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Harley-Davidson LiveWire vs Ultra Limited


Here’s how Harley’s latest electric weapon fares against its old-school V-twin brother

Livewire vs Ultra limited

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire is the brand’s first electric motorcycle, heralding a new era for the American bikemaker in the world of green mobility. It is loaded with state-of-the-art technology like a high voltage battery, multiple electronic aids and an incredibly fast quick-charging system. But all that comes at a hefty starting price of $29,799 (approximately Rs 20.42 lakh) and for the same ballpark price, one can get the Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited, which starts at $28,089 (around Rs 19.24 lakh). Here’s how the two motorcycles fare against each other in terms of specification and features.

City slicker or highway mile-muncher?

Specifications

Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited

Powerplant

H-D Revelation Permanent magnet water-cooled electric motor

1868cc Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-twin twin-cooled engine

Peak power

106PS

NA

Maximum torque

116Nm from 0rpm

166Nm at 3000rpm

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire also offers a distinct advantage of torque production right from the moment you twist the throttle. In fact, one can accelerate from 0-96.5kmph in 3 seconds, and 96.5kmph to 128.7kmph in just 1.9 seconds! There’s no transmission either, so the acceleration is instantaneous. Even though the Ultra Limited makes more torque, it does take a bit more time to achieve the peak figure. It is mated to a hydraulically actuated 6-speed transmission with slipper clutch.

When it comes to range, Harley claims the LiveWire can cover 235km in the city and 152km under a combination of stop-and-go traffic and highway riding. As per WMTC test cycle, it is capable of covering 158km. On the other hand, the Ultra Limited has an estimated combined efficiency (city and highway) of 18.28kmpl. This, coupled with the 22.7-litre fuel tank, can ensure a total range of over 400km.

Harley livewire charger

Being a petrol-powered motorcycle, one can instantly refuel the Ultra Limited. Whereas, charging up the LiveWire takes some time. The most basic Level 1 charger can be plugged into a household 120V or 240V socket, and it offers a paltry 20km of range per hour of charging. Juicing up the 15.5kWh lithium-ion battery completely can take the entire night. However, there’s also a standard DC fast-charge technology available as standard. It can charge the battery from 0-80 per cent in just 40 minutes and a 100 per cent charge is achieved in just an hour. Also, all Harley-Davidson dealers selling the LiveWire will be equipped with a fast-charging station. The LiveWire isn’t exactly a long-range motorcycle because of its inherent range limitations. However, for city riding, the LiveWire is a much better choice compared to the Ultra Limited. Moreover, at 240kg (kerb), the LiveWire is a whole 164kg lighter than the Ultra Limited!

New-age tech or no-nonsense practicality?

Harley Livewire cluster

The LiveWire is loaded to the brim with electronics to keep the rubber side down. Harley calls its suite of electronics the Reflex Defensive Rider Systems (RDRS). This includes cornering ABS, cornering enhanced traction control system, wheelie control and Drag-Torque Slip Control System (DSCS). DSCS prevents the rear wheel from locking up during regenerative braking. It works in conjunction with the ABS. Plus, the motorcycle also features multiple rider modes: Sport, Road, Range, Rain and three additional custom modes. There’s also a standard 4.3-inch colour TFT touch screen with Bluetooth connectivity offering navigation, communication and music control, among others.

Harley Ultra Limited rear

On the other hand, the Ultra Limited gets quite a number of touring-friendly features. There’s a large windshield with an adjustable air vent for optimum balance of airflow and reduced wind buffeting. Harley also offers a pair of saddlebags and a top box as standard, offering a total capacity of 133 litres. To keep the rider comfortable and fatigue-free, Harley offers six-level heated grips, electronic cruise control and BOOM! Box touchscreen infotainment system with GPS capability. As far as rider aids are concerned, the motorcycle only gets dual-channel ABS as standard.

Verdict:

Harley Ultra Limited highway

Both motorcycles offer two distinctly different riding experiences. If you’re more of an urban rider, the LiveWire seems to be an excellent proposition compared to the Ultra Limited. However, the range of the motorcycle is heavily dependent on charging infrastructure. But if you’re the kind who loves riding endlessly on the tarmac, the Ultra Limited is the ideal choice. Its old-school V-twin character, tons of storage spaces and a relaxed riding position will keep you smiling for miles.

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