What a Future Electric Harley-Davidson Should Have Been?

As with many electric motorcycles, deposits have come before delivery. The Sondors Metacycle was no different. With a new target for deliveries said to be the first quarter of 2022, we wonder if the little Metacycle was a template for what a future electric Harley-Davidson should have been.

When the Sondors Metacycle appeared, we had a couple of thoughts. The first was that it looked great. Electric motorcycles design is all over the map – from emulating traditional motorcycles to looking like simple conveyances with no thought to style to those that throw all design parameters – sometimes unwisely –  to the wind. And there are many that look bike overgrown bicycles which might be the least desirable for existing motorcycle riders. But the Sondors Metacycle is elegantly simple, obviously a motorcycle and yet not a traditional one.  The next thought was “that should have been a Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle.”

Harley-Davidson had provided a drawing of what a future electric motorcycle from the company might look like – mostly based on a blend of retro styling elements. The Bar and Shield brand was going to need a follow-up to the LiveWire – something that looked great, resonated with riders’ passions and, preferably, was at a price point low enough to bring a wave of new riders into the fold. Make that happen and you can fill in the gaps between models later. The Metacycle is the purest example of the former bike. Think for a moment, what big OEM brand name would fit more comfortably than Harley-Davidson on that bike – think of the original Fat Boy with its solid wheels, think of the early V-Rod in their statin steel finishes. The Metacycle nailed the styling with its simple yet solid elegance – never did “keep it simple” work out quite so well being neither over-styled or under-styled. And then there is the price – $5000US (or let’s say about $6000 CDN if you were to convert the dollars). For an electric motorcycle with a 130km range and a 130kph top speed that sounds just about right and puts it in the hands outside of those with the ability to reach into deep pockets. It is said that an option may come to place a second battery in the upper cut out to extend the range further making the bike even more practical for the price. There are reports that the price will increase following the release of the initial bikes which are said to be delivered in the first quarter of 2022 but even if it goes up $800 it would still be an eye-opening price. We would need to see the Metacycle in person to confirm that the design and quality do in fact exceed the price.

The point about Harley-Davidson, the original LiveWire and any follow up bikes is moot now that the electric motorcycle has been spun off into it own division and become the LiveWire One. Suddenly all the old requirements of tying any new electric offerings into the traditional design elements of the Harley-Davidson brand are gone. The LiveWire Two or the LiveWire Three (or however the future bikes are named) can look like anything a designer imagines and an engineer can build. The LiveWire One is an excellent motorcycle but what the company follows it up with is going to be even more important than Harley-Davidson getting the LiveWire right originally. While there are reasons why the LiveWire was spun off, probably some good ones, but denying the new brand a history might be a two-edged sword if becoming electric ever becomes compulsory. 

As for Sondors, they should have a hit with the Metacycle barring any future bumps in the electric road. Perhaps they feel like they have the electric motorcycle right as they have already turned thier attention to building a three wheeled electric car.  

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