By Kiet Do

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Harley Davidson is touring the country with a stop in San Jose this week to gauge interest in a prototype electric bike called LiveWire, which is designed to look like a tank and sound like a jet.

The rumble of a Harley Davidson is as much part of the brand as the beard and leather. Herein lies the problem: electric motors are silent. So the engineers added a futuristic, jet-like sound to the engine.

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“Electric vehicles, they take pride in the fact that they don’t make any noise,” said Harley Davidson spokeswoman Shelly Paxton. “But Harley, no? Sound is a big part of the Harley culture. So we wanted this to have a very unique sound.”

The result is a very fast bike that goes zero to 60 in four seconds. The automatic transmissions also makes it easy to ride.

Throw in a touch panel display with GPS navigation, and the company hopes to lure in a whole new generation of younger, urban riders. No beard necessary.

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“I’ve never ridden a Harley before,” said one motorcycle rider Noel Moldvai. “This definitely doesn’t fit the paradigm of a normal Harley.” When asked if it’d make him want to buy one, Moldvai responded “absolutely.”

To the purists who say the chopper makers are diluting the brand, Paxton says, “We’re continuing to build on the brand and set it up for the future. We’re being innovative and daring, which is very true to our entrepreneurial roots of the brand.”

As the company says, it’s not so much an electric Harley as it is a Harley that just happens to be electric.

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The company has not yet priced the motorcycle and is waiting to announce when it will launch following more market research.