Mix and match Arrow platform to spawn new family for Harley-Davidson LiveWire

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Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire is one of the best electrics out there – but it’s far from cheap.

Now, however, things are changing fast with H-D’s decision to spin-off the e-bike operation and news of a tie-up with Kymco.

The original LiveWire, now rebranded as the LiveWire One, will soon be joined by additional models, all based around a new, ‘Arrow’ platform.

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Under development since 2017, it will be used across a variety of bikes, with a broad spectrum of performance, range and style, while sharing as many parts as possible.

It’s a modular design with a central battery pack that doubles as a monocoque frame. At the front, a cast alloy steering head section is held on by four bolts – allowing different head angles and wheelbases to be adopted by changing that single part.

There’s scope for different motors to be bolted to the central monocoque

At the back, there’s scope for different motors to be bolted to the central monocoque, along with a selection of swingarms.

LiveWire will be making battery/chassis units in different sizes – the firm’s investor documents say there will 50v, 100v, 350v and ‘400+’ volt versions – which can be either air or liquid cooled.

The same choice of cooling applies to the motors and the control electronics. This will create a whole array of interchangeable components, allowing the firm to mix-and-match the battery/monocoque sections, motors, electronics, headstocks and swingarms, along with an array of forks, shocks, wheels and bodywork.

Initially, we’ll see a middleweight ‘S2’ range, with the first version adopting the title ‘S2 Del Mar’, after the California beach town of the same name.

It’s likely to be a version of the flat-track-style EDT600R machine that was sketched – still using the Harley-Davidson name – in 2019.

The initial pictures of the Arrow platform show the battery section badge reading ‘Revelation 700’ – ‘Revelation’ is the name for LiveWire’s electric powertrain, and the ‘700’ number is probably intended to give a reference point for riders to help them understand the equivalent cubic capacity of a petrol bike of similar performance.

Eventually ‘S2’ will make up a whole line of middleweights and be joined by a range of ‘S3’ machines, using a scaled-down version of the Arrow architecture. These will be built in partnership with Kymco.

Lastly, LiveWire promise to launch an array of ‘S4’ heavyweight machines offering premium performance.

A range of bikes looks set to come, with different motor sizes

Harley-Davidson Arrow project explored

  • Power electronics The grey box attached to the front of the battery contains all the control electronics as well as a built-in charger, sharing a cooling system with the battery and motor (air or liquid, depending on the application).
  • Headstock By bolting on different front end sections, LiveWire can create whatever steering geometry is needed for a particular model without needing to redesign the whole chassis.
  • Motor LiveWire’s own ‘Revelation’ motors will be used, with a direct-drive design so there’s no reduction gearset and the motor’s spindle and front drive sprocket is concentric with the swingarm pivot. Again, both air and liquid cooled versions will be offered, depending on the application.
  • Other chassis parts The swingarm, wheels, forks and rear shock can all be swapped and changed as on any other bike, and allied to the rest of the modular Arrow architecture mean there’s virtually no limit to the types of machine LiveWire can create around the platform.

Ben Purvis

By Ben Purvis