Harley-Davidson, the legendary purveyor of motorcycles, has released its own line of electric bicycles.
After more than a year of teasing their newest products, Harley-Davidson announced that the company would be selling three different models of electric bicycles. Two of the models will require their riders to step over a centerpiece, and the third has a dropped middle piece that makes it easier to mount.
“Harley-Davidson’s first electric pedal-assist bicycles are light, fast and easy for anyone to ride,” said the company in a statement announcing the prototype models.
Their statement said that this brand new line of electric bicycles is just the first of more products coming out of the company’s More Roads initiative, which hopes to sell more vehicles that are “designed to shine in urban environments.” The company is also hoping these electric bicycles can “inspire a new generation of two-wheeled riders around the world.” (Related: “Eco-friendly” scooters revealed to be largely a fraud: They’re far dirtier for the environment than their advocates could have imagined.)
Harley-Davidson is entering the game a bit late when it comes to electric bicycles, but there’s no telling how well or how badly their models will sell. The company has reportedly been thinking of releasing a line of electric vehicles since 2014. They even launched their very first battery-powered motorcycle in 2019.
Harley-Davidson’s announcement came with several images of their prototype models, which they released with a disclaimer that these models may go through a variety of changes before they become available for purchase on the free market. Alternative transit blog Electrek discusses the models’ current designs.
Some of the highlights of the design come with the lack of battery space on the bicycles. Harley-Davidson has admitted that their electric bicycles will be pedal-assist or a mode of operating wherein the bicycle’s engine only provides power while the cyclist is pedaling. However, not having a large enough battery might limit the electric bicycle’s maximum driving range. If these models really are specifically designed just for urban travel, then this shouldn’t be a big problem.
There’s also the fact that the electric bicycles only have one brake lever. While this may be normal for motorcycles, standard bicycle models almost always have two brake levers – one to control the back wheel, another to control the front. It’s also nearly unheard of for electric bicycles to only have one brake lever.
There is a way that Harley-Davidson can remedy this lack of a second brake lever. Perhaps they will create the first electric bicycles that have either a foot brake or a linked hydraulic brake. Either way, their electric bicycle models will still need a lot of fine-tuning before Harley-Davidson finally makes them ready for purchase.
The cheapest electric bicycles in the market can cost around $500, while the most high-end models can make consumers spend up to $10,000. There’s no telling how much people will have to shell out for the Harley-Davidson models when they come out. Still, there’s a lot of excitement for new and technologically innovative transportation.