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LiveWire S2 Del Mar First Ride

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We Meet At Last

Years ago, we first laid eyes on the concept drawings for a flat tracker styled, electric Harley Davidson motorcycle. We were instantly captivated. The idea of this behemoth of the church of internal combustion attempting something this far left of centre was just wild.

Early signs

Early Impressions

Earlier this year we attended the European launch of the LiveWire S2 Del Mar. After years of polishing, this was the result of that original idea. Did it meet our expectations? Were we still as excited as we had been years ago? Yes, if not more. The machine looked stunning. A masterclass in simplistic, well balanced design. As the looks were spot on, we’re happy to report that the hardware was too. Now all that had to happen was to ride the damn thing.

Watch our first impression of the LiveWire S2 Del Mar on YouTube.

First Ride

Good news! Fast forward about a year and the first Del Mars have been delivered to customers in the US. Europe will still have to wait a little while, but we did finally get to ride the new LiveWire in the real world.

Which brings us neatly along to the bad news. While the big boys got to take the Del Mar out in sunny Spain a week or so earlier, our first taste of the LiveWire S2 Del Mar was scheduled for a freezing cold, rainy day in mid-December. We really need to step up our game…

But as the horrors persist, so do we.

The Gear

Seeing the Del Mar in the flesh once again only strengthens our belief that this might well be one of the best looking bikes in years. In the realm of quality all seems to be well and truly in order. The physical controls are straight off other modern Harley products and are therefore about as intuitive as they get. This should go without saying, as HD’s customer base is 99% geriatric. We find the indicator switch a bit dicky, but that is all.

The dash, rider modes and menus are simple, easy and elegant. But importantly, everything is there. There is a full suite of ABSesses, 6 axis traction controllery and all the labels say Showa, Brembo, Bosch and what not. The Del Mar get its updates over the air and there is a dedicated app that connects with the bike to provide the rider with navigation and other such gizmos.

The Go

If I had to describe the feel of the bike in a single word, it would be solid. It almost feels like it was milled from a single block of aluminium. Being electric helps achieve this, as there is simply not much going on in the way of moving parts. There is a brake lever, a brake pedal and the suspension does some suspensioning. That is pretty much it. The minimalist design finishes this trick off nicely. What isn’t there, can’t be flimsy.

The ride is fine, the seat itself is more comfy than it looks and the seating position even accommodates for my giant physique. The power delivery is linear as anything, but we would not expect otherwise. There is very noticeable change in grunt and throttle response (yeah, we’ll just call it that) between all different rider modes. While all of them provided us with proper acceleration, today, they also provided us with all the TC warnings in the world. The Del Mar feels rapid off the line, but not insanely so. It might have been smothered a bit by the traction control though. We have no way of knowing, really.

So, What Are We Looking At Here?

We are looking at a very beautiful, well built, pretty quick, reasonably priced, competitively specced, electric motorcycle. The Del Mar delivers on all fronts. More importantly, it delivers where all predecessors and competitors have failed. It is cool.

So I Should Get One?

Well, if you ride loads and are looking to replace your GS Adventure, then no. The Del Mar’s range is competitive, but it will still not get you very far (170km/105miles max.). Add to that the lack of fast charging and in reality, it will not work for you.

But I Am A Barista.

That does change everything. If you regularly oil your beard, this might just be all your Christmases rolled into one. Jokes aside, city traffic, short rides and commutes are where it is at for this bike. And yes, I would seriously consider buying one for these purposes. It will not replace the Speed Triple any time soon, but it is just so cool…