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The Harley Davidson Livewire electric bike thread

Discussion in 'Electric Motorcycles' started by Kawazacky, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

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    What you refuse to realize is that my views on HD are shared by millions of motorcyclists worldwide. That is the reason for the unique-to-HD phenomenon called "Harley-bashing." Everything has a reason, and refusing to accept it won't make it go away.

    What makes me "that guy" in your mind is that I'm willing to talk about it, to shine a light where some would rather not see. Normally I don't engage in such matters because it generally goes nowhere, usually accompanied by angry words and more severe tribalism. But today, things are different. HD is literally fighting for its life, and the faithful still refuse to see what got them there.

    Think about it. There is no other brand except maybe Ducati that elicits such slavish adoration to the brand. Brand loyalty in general is much less of a thing these days. (Kinda sooo 20th century.) The only way it works for HD is to take it to a ridiculous extreme, to the point that it's more of a culture or lifestyle than a brand. Face it - the bikes just aren't that special. And more and more of today's buyers are so not into a club or lifestyle, especially not this one.

    All the adoration for today's Harleys simply makes no sense to a huge segment of the riding public, to the extent that it actually acts as a strong repellent. And the 'dominance' of the brand is everything to another. Such a sharply divided market is death to any manufacturer that depends so heavily on the division being in their favor, when it starts shifting away. That's where HD is now. At the very least, they need to start appealing to whoever is in the middle ground, growing it if possible, and there may actually be some promise there. But they need to temper the attitude, because that is the repellent that makes their brand so toxic to so many.

    That divide has existed for decades. Now it's becoming literally existentially important. Why would anyone concerned with HD's future refuse to acknowledge that fact? Ignoring reality will only hasten its trajectory.
  2. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

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    There's another aspect to this. HD's situation today has some parallels to the US automakers battling the onslaught of Japanese competitors decades ago. Once the Japanese got established, and started putting to use the lessons that WE taught them* (lessons that our own manufacturers haughtily ignored), it became clear to anyone who was paying attention that Japanese cars were better.

    Many believed we should buy American no matter what, and refused to believe the Japanese cars were better. People like me could see reality, spent less for better cars, and had far less trouble with them and got more for them when they sold.

    Today, US cars are pretty much the equal of the Japanese in terms of quality and value. Because of people who stuck with them through thick and thin - AND because of people like me who made it clear that mediocrity was no longer acceptable, so they better step up their game.

    Sometimes someone who seems like your greatest enemy is your most valuable friend. If we don't talk about this stuff, even if it's hard, it doesn't get addressed. It's time to admit that thinking of HD as being badass or ultimate in any way is WAY past its time. The Livewire shows they can have a long future if they play their cards right - and if their buyers decide to get dealt into the game and new buyers can be attracted to the table. They only thing that doubling down on their 'core strengths' can get them is keeping short-term cash flow in the black. The longer term future lies elsewhere.

    * Look up W. Edwards Deming, and in particular Ford's experience with their Japanese colleagues' version of the Mercury Tracer transmission - there's a great video from Ford (from the '70s?) on that.
    MJSfoto1956 likes this.
  3. Monkeyshines

    Monkeyshines Long timer

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    It's like the only things you really know about harley is that they bug you.
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  4. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

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    Perhaps. But the existence of so many 1000s of anti-Harley comments and threads over so many years indicates there is a huge population like me, informed or not. If you're HD, you know people like me exist in huge numbers. There's too much evidence to believe otherwise. You know your base has been shrinking for years. You know the entire motorcycle market is shrinking too. So the only way you're going to increase your market is to grow the entire industry, which seems a big task with a built-in low yield if the recent rider-ed program is any indication. Or you can win over some of those anti-Harley motorcyclists, which is a big task given that views tend to become ever-more entrenched over the years (a process HD didn't actively promote, but enabled and supported while it was helping them).

