2022 LiveWire One Review: The Electric Flagship Worth Its Price Tag
- 2022 LiveWire One ($22,799)
- Motorcyclist’s “Best Electric Motorcycles for Adults” and “The Best Automatic Motorcycles for 2022” winner
- Pro: It’s a fun and fast electric motorcycle with a surprising amount of character and quality to match its sticker price
- Con: Price aside, some of the electronics and physical accessories could use some tweaking
The burbly, chrome-trimmed Harley-Davidsons I constantly saw growing up aren’t dead, but they’re not alone. They now ride alongside high-revving cruisers, an adventure bike, and arguably the biggest sign of Harley-Davidson’s evolution, an electric motorcycle. Soon to be two, once the Del Mar arrives. For now, though, the LiveWire One is the one leading Harley’s charge into an EV-friendly future. And though the Bar and Shield battery-powered fleet’s flagship isn’t cheap, the 2022 LiveWire One lives up to its price and expectations.
Is the 2022 LiveWire One still a Harley-Davidson?
|2022 LiveWire One|
|Motor||Harley-Davidson Revelation liquid-cooled internal permanent-magnet synchronous motor|
|Battery capacity||15.4 kWh|
|Claimed range||City: 146 miles|
Mixed: 95 miles
Highway: 70 miles
|Charging rates/times||Level 1, 2: 13 miles/hour|
Level 3/DC fast charging, 0-80%: 40 minutes
Level 3/DC fast charging, 0-100%: 60 minutes
|Front suspension and travel||Fully-adjustable 43mm Showa SFF-BP inverted forks; 4.5”|
|Rear suspension and travel||Fully-adjustable Showa BFRC-lite monoshock; 4.5”|
|Laden seat height||30″|
|Curb weight||562 lbs|
If you look at the 2022 LiveWire One, you might see something missing: Harley-Davidson branding. Apart from the rim of the Michelin tires, there’s no sign that Harley makes this bike. There’s not even a Harley logo on the charging port cap.
However, while LiveWire is now a sub-brand, the 2022 One is very much still a Harley-Davidson product. Furthermore, a Harley spokesperson confirmed to me that it’s mechanically identical to the original LiveWire. The only changes the company made, apart from the styling ones, were some minor software and charging hardware tweaks.
Well, there is one more change: the price.
How much is a 2022 LiveWire One?
Although the original Harley-Davidson LiveWire got excellent riding reviews, several things held the bike back. The main weight around its rims was its $29,799 starting price. Even with incentives, it was one of Harley’s priciest motorcycles, not to mention more expensive than all of Zero’s lineup.
The 2022 LiveWire One, in contrast, is noticeably cheaper. Before incentives, it starts at $22,799. That still makes it more expensive than Zero’s most expensive model, but only by about $100. And to be fair, most of that price likely stems from the Samsung battery.
It’s worth noting, though, that while the national EV tax credit expired, some states still offer rebates. Admittedly, not all those states include electric motorcycles in their offers. However, I will note that my home state of Illinois now offers a $1500 rebate on new and used electric motorcycles.
On the plus side, the 2022 LiveWire One’s build quality goes some way to justifying its price tag. For one, in slight contrast to the Nightster I rode earlier, the One’s wiring was all neatly arranged and tucked away. Also, all the switchgear and controls felt solid and satisfying to operate. That feeling of heft and substance extends to the rest of the motorcycle, from the metal covering its electric motor to the cast aluminum wheels. And fully-adjustable Showa suspension and Brembo brakes aren’t cheap.
What does the 2022 LiveWire One come with?
Speaking of features, the 2022 LiveWire One has an impressive list. In addition to the Showa suspension and Brembos, it has a 4.3” TFT touchscreen with Bluetooth and voice recognition, a USB-C outlet, proximity security, and all-LED lighting. Furthermore, those Brembo brakes come with cornering-enhanced ABS. And on top of that, the One has rear-wheel slip control and cornering-enhanced traction control, though the latter can be disabled.
Alternatively, you can switch to a different riding mode. The 2022 LiveWire One has three customizable mods and four pre-loaded ones: Rain, Range, Road, and Sport. And besides adjusting the traction control, these modes also modify the One’s regenerative braking, motor response, and power delivery settings.
Plus, it has a dedicated app that expands its functionality. Even if you don’t download the app, you can still hook your phone and helmet communication system to the One via Bluetooth. This lets you stream music and take calls using the handlebar-mounted controls. But the LiveWire app gives you access to turn-by-turn navigation, security system control, charging status updates, and the ability to GPS-track your One. Also, the app has a built-in guide to help you adjust the suspension.
Fortunately, my 2022 LiveWire One tester’s suspension was already set up for someone in my 5’9”, 180-190-lb size class. And because it’s electric and has a proximity key, there’s no need to pull in a clutch lever or turn a key to start the bike. Just get on, flip the ignition switch, and press a button.
Riding the 2022 LiveWire One
If you’ve never ridden an electric motorcycle before, it’s easy to forget that you’re basically always ‘in gear.’ Hence why Harley-Davidson gave the LiveWire One a ‘heartbeat.’ When the bike’s on, it sends a gentle pulse through the seat every few seconds. But once you’re moving, you’ll quickly forget about that heartbeat, because you’ll be too busy paying attention to your own.
