Mention the name Harley Davidson, and most of us think of a gnarly looking dude in black leather revving a loud throbbing v-twin engine. In fact, the sound of a Harley engine is so iconic that the company actually attempted to trademark it back in the 1990s. To be honest, these days the gnarly dude riding a hog is more likely to be a banker or real estate broker than some biker gang member, but that's just because the Harley mystique is primarily about image. So what are the die-hard Harley fans going to make of a hog that sounds more like a jet fighter getting ready for takeoff?
Technical details about Project LiveWire are kind of sketchy, but that's not so important because it isn't intended to be a commercial product. Instead, it's more of a showcase to indicate a possible future direction for the company. The press release talks about "tire-shredding performance" and asks you to draw a comparison with an electric guitar rather than your neighbor's Nissan Leaf. Harley Davidson is currently taking LiveWire on a tour of U.S. dealerships to get some impressions from their loyal customers, then next year they will expand the tour to Canada and Europe.
Electric motorcycles are certainly an important development as we try to make all of our transportation systems more green friendly, but Harley Davidson is about the last company I expected to see jumping on that bandwagon. Perhaps they can maintain the traditional Harley image by following BMW's example, and pumping some awesome recorded engine sounds through speakers on the bike.
Check out the video below to get a taste for how Project LiveWire sounds.