    What HD seems to be doing is a bit of everything. The rider-ed program did get some small success. Buying the company that makes stability bikes for toddlers (STACYC?) would be a long-term help, but only worth it short term if they carry their weight early on. If you knew all those things listed above, would you not also survey some of those anti-Harley riders to see what their beef is? That's a big resource to mine. I suspect HD already has, but did so in a way that did not divulge who commissioned the study. I suspect they got responses that, whether there's any basis in reality or not, included things like snooty dealer personnel, fringe vests, all the stereotype-fitting people that get photographed at Sturgis, chain wallets, riders who think they achieved success in life because they got a big shiny bling boat that weighs more than two normal bikes, LOUD EXHAUSTS and the asshats who fit them, and then rev them just to make a racket to get attention, and LOTS of similar responses, some of which are not really HD's fault.

    There would be other responses too, more thoughtful and focused. Like, you had the beginnings of a great thing with the Buell line, why the stupid move of dropping it? You should have expanded it and had an entire line, apart from the bling boats and pseudo-badass cruisers, and build bikes that normal people want that aren't just silly cosplay props. You know, bikes that work. Bikes that can hustle through a tight canyon road with the best of them, svelte and responsive and still rock-solid in everything they do.

    (You could start with bikes that put the pegs where riders need them, under their personal cg. Riders who don't understand that aren't riders - they're cargo. They also won't understand that distinction. Interestingly, the Livewire has pegs where they belong. HD calls them mid-mounts. They're not, but let's not upset the faithful.)

    And while you're at it, smaller, cheaper versions to get people in the door and appreciating HD as they get into motorcycling. (The Streets were a poor attempt. Witness the sales numbers.)

    I'm pretty sure HD knows all this. They know their only chance for growth is to do new things. But they also know picking up where Buell left off takes money for development. There was a bit from Reuters I shared in this thread not long ago that suggested HD was running out of cash. Then COVID-19 hit, and busted the bottom out of what little cash flow they had. So there's no money left for development (and they're new to the three markets they're entering, which means they need even more time and money).

    So that might explain why Zeitz is talking big about a plan that makes no sense, that of focusing on their core strengths. That's like suggesting the way to put out a fire is to pour gas on it. The fact is he has no money to work with, so the only thing he can do is trim every expense he can. Then dress it up with PR blah-blah to make it seem bold and fresh. It stops or at least slows the losses, but it just delays doing what absolutely must be done for HD's long-term health.

    Which brings us back to the Livewire and all the electric bikes that were to follow, which together are another way to grow your market - step onto a new and rapidly rising one, EMs. We were told there was to be a new HD design center in Silicon Valley that was to develop that entire line. All we ever saw was a few sketches and design patent applications. Was that design center ever made operational? How many employees? Do we believe money will continue to flow there, or do we now wait until HD gets some financial breathing room? Or does everyone there get furloughed and then they have to start over when funding flows again?

    Or do we find that the Livewire, PanAm and Bronx get no changes for years and there are no other new bikes, electric or ICE, that are forthcoming? With all of Zeitz's non-announcements of what the Rewire plan will entail, no mention of an electric future has been made. (The most we have is speculation from reporters on Zeitz's releases.) I want to know, specifically, how much progress has happened on that design center, and what HD plans to do with electric bikes going forward. I do not expect to get any answers any time soon.

    In fact, if HD is truly in a cash crunch, we may very well see Zeitz tightening the tourniquet until profits stabilize a bit on even lower overall sales. And then he'll pitch the idea of taking HD private, blaming COVID-19. If I'm right, pay close attention to who wins and who loses in that transition.

    I really don't want to be so gloomy about this. If anyone can present a rosier picture, with real facts to support its likelihood of becoming reality, I'd like to hear it. Please.
  5. Monkeyshines

    Monkeyshines Long timer

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    If there's anything weirder than the pirates it's the strange insecurity of Harley trolls. Seems a sad pastime if you ask me.
    You know there are dedicated threads for this nonsense right? of course you do.
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  6. Monkeyshines

    Monkeyshines Long timer

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  7. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

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    For the Livewire to be a success eEvery single Harley dealer has to have a DC fast charger available. Of course they are a cash strapped as HD.

