Chock full of technology outsiders may never expect from a Harley. The LiveWire’s technological leaps forward won’t remain limited to that single model.
By Sean Szymkowski
Consider the Harley-Davidson LiveWire a turning point for the traditional motorcycle maker. Not only is the LiveWire the company’s first electric motorcycle, but it comes chock full of technology outsiders may never expect from a Harley. But the LiveWire’s technological leaps forward won’t remain limited to that single model. The Wisconsin-based company said two major features will be standard or optional for many of its 2020 model year motorcycles.
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Every 2020 Tri-Glide Ultra, CVO and LiveWire model will come standard with Harley’s H-D Connect service, which can be considered an OnStar of sorts for motorcycles. Other models that will see the tech as standard equipment are all 2020 Touring models, save for the Road King and Electra Glide Standard. The H-D Connect service will come as a one-year free trial with each of the models mentioned, and after that, riders can choose to pay for a subscription.
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What does H-D Connect actually provide? A whole bunch that should be pretty helpful to motorcyclists. As long as a cellular signal is available, riders can look at vital stats such as the bike’s fuel level/battery charge, available range and tire pressure if tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) are installed. Additionally, the current ride mode, odometer, rider stats and infotainment upgrades are included. For LiveWire owners, they can search for nearby charging stations with the service, too. And just for a little more security, H-D Connect includes tamper alerts and stolen motorcycle tracking.
The second bundle of tech coming to 2020 Harleys are the Reflex Defensive Rider Systems (RDRS). The features provide a safety net for riders to help keep things peachy during each ride. For example, three of the technologies enhance braking control while cornering: cornering enhanced electronic linked braking, antilock braking and traction control. The latter also includes modes to ensure the best grip should the weather turn from sunny to wet in an instant.
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While the cornering enhanced antilock braking and traction control are derivatives of their standard technologies that take motorcycle lean into account, the cornering enhanced electronic linked braking is more advanced. It applies brake pressure to both wheels when the rider uses either the hand lever or foot pedal like regular linked braking systems, and it also takes motorcycle lean into account. Per Harley, the system will proportion brake pressure while cornering to ensure the rider stays pointed in the direction they intend.
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Vehicle Hold Control, which keeps the motorcycle from rolling backward after releasing the brake, and tire pressure monitoring systems are also part of the Harley tech wave. The RDRS is standard on all CVO and Police models, while optional on all Touring models. Electra Glide Standard motorcycles aren’t part of the party, however.
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