- Harley designers made a little nod to their heritage by fitting the LiveWire with an 18-inch front wheel. That was a poor choice, and one they should revisit; this bike deserves great tires, which means that it also deserves a 17-inch front rim.
- The LiveWire looks good in pictures, and great in the metal. It highlights Harley-Davidson's unexpected strength in EV design—and, perhaps, comparative weakness at upstarts like Brammo and Zero.
- In the ‘80s, ad agency Carmichael-Lynch embraced Harley’s biker heritage, and helped to create one of the world’s purest and most valuable brands. 30 years later, that biker mystique is still Harley’s biggest (albeit aging) asset. Of course, you would never consider selling an electric motorcycle to these guys. The question is, will these guys resent the fact that you’re selling it at all? And will the people who would buy an e-bike mind rubbing elbows at the dealership with these guys?
- There was a lot of enthusiasm for the bike, even from old-school Harley riders there in New York City. Mind you, in New York City, Harley riders drink cappuccinos. They're a little more skeptical out in what Sarah Palin calls, "the real America". And even if you scoff at Palin, the fact is, out there is where Harley sells most of its bikes.
- The LiveWire tour will also include this 'Jump Start' display, where non-riders can sit on the bike, twist the throttle, and spin up the rear wheel without moving. As a twist-and-go, the LiveWire would be a great 'gateway drug' into motorcycling. Of course, the last bike Harley-Davidson marketed expressly to beginners was the Buell Blast, and we know how that worked out...
- Harley President and COO Matt Levatich was on hand. When not cleaving to the official LiveWire talking points, he comes across as pretty genuine. We bemoaned the commercial failure of the XR1200x which, for both of us, was a favorite model. CEO Keith Wandell was in New York for the launch too, but he seemed to be focused on reporters from outlets like Bloomberg. Project LiveWire is evidence that Harley's C-suite has been doing some serious strategic calculation. And soul searching.
- Although the actual riding I did was too limited to tell much, the consensus amongst journos was that the bike is probably already as competent as, say, the Zero SR.
- The LiveWire launch was the first motorcycle reveal I've ever worked on, that attracted media like CNN and MSNBC.
- Harley’s Marketing guy, Mark-Hans Richter said, “This is authentic. This is on brand.” Shakespeare said, “Methinks he doth protest too much.”