Automotive

I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is And Bought A Harley-Davidson LiveWire


Image for article titled I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is And Bought A Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Photo: Bradley Brownell

$29,799. When the LiveWire first launched in 2019 as a 2020 model bike, that’s where Harley-Davidson priced it. I thought it was overpriced when it launched, but after riding it I sort of understood. This was meant to be an advanced power move for wealthy early tech adopters, like the original Tesla Roadster, but bikes. As it turns out those kinds of riders either don’t exist, or didn’t value the Harley-Davidson brand the way The Motor Company imagined they would.

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As you likely know by now, Harley-Davidson has spun off the LiveWire brand into its own company. The bike formerly known as the Harley-Davidson LiveWire is now the direct-to-consumer LiveWire One. While the bike is more or less the same as it was before, but with updated bodywork and a new lower price. You can now order a LiveWire One for just $21,999, which is much more palatable.


Image for article titled I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is And Bought A Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Photo: Bradley Brownell

Not only does that price drop mean that new bikes are $7,800 less than they were just two years ago, but it also means that used 2020 models are available on the second hand market for a song. Based on what I found out in the purchasing process, everyone who touched this bike before I did lost their ass on it.

Harley might debate this, but the over-built tech-heavy LiveWire feels like the kind of bike that cost more to build than it sold for. The original buyer of this bike picked it up in 2020 on a finance deal at over 30 grand after taxes and whatnot. As luck would have it, the original owner of this bike was actually at the dealership the day that I came to visit. He confirmed to me that he traded the bike in last August for $20,000 even, after owning it for 18 months and putting just 1200 miles on the odometer. The dealer I purchased the bike from even admitted as much, and after some negotiation decided it was worth selling the bike to me at a loss just to get it off their floor.


Image for article titled I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is And Bought A Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Photo: Bradley Brownell

I ended up paying just under nineteen grand for this bike, meaning not only was it more than 10,000 dollars less than it was new, but it was over a grand less than the dealership paid for it on trade-in last August, and it’s still three grand less than ordering one from LiveWire. I walked in to the dealer on Saturday morning, told them a reasonable number that I would be comfortable paying for the bike, and when they wouldn’t come down to meet me, I walked away. They called me the following Monday and said they would accept my offer. The deal was done on Thursday, and I rode it home. I couldn’t be happier.

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Image for article titled I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is And Bought A Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Photo: Bradley Brownell

I’ve been passively pursuing used LiveWires for the better part of a year. A recent move across the country and a few warm post-winter days had me pining for two wheels again, and the recent sale of Radwood had my pockets topped up with a bit of fun money. It was a perfect storm brewing that ended with me putting up rather than shutting up. I’ve loved this bike since the first time I rode it in July of 2019, and vowed that I’d own one.

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My little pact with myself for years has been that if I bought a gas bike it had to be Radwood era, and if I bought a new bike it had to be electric. I do co-run Autopia 2099, after all. So with my 1996 BMW R1100GS purchased last summer, and this new LiveWire in my life, I have the perfect two-bike solution of my dreams.


Image for article titled I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is And Bought A Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Photo: Bradley Brownell

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Okay, that’s enough bragging. Why the hell did I buy this?

I’ll admit there are still a lot of bikes out there that I have not ridden, but I’ve been on pretty much every kind of bike. Without a doubt, the LiveWire is the best motorcyle I have ever ridden, bar none. It doesn’t do everything for everyone, but for my use case it’s pretty close to perfect. It’s fast, fun, reasonably comfortable, and has plenty of range for what I need it to do. If I need to go more than 60 or 70 miles at a time, I can take my GS. I’ve done long road trips on a LiveWire before. Sometimes they go really well, and other times they go very poorly.

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Image for article titled I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is And Bought A Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Photo: Bradley Brownell

I’m not really a sport bike fellow, as I prefer my speedy machines to be upright naked machines. I am the oldest person writing for Jalopnik Dot Com these days, after all, so I like a comfortable riding position. The LiveWire offers sub-3 second 0-60 times without the track-focused hunchback riding position. It’s fast enough that I can take it to a bike track day or two, but easy enough to ride that I can still run it around town as a commuter. Hell, I rode it in the rain today, and it was as docile as a mouse.

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Image for article titled I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is And Bought A Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Photo: Bradley Brownell

Unlike my GS, this bike is not modified in any way, shape, or form. This is a LiveWire that has lived a sheltered indoor life and looks showroom fresh as a result. There isn’t so much as a scratch or blemish anywhere. That’s perfect for me, if I’m honest. This bike is a blank slate, something for me to bring my touches to. I think I need to order a tail tidy kit to get rid of the chunky looking rear wheel cover. I’ll probably also get a spare set of bodywork and a carbon fiber pillion delete panel to paint a wild color to give this bike a stronger visual appearance. The black is a little to demure for my tastes.

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If I can figure out how to make it happen, I’d also like to have the foot peg bracket re-made in a way that deletes the passenger pegs and the extra metal supports for it. If I could just have the whole thing end where the rear master cylinder mounts, while maintaining the necessary strength, that would be awesome. I will never ride will a pillion, mostly because my wife finds bikes terrifying. If I’m going to ride a monoposto, just aesthetically it would be nice to remove the vestigial passenger pegs.


Image for article titled I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is And Bought A Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Photo: Bradley Brownell

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As service components like the tires and brakes wear out, I’ll upgrade them with more track-focused components, but they work great for now.


Image for article titled I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is And Bought A Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Photo: Bradley Brownell

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As gas prices continue to be painful, and new bikes are selling with massive markups, I can’t recommend a used LiveWire enough. You might even be able to find one that was never registered with its original factory warranty. I was talking with Grand Rapids Harley up in Michigan about an orange bike with the 2-year factory warranty (and 5-year battery warranty) still intact. It was a little rich for my blood, but still less than a new LiveWire.


Image for article titled I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is And Bought A Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Photo: Bradley Brownell

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EVs don’t work for everyone right now, but if you have a place to charge at home or at work, this could be a nice and fun way get around this summer. This is one of the best bikes of all time, if you ask me. It didn’t make much sense at 30 grand, but down here under twenty, it’s a no-brainer.

Fight it out in the comments if you want, I’m going for a ride!

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