Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire electric motorcycle may be getting all the attention lately, but it’s not the only electric vehicle coming out of H-D. The company is now showing off prototypes for a line of Harley-Davidson electric bicycles with some very interesting features.
The last time we heard that Harley-Davidson was working on an electric bicycle concept was just over a year ago.
At that time the company unveiled a concept image of a number of electric two-wheelers including an aggressive-looking electric mountain bike.
But ever since we haven’t heard a peep out of Milwaukee regarding any new info on the H-D electric bicycle front. Until now, that is.
The company has just officially unveiled its upcoming line of Harley-Davidson electric bicycles at its Annual Dealer’s Meeting.
It looks like the company is planning three different models including two step-over city style e-bikes and one more step-through frame. Though “city bike” might be a bit dainty of a title, as these bikes look a tad more rugged, especially with those large tires and relaxed rake angles.
According to the company:
“Harley-Davidson’s first electric pedal-assist bicycles are light, fast, and easy for anyone to ride. Designed to shine in urban environments, this all-new line of eBicycles is just one more example of how Harley-Davidson’s More Roads initiative is actively working to inspire a new generation of two-wheeled riders around the world.”
As Harley-Davidson enters the electric bicycle market, they’re sure to enter a crowded space. With models on the low end starting at under $500 all the way up to high end $10,000 e-bikes, it’s anyone’s guess where in that range Harley-Davidson electric bicycles could land.
What’s going on with Harley-Davidson’s electric bicycles?
There are some interesting things happening here with these Harley-Davidson e-bikes.
First of all, we see the standard e-bike parts. There’s a mid-drive motor down by the cranks, though it’s a bit blockier than I would have expected. That chunky down tube very well may be holding the battery, or it could be integrated into the brick above the motor.
Either way, there’s not a ton of battery space on those bikes. That’s likely a hint that these will be pedal-assist electric bicycles that require some user pedal input to engage the motor, not throttle-only e-bikes.
The serious cycling saddles and lack of cruiser-style pedal forward geometry are two more nods towards the likely pedal-assist nature of these Harley-Davidson e-bikes.
It’s also a bit hard to tell, but I think I also spy belt drive on those bikes instead of standard chain drive. And is that an internally geared hub on the rear?
Those all sound pretty standard for electric bicycles, but from here things start to get weird. Check out the bars. There appears to only be one brake lever on each electric bike. And while one brake lever is a standard affair for motorcycles, it’s pretty rare on bicycles outside of coaster brake cruisers. And it’s nearly unheard of on electric bicycles.
Does that mean Harley-Davidson is planning one of the first electric bicycles with a foot brake? It’s possible, though unlikely. Such a brake could be engaged by pedaling backward to engage a sensor, but the hydraulic disc brakes we see on these bikes wouldn’t be optimized for that type of braking.
Perhaps the Harley-Davidson e-bikes use a linked hydraulic brake system? That wouldn’t be a first on an electric bicycle. We saw something similar on the Rungu three-wheeled electric bike, where the two front wheels each had their own hydraulic disc brake, yet it was actuated by a single handlebar lever.
Are these Harley-Davidson e-bikes actually headed for production?
It seems likely, believe it or not. A source at Harley-Davidson has confirmed to Electrek the authenticity of the prototype images.
And while Harley-Davidson is careful to describe them as “future concepts”, the company’s fine print is a bit more direct:
“Prototype model shown. Production model features will vary. Not yet available for sale. All future models shown may not be available in all markets.”
That’s some pretty strong language for bikes that are just concepts. It definitely sounds like these Harley-Davidson electric bicycles are actually heading to market in some form or another, even if they don’t follow these exact models. And if the bikes are even half as awesome as their LiveWire electric motorcycle, which I recently got to test ride on a race track, then these should be some fun e-bikes.
What do you think of Harley-Davidson’s electric bicycle prototypes? Let us know in the comments below!