Electric motorbike review: Harley-Davidson Livewire

Electric motorbike review: Harley-Davidson Livewire

The fact that there’s no clutch or any gears to worry about also makes Livewire no scarier to ride than a large scooter, as does the impressively natural throttle connection. There are four different riding modes (Eco, Rain, Street and Sport), and each controls a host of riding parameters; Eco mode felt perfectly suitable for inner-city work and still delivered enough punch to smoke Uber drives away from the lights, while Sport, with its increased engine braking and instant throttle response, felt ideal on fast and flowing country roads. 

But with no clutch, no gears and no noise, surely it can’t deliver the raw thrills of a petrol-powered motorcycle? Well, that was certainly a concern we had before throwing our leg over the Livewire, but happily, all it takes is one full-bore start to quell those worries instantly. With 0-60 taking just 3.0 seconds and with no noise to accompany the relentless turn of speed, you essentially feel like you’re flying – clichéd, we know, but true. And because the Livewire comes as standard with a cutting-edge advanced traction control system (it makes the latest supercar systems feel archaic) you can give it the full berries out of every corner without worrying about getting spat off. 

You also don’t have to worry about keeping up with your mates in the corners, either, because, despite having a rather hefty kerb weight of 249kg (about the same as a BMW GS adventure bike), the Livewire delivers well-balanced and predictable handling. Granted, you do have to muscle it a bit to change direction quickly at speed, but the chassis never ties itself in knots and there is plenty of feel and grip from the Michelin Scorcher tyres.