Harley-Davidson’s spinoff electric motorcycle brand, LiveWire, is primed and ready to release its second motorcycle. The LiveWire S2 is a hot flat-tracker racer-inspired electric motorcycle and it releases this summer for $15,499. After a rocky start in the electric motorcycle world, this one is looking promising for Harley-Davidson and riders alike.
The first time I rode an electric motorcycle was back in 2019 during a launch event for the Harley-Davidson LiveWire. That motorcycle was a riot. The LiveWire has helpful settings to limit power output and to use traction control in an effort to keep the shiny side up and you off of the ground. Harley’s representatives said that the bike’s full 86 lb-ft torque was available from the twist of the throttle and the 105 HP of the electric motor will be right there too.
I saw that as a threat and turned the power up to max and turned off all of the rider aids. At one point in the ride, I cranked the throttle from a dead stop. The surge of power threw me back and I found myself doing a small wheelie as the rear tire left a black mark on the pavement behind me.
The LiveWire was also more than just brute force. It rode and felt like the Buells I love so much. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought that Harley still had Erik on the payroll and told him to make an electric Firebolt. It was that fun and satisfying to ride. From the looks of things, the S2 Del Mar (below) is a ball.
It’s Been A Long Road
Unfortunately for all of the riders enamored by the ride, the Harley-Davidson LiveWire was priced at a heartbreaking $29,799. Unsurprisingly, it has been a rough road selling the machines. In 2021, the LiveWire saw a steep drop in price to $21,999. A year later, Harley’s EV division was spun off into its own brand called LiveWire and the motorcycle itself was renamed the One (not The One like the Curtiss bike from earlier this week). LiveWire sold 597 motorcycles in 2022, beating its own expectation of 500 motorcycles. Yet, Q4 2022 was slow, selling just 69 units to Q4 2021’s 186 units.
Part of LiveWire’s plan to sell more bikes is to offer a second, less expensive motorcycle. This motorcycle is the LiveWire S2 Del Mar, and I think it’s one of Harley’s best modern designs.
The LiveWire S2 Del Mar
In 2022, I attended a virtual investor conference from LiveWire. Back then, the brand announced plans to build a lineup of new electric motorcycles, all riding on the company’s new Arrow modular architecture. The first bike to debut with it is the S2 Del Mar. This electric flat track-inspired machine is a street bike meant to handle pavement and dirt and after a lot of waiting, buyers are going to see the motorcycle this summer.
The Del Mar is the first motorcycle to use LiveWire’s Arrow-based S2 middleweight platform. LiveWire says that its Arrow architecture comes with a lot of advantages over Harley’s previous electric effort. The battery and motor unit are now structural elements, not unlike what you’d see in a modern internal combustion motorcycle.
The Arrow architecture is scalable, allowing LiveWire to build a larger S1 and a smaller S3 motorcycle, all on the Arrow platform. Thanks to the platform’s simplified construction, LiveWire says this bike will take 44 percent less time to build than the LiveWire One. Like the One, the S2 Del Mar will also be built alongside internal-combustion Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
The LiveWire S2 Del Mar platform gets some fresh upgrades over the older LiveWire One as well. It’s expected to have a 10.5 kWh lithium battery consisting of 21700 cells. LiveWire says that these cells offer better energy density than the 18650 cells found in the LiveWire One. Those 21700 cells can also be found in Teslas.
Also new is the motor, which is expected to be a proprietary unit making 80 HP and 184 lb-ft torque. The completed machine weighs 431 pounds and is capable of hitting 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. In other words, it has fewer horses in the stable, but it’s just as fast as the LiveWire One. It also rides on 19-inch wheels wrapped in Dunlop DT1 dirt tires and has a city range of 110 miles. Sadly, LiveWire says that there isn’t any fast charging. The best it can do is charge from 20 percent to 80 percent in 75 minutes on a Level 2 charger.
More Coming This Summer
These are all of the specs that LiveWire is willing to provide for now. The company says that full performance and specifications will be published in June, a month before the first customers will be getting them in June.
The price for it? $15,499. That’s still a lot of money for a maximum city range of 110 miles, but at least LiveWire’s prices are trending in the right direction. Harley-Davidson has been working on its electric motorcycle experiment since 2014. Back then, the Motor Company wasn’t even sure if electric motorcycles were viable, now it’s pouring tens of millions into an electric future. I’m rooting for Harley’s success here. I love what the brand has been doing with its new designs.
If you’re enamored with the LiveWire S2 Del Mar, the company is still taking $100 deposits. Hopefully, I’ll get to swing a leg over one and tell you all about it.
(Images: Manufacturer, unless otherwise noted.)
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Gorgeous? Are we looking at the same bike?
But how will the Harley drivers compensate for their small penisses, when it doesn’t make a lot of noise?
Do you ever crank up your favorite song? Ever go to a concert or auto race? Should movie theaters turn down the volume? V-twins sound good and it’s pleasing to hear them. It’s an enjoyable experience. Not everyone agrees, just as your neighbors may not agree with your favorite song.
Disagree that they sound good.
And that’s fine you can. It’s also fine that some do think they sound good.
You are subconsciously invoking
<a href=http://https://us-browse.startpage.com/av/anon-image?piurl=https%3A%2F%2Fassets2.ignimgs.com%2F2014%2F03%2F28%2Ffuturama1209131280-2jpg-e31f51_160w.jpg%3Fwidth%3D1280&sp=1682171059T230406d88527e29102853329c8b5d2cde621321ab90ffcfb9d94b9ea5689b9f0>Bender Bending Rodríguez </a>
Had the One for two weeks as a press bike and very much enjoyed it. I’ll have to keep a weather eye out for when the Del Mar starts doing demo tours
Seems a little silly that they didn’t do L3, but I’m guessing it’s because they’re using an existing motor that was designed at a lower voltage – the minimum 400v required for fast charging would require approximately 720 cells running in 90×8 configuration (331 volts). Assuming 4 amp hour cells (middle ground assumption), this would put the total number of amp hours at 32, meaning it would last an hour at a 32 amp load.
