Harley-Davidson pull the covers off two whacky E-Bikes at CES

The bikes are designed for urban use by non-licenced riders

Harley-Davidson pull the covers off two whacky E-Bikes at CES

IT’S NO SECRET that Harley-Davidson are going through a bit of tricky spot at the moment – trade tariffs and an aging customer base have forced the Milwaukee company to switch its focus to a younger demographic and we have just seen the start of this transformation at CES in Vagas. The bikes they have teased are not your normal Harley builds, both are electric and they resemble bicycles not chrome laden cruisers.

The first bike is stripped back urban machine with chunky tyres and BMX styling which H-D state is designed so there is, ‘no clutch, no shifting, lightweight, and with the goal of no motorcycle license required to operate.’ The bike features a belt drive with the motor and battery mounted low in the frame to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible. It has a disc brake up front but with no lever on the left-hand bar and no rear disc visible it could be a single brake setup or the bike might use regenerative braking, where the motor slows the bike and recharges the battery at the same time, although the H-D website doesn’t mention this.

The bike also features USD front forks that look to be fairly substantial although with a solid rear end, this wouldn’t be a machine you’d want to be taking out on any rough roads or trails. With very little bodywork, it’s hard to describe the bike as anything other than minimalist, the skateboard running boards are a nice touch and should please the youthful audience Harley are trying so hard to win over.

The second bike is a rugged off-roader similar to other off-road e-bikes we’ve seen over the last couple of years. With knobbly tyres front and rear, long travel suspension and a neat looking seat and subframe setup, it’s a cool looking machine if electric powered bicycles are your thing! As you’d expect from a bike of this style, big disc brakes finish off the downhill mountain bike design brief.

Neither bike has a name at the time of writing and Harley are clear that these are just concepts and that any production variant could/will differ from the pictures. What is clear is that Harley fully understands the mountain it has the climb in the next few years and whether you like it or not, they fully believe this going to be one of their routes out of troubled waters.