electric cruiser from the future

Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire company unveiled its third electric motorcycle in March: the S2 Mulholland. At first glance, the electric cruiser closely resembles the existing LiveWire S2 Del Mar. That’s thanks to the shared Arrow platform fulfilling its purpose of spanning multiple electric motorbikes.

Still, there are a number of key differences between the S2 models that make these two distinct bikes. While we’ll have to wait for an extensive review, I recently completed a LiveWire S2 Mulholland test ride and have some initial impressions.

Electric bikes are approachable

LiveWire’s marketing campaign for the all-new S2 Mulholland is all about one phrase: “Touch. And Go.” Those words perfectly describe what it’s like to take flight on a LiveWire S2 Mulholland. Once you’re on the bike, you just press a button to engage power. As soon as you pull on the throttle, you’re off to the races.

Credit: Electrek

That’s the thing about electric motorcycles. You don’t need to know anything about holding the clutch, shifting gears and at which speeds, finding neutral when you’re stopped, or stalling the engine in the middle of traffic. Once the bike is on, it’s ready to go — and go, it does.

You also don’t have to be a new rider to appreciate LiveWire bikes. Warmer weather invites riders to the road, but gas bikes can be a hot mess. With the S2 Mulholland, there’s no stressing over engine heat and scorching hot exhaust pipes.

Electric bikes aren’t just approachable. LiveWire bikes are also performant. Even the most experienced gas bike rider will immediately appreciate the instant access to torque and a big grin on your face that comes with riding LiveWire.

S2 Mulholland has style

With the S2 Mulholland, LiveWire has delivered similar specs as the S2 Del Mar. The range on paper is slightly greater, but the difference isn’t enough to change how you use the bike. The most notable difference without a head-to-head test ride is style and customization.

Credit: Electrek

While maintaining a futuristic look that screams fast, S2 Mulholland has a bit more chill than the more aggressive S2 Del Mar. LiveWire also expects riders to accessorize the S2 Mulholland to their liking with a range of products that will be available to order.

Credit: LiveWire

For example, the S2 Mulholland is a bit of a single seater out of the factory, especially compared to LiveWire’s other two motorbikes. However, LiveWire has shown off a matching passenger seat with back rest to carry a passenger.

Credit: LiveWire

One thing about motorcycles in general is that they’re just cool. How a motorcycle looks is as important to many riders as how it performs.

My summary of the LiveWire lineup, before now, has been that the LiveWire One has the best performance and the S2 Del Mar has the best look. The S2 Mulholland design differences are starting to grow on me, however, and there’s a sustainability story behind the new materials used.

I also have a strong affinity toward motorbikes that come in white. While the Liquid Black/Red S2 Mulholland that I test rode has class, I’m falling more in love with the look of the Lunar White/Black S2 Mulholland with each glance. It just looks sick.

In sum, I think the LiveWire S2 Mulholland is a very good looking electric bike without being impractical. I really want to get behind the handlebars of a white model.

Credit: Electrek

For me, there is one exception to the above summary. One way LiveWire distinguishes between the S2 Del Mar and S2 Mulholland is the mirror position. Del Mar mirrors are mounted above the handlebars; Mulholland mirrors are mounted below.

Motorcycle mirror style and position always seems to be at odds with practicality. Large, circular top-mounted mirrors are most practical. Slender, bottom-mounted mirrors look sick but aren’t as rider friendly, in my view. During my test ride, the left mirror was alright while the right mirror mostly displayed my arm. Maybe that can be improved with adjustments.

Credit: LiveWire

More LiveWire test ride impressions

So what do I think after my initial LiveWire S2 Mulholland test ride? The more expensive LiveWire One ($22,799) is still the electric bike to beat overall, but you can’t beat the more affordable price of the S2 Mulholland ($15,999).

Well, technically, S2 Del Mar beats S2 Mulholland in affordability by $500, but that difference is as negligible as the range difference in my view. Feel free to disagree!

Credit: LiveWire

The lower riding position of the S2 Mulholland relative to the S2 Del Mar and LiveWire One can be seen in the above image. I would need to spend more time with the bike before evaluating comfort, but my hunch is that the S2 Mulholland is the comfort champion among the pack.

During my test ride experience, I found the S2 Mulholland to be relatively light and especially narrow. It almost felt more like an electric bicycle on steroids than a motorbike, but one roll on the throttle makes this very much a motorcycle.

It was easy to hop on the S2 Mulholland for the first time and keep up with the other two riders on gas bikes with me. In fact, the challenge isn’t keeping up but staying back. I was rider #3 in our configuration. If my riding position wasn’t at the back of the bike, I’m afraid I would have left the other two riders in my dust.

All in all, the S2 Mulholland is as zippy as I would expect from a LiveWire motorcycle. What was unexpected was the sheer amount of oomph from the narrow machine underneath me. The slim and light package has an unassuming presence that is unlike even the LiveWire One.

For example, I’m not one to wheelie off on the street. I’ve actually never tried to wheelie a bike. During my test ride, however, the S2 Mulholland just begged me to pull a wheelie.

Part of the fun of riding electric is the short time it takes to go from 0 to 60mph. I needed to fall back from the other two riders to really appreciate the bike’s launch power. After breaking to a slower speed, I pulled back the throttle to takeoff and catch up and definitely felt the front wheel lift up. I found this to be easily repeatable and fun.

I hope to spend more time with this bike in the future. LiveWire is making some of the finest machines on two wheels with these electric motorcycles. The addition of the LiveWire S2 Mulholland gives riders looking for something more charming and expressive a fantastic option when shopping for an electric motorcycle.

Lastly, a special shoutout to Alligator Alley Harley-Davidson in Sunrise, Florida. This LiveWire partner has a mega facility packed with a sea of bike inventory, a busy service shop, the largest collection of police bikes I’ve ever seen, and climate-controlled storage for countless motorcycles for safekeeping. It’s worth a tour if you’re ever in the area, and the LiveWire collection is wonderful.

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