Featured A Tale Of Two Test Rides: The Electric Livewire And The Low Rider S

Discussion in 'Other Bikes' started by Sandi T, Oct 28, 2020.

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  1. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Last Friday while Mr. Sandi was fishing with some friends, our riding buddy, RT, and I rode up to Superstition Harley-Davidson to test ride bikes. Superstition H-D is dealership is in the town of Apache Junction in the southeast part of the Phoenix metro area. I've been jones-ing to test ride the 2020 Low Rider S for awhile now. This 2020 Low Rider S is the updated Softail version of my now-traded 2017 Dyna Low Rider S and the latest model in a long history of Low Rider models dating back to 1977 when the first one rolled off the line.

    When I called the dealership to schedule a test ride, the sales manager suggested that since we'd already be in our riding gear we really should test ride Harley's electric motorcycle which is known as the "LiveWire". Well, twist my arm why dontcha. ;):joy::joy: I love test riding and, hey, any excuse.... Mr. Sandi and I were lucky enough to be able to test ride the LiveWire prototypes about five years ago when the demo truck came through Phoenix. It was a hoot! So I was interested to see how different this bike would be from the prototypes. Here's a photo of one of the prototypes.

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    So off my buddy and I went for the 100-mile ride north to Apache Junction and Superstition Harley. Mr. Sandi and I had stopped in this dealership for the first time ever about a week prior as we were returning from an overnighter MC trip. It was then that I saw a custom painted Low Rider S, one that I've been dreaming about ever since.:heart_eyes::heart_eyes::heart_eyes: RT had never been to that dealership so getting him up there to see it was a good excuse to ride up there for the day.

    First up in the test ride queue for me was a Low Rider S. RT chose to test ride a 2020 Street Bob. Jason, the very pleasant and personable salesman we worked with agreed to lead us on a route since neither RT nor I knew this part of Phoenix well enough to be able to find our way out of a paper bag. ;) Besides, we wanted to focus on the bikes and not worry about the route. :cool:

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    I'm not about to nor able to offer a professional quality test ride motorcycle reviews of the same caliber that @steve lovatt has shared with us on this forum. :) But I will say that I was smitten with the Low Rider S. :heart_eyes:And there was nothing about my test ride that altered my smitten-ness--except to increase it. :eek:

    I test rode a stock silver Low Rider S. The one that really caught my fancy is this custom painted matte black version with unique fender, faring, and tank graphics.

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    Next up was a test ride on the LiveWire. This H-D electric bike is hugely controversial with all sort of issues.:scream: But, damn the torpedos, it was GREAT FUN TO RIDE! RT wasn't that interested in riding it at all initially but agreed to join me. About two thirds of the way through the test ride he pulled up next to me at a red light, flipped up his face shield, and exclaimed "I love this thing! This is the most fun I've had on a motorcycle in years!" Interestingly, he didn't have to yell and I could easily hear him because the bike was making NO sound. That's just weird. :p

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    In person, I found the LiveWire to be quite an attractive little package.The fit and finish is exceptional and the lines are lovely. It's heavy off the side stand but once upright and moving it is remarkably light feeling and nimble. In the parking lot at low speeds it nearly feels bicycle-like. On the road I likened it to feeling like being on a magic carpet or on one of those vehicles in The Jetsons. Twist the throttle and "zoom zoom"! It takes off like a rocket ship! RT and I both said we found ourselves grabbing for the clutch as we approached stop lights but otherwise it was quite easy to adapt to riding these electric bikes. I never thought I'd have one but now actually I would. But only if I won the lottery and had money to burn and only if I had tons of garage space. And those two things are highly correlated. I wouldn't necessarily need the H-D version and would probably check out the Zero. But again, only if I win the lottery. Unlikely since I don't play. :neutral:

    When we got back from the test ride, Jason said that we were each due a special tee-shirt just for test riding the LiveWire. They didn't have women's sizes (not unusual unfortunately :() but it was free. And a cool design. :) And lucky for me, with some digging around, Jason found the last remaining men's size small tee.

