“Agile and confidence-inspiring” – Connected e-bikes from Series 1 powered by Harley-Davidson
Listen to this article
Reading time: 5 minutes
Serial 1 e-bikes powered by Harley-Davidson are premium connected e-bikes designed from the ground up for commuting and off-roading. Auto Futures spoke with Aaron Frank, Serial 1 Brand Manager, who explained their design, maintenance-free and new tech features.
Serial 1 was launched as a spin-off company from Harley-Davidson in 2020.
“We still have a close relationship with Harley-Davidson. Our Product Development Center is located on the Harley-Davidson Campus. If we have questions or need to cooperate on testing, data or anything else, we always work closely with the Harley-Davidson engineering team. Our engineering team is autonomous and separate,” says Frank.
The Serial 1 brand is mainstream and consumer-focused.
“We certainly don’t just make bikes for Harley-Davidson enthusiasts. We make e-bikes for everyone who rides a bike – a mainstream cycling product that appeals to consumers buying e-bikes right now,” says Frank.
Bikes designed from the ground up
Serial 1 e-bikes integrate the battery and motor into the center of the e-bikes.
“We take pride in the design and engineering of our frame and the placement of our motor and battery. We’ve learned from 120 years of building motorcycles at Harley-Davidson that mass centralization is super important. You want to keep most of the weight of the bike as close to the center of the bike as possible and as close to the ground as possible. All of our bikes use a mid-mounted motor, so the motor sits right between the pedals under the rider,” says Frank.
The exclusive compact battery is designed in-house and sits just above the motor, nestled in the central unit. Serial 1 offers a 529 Wh battery and a 706 Wh battery which are interchangeable. The batteries can be charged on the frame or turned off via a standard electrical outlet.
“We designed our bikes from the ground up to be e-bikes. So it’s not a clumsy adaptation of an existing bike. When you hop on a Serial 1 it looks like a pretty good bike. It handles very well and is very neutral. It’s nimble and confidence-inspiring,” he says.
One Series 1 size does not fit all
The company makes e-bikes in four sizes, small, medium, large and extra-large. Sizing is based on Harley Davidson’s Human Factors Database. He has measured tens of thousands of human bodies over the course of more than 30 years to optimize the ergonomics of their motorcycles, Frank reports.
“We were able to leverage this human factors database into the sizing and design of our bikes. Bikes of all sizes are precisely designed to maintain the same riding position. We want to make sure that not only are we fitting more people, but that everyone gets the same riding experience.
A sizing tool on the website uses arm and leg measurements to accurately predict the right e-bike size.
Series 1 models for the city and the mountains
Series 1 currently has two categories of e-bikes – urban commuter (CTY) models and mountain off-road (MTN) models.
“We intend to be a full-portfolio bike brand. Originally, we launched our CTY product last year, which was primarily intended for riding on city and suburban roads. In 2022, we have expanded with MTB and off-road models,” says Frank.
Series 1 in the city
The CTY (City) line of e-bikes currently has three models.
“The MOSH CTY is a stripped down urban play bike. There are no fenders or racks. It has a single speed transmission. It’s a fun and playful bike ride,” says Frank.
RUSH electric bikes are complete commuter bikes. The racks, fenders, and auto-shift transmission provide the functionality for someone who likely uses this bike for commuting or travel.
“RUSH e-bikes are maintenance free – just hop on and ride. You might want to check your tire pressure every couple of months, but that’s it. You’re not going to service the drivetrain. There is no derailleur. There is no chain. The brakes are hydraulic and self-adjusting,” he explains.
CTY bikes use a carbon fiber drive belt instead of a chain drive, the same type of drive belt Harley Davidson uses on its motorcycles. They never need to be lubricated or adjusted. These are lifetime drive belts. Drive belts last 100,000 miles on Harley Davidson motorcycles.
“Gates Carbon Drive belts are completely clean. They don’t leave greasy marks on your shoes, pants, clothes or hands if you touch them.
All RUSH models all have auto-shifting CVT transmissions.
“You don’t have to cruise 21 gears. You set the RPM wherever you want. Then the electronic auto-shift hub automatically and constantly adjusts the gear ratio for you,” he says.
The RUSH/CTY STEP-THRU can travel up to 20 mph with a range of 35-105 mi (55-170) km and takes 4.7 hours to fully charge using a lithium-ion battery of 529 Wh.
The RUSH/CITY SPEED has a top speed of 28 mph with a range of 25-115 mi/40-185 km and only takes 7.5 hours to fully charge. 706Wh lithium-ion battery.
“We make the driving experience so much more enjoyable. If you’ve never tried an electric bike before, try one, any one. You will be surprised to think of yourself as a cyclist again,” muses Frank.
Series 1 Mountain Electric Bikes
The nearly sold-out Serial 1 BASH/MTN Limited Edition features high-volume Michelin E-Wild knobby tires, a shock-absorbing SR Suntour NCX suspension seatpost, and TRP four-piston hydraulic disc brakes.
In June, Serial 1 released SWITCH/MTN, a mountain trail e-bike for off-roading. It includes an SR Suntour suspension fork and a TranzX dropper post.
Connected car-like connectivity
In April, Serial 1 announced the Serial 1 app backed by Google Cloud.
“Our goal is to bring the same automotive-level experience and connectivity experience to the bike space. We partnered with Google to achieve this,” Frank explains.
2022 Serial 1 e-bikes come with a self-powered Internet of Things (IoT) device inside the frame.
The device has a SIM card with cellular, Bluetooth and GPS connectivity. The device connects to the cloud and the rider’s smartphone app.
Frank notes that the connectivity enables a full suite of connected features. For security reasons, the location of the Serial 1 e-bike can be tracked on Google Maps even when the power is off. And the eBike can be deactivated remotely. The app can remotely flash the lights to help locate the e-bike.
The application communicates directly with the engine and the battery in real time. The app displays speed, elapsed time and distance traveled. The power meter indicates the power produced by the pedals, the motor and the battery in real time. Riders can monitor power consumption and battery life at a granular level. IoT devices receive over-the-air (OTA) updates.
“We are currently the only bicycle company to use Google navigation in our navigation tool,” he says. Google navigation offers bike-friendly routes.
Where can you buy Serial 1 e-bikes?
Serial 1 e-bikes are sold through Harley Davidson dealerships, independent bike shops, and online through the Serial 1 website.
Frank uses a Serial 1 e-bike to get to work. Its journey is ten minutes faster than driving in a car because it rides on a bike path with no traffic, no lights or stop signs.
“I’ve been a bike and motorcycle guy since I was a kid. So this is a perfect match made in heaven for me. I ride Serial 1 e-bikes more than I ever imagined, simply because they are extremely useful,” Frank says.