Even in gentle Rain Mode, the 2022 LiveWire One is sneaky fast. It just digs in and takes off, no matter if the pavement is dry or wet. There’s just smooth, effortless, relentless acceleration with zero drama or fanfare. Well, apart from the motor’s turbine-like whine. Also, the giggling inside your helmet at how easy it is to beat everyone off the line without even trying.
Those giggles turn to outright laughter when you switch into Sport Mode, which makes the One almost nauseatingly fast. Not to mention fast enough to make it across an intersection before a Ford Mustang GT even takes off. And even Teslas might struggle to match the electric Harley-Davidson’s initial acceleration.
Admittedly, Sport Mode makes the bike a little jerky at low throttle. Switching to Road or Range Mode, though, solves that. Plus, like Sport Mode, Range Mode has maximum regen, which is basically the One’s version of one-pedal driving. And the regen is genuinely powerful and natural-feeling enough to make you almost forget about the physical brakes. Also, don’t worry, using regen does activate the brake lights.
But the 2022 LiveWire One isn’t just exhilarating in a straight line. Sure, at a stoplight or at sub-walking-pace speeds, you can feel this bike’s weight. However, because the battery and motor are mounted low, the One is genuinely fun on a twisty road. It turns in easily, it’s a breeze to countersteer, and it feels utterly stable even at high lean angles. Also, though a tad firm, the Showa suspension is well-damped, meaning bumps won’t disturb your line or spine. And those communicative Brembos only need a firm two-finger pull.
Design-wise, the 2022 LiveWire One pulls from multiple motorcycle segments. It’s not a lithe streetfighter, but it’s also not a cruiser. Instead, its upright, relatively relaxed ergonomics put it in the naked/standard category. Regardless, though, it’s a blast to be on, whether it’s commuting on straight city roads or sweeping around countryside corners. And you won’t be sweating from engine or exhaust heat blast when you do it.
How far can you go on the 2022 LiveWire One?
Although the 2022 LiveWire One makes a great urban commuter, it’s not a touring bike. That’s partially due to its minimal wind protection, though you aren’t totally unprotected. It’s also due to its highway range, coupled with its charging times.
However, that doesn’t mean the One will cause you range anxiety. For one, I matched Harley-Davidson’s 146-mile urban range claims on my test bike. Secondly, I beat the One’s combined and highway claims. And regularly using Range Mode in the city drastically cuts down on your net energy usage.
In addition, in my two weeks with the 2022 LiveWire One, I only had to recharge it three times. And I only recharged it at a public charging station for testing purposes; I was at 65% when I plugged it in. Not counting the 80-mile trip to return it to Milwaukee, I could’ve theoretically only charged up twice in my 300-mile test. That’s better than some gas-powered motorcycles I’ve ridden.
How much does it cost to charge compared to a gas-powered motorcycle?
Speaking of gasoline, the 2022 LiveWire One might be expensive to buy, but it’s not as expensive to fill up as an ICE motorcycle.
When I recharged the One at home, it took a combined 18.02 kWh. At my local $0.11041/kWh electricity rate, that works out to $1.99. Meanwhile, the 5.0 kWh I got from a local Electrify America station cost me $2.43 after tax. In short, riding the LiveWire One for 220 miles cost me $4.42. For comparison, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that, on average, a single gallon of premium gasoline currently costs $4.77.
In contrast, I burned through 5.476 gallons of premium gas when I rode the 2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster. That 253-mile review cost me $37.20 in fuel—over eight times what the One’s electricity use cost me. And keep in mind that, though the Nightster is about $10,000 cheaper, it’s also about 80 pounds lighter and has 10 fewer horsepower.
Also, RevZilla found that even the tiny Honda Grom costs more to refuel than the LiveWire One.
What still needs work?
Although I enjoyed my time on the 2022 LiveWire One, the electric motorcycle has some areas for improvement.
Some could likely be fixed with some judicious accessories. For example, the stock mirrors need to be longer or stick out farther. Also, while the padding around the ‘tank’ is comfortable, it’s a bit too slippery and narrow for proper knee-gripping. I actually don’t mind the traditional Harley separate turn switches, though, as it lets them pull double-duty with other controls
I do, however, mind some of the electronic decisions. Firstly, why does the TFT screen reset the information it displays whenever I turn the bike off? Also, it’s odd that you can’t pair your phone or adjust the riding modes when the One is fully on. Yes, I understand that it’s for safety, but the bike can tell when it’s moving. Surely that’s enough of a safety interlock.
Also, the under-seat charger cord storage space is slick. However, I could hear the charger bouncing a bit over larger bumps. A minor annoyance, to be sure, but some might knock the bike for the knocking.
MotorBiscuit gives the 2022 LiveWire One an expert rating of 9.0 out of 10
Harley-Davidson isn’t the same motorcycle company it was just a few years ago. And the 2022 LiveWire One is arguably the best proof of that. It’s still pricey, but it’s not priced at novelty levels like the original LiveWire was. Yet it still packs all the technology and performance that drew riders’ interest to that bike. And it shows that Harley isn’t resting on its V-twin laurels: it’s evolving.
There are cheaper electric motorcycles on sale today, as well as ones that offer the same or more range. There are cheaper Harleys, too, including the upcoming Del Mar. But though it isn’t perfect, the 2022 LiveWire One has everything you’d expect from an electric Harley-Davidson flagship.
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