For a group of lucky riders, the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed was a unique opportunity to try the new LiveWire™ electric motorcycle before it’s released to the world. What did they think?
With a unique atmosphere combining historic racing vehicles and the latest in supercars and motorcycles, the Festival is celebrated as the largest motoring garden party in the world; a wild summer weekend bringing together a heady mix of bikes and cars, stars and motorsport royalty to create the largest motorsport event in the world.
The Goodwood hill climb is legendary too. Its 1.16 miles of twisting turns, snaking past the backdrop of Goodwood House and its ancient park, make for a challenging track, narrow and difficult to master, with zero room for error. During the long weekend of the Festival of Speed the track does duty not only as a test track for the world’s fastest vehicles but also a showcase of the greatest, fastest and most beautiful bikes and cars, all gathered together in one place. Where better, then, to showcase the new LiveWire electric bike from Harley-Davidson®?
Even before the LiveWire is unveiled to the world’s media, and before its official launch later this summer, a select group of lucky riders were given the opportunity to try out the bike on one of the most challenging and high-profile stages anywhere in the world. How did the LiveWire fare on this global stage – and what did the riders think of the bike?
First to take the LiveWire up the track was master custom bike builder Charlie Stockwell (@stockwell__design), well known to the custom world for his award-winning Harley-Davidson builds and his participation in the Hooligan Racing flat-track series. Despite an early start resulting on a slightly greasy track, the flexible power of the electric bike proved supremely confident for the task.
“Wow, this bike is seriously quick!” was Charlie’s first response after his run. “There is just so much power available – it launched quicker off the line than the supercharged Kawasaki H1 next to it. There’s no throttle lag with this bike, just linear progression from walking speed to absolutely insane power. Put it in Sport mode and it just lights up the rear tyre – that start will stay with me forever!
“This bike is totally different to what we are used to; it’s a huge leap in the right direction. I can’t wait to do a custom build on one. And I’d love to put 19” wheels and flat-track tyres on one and take it Hooligan racing!”
To Gemma Harrison (@camp_vc), founder member of bike collective VC London and passionate advocate of female riders, the LiveWire is a technological quantum leap away from her usual ride, a classic Triumph 5TA from 1966. But that didn’t intimidate her in the slightest as she took to the track. “What an absolutely amazing experience! The second I started I had a huge grin on my face and it just kept getting bigger. You just can’t comprehend how quick this bike is until you ride it. Yet it’s so serene!
“Riding so fast, yet so quietly, is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. It gives you a totally different perspective on riding. This bike is absolutely incredible and the power delivery is phenomenal!”
Influencer, model and actor Christian Williams (@christian_arno) was also blown away by the LiveWire as he took to the famous track. “That was crazy – it was like being shot out of a cannon!” enthused the young rider. “Open the throttle and it pulls continuously, and it just goes and goes. What a privilege to ride such a wicked bike – it is absolutely the future!”
Finally, Marketing Manager for UK & Ireland Dan Lovis grabbed the opportunity to take the LiveWire for a run – his first ride on the bike since test-riding the prototype version in 2016. “That was incredible – the power is amazing,” was his first thought on pulling in to the Goodwood superbike paddock. “This has so much more power than the prototype – open the throttle and it just keeps on going. I’ve ridden lots of hyper-sports bikes that don’t handle as well as this.”
Is the future electric? If the evidence from the fortunate first riders at Goodwood Festival of Speed is anything to go by, the answer is an emphatic ‘yes’. The LiveWire was the star of the show, blowing the minds of riders and audience alike, and in what can only be a premonition of the future, the record for the fastest-ever time up the legendary hill-climb track was smashed at the very same event – by an electric vehicle. The all-electric ID.R recorded a 41.18 second run, blowing away the record that has stood for 20 years.
It looks like the future really is electric…