Writing about bikes for 20 years. Published in dozens of titles on five continents. Mildly obsessed with discovering how things work.
Harley-Davidson has slowly been dribbling information about its 2020 LiveWire electric bike over the years since it first appeared in prototype form. Now the firm has finally confirmed key figures including its all-important range, acceleration and top speed.
Let’s cut straight to the chase: the LiveWire will manage a maximum of 140 miles on a charge. That’s in low-speed, city use. On a mix of roads including low and high speeds, you’ll manage only 88 miles.
In comparison, the new Zero SR/F that was launched last week claims a mixed-use range of 98 miles and a maximum of 161 miles in city use. An additional ‘Power Tank’ battery ups that maximum to 200 miles.
So, one-nil to Zero so far, so how does Harley stack on performance? The firm still isn’t mentioning any power figures – Zero claims a peak of 110hp – but Harley does claim a 0-60 time of 3.0 seconds and 0-30 in 1.9 seconds. The Harley’s top speed is rated at 110mph, which is 14mph less than the Zero SR/F’s claimed 124mph. Zero seems to have the edge here, too.
When it comes to charging time, the LiveWire claws back a bit. Plugged into a DC fast charger, the firm says it will top its battery up from 0% to 100% in one hour, reaching 80% in just 40 minutes. In comparison the Zero needs 1 hour 50 mins for a 100% charge, although the Premium version reduces that to 90 minutes.
Score one to Harley, but it still lags behind Zero’s latest effort when it comes to the spec sheet battle.
And of course there’s the price. The Harley’s UK RRP hasn’t been revealed but we know that the LiveWire will be $29,799 in America. In comparison, the Zero is vastly cheaper, starting at $18,995 over there, or $20,995 for the faster-charging ‘Premium’ version. Here, the base version of the Zero SR/F will be £17,990, but that drops to £16,490 with the UK government’s £1500 electric bike grant, while the Premium is £19,990 (£18,490 with the grant).
Based on numbers alone, Harley has a steep hill to climb to beat its main electric bike rival.