Who wouldn’t want to ride a motorcycle 1500 miles from Argentina to Los Angeles? On A Harley? Please it’s a no brainer.
So that’s what Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman have done, and you can see how they did on Apple TV+. As always in the “Long Way” series, the show plots the ups and downs in a highly entertaining and absorbing way. Normally this would be aimed at Petrol Heads but McGregor is a convert to electric and persuaded Harley to retrofit its Livewire to make it possible to do the trip. But look below the surface and all is not what it seems. Because of the terrain and the lack of infrastructure they not only had to have specially modified bikes. their back up crew had to arrange for charging points along the route.
Production model Livewires weigh in at £28,750 and deliver a range of just 70 miles at 70 mph and most people don’t have a crew to pre arrange fast chargers. A full charge takes just over 12 hours according to MCN’s August 2020 review, so there is definitely a lot of Harley sizzle but not too much by way of practical sausage.
At MotorCycle Live last year my crew had a lot of fun with the Harley guys who were getting very excited about sending the Livewire on the Lands’ End – John O’Groats challenge; 886 miles from bottom to top. The world record is 29 hours and 12 minutes, giving an average speed of just 30.3 mph. Because of the need to charge every 70 miles the Harley would take just over 173 hours to complete the challenge, But our Ultra, although it only has a top speed of 50 MPH and a range of around 50 miles would take just under 114 hours and that’s assuming you charged at each stop. Because the batteries can be removed and swapped, the journey would be under 40 hours.
So a real hare and tortoise story and of course, while they were waiting for their Harleys to charge, Ewan and Charley will have seen plenty of tortoises who are native to South America! And not just the animal kind.