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Mountainview Harley-Davidson Checks Out Project LiveWire

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By now most of the Harley world has heard of Project LiveWire.  If you haven’t, my question is; Where have you been?  For those hiding out under a panhead, Project LiveWire is designed to showcase the launch of Harley-Davidson’s first electric motorcycle. While not yet for sale, Project LiveWire is designed for the purpose of finding out what riders, new and old, expect of an electric Harley.

The tour launched in the US on June 24, on historic Route 66 and is not scheduled to come to Canada until sometime in 2015.  But.  Mountainview Harley-Davidson managed to secure a spot for a ride at LiveWire’s stop at Eastside Harley-Davidson in Bellevue, Washington.  After receiving a call confirming the one spot, on Thursday Aug 7th, we arrived at Eastside Harley (after taking the scenic route) a little after 9:30.

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Karen, with whom I’d booked the original spot, told me that Thursday was supposed to be fully booked, but some were not showing up for their appointments so she would be able to get both Cam & I on the test ride without a problem.  So after filling out the required paperwork, we were ushered into the LiveWire Experience tent and shown an instruction video on the motorcycle operation. Then we waited for out turn.
While we were waiting we had an opportunity to talk to Scott Cook, the General Manager of Eastside Harley-Davidson. He told us that Thursday was supposed to be fully booked by Microsoft but less than a third of the group showed up. “Jeff Henshaw, one of the developers for Xbox who has been a Harley rider for years, learned about Project LiveWire before the dealership and immediately called me. I was actually in the doctors office at the time. He wanted to make a $1,000 deposit so he could buy the first production model to come off the line. This morning, he used three GoPro cameras to record his test ride!”Finally our names were called, “This is a pretty impressive little bike. Make sure you get a chance to test that throttle.” Cook said with a grin.”

What is unique about LiveWire is the motor is mounted longitudinally, under the frame and a bevel gear changes the direction of rotation to 90° to drive a gilmer belt that turns the rear wheel. The same bevel gear gives the drive-train a whirring sound akin to jet plane. The motor produces 72 horsepower and 52 pound-feet of torque and Harley claims they’ll reach around 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds. The prototypes are electronically limited to 90mph and they have limited range. Around 60 to 80 miles depending on what mode the ride selects, distance or higher-performance “power” mode.
The first thing you notice when you get on LiveWire is that it’s light (460lbs) and when you push the start button there is almost no sound or vibration. What you do feel are the fans cooling the electric motor and batteries and there is no exhaust heat or fumes. There is no clutch, it doesn’t need one. The power is continuous so once you twist the throttle it goes. We were warned not to try to “rev” the engine while we were sitting there. There is a single disk, two-piston front brake but once your hand is off the throttle it comes to a rolling stop quite quickly.
With a slight, tentative, twist of the wrist we were off (with one of Jeff Henshaw’s drones following us through the parking lot). LiveWire handles like what you would expect from a sport-bike. The difference is that when you do twist that throttle (and you really want to) the transition from zero to light-speed is almost instantaneous. So much so that I got a bit of a head-rush. When Cam tried it for the first time, something malfunctioned, the LCD screen flashed an error code and the bike shut down. A quick restart got the bike going again and we were able to take enjoy the rest of ride. My only initial complaint would be thatby the time we had completed the short test ride, the sound of the motor was starting to get to me. But, these are the types of situations Harley is looking for and one of the reasons LiveWire is touring the country.
Harley hasn’t said yet when the LiveWire bikes will go on Sale. Spokesman Tony Macrito said they won’t launch during the tour, which still has to tour Canada, Europe and possibly Asia. Pricing also hasn’t been revealed a one estimate was that they will be under $15,000. Harley is trying to reach a more diverse demographic and lower pricing would be one way to get more people on their products.
Bow River . Banff National Park . Alberta . 2013

Back in Business

Im back!  After months of technical difficulty, Mostly by Motorcycle is back.  Many, Many thanks to my friend Dean who has spent hours trying to unravel the mystery that was my hosting server.

We have been so busy, there hasn’t been time for many road trips yet.  Therefore not many pictures to show off but some pretty exciting things are coming down the road for us.  Stay tuned for more soon.  In the mean time I hope you enjoy a little collection of photos from my archives.

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To My Brother

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I didn’t really want a brother.  When you were little, I once (ok maybe more than once) dressed you in girls clothing and put barrettes in your hair.  I called you Matty.  I wanted a sister.

A sister wouldn’t hook up batteries to your bedroom door knob so you would get zapped when you tried to get away from her.  I thought if had a sister, we wouldn’t fight like cats and dogs.

She wouldn’t have spent the hours we did, climbing trees, jumping off of swing sets, building forts and hammering nails into everything worth (and sometimes not worth) hammering nails into.  A sister certainly wouldn’t have helped me built parachutes for Barbie, then launch her out of the tallest tree in the yard.

Yesterday I went for a drive.  For some reason I drove down to the ocean and it made me think of the hours you probably don’t remember, playing in the sand.  When Mom and Aunt Shirley took us to the beach.  It wasn’t a warm day, being the Pacific Northwest, but we dug holes and searched for crabs and shells and filled our rubber boots with sand.

I thought about the times we went camping.  Always in the pouring rain, it seemed.  We would whisper in the dark about bears and ghosts and things that go bump in the night.  Every once in a while, Mom or Dad would casually say over their shoulder from the campfire, “Go to sleep!” and we really tried not to.

Remember the time I fell off the roof?  I went up there to retrieve your Luke Skywalker, attached to a parachute, who had gotten stuck on his escape from the Death Star.  I most likely bruised my ribs in that fall.  But you kept the secret.  Probably because I threatened your life.

Speaking of Star Wars, remember the time we thought Mom and Dad didn’t have names?   Through some sort of oversight they had made it their whole lives, to that point, without having proper names.  You decided that they should be Han Solo and Princess Leah.  Of course your real-life heroes should have hero names!

You and I would spend hours outside imagining epic adventures.  Most of them involved the search for Goonie pirate treasure.  In our version though, we were chased and captured by Stormtroopers then saved just in time by some good old, slo-mo face melting courtesy of Indiana Jones.

I remember the day you told me about this girl.  You knew she was perfect and I worried I would lose you forever to the other side of the world.  The day you married her, I saw the tears of joy run down your face and I knew you two would be happy.

Jakob became your new hero.  The day he was born was the best day of your life.  I watched you bathe him with such tenderness.  A far cry from the little brother, much bigger than me, who inadvertently tried to drown me when I was ten or so.

You became my hero when you fought back against this disease that tried to take you from all of us.  You didn’t want to leave your beautiful little family.  You fought hard.  You were always so positive. “I’m okay, I’m okay.”

It must have been something catastrophic for you to leave us.  I know that if you could you would have fought your way back.  I know you tried.

A sister wouldn’t have given me all those memories.  A sister wouldn’t have been the only brother I wish I still had.

 

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