Home Motorcycles Harley-Davidson Embraces A New Sound As It Enters The Electric Era

Harley-Davidson Embraces A New Sound As It Enters The Electric Era


Harley-Davidsons are famous for their 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. Many startups are already marketing electric motorcycles, and Harley would not want to be left in the dust. It desires to attract new clients and eye a 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 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 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 inappropriate about an electric Harley-Davidson, he says. “After one hundred fifteen years, we’ve had to reinvent ourselves in 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 identical.”

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“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 internationally, says analyst Jaime Katz of Morningstar. In 2019, it was predicted to deliver maybe 222,000 — “a quite exceptional downswing over the past five years,” she says. To attract younger customers, Harley is presenting smaller, cheaper motorcycles — but it makes less profit on each of those, Katz says. Meanwhile, exchange wars have been setting sparkling pressures on the employer.

The LiveWire is unlikely 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 — range from $eight 500 to $sixteen 000, while other electric-powered bikes begin to promise 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. Of Alexandria, Va, Mike Anderson is carrying a vest with many Harley Owners Group patches. He sprang for one of 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.”

Then there may be David Lutzow of Pasadena, Md. He thinks it’s incredible that Harley’s going electric for the surroundings, and he’d want to see and pay attention to 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 millennials or something? 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. 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.