Does the bike come with the training wheels shown in its first photo?
It’s a paddock stand, which I take to mean there is no built in center stand.
I’m still waiting for the ADV version from Long Way Up. Come on Harley, why not sell into the hottest segment in the industry?
Lack of range
As much as I wanted those bikes to do well, it actually turned me off on Electric bikes for long distances. While I like Long way Round and Long Way down, Long way up just seemed like a money grab
I will be surprised if these sell at a reasonable volume beyond the first year.
To me it is too expensive, not enough range, it is walking the weird dirt track theme again, it doesn’t have enough suspension for anything rougher, but it is wedded to 19″ rubber, a contradiction, an action pose if you will for a city bike.
Well they could certainly sell those sweaters, do they come with the bike?
I’m not sure what electric motorcycles are supposed to look like, but broiler pans isn’t what comes to mind.
I really like the design here, using the battery box as a stressed member and casting big fins on to break up the slabby look. I’m surprised the final drive pulley is so small, wonder if they used a gear reduction on the motor or designed it to work at lower RPMs?
I’m too cheapskate to be the target market here, but I hope they sell a lot of them.
If I was looking for an inner city runner, this could work. Granted I have enough problem with people not seeing me in 4 wheel cages.
That sweater certainly is a choice. If I were going to skip ATGATT, I’m not sure that’s what I would choose to risk having permanently embedded in my skin if I hit the pavement. 😉
Looks like it is made of muppet fur.
Join me in the fight against culling muppets for our pelts.
Also maybe wear motorcycle gear when riding motorcycles.
it melts into a plastic shield, effortlessly replacing your skin!
I think the person who knitted the sweater was inspired by the jumpers James May wears. I wonder how 100% wool stands up to road abrasion? My experience is blue jeans do not, but that’s cotton.
Meanwhile Zero’s offering a $4,500 rebate on all models… I think everyone’s gonna have to work a lot harder to drive costs down if they’re planning to sell to anyone other than eco-conscious traffic cop fleets.
I can’t be the only one here who’s seeing some sort of alien head in the front light arrangement in the lede picture?
I like the rider’s sweater. It looks like if James May happened to be a Muppet (or, more accurately, if he happened to be more Muppet-like than he already is).
Had me until the range, by just saying city range, I read that to mean the highway range will be much shorter.
Looks nice, though a bit lonely with such a tiny passenger seat, and the price is not all that bad considering. I would like to test ride one at the Harley Demo Days if they ever role through again.
Highway range is a massive problem on electric motorcycles, at least for the moment. I can ride ~150 miles on city streets with my Livewire, but I only get around 70 miles at 75 mph. At 90 mph it is closer to 40 miles of range. Aerodynamics is the problem. You can make a car aerodynamic, but there is very little you can do to make me aerodynamic when sitting on a motorcycle.
CATL just announced batteries with over double energy density than Tesla’s best ones, which are better than what’s used here, so the range is coming.
Are the 19 inch wheels a way to keep the revs low and extend the range?
No, the ratio of motor speed to road speed can be done in the gearbox or by changing sprocket sizes.
Smaller wheels are better for aero, and therefore range at higher speeds. So 19” wheels seems like an odd choice when 17” is so common.
this thing looks amazing! Seems to be priced competitively for an e-moto as well, using Zero as a benchmark. Granted, it’s still roughly twice the roughly equivalent ICE moto, but they’re heading in the right direction. My only complaint is that it looks a bit…small? It’s hard to judge in these photos above, but it looks like it would be pretty cramped for even a solo rider. The two people riding together look pretty uncomfortable. But hopefully I’m wrong about that, and if so this could be a great option!
It seems about on par with the New Sportster pricing and performance, however those get 50MPG and even a peanut sized tank holds a touch over 3 gallons. I feel like even a short run around the backroads will net you over 100 miles. at 50 plus miles per hour I am not so sure about the Del Mar. .
Range on a backroad ride might be better than you think, especially if you set the bike up to have as much regenerative braking as possible. While I only get around 70 miles from my Livewire on highway rides at a constant speed, on backroads or urban highways where speed varies from about 45 to 70, I usually get around 110-120 miles of range. Even a bit of speed variation adds up to a lot of extra miles with regenerative braking.
It is intriguing, but still too expensive for what it is. The dual sport nature of it is also weird, I would think they would want to do a city runabout type thing, like a sondors metacycle competitor around $10k. That would be interesting. This just sounds like they don’t know what market is after it and are trying to appeal to too many.
It is styled more akin to the Indian FTR1200, that bike has 120HP and 87 FT-LBS of torque and pricing starts under $14k. It is honestly a little surprising Harley is able to build these and sell them for a profit at the $15K price point. I suspect the units are not made in the USA.
Dual-sport bikes are actually fantastic for city riding. They are nimble, torquey, and have more suspension travel than pure street bikes. The suspension, paired with the tires, makes them work well in the areas of… suboptimal pavement that cities tend to have. Basically you can plow through potholes easily and hop curbs if necessary.
Also city riding tends to be at lower speed, so aero isn’t really a concern and you are not going to tax the brakes too much.
Dual sport bikes also tend to be tall, with upright riding positions. Additional characteristics that are great for city riding.