Harley-Davidsons are famous for his or her iconic deep rumble. But the Milwaukee-based motorbike maker’s present-day model features an electric motor that emits an excessive-pitched whirring sound. Will Harley enthusiasts go along for the experience? After five years of tweaking and training, Harley-Davidson’s lengthy-awaited electric powered bike will start rolling out to dealerships this summer. The organization says electric bikes are the future. A range of startups are already marketing electric motorcycles, and Harley would not want to be left inside the dust. It desires to attract new clients, and it’s eyeing boom in urban facilities — and eventually in overseas markets, consisting of Asia, in which electric scooters and bikes are famous.
The LiveWire, the electric bike debuting in August, is sporty and short — an avenue motorcycle built for city environments, not for long-haul cruising. It can pass some 110 miles on a fee, with immediate acceleration and, in a boon for first-time riders, no tools-shifting to worry approximately. But it is a marked departure from the organization’s traditional lineup, and it comes with a hefty rate tag: $30,000. Marc McAllister, the vice chairman of product planning and portfolio at Harley-Davidson, says the response to the LiveWire has been “overwhelmingly high quality.” There’s not anything incongruous about an electric Harley-Davidson, he says. “After one hundred fifteen years we’ve had to reinvent ourselves some instances, and this is simply the following step in continuing the legacy,” he says. But while there may be plenty of buzz around the motorbike, some riders are skeptical, says Kelley O’Brien, the advertising manager for 2 Harley-Davidson dealerships, inclusive of one in Washington, D.C. “You have that demographic that has been a Harley rider for 30 years,” she says. “They do not like it. They don’t just like the sound — it is not the identical sound.”
“But it has a unique sound,” she says. “It’s still a Harley-Davidson … Be open-minded approximately it.” Harley has faced a hard few years. Baby boomers are aging out of the bike market, and millennials are not changing them. In 2014, the business enterprise shipped about 271,000 motorcycles international, says analyst Jaime Katz of Morningstar. In 2019, it’s predicted to deliver maybe 222,000 — “a quite exceptional downswing over the past five years,” she says. To attraction to younger customers, Harley is presenting smaller, cheaper motorcycles — but it makes less of a profit on each of those, Katz says. Meanwhile, exchange wars have been setting sparkling pressures on the employer.
The LiveWire is not probable to be a game changer for the organization, Katz says — as a minimum, no longer whenever soon. It’s just too high-priced. “The overall target market for $30,000 motorcycles, whether or not it’s electric or traditional, isn’t widespread,” she says. The LiveWire is certainly one of Harley’s maximum highly-priced services. Only the priciest trikes — 3-wheeled bikes — and custom journeying motorcycles cost extra. Meanwhile, many entry-level bikes are to be had for less than $10,000. Electric models from Zero — likely the high-quality-recognized producer of electric bikes so far — a variety from $eight,500 to $sixteen,000, while other electric powered bike begin-usage promising even lower prices.
Harley fanatics at a Washington, D.C., motorbike show illustrate the undertaking the agency faces because it attempts to marketplace the LiveWire. Mike Anderson, of Alexandria, Va., is carrying a vest with a great quantity of Harley Owners Group patches. He sprang for one in all Harley’s priciest bikes. But the LiveWire? “It’s going to be a top-notch motorcycle,” he says. “But to me, you understand, I’m antique-faculty. … You buy a Harley because you like the sound and the look and the feel, and the LiveWire, of course, is 180 ranges opposite of that.”
Then there may be David Lutzow, of Pasadena, Md. He thinks it’s incredible for the surroundings that Harley’s going electric, and he’d want to see and pay attention a LiveWire in person. But … “I’m not certain if it’ll seize on,” he says. “I suppose it will entice the younger humans — they call them, what, millennials or something? I think it will entice that group, other than fifty nine-12 months-old farts like myself.” And those millennials? Andrew Delgado, of Woodbridge Va., is 28 and doesn’t have a motorbike but. He says an electric powered motorbike sounds cool. But the price tag — “it truly is now not cool,” he says. “I do just like the concept,” he says. “Just now not the fee of it.” He’s browsing bikes with his younger daughter, dreaming of buying one at some point — for a 3rd of the rate of a LiveWire.