There are two major challenges in the hobby of motorcycling; doing the ton, and doing an Iron Butt. The ton is the 100 mph (161 km/h) barrier, which pretty much any motorcycle can do these days, and as a result has evolved into the double ton. The Iron Butt, however, is a test of endurance of the meat sack riding the bike more so than the type of bike chosen. It doesn’t really matter what bike you take, you just have to travel 1000 miles (1,609 km) in the course of a 24 hour period. Swiss rider Michel von Tell did that on an electric bike in Europe.
There are many, including some other writers here, who have come down hard on the Harley-Davidson LiveWire for being light on outright range at 146 miles (235 km) in the city and 70 miles (113 km) on the highway. For right or wrong, that’s a bit shy of most of the electric motorcycle competition, but Harley makes up for it by being ahead of the curve with level-3 DC fast charge, allowing the bike to be charged up to full in under an hour.
The previous electric motorcycle distance-in-24-hours record was set by a group of riders on a Zero riding around a test track. They achieved a respectable 818 miles (1,316 km) among them, but this isn’t indicative of real life devoid of traffic. The Zero is also restricted to a slower charging infrastructure, which ate up precious time on track.
In order to beat that record an intrepid individual set off on a trip, spanning the 11th and 12th of March, starting in Zurich, Switzerland. From Zurich the rider started out with a 100% charged LiveWire to Stuttgart, Germany for the first charge. That’s around 135 miles (217 miles) up the A-81 highway, or almost double what the bike is rated for.
Once in Stuttgart, the Harley was charged up for about 25 minutes and headed back south to Singen, Germany (about 150 km). From there, the rider did a back-and-forth commute between Singen and Stuttgart six times, charging just shy of half an hour at each end. On the final stop, he then peeled off to head to Ruggell, Lichtenstein for the finish line. The total miles travelled at the end of the trip was actually 1070 miles (1,721 km).
For all of you adventure riders who complain about not being able to head for a long ride on the low-range Harley, you’ve been called out. Not only does the Harley apparently have a much longer range than it’s rated for, but it charges up so quickly with a good supply of energy that you can literally go hundreds of miles without needing a single drop of petrol.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve done 500 mile days and that’s plenty for me. If I plan my riding route appropriately, I could easily get that out of a LiveWire. Now let’s see what the Cannonball Baker-inspired cross-country electric motorcycle record looks like. Who’s up for a real challenge?