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    By this time it was well after the traditional lunch hour and RT, who is nearly always hungry, was eager to find food. We wandered half a block down the street to a local Mexican joint called Erickberto's where I ordered a breakfast burrito ("Served All Day") with eggs, cheese, and potatoes. Unfortunately I forgot to get some salsa to dip it in but it was delicious nonetheless. We walked back to the dealership and sat outside on some nice benches in the shade to debrief our test rides and watch other customers come and go. :cool:

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    Just a few feet away from our lunch spot was covered parking for motorcycles only. A guy pulled up on a heavily modified Fat Boy that caught my attention. I had to check out the front end to see just what these skeleton hands were holding. Speakers! Not my cup of tea but definitely eye-catching. A bit creepy for me.

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    This custom-painted bike rolled up in the area that we were prepping for our first test ride. Again not my cup of tea but I could certainly appreciate the artistry and skill involved in this paint job! And you wouldn't lose your bike in the parking lot. :rolleyes:

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    After finishing our burritos we went back inside the dealership and did a bit of shopping in the Motorclothes Department. Amazingly--more like unbelievably according to RT--I purchased nothing. Not one tee-shirt. Not a single pair of gloves. Not even a hat. That's because as he continued to shop in Motorclothes, I was back over in motorcycle sales busily negotiating a potential deal with the sales manager for an out-the-door price for the matte black Low Rider S. ;) Stay tuned.

    I honestly could and sometimes do spend hours in motorcycle dealerships. Today was no exception. Fortunately for me, RT is pretty much a man after my own heart. Mr. Sandi does his best to be patient but he's finished and out the door far before I've even scratched the surface. But finally RT said he thought we needed to be hitting the road because it was going to be dark before we arrived back in Tucson! It was 3:30pm and we'd arrived that morning at 10:00am. Time flies when you're hanging out with bikes and bikers. And burritos. :eek::joy: Just before leaving we took a look at Superstition's wall-sized map of Arizona and pointed out some of our favorite routes to Jason who had just moved to Arizona from Minnesota three months ago. He's already found a few favorite routes from where he lives and we pointed out a few more we thought he might enjoy.

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    On today's ride I saw my Street Glide Special turn over to one thousand miles so it's due and scheduled for a 1K service this Friday. What a fun day--friends, motorcycles, sunny skies, and burritos. Life is good. :heart:
     
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  2. Dartplayer

    Dartplayer Crème de la Crème

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    #2 Dartplayer, Oct 28, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
    I just saw a live wire :idea:for the first time this weekend @Sandi T.
    Very Buell looking and I imagine the quiet nature would make the extreme torque even more freaky :eek:
    As usual, enjoyed your ride review :cool:
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  3. dilligaf

    dilligaf Guest

    Another brilliant write up Sandi :cool:
    Thanks for posting :heart:
     
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  4. steve lovatt

    steve lovatt Something else
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    You flatter me too much Sandi - nothing wrong with your write ups and pictures! :cool::cool:
     
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  5. Bad Billy

    Bad Billy Baddest Member

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    I enjoyed reading your thread & looking at the pictures Sandi, top job as ever! :cool:
    I have never ridden an electric motorcycle, but those that have always comment on the instant go that they have, I have been at a race meeting when the Zero class is out racing it just seems weird due to the lack of noise! but certainly not a lack of go! :dizzy:
     
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  6. Wishbone

    Wishbone First Class Member

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    Great write up Sandi,
    Always interesting to get an insight into the future technology, Especially the HD angle.
    like it or lump it, its coming!
    The only thing fuel driven in the future will be a Zippo lighter!!
    Unless we start to protest?
     
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  7. Callumity

    Callumity Elite Member

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    Do you get unlimited range (not at night, obviously) with the accessory solar panel in the top photo?
     
