Harley-Davidson Hints That The Future Of Motorcycle Drag Racing Is Electric

Gif: Harley-Davidson

When it comes to evaluating motorcycle drag racing performance on the strip, you could hardly find a better group of folks set up for the task than the Vance and Hines Harley-Davidson Pro Stock team. A year ago when I interviewed Andrew Hines following his championship-winning season on the FXDR, I asked him what he thought of electric performance and whether a LiveWire electric bike might someday find its way into the NHRA ProStock ranks. While I obviously got a non-committal answer from the racer, this video from Harley’s Science of Speed series seems to indicate that is a direction The Motor Company wants to pursue.

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In spite of clearly being a piece of Harley-developed advertising for its own products, this little 10-minute video is actually quite interesting. The premise is pretty simple, put your three Pro Stock riders—Andrew Hines, Angelle Sampey, and Eddie Krawiec—used to running quarter mile times in the sixes, on a totally stock FXDR 114 and a totally stock LiveWire to compare the companys fastest gas bike with its only electric bike. Line ‘em up at the strip and see what happens.

The results of the test are pretty compelling. It doesn’t take much to see that the LiveWire is significantly quicker than the FXDR off the line. That adds up to a quarter mile time in the low 11s, with a 0-60 around 3 seconds on the nose, and the quickest motorcycle the bar and shield has ever built. It’s nowhere near the bikes these racers run in NHRA events, but it’s no slouch as performance street bikes go. The most interesting part about this, to me, is the consistency that the LiveWire offers over the FXDR. Even for racers who practice clutch and throttle discipline religiously, their reaction times were significantly slower on the gas bike than the EV.

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If you’re Harley, why wouldn’t you want your race bike to be based on your fastest street bike? And if you’re the NHRA, why wouldn’t you want to showcase future and sustainable speed tech? Electric is the future of sports like this. It would be awesome to see a Vance and Hines-built Harley Livewire running 6-second sprints. Let’s GO!

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.

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DISCUSSION

The big attraction to big drag events is it is a full body experience. You don’t just see cars going fast, or hear it, you can smell and sometimes if you’re in the wrong area, taste it. But you FEEL it. When a top fuel car goes down the track, you feel those explosions with your entire body.

EV racing is going to be different, and people are going to have to get accustomed to it. It might even draw a different crowd. dB regulations will hopefully be rendered moot in EV motorsports, saving many neighborhood and historic tracks from being strangled to death entirely. Granted, I’m already seeing pushback on performance EV’s as there are groups that still see it as an irresponsible waste of resources (most recently with the Hummer EV). So passing emissions w/ performance and all the CARB stuff will get replaced by something else.

I’m looking forward to this segment. I honestly hoped GM would have showed up to the Cobra Jet EV’s first public event with the eCOPO.  For old time’s sake.

One rumor has circulated around that after the cameras were put away, the eCopo went faster than the advertised 9.51 @ 140.  But those are of course just rumors.