    I know of one dealer that does not have an additional 50 amps available on their service. With the showroom addition they did a few years back they pretty much maxed out their electric service, they would have to have the utility install bigger transformers or upgrade from electric resistance heat to heat pumps. Or turn off the heat in the shop until the bike charged.

    And of course Harley shot themselves in the foot already by noting in the manual to avoid fast charging as much as possible to maximize battery life.

    Rod
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  8. chainslap

    chainslap BlessedarethesicK Super Supporter

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  9. Traxx

    Traxx Long timer Supporter

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    Well ya know since it had 3500 miles on it, it reached the end of its service life and was a piece of junk Hardley anyway. He also had to sell all of his pirate gear to buy the ticket home, since obviously he was a uneducated laborer with no money. I mean dang, how could you not know as many times as we have been told in this thread.

    I really don't remember reading what he did after the ride. I assume, since he had decided on a city to live in that he set it up there and went home to fetch his family.
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  10. Monkeyshines

    Monkeyshines Long timer

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    He said they were relocating to Cali so I'd assume he was flying back to move the rest of the household. 205 @Traxx
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  11. ultrarnr

    ultrarnr Been here awhile

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    This 3500 mile trip is being discussed on electricmotorcycleforum.com. A poster named MVetter posted that he was told the trip was from 3-31 June so almost three weeks, averaging about 166 miles a day. That sounds like mostly L1 charging. Probably something like ride for two hours or so, charge for 8-10 hours, ride for another 2 hours or so and repeat day after day. I rode the Blue Ridge Parkway a few years ago on my Energica Eva, used only CCS charging for the day and rode 414 miles. Pretty easy to ride far more than 166 miles a day on a Zero with 6.6kw L2 charging. It sounds like there wasn't much CCS charging on the route the guy took as he should have averaged far more than 166 miles a day.
    voltsxamps and chainslap like this.
  12. Monkeyshines

    Monkeyshines Long timer

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    If you read the story posted up there he said he used L3 charge stations.
  13. ultrarnr

    ultrarnr Been here awhile

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    I don't doubt he did but if the comment about averaging 166 miles a day is accurate I don't think he used very many of them. But it also sounds like he stayed on back roads instead of trying to ride interstate so there would have been fewer CCS chargers available.
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  14. Monkeyshines

    Monkeyshines Long timer

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    He said he did use quick chargers, I don't know what to tell you, I'd trust the owner that rode it over a third party rumor.
  15. Traxx

    Traxx Long timer Supporter

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    So this dude rides 3500 miles across the US on a electric motorcycle and you want to bitch because he didn't average enough miles a day? It was his dream ride along Rt 66, I feel pretty good about saying he sniffed some flowers along the way, took in some sights.
  16. chainslap

    chainslap BlessedarethesicK Super Supporter

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    Whose bitching about anything? I think he was giving an assessment of the trip broken down into averages. Didn't sound like bitching to me.

    I've found @ultrarnr to be very informative and not likely to take sides in brand comparison. Unlike a lot of folks on here who care more about the brand than the tech involved. Some folks just have blinders on and any little remarks about the bike set off arguments based not on the tech but the defense of the brand.

    I speak for myself but I want all the brands to succeed. I like the tech and I think each brand brings a different element to the game. And that in my opinion can only make them all better as the technology progresses.

    Some folks need to stop being so defensive and sensitive about branding and learn more about the technical aspects and capabilities of each brand and appreciate what each brand brings to the table.
    Carlisja and voltsxamps like this.
  17. Traxx

    Traxx Long timer Supporter

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    So where in there did I say anything about brand? or tech? capabilities? or comparisons?
    MY point is to "ride your own ride"
  18. chainslap

    chainslap BlessedarethesicK Super Supporter

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    My comments were in general form. If you took it personally that says more about you than my summary.
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  19. Monkeyshines

    Monkeyshines Long timer

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    maybe this third party rumor could be verified somehow. :dunno
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  20. Monkeyshines

    Monkeyshines Long timer

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    I agree, there are folks more concerned about the brand. I'd disagree on which direction that's coming from however.
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