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  8. Pegscraper

    Pegscraper Elite Member

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    #8 Pegscraper, Oct 28, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
    I enjoyed your write up Sandi. I've never ridden an electric motorcycle but I can imagine their characteristics will suit a cruiser more than a sports bike. The electric bikes at the TT were impressive and certainly fast but I'm sure you'll agree there's much enjoyment to be had from taking a "normal" bike through the twisties, up and down through the gears and the rev range, not to mention the sound, the vibration and the smell of a hot engine! There's no doubt E bikes can offer performance but they just seem a bit soul-less, a piston engined bike lives! As already said they are the future and I've no objection to that but I think I'm at an age where I can say petrol engines will see me out.....thankfully!
     
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  9. Don the Don

    Don the Don Bigger Than The Average Bear

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    Thanks for sharing that write up and pic's @Sandi T. first class as always
     
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  10. JtC

    JtC Elite Member

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    Very nice write-up and pics, Sandi!

    We were eye-balling those RV villages in Apache Junction when we were out there as a plan B for retirement -Texas will always be plan A, though.
     
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  11. Doc Strange

    Doc Strange Senior Member

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    Thanks for the review Sandi.

    Don't worry that you're not a pro bike reviewer - it's the opinion of ordinary folks that I value most :)

    DS
     
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  12. covid-21

    covid-21 Well-Known Member

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    I can totally see a future where once electric bikes are normal, that the next development will be a sound system that is fully linked to the throttle so that the sound of the engine is restored. You can just dial in any after market muffler you like.
     
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  13. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #13 Sandi T, Oct 29, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
    Thanks, @Dartplayer. Cool that you just saw the LiveWire recently. You are correct...the silence of the electric motor certainly does make the extreme torque more freaky. :scream: When Mr. Sandi and I rode the prototypes, all test riders were specifically instructed to be careful upon acceleration to not do a wheelie during the ride briefing. And we were told that if we did do a wheelie, we'd be promptly escorted back to our starting point. :joy:
     
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  14. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    @steve lovatt, your reviews are professional quality in my book and I really enjoy them. More please! :)
     
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  15. Old dumb arse

    Old dumb arse Noble Member

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    Good God, they won't let wheelie a bike, what's the matter with these people?
     
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  16. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Oh, I don't know, ODA. Maybe it's because we're smack in the middle of a major city and we don't own the bikes?! ;):joy::kissing:
     
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  17. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    I've only ridden the LiveWire prototype and now the released LiveWire, Billy. I'd love to ride a Zero to compare. You are so right that they have instant "go" and a lot of it! And it's really weird when you couple that with little sound. Having NO sound at stop lights is even more weird. Seems like the bike has died on you. In fact, an addition to the current LiveWire based on test rider feedback of the prototype was to add a very subtle rhythmic "pulse" to the engine when the bike is at a standstill so that you know it's on. My buddy, RT, said that it felt a bit like a heartbeat to him and after him describing it like that I'd say I agree with him.
     
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  18. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Glad you enjoyed the test ride write up, Pegscraper. I would say that the characteristics of the LiveWire actually suit a sportbike type motorcycle more so than a cruiser. The LiveWire definitely has a sportbike feel to it in terms of size, ergonomics, handling, etc. And it is certainly fast!

    But I'm with you, I appreciate and prefer the feel, sound, and smell of a "normal" bike. And I love to shift. In fact, I started yearning to drive a standard transmission car again after I began riding motorcycles. While I enjoyed my ride aboard the LiveWire, it did seem a bit soul-less to me and lacking in character. While I suspect there will be more and more e-bikes available while I'm still riding (though I'm no spring chicken myself), I don't think I'll outlive piston and petrol engines....thankfully!
     
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  19. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #19 Sandi T, Oct 29, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
    Thanks for the kind comments on the write up, @JtC. I do have to say that if you were checking out RV villages in Apache Junction as a retirement plan, I'd go for Texas, too! ;):joy: At least those in the area around Superstition H-D. It's not the most appealing neighborhood. But perhaps there are other areas in Apache Junction that are a bit prettier. Where in Texas?? I do like the Hill Country around Austin! :cool::sun:
     
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  20. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    You're welcome, DS! I like the opinion of ordinary folks, too. Plus Harley didn't pay my way or my lunch to do a review so I'd say I'm fairly unbiased. ;):blush:
     
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