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Livewire S2 Del Mar charges into UK

Harley Livewire S2 Del Mar

Electric motorcycles have had a tough time of it in recent years.

After a sales spike during the pandemic, retails of low powered, learner legal electrics have fallen away, while ‘premium’ manufacturers like Italy’s Energica and America’s Zero Motorcycles have never really gained much traction. Even the much-anticipated Harley-Davidson LiveWire, first shown as a concept in 2014 and launched in 2019, failed to make much impression when it came to getting notoriously conservative bikers to chop in their petrol powered motorcycles – despite gaining quite a bit of publicity by being ridden by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman in their Long Way Up adventure.

Indeed Harley has now hived off its electric models into a new brand, called LiveWire. They’ve rebranded the original bike as the LiveWire One, ahead of the launch of a slew of more affordable new models – the first of which to go on general sale is this, the LiveWire S2 Del Mar.

At £16,990, the S2 Del Mar is almost half the price of the original LiveWire when it was launched five years ago – even if it does look quite pricey compared to the petrol powered alternatives.

It looks like a smart machine, with some classic Harley-Davidson style touches. It uses an unusual set-up with 19” wheels front and rear, which gives a nice presence but could prove problematic when it comes to finding some alternative replacement rubber. OE tyres are Dunlop’s dirt track inspired DT-1 items, which are designed especially for the bike and come with dual Dunlop and LiveWire branding.

LiveWire are pitching their new machine at a younger audience, with only an A2 licence required. Like Zero’s A2 offerings, the LiveWire is able to take advantage of a quirk in the way electric vehicles are tested and homologated. The S2 is able to deliver a peak power of 84bhp in short bursts, although the continuous power output when tested over a 30-minute cycle is 40bhp, putting it under the 47bhp limit mandated for A2 licences.

More important than power is the torque which, at a staggering and near instantaneous 263Nm, contributes to a claimed 0-60mph of just three seconds. Top speed is claimed to be slightly in excess of 100mph.

Along with price, the two other main attributes potential electric buyers typically want to know are range and charging time. LiveWire have given the Del Mar a 10.5kWh battery, which is quite a bit smaller than the 14.4kWh monoliths fitted to Zero’s cheaper A2 models. The battery gives a claimed range of 113 miles in the city, or 70 miles at a sustained 55mph. Recharging can be done through level one (domestic socket) or level two (specialist EV charging unit) facilities. A full recharge takes just under eight and a half hours on a domestic socket, while a 60% top-up (from 20-80%) at a public charging point is claimed at 78 minutes.

 

 

Harley Livewire S2 Del Mar StudioElectric motorcycles are usually pretty accessible and easy to ride, thanks in no small part to their instant power delivery, lack of a clutch and gearbox, and generous torque. The LiveWire S2 Del Mar looks like it is no exception to this rule, enjoying all the best characteristics of two-wheeled EVs and adding in a reasonably low weight (198kg) and seat height (785mm). The company are pitching the S2 as principally an urban machine, and the thinly padded seat certainly suggests it has not been designed for a full day in the saddle.

The LiveWire looks to have a good specification too, with quality brands providing the cycle parts. Suspension comes from Showa, and is fully adjustable at both ends, while Brembo brake calipers are tasked with stopping the S2. A 4” circular TFT dashboard offers phone connectivity and app-based navigation, with a USB-C charging port built in as well.

One of the other questions potential electric motorcycle buyers often ask is around the warranty. LiveWire are offering an industry standard two-year warranty on the bike, with a five-year guarantee on the battery. The battery warranty is not mileage limited but does have a caveat, however, as a 30% degradation is factored in to the guarantee. While experience suggests EV battery degradation to that degree is the exception rather than the rule, a battery operating at 70% efficiency could see city range drop to less than 80 miles, with that 55mph range dropping from 70 miles to less than 50.

The S2 Del Mar is the second in a series of three models based around the same platform. The first 100 units (which LiveWire state are sold out) were the £18,990 S2 Del Mar LE launch edition, while a funkily styled S2 Mulholland is also in the pipeline. Interestingly the original LiveWire One, which cost £28,750 when launched as a Harley-Davidson in 2019, remains in the range at £22,990. With a 15.4kWh battery and the ability to fully charge in an hour, the One is now more competitively priced against Energica and Zero for those looking for a top end electric motorbike.

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