Angelle Sampey – the winningest woman in powersports – dishes on setting the record aboard the H-D LiveWire, calling the bike a “game-changer” for women
Words by Angelle Sampey
Photos courtesy Harley-Davidson
Angelle Sampey – Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines factory rider and three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion (and winningest woman in powersports) recently set top speed and elapsed time records aboard the Harley-Davidson LiveWire. Woman Rider sat down with Angelle to get the story from her perspective and dig into why she feels the LiveWire is a huge game-changer for women, particularly those learning to ride for the first time. As Harley-Davidson (hopefully) works toward offering an entire line of EVs, from smaller (and less-expensive) ones to the amazing Livewire, it’ll continue to change the game for new women riders looking for a less-daunting way to get their start on two wheels. ~ Joy Burgess
It was a surprise – the good kind! I was told we were going to Indy to do a test and photo shoot with the Harley-Davidson LiveWire, and while I hoped I’d get to ride it for the fun of it, I had no idea they’d be filming us that day.
But first, I had to ride the Harley-Davidson FXDR street bike, the bike my drag racing bike is modeled from. Now I’ve never picked one of those bikes off the kickstand before, and when they told me I had to race it, I was trembling, scared to death to ride it. No one could figure out why. They said, “you race the big bike, why are you scared of this one?”
I was afraid I’d drop it, but I had to suck it up and get on it. I made a circle in the parking lot aboard the bike and then took it down to the race track. The FXDR was so heavy and I was a nervous wreck. I just couldn’t wait to get off it because it overwhelmed me.
But then, we switched to the LiveWire and I was thinking, ‘thank God!’ I couldn’t wait to get off the big, scary motorcycle. I jumped on the LiveWire and instantly the fear went away. I was just sitting on it and the feeling was more comfortable for me. I didn’t even realize it was already started – the thing is silent. All you have to do is turn the throttle.
I twisted the throttle on the LiveWire for the first time and that thing threw me back; the power was instant! ‘Holy @#$%, this thing is awesome,’ I said, barely containing my excitement to pull it out on the starting line.
The silence felt strange. My ProStock bike is so loud and vibrating. You have to separate yourself from the beast when you turn the throttle. But with the LiveWire, you have dead silence. The tree came on, I twisted the throttle, and it felt like I was on an amusement ride – so fun and so easy. I just kept making pass after pass, having so much fun I didn’t want to get off the bike. One caution: Don’t let go! There’s a lot of power, even when you’re already at speed, so you have instant go no matter what speed you’re at.
Meanwhile, I was just having fun and they told me I’d just set the world record on the LiveWire. Had I known that, I woulda tried harder. I was just trying to beat my teammates; I always want to beat them. Sure, setting a world record is great, but beating my teammates is the best.
One of my first thoughts was, ‘Oh my gosh, this is a total new world for women.’ This is the bike for every woman that has longed to ride but felt scared like I did on the FXDR – and I’ve been riding since I was six years old, it’s all I know. My life has been motorcycles for 44 years, and I sat on the H-D FXDR and was petrified. Imagine how women who want to learn how to ride feel when they don’t have experience.
I really felt it that day. It’s hard for someone to teach women to ride if they don’t understand that feeling. There’s so much to learn that it can be so overwhelming at first. Aboard the FXDR I really felt like women often feel when they’re first learning, but then I got on the LiveWire and it’s so easy. This is a game-changer for girls who want to ride. Once you ride it and learn how to handle it, then you can get on another bike and begin learning how to use the clutch and brakes. But oh my gosh, such a game-changer.
With the LiveWire, there’s no excuse for women. If you can balance and twist the throttle, you’re good to go. I know woman are gonna love it!