-Davidson, Zero hit the ground with electric two-wheeler architecture as the only thing on its mind.

Sure, it didn't have the legacy and heritage at its back that Harley does. Then again, Zero also didn't need to contend with the challenges of pivoting away from combustion to create something new. Arguably, the California-based company also didn't have to worry about disgruntled fans who were upset about the change, either.

By overall motorcycle company standards, Zero is a young company. But by electric motorcycle company standards, Zero is a granddaddy. 2006 may not seem like that long ago, but it's practically eons in the tech world. Since electric motorcycles are motorcycles, but with an inarguable thread of technology woven into their DNA, time and room to grow matters.

Out of current electric motorcycle makers, Zero has had the longest time to learn and evolve, and its 2024 lineup reflects all the lessons that it's learned so far. That includes the 2024 Zero S, which basically throws out everything you thought you knew about the old Zero S and starts over. It gets a new motor, a new battery, and a new lease on life as an entry-level naked street bike.

How do the two stack up against each other? It's an interesting matchup, to be sure, so let's find out.

Power and Torque

  2024 Zero S LiveWire S2 Del Mar
Power 68 horsepower at 4,500 rpm 84 horsepower
Torque 97 pound-feet  194 pound-feet
Top speed 104 mph 103 mph
The S2 Del Mar may be a little bit older than the 2024 Zero S, but it comes charging out of the gate with the clear message that it's not going to let any young whippersnapper get the best of it.
Most manufacturers might be a little bit optimistic with their official figures. However, with more than double the claimed torque of the revamped Zero S, this round clearly goes to the S2 Del Mar.

Round One Winner: LiveWire S2 Del Mar

Range and Charging

  2024 Zero S LiveWire S2 Del Mar
City range 154 miles 113 miles
Low-speed highway commuting range (max 55 mph of mixed riding) 113 miles 86 miles combined; 70 miles if sustained 55 mph speed
High-speed highway commuting range (max 70 mph of mixed riding) 101 miles 62 miles combined; 43 miles if sustained 70 mph speed
Battery Pack 12.6 kWh nominal 10.5 kWh nominal
Charge time (110V) 9.7 hours to 100 percent 8.4 hours to 100 percent
Charge time (L2 charging) 4.5 hours to 100 percent out of the box; 1.8 hours to 100 percent with optional 6kW rapid charger 2 hours 22 minutes to 100 percent
In the range battle, the 2024 Zero S comes out swinging, and how much of a difference riders will feel will depend entirely on how they ride the bike on a daily basis. If you do a lot of city commuting, a bike like either of these would be ideal because stop-and-go, low-speed commuting practically sips electrons. (Please note, I say this based on my own experiences riding a Zero SR/F for months in multiple types of riding situations.)
If you add highway commuting to your daily list of activities, that's where the difference is most pronounced. I don't currently have a commute that involves highway riding, but I used to, and I would have had to charge every single day if I rode an S2 Del Mar. It's all down to your individual needs and requirements as a rider.
Since the S2 Del Mar has a smaller-capacity battery pack than the 2024 Zero S, it's no great surprise that it takes less time to charge. You can speed up the Zero's charge time with the optional 6kW rapid charger, but it'll add another couple thousand dollars to the bike's price tag.

Electric vehicle makers are quick to point out that most people who have a place to charge their EVs over night will choose to do exactly that. If you can park in a garage, plug in, and let it charge for several hours or overnight, then long charge times become anywhere from less of a hassle to a complete non-issue. Again, though, this all depends on how you intend to use your bike. It may not work for everyone.

Round Two Winner: 2024 Zero S


  2024 Zero S LiveWire S2 Del Mar
Front Suspension Showa 43mm Big Piston Separate Function Forks; fully adjustable Showa 43mm USD 1x1 cartridge forks; fully adjustable
Rear Suspension Showa 40mm piston piggy-back reservoir shock; fully adjustable Showa Free Piston monoshock with progressive linkage; adjustable preload and rebound damping
Suspension travel 4.72 inches FR/5.51 inches R 4.73 inches FR/R
Front brakes Dual J. Juan radially mounted four-piston calipers with radial master cylinder and 320mm discs Brembo M4.32 monoblock four-piston single caliper with a single floating front disc
Rear brakes J. Juan single piston floating caliper with a 240mm disc Brembo PF34 one-piston floating caliper with a single fixed rear disc
Wheels 17-inch alloys 19-inch cast aluminum alloys
Curb weight 492 pounds 436 pounds
Seat height 31 inches standard; can be lowered to 30.3 inches with a low seat accessory or raised to 31.9 inches with a high seat accessory 32.2 inches

Our two contenders, the 2024 Zero S and the LiveWire S2 Del Mar, are pretty evenly matched in the suspension stakes.

