Harley-Davidson’s First Electric Motorcycle Surprisingly Doesn’t Suck
Harley-Davidson is more than a motorcycle, or even a brand. It is an icon, one that brings to mind big, loud bikes ridden by burly men with tattoos and beards. The company has long been known for rumbling V-twin engines and the open road. All of which makes the idea of an electric Harley seem downright absurd.
It’s actually pretty cool.
Now, I've covered electric motorcycles before, specifically the Zero. I've actually seen one here in NoVA, and while it is a very slick looking bike, it is both too expensive (compared to conventional gasoline-powered bikes) and WAY too quiet. People tend to not see motorcycles on a good day; take the "vroom vroom" out of the equation and you couldn't *give* me an electric motorcycle.
But talk about misreading your customer base...
While it may sound like a great idea for Harley - arguably the most recognizable name in motorcycles - to champion the electric-powered motorcycles, it ignores a fundamental tenet: Harley exists because its customers want their products. I ride a Harley. I chose it over a Honda - which I will admit is a superior motorcycle - because nothing sounds or rides like a Harley. Hondas are nice, don't get me wrong (I've owned one), but there's just something about a big, honkin' piece of American iron.
Now, turn that hunk of American iron into a small, lightweight motorcycle. Strike one. Make it quiet. Strike two. Then give it a range of about 100 miles - with an hour or more before you could ride it again. Strike three. These are not the features that Harley Davidson are known for. This is a great commuter bike. Harleys are not great commuter bikes. Harleys are meant for throwing your leg over one and putting 200+ miles on it in a day. It's not meant for short blasts back and forth to work.
I hope it does well - a rising tide raises all boats, yadda yadda yadda - but I'm not holding my breath.
That is all.