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Rumors and spy shots keep turning into real products at Harley-Davidson, which recently debuted a new clean-sheet high-performance Sportster model and has now lifted the veil on a second full-size electric motorcycle model.
Called the LiveWire S2 Del Mar, the new electric motorbike joins “The ONE,” the latest update derived from the first electric model that arrived as the original LiveWire model back in 2019, before that name was spun off as its own brand for future electric models. Clearly, the future is now.
LiveWire says the initial batch of 100 Del Mar “Launch Edition” machines will be special $17,699 numbers done up in special paint schemes (laboriously applied techno-zebra patterns called Jasper Gray and Comet Indigo), and production-series machines will have a “target MSRP” of $15,000, a good non-specific price that can be hit or missed according to factors like demand, parts issues, and incentives. If you don’t think Harley has been selling the LiveWire electrics, you’re wrong, as the limited edition run is sold out, according to the website, although the words “Sold Out” have been struck through as if they might change their mind and make more. LiveWire said the first bikes should arrive for owners and showrooms in spring of 2023.
Specific tech numbers for the S2 Del Mar are not quite out yet, but a press release from LiveWire specifies that the new bike will make 80 horsepower. No torque figure was released, which is backwards for H-D as they regularly brag on their torque figures for their new gas-powered motorcycles but won’t admit to horsepower stats, and torque is where it’s at with electric mobility tech these days.
However, some tech things are known about the S2 Del Mar, including the bike’s somewhat unique architecture, which uses the battery case as the central frame element rather than wrapping a metal frame around the battery case as they did with the original LiveWire machine – and which most competitors, including segment leader Zero – still do. Harley CEO Jochen Zeitz says the bikes are a product of the team working at LiveWire Labs in Mountain View, California – a Silicon Valley hub near Apple, Google, and other major tech players.
LiveWire also dropped some performance numbers, including a 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds and a stated range target of 100 miles. Weight is stated as 440 pounds, which puts it on the lighter end of the scale versus the ONE machine and much of Zero’s offerings, most of which easily clear 500 pounds.
All that tech in the air appears to be settling into LiveWire designers’ coffee, as the Del Mar features a somewhat odd choice of 19-inch wheels wrapped in specially-designed Dunlop DT1 tires that are “equally capable on paved and dirt surfaces.” As noted, the bikes’ underpinnings are also all new, but also echo some design choices around the new gas-powered Sportster Nightster’s engine-as-a-stressed-member modular sub-frame system. Called the “ARROW” architecture, the advantages include saving all that weight a typical frame includes while giving the Harley/LiveWire bikes a more modular baseline design to build other future bikes around. Harley/LiveWire does have a deal in place with South Korean scooter and lightweight motorcycle maker KYMCO for cooperation on future models, but in a press release, LiveWire said the S2 will be built at Harley’s plant in Pennsylvania.
If you’re keeping score, that puts once-stodgy Harley-Davidson, long the maker of neo-classic cruisers with old-tech, air-cooled pushrod engines, ahead of Ducati, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, BMW, MV Agusta, Kawasaki, Aprilia and pretty much every other legacy motorcycle maker 2-nil in the burgeoning electric motorcycle marketplace. Sorry, scooters don’t count at this level. What’s next? Electric bicycles? They’re already there with the Serial 1 brand. Strange days indeed.