On brakes, it's a slightly more complicated call, though it's worth noting that Brembo owns J. Juan now. While that still doesn't mean the J. Juans have suddenly become Brembo M4.32 monoblocks, it is also worth noting that there's a dual caliper front setup on the Zero S and a single caliper front setup on the S2 Del Mar. Assuming that everything has been properly bled and is in good working order, it's a tough call. 

Notably, the 2024 Zero S is what's technically known as a heckin chonker, weighing a full 56 pounds more than the S2 Del Mar. However, the fact that the standard seat height on the 2024 Zero S is 31 inches may help, since it should be accessible to more riders even if you don't splash out the extra cash for the optional low or high seat accessories for shorter/taller riders. 

Round Three Winner: Draw

Electronics, Warranty, and Price

  2024 Zero S LiveWire S2 Del Mar
Ride Modes Rain, Eco, Standard, Sport, and Canyon; customization (including dash display customization) available via the Zero Next Gen smartphone app Sport, Road, Range, Rain, Custom
Display 5-inch, full color TFT rectangular display with smartphone connectivity 4-inch TFT round display with smartphone connectivity
App Yes Yes
Safety Bosch Motorcycle Stability Control  Cornering enhanced ABS, drag torque slip control system, cornering enhanced traction control system
Updates Over the Air Over the Air
Warranty Two years on the bike; Five years and unlimited miles on the battery Two years on the bike; Five years and unlimited mileage (up to 30 percent degradation) on the battery
Price (US) $14,995 $15,499

Things get a little close in these categories, as well. The number and descriptive names of the ride modes on both bikes are comparable, but it's how useful a rider finds those modes that really matters.

Likewise, the display on the 2024 Zero S is larger and rectangular, while the one on the S2 Del Mar is smaller and rounder. That may just come down to a matter of personal preference.

App availability, electronic safety features, and over the air updates are all a draw between the two. The warranty is slightly better on the 2024 Zero S, but if you're concerned about how quickly the battery will degrade on the S2 Del Mar, then you'll want to pay attention to that criterion. 

Finally, the 2024 Zero S is $500 less expensive than the S2 Del Mar (in the US market, anyway).

That's $500 you could spend on a low or high seat accessory if you need it, and still have cash left over. The 2024 MY accessory seat prices aren't posted yet, but the 2023 Low and High seats for the Zero Street range are between $140 and $150, so it's reasonable to assume that the 2024 update will be in the same ballpark.

You could also add other factory accessories instead, like heated grips ($250), handguards ($170), a center stand ($275), or a different windscreen ($180 to $270). 

It's a close call in some respects, but in the end, I'm afraid one bike takes the win by a nose.

Overall Winner: 2024 Zero S

2024 Zero S - Spec Showdown Winner

Spec Sheets Aren't Everything

While the 2024 Zero S took the Spec Showdown title today, it's always worth reminding ourselves that we don't ride spec sheets. We ride bikes. There are so many factors that go into our enjoyment of bikes that a strict spec comparison alone can't possibly cover them all. 

As an example, both of these bikes have (and use) smartphone apps. Some apps are easier and more friendly to use than others. User interfaces on displays also differ, as well as visibility when you tend to find yourself riding your bike the most. None of what we've talked about in this comparison measures any of this.

In the end, if you're interested in these two bikes, your best bet is to try to get a demo ride on both the 2024 Zero S and the LiveWire S2 Del Mar, because only then will you be able to potentially identify which bike fits you the best.

Maybe you'll find something that you totally love about one or the other, or you'll find something else that's a total dealbreaker for you. A spec sheet comparison can help with some information, but a test ride will tell you even more.

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