Ridden: Serial 1 Rush/CTY Boasts Heavy Harley-Davidson Heritage; an Unexpected Two-Wheeler

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Photo: Florin Profir for autoevolution
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Over the past two years, the famed Harley-Davidson has unveiled an array of two-wheelers designed to be your urban mobility solution. Contrary to what you may expect, we aren't talking about motorcycles but the Serial 1 e-bikes. Well, over the past months, we've been pushing for a test ride on one of these beasts, and finally, our e-mails have been answered.
After getting in touch with a Harley-Davidson dealership, autoevolution was invited to take part in a brief test ride upon a machine meant to encompass all that the Serial 1 lineup has to offer, the Rush/CTY e-bike. Here's what we discovered about the trinket and how it fared on city streets and local parks.

You may have heard about the e-bikes to come out of Serial 1 manufacturing lines. One of those machines is the Rush/CTY, and just as its name suggests, this is Serial 1's city slicker, designed to be first off the line, and doing it while also taking care of some cargo needs city life often throws at us.

Before I continue with the experience, let me point out that autoevolution was in Europe at the time of this test ride, and with that, certain speed restrictions and capacities were in place. For example, in the U.S., the Rush/CTY is limited to 28 mph (45 kph), while in Europe a mere 25 kph (15.5 mph). Nonetheless, the electronics, frame and fork materials, and drivetrain are the same.

It was around 10 A.M., and we arrived on the edge of town, eager to test any of the Serial 1 machines (we didn't know which one just yet). After a few minutes or so, dealership personnel pops up around the corner, wheeling in a gray wonder that I've seen before but never in the flesh.

Photo: Florin Profir for autoevolution
I walk up to it, looking at the Rush, inspecting the frame, the massive Brose mid-mounted motor, and the Enviolo Automatiq auto-shifting gear hub. At the front of the bike, an aluminum fork with no suspension tells you all you need to know about where you should be riding this bugger, and the cockpit is clean, with controls and brakes within easy access of your thumb. Back to the center of the bike, the words 'Rush/CTY' are stamped on the top tube, while 'Harley-Davidson' pops off of the chain stay. What chain? I don't know, as this bugger is rocking a Gates Carbon Drive belt.

I basically sat there and drooled a little while the shop owner explained all this little bugger does and how to operate it. Nothing complicated, but if you want to mess with the pedal cadence and resistance levels, you will need to download the Enviolo app and control everything from there.

Take things like this: if you don't adjust your cadence to your capabilities, you'll end up riding along at 30 kph (18.6 mph), pedaling as though you're trying to outrun the police, and not going any faster. Due to the nature of the test ride, I was unable to play around with this feature, we only had a couple of hours to explore this bugger, and honestly, that's not enough for a complete experience. But hey, that's why it's called a test drive.

Nonetheless, I hopped on the e-bike, and my first impression was that it was solid, really solid. That massive aluminum frame and shaping is a high bike point. Nothing vibrates, bumps are absorbed efficiently, and as you ride along, the 59 lbs (23 kg) of machine feels rather stable underneath you, even at higher speeds.

Photo: Florin Profir for autoevolution
I rode on in Eco mode for a few yards just to get a feel for the bike and to reach a place where I could really open up on the proverbial throttle. After clearing a few parking lots and small winding paths, I hopped on a four-lane road, and from a standstill, I got a bit of speed in Eco, and after pressing the controller frantically to reach Boost mode as fast as possible, a smile crept across my face.

Folks, if there's one thing you can take away from this experience, it's that you can feel the Harley-Davidson touch on this e-bike. Sure, it's bulky, but once that Brose motor kicks in with all 90 Nm (66 lb-ft) of torque, you'll reach that top speed, and if your cadence is correct, you'll easily go beyond that 28 mph (45 kph) with ease. I hit a clean 37 kph (23 mph) before it started to look like a cartoon frantically pedaling on a bike that hasn't been sized for my leg extension.

There I was, riding down the street, cars passing me by, and even motorcyclists saluting me as we crossed paths. I even got a feeling of "Hey, this IS a Harley!" This brings me to my next point. If there's one thing most people can say about Harley-Davidson machines is that they make no attempt to minimize noise, they're loud! It seems their e-bikes are no different.

Ok, so the noise that you can hear from that Brose motor as you pedal in Boost, or any other mode, for that matter, isn't one that yields the same pleasure that other e-bike drivetrains offer. Every stroke of my pedals caused the motor to whine, even hearing it through that helmet I'm wearing in the photos. So yes, the motor is loud. But, at least it's not noisy for nothing; it offers the adequate push to propel you on the straightaways and around corners. If you're not careful, you could easily lose control trying to turn it in place.

Rush/CTY \(Action\)
Photo: Florin Profir for autoevolution
As I explored the Rush/CTY, I only got about an hour or so of ride time out of it, but if there's one thing I can say is that the battery level meter integrated into the bike showed no change. Clearly, I used some juice, but apparently, no less than one-fifth of the 706 Wh battery that's in place. So that's a plus in my book.

Now, the bike itself is equipped for city use, but we didn't have much time to test the quality of headlights, taillights, and fenders; I can't say much about those. However, the integrated fenders and cargo racks feel solid and shouldn't pose a problem for the bike's abilities.

Other than that, the controls are easily accessible, within thumbs reach, and the LCD screen does a beautiful job of displaying your ride mode and stats even if the midday sun is beating down on you. The brakes, too, work well and actually stop this bugger. However, make sure you practice judging how much distance you need to safely stop; it's quite the behemoth, and if you lock the tires out, you'll still slide for quite the stretch.

Rush/CTY \(Action\)
Photo: Florin Profir for autoevolution
With the photo shoot and a few laps around a local park, it was time to head back to drop this bugger off. Upon arrival, I was asked, "How was it?" "Nice" was all I had to say about this e-bike, and that's what I tell you; it's a nice machine. Best of all, the Harley-Davidson heritage, R&D, and now-how are present in the recent Serial 1 mobility machines.

Ultimately, if the Rush/CTY is worth the $5,600 (€5,200 for Europe) price tag is up to you to decide. Just remember, if I could go and take a test ride, I think you can too, and that's the best way to see for yourself what the Serial 1 family has to offer.
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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