Since early this year, Mike’s been working on a top-secret project for Harley. He couldn’t even tell me about it. Project LiveWire is an electric motorcycle, Harley’s first. Mike’s unique blend of old-school mechanic skills and an affiinity for the latest technology made him ideal for this project. He’s the lead mechanic touring the West Coast to show off these handcrafted, limited edition electric bikes. We spent several weeks in Milwaukee as Mike, along with the East Coast lead mechanic, helped the engineers build bikes, tested them, ordered parts, and learned everything about the roadshow.
The project was announced on June 19th, and the West Coast tour kicked off at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee on bike night. I got to see the bike and sit on it and meet the crew that we’re touring with. It was a great evening. I was – and still am – so proud of Mike!
The bike is very sleek and weighs just 464 pounds. There’s no back seat, unfortunately, so I haven’t gotten to experience it. But Mike says is the most fun bike he’s ever ridden. It goes about 50 miles on a charge, but it can’t be plugged into a standard outlet. The truck we’re following in the RV contains the specialized chargers and holds 11 LiveWires as well as two Streets. Our tour is taking us down Route 66 to California. Then we’re veering north to Denver, Bellevue and Portland before heading back to California and wrapping up in Texas in December.
Right now, Harley execs are part of the caravan, riding the bikes for a few miles down Route 66 during the day and staying in hotels at night. There’ve also been a couple of meet-n-greets at dealerships. It’s been stressful because Mike’s working long hours – getting the bikes ready, swapping them out and waiting for people and supplies to arrive – and driving the RV, although I help out with the driving as much as he’ll let me. We’re in a different city every day, so there’s almost no time to go sightseeing. In a couple of weeks, though, we’ll be lingering in one city for a few days, which’ll be really nice.
The tour has its challenges, but it’s amazing to be part of history in the making.