Harley-Davidson is offering test rides on the HD Livewire and it wants to hear what the people think of its new electric bike. Here is what I have found is the consensus.
Many riders who got on the bike called it "agile," "sporty," and "nimble." People thought that it was fun given that there is no need to shift and no need for a clutch. That was the good news.
Where a lot of the discussion comes in is on the sound of the electric engine. One report says that the engine "sounds more like an over-sized vacuum than a vehicle." Another compares the difference between the gas and electric motors to the difference between a vinyl record and a MP3. The record may have imperfections, but there is something emotional about the sound quality.
Harley-Davidson marketing chief Mark-Hans Richer said, "This isn't a bike for most Harley traditionalists, after all, so the question may be what new, younger riders are looking for." Ultimately, it is not so much about the exact sound that the bike makes, but rather its about having the bike stir an emotional response in the rider. I think that is a fair goal to have. It simply won't be possible to reproduce a traditional Harley sound with the Livewire, so you need to figure out what people like about the sound other than the actual noise.
People further argued that more noise would be needed for safety. People were afraid that other drivers wouldn't hear the Livewire approach because it's so quiet. Harley denies this though.