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e-bicycle Harley-Davidson electric vehicle
Harley-Davidson plunges into the e-bicycle pool with stylish Serial 1/eBicycle series.


Harley-Davidson’s New E-Bicycles Put The Pedal To The Pedal — CleanTechnica Interview

Harley-Davidson plunges into the e-bicycle pool with extra-stylish Serial 1 CTY eBicycle series, featuring extra performance, too.

When Harley-Davidson unveiled its sleek retro-modern Serial 1 pedal assisted e-bicycle concept last month through its newly launched Serial 1 Cycles offshoot, many ears pricked up around the automotive and clean tech circuits. After all, Harley is known for bigness, loudness, brassiness, and limitless accessorizing, too. Serial 1 is…well, different. Now the production models are here, under the the Serial 1/CTY eBicycles line, and it’s a whole new ballgame for the century-old company.

e-bicycle Harley-Davidson electric vehicle

Harley-Davidson plunges into the e-bicycle pool with stylish Serial 1/eBicycle series, coming soon (photo via Serial 1).

So Many E-Bicycles To Choose From!

The e-bicycle market is getting more crowded by the minute, so first let’s take a look at where Harley fits in. The basic idea is to hold on to the look of the Serial 1 concept while loading up on all the goodies one would expect of a Harley-Davidson venture.

“Leveraging Harley-Davidson’s world-class product development capability and leadership in electric-powered vehicles, Serial 1 Cycle Company presents eBicycles guided by intelligent, human-centered design and crafted using the most advanced bicycle technology in the world,” Serial 1 enthuses in a press release.

Among the standard inputs are a frame-integrated battery and a Brose S Mag mid-mounted motor (90Nm/66 ft. lb. torque) with an electronic torque sensor connected to the pedals, which means no throttle is needed to push off and go.

The motor provides for four modes that balance power and battery economy (Eco, Tour, Sport, and Boost). For those times when one must walk one’s e-bicycle there is also a handy ‘‘walk-assist’’ button.

Harley also took cleanliness into consideration with a lube-free Gates Carbon Drive belt instead of a chain-drive system, and select models also sport a fully enclosed, zero maintenance Enviolo AUTOMATiQ electronic automatic transmission.

Next Steps For Pedal-Assisted E-Bicycles

And so on. That’s just the tip of the e-bicycle iceberg so check out the Serial 1 website for all the juicy details.

Meanwhile, we lucked out over here in the US because Serial 1 is only going to be available in the US and Germany, starting in 2021.

CleanTechnica emailed Brand Director Aaron Frank for some insights behind that decision, and here is his answer in full:

“The decision to launch Serial 1 in the US and Germany is primarily driven by our research into global trends around eBicycle ownership and use. Germany is one of the largest and most well-established markets for premium eBicycle ownership, and participation in that market is mandatory to be considered a player in the premium eBicycle space.

“eBicycles are still emergent in the US, but wildfire growth in this segment, especially over the past year, represents a huge opportunity for Serial 1 take a leadership position in the premium eBicycle market in this country. The fact that Harley-Davidson enjoys remarkably high brand awareness and brand affinity in both of those countries is only more reason that launching in those markets makes the most sense.”

The Woman Question

Much has changed in the US since women won the right to universal suffrage in 1920, but the automotive world still tilts over to the male side of the gene pool. If you have any thoughts about that, drop us a note in the comment thread.

Meanwhile, Mr. Frank explains how Harley is planning to pitch its e-bicycles to buyers all along the gender spectrum:

“We were able to access Harley-Davidson’s extensive human factors data set—an amazing resource that collects the ergonomic measurements of thousands of individuals, both male and female—and use that data to inform our “intelligent sizing” philosophy that insures that Serial 1 eBicycles will provide the optimum fit for all riders, male and female alike.

“The sizing tool on our Web site, which uses a separate algorithm for male and female buyers, makes sure that recommended a frame size that is optimized to maintain a comfortable riding position and consistent handling regardless of the rider’s gender. Because of these factors, we are quite confident that Serial 1 eBicycles will fit female riders better than most.

“Harley-Davidson has been more successful than most motorcycle manufacturers when it comes to attracting women riders, and they have done it not by pandering to or patronizing women riders, but by creating a brand that is inclusive and uniquely rooted in the emotional attributes of freedom and adventure on two wheels—values that are equally attractive to men and women alike.

“By bringing that brand DNA into the eBicycle space, and creating a new brand dedicated to fun, freedom and adventure in the eBicycle space, we believe that we can credibly attract women eBicyclists and provide them with a relevant and resonant riding experience.”

The e-Bicycle Revolution Has Only Just Begun

The good news for urban e-bicycle enthusiasts is that Harley seems more focused on optimizing the e-bicycle experience rather than drawing e-bicycle riders into the motorcycle market. That’s where attention to details like cleanliness and ease of maintenance come in, as well as other urban considerations such as lack of garage access and the need to walk a bike in pedestrian spaces.

CleanTechnica asked Mr. Frank about that, too:

“Certainly, we expect that for some riders an eBicycle will be the gateway to fun, freedom and adventure on two wheels, and those riders very well might someday step over to an electric motorcycle as a way to extend their ability to explore their world.

“But we believe that the bigger opportunity lies with a new generation of urban dwellers for whom an electric bicycle is the pinnacle of personal mobility, and who value the versatility, agility and simplicity of a pedal-assist electric bicycle above all other personal mobility solutions.”

But What About The Infrastructure?

Sweet! The sticky wicket, of course, is the need for more bicycle-friendly infrastructure. That holds true for suburban riders as well as urban dwellers.

Speaking from experience in New York City, the separated bike paths are already clogged to the hilt with bicycles, pedal-assisted e-bicycles, tourists on bicycles, and all sorts of motorized scooters and unicycles. And of course, joggers. Much more is needed.

Hopefully with Harley in the e-bicycle fold, public support for more cycling infrastructure will gather momentum and become a mainstream force. In a twist of irony there may be some pushback from electric car drivers who are reluctant to give up some of their driving space, but them’s the breaks.

Here in the USA, a new surge in bike path construction would be a real switcheroo from recent years. Does anybody remember the backlash against the United Nations non-binding sustainable development plan, Agenda 21? The plan includes guidance on building bicycle paths, and boy howdy did that raise howls of outrage from certain circles, who raised the specter of bicycle paths destroying your freedoms.

Thanks to their efforts, Agenda 21 took on the tinge of a giant terrifying globalist conspiracy that must be fought at all costs. Kind of like forcing people to wear a mask so they don’t contract, or spread, a fast-spreading virus that has already killed almost 250,000 people (and counting) in the US and consigned many more to long term health impacts. Oh, well.

Where were we? Oh right, e-bicycles! CleanTechnica is looking forward to a CTY ebicycle test ride soon, so stay tuned for more on that.

Follow me on Twitter.

Photo: CTY pedal-assist eBicycle “RUSH” model courtesy of Serial 1.

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Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


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