Motorcycles

Curtiss unleashes Hades, a 217-horsepower electric "expression of minimalism"

The bullet-shaped battery pack on the Hades protrudes phallically into the sacrilegiously empty space where the motor would sit on a combustion bike
The bullet-shaped battery pack on the Hades protrudes phallically into the sacrilegiously empty space where the motor would sit on a combustion bike
View 9 Images
Front-on with the Hades
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Front-on with the Hades
Left side view clearly shows the way the fanged front girder forks and rear swingarm shapes echo each other
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Left side view clearly shows the way the fanged front girder forks and rear swingarm shapes echo each other
Leathery pads denote body contact points on the bike
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Leathery pads denote body contact points on the bike
We're not sure the slight upward scoop on the back of that seat is gonna hold you in place with more than 200 electric horsepower on tap - this thing will charge like a wounded bull
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We're not sure the slight upward scoop on the back of that seat is gonna hold you in place with more than 200 electric horsepower on tap - this thing will charge like a wounded bull
Baboon butt brake lights
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Baboon butt brake lights
The bullet-shaped battery pack on the Hades protrudes phallically into the sacrilegiously empty space where the motor would sit on a combustion bike
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The bullet-shaped battery pack on the Hades protrudes phallically into the sacrilegiously empty space where the motor would sit on a combustion bike
Top-down view
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Top-down view
Girder front end joins a long lineage of Confederate suspension statements
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Girder front end joins a long lineage of Confederate suspension statements
Curtiss's Zeus Radial V8 concept also does a stunning job of making the battery look amazing instead of depressing
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Curtiss's Zeus Radial V8 concept also does a stunning job of making the battery look amazing instead of depressing

The fellow who designed Confederate's jaw-dropping Wraith and Hellcat, J.T. Nesbitt, is back with what he calls "the ultimate expression of two-wheeled minimalism." We're not sure we agree, but the Hades certainly slaps some new ideas down on the table.

Designed around the idea of using as many parts as possible for more than one purpose, the Hades packs a 16.8-kWh battery into a bullet-like underslung cylinder. Running at 399 volts, it's expected to make a monstrous 217 hp (162 kW) and an absurd 147 lb-ft (200 Nm) of instantly-available torque.

Those would be fearsome figures even on a bike with a giant bump-stop for your butt, which the Hades does not have. Indeed, its mildly scoopy single seat unit has but a slight upward tilt at the rear to hold you onto this weapon of a thing as it accelerates. The brake lights are also built into the undersides of the buttock-rests, giving you the glowing red bum cheeks of a baboon if you're into that sort of thing.

Baboon butt brake lights
Baboon butt brake lights

Open space pervades the design, most notably with the almost sacrilegious gap between the battery box and the backbone of the frame, which is partially filled in by a flat-laid rear shock sitting further forward than on any bike we can remember, with a linkage back to the top of the rear wheel. It just looks completely, shockingly wrong to anyone who's enjoyed looking at motorcycles for the last hundred years. An excellent and controversial touch.

As for the front end, well, Curtiss and its former incarnation Confederate have always enjoyed using what we'd call "statement" front suspension, and the Hades is another fine example. It's a girder-style setup with wicked carbon fangs holding the front axle. Lascivious gaps in the girder shapes help reduce material use and weight, and suspension is handled by a single monoshock beneath the headlight.

Leathery pads denote body contact points on the bike
Leathery pads denote body contact points on the bike

Those hollowed-out fang shapes are echoed at the rear of the bike in the swingarm, which appears to pivot directly around the central axis of the motor – a nice touch that ensures the belt tension will remain constant whatever the suspension is doing.

It's hard to call this a minimalist design, given how geometrically busy the whole thing is, but Nesbitt's work certainly has something to say about how electric motors can be designed to actually look good instead of being big, fat boxes of sadness around which designers must try to salvage some sense of style.

Take a look at the company's other "Radial V8" concept for its Zeus cruiser for another stellar example of a truly awesome-looking electric powerplant. Yes, it trades capacity and range for style, but holy moly, what style – and hopefully, one day, range will cease to be the issue it is today.

Curtiss's Zeus Radial V8 concept also does a stunning job of making the battery look amazing instead of depressing
Curtiss's Zeus Radial V8 concept also does a stunning job of making the battery look amazing instead of depressing

The Hades will go on sale in 2020 for the princely sum of US$75,000, which makes us feel a little silly about complaining that Harley-Davidson's 30-grand Livewire costs too much. What's more, Curtiss is asking interested parties to buy a chunk of stock on on WeFunder to help shunt development along and get the Hades from the CAD stage into the flesh.

The Hades doesn't appear in the video below, but we reckon it's still worth watching to get a sense of what these Curtiss folks are all about. CEO Matt Chambers certainly has a way with words.

Source: Curtiss Motorcycles

Curtiss Motorcycles – Vision 2020

8 comments
toyhouse
Maybe it's just me and where my mind tends to go sometimes, but the bullet-shaped battery makes this motorcycle look like a giant, shiny phallus on two wheels. And it's name?,...Hades. Fitting. Pretty sure I'd not want to be seen on hades. Imagine what you'd look like with your legs over it going down the road! Ready for action? Perhaps, that was idea? Certainly, one way to get attention which some folks crave. To each his or her own as they say. Sorry. Just thinking out loud.
alice80
Hades = Tampon Bike.... c'mon,folks, don't you see that too? I kinda like the idea of a guy with a gigantic tampon between his legs, tooting around town.
holdenmidfield
Geez! Could it get any more suggestive? An inadequacy compensator if I ever saw it. Rename it the Manly Penetrator and have done with it.
Joshua Tulberg
Ok, I'm not the only one.
owlbeyou
At first glance, I thought the phallic thing in front was the motor. Whatever, it does look cool, but the rest of this bike is overdone. Especially the white outlines of the front forks, chain housing and rear trailing arms...and 6 padded areas? The baboon taillights look like red eggs under the rider's butt when seen from the rear. It's another case of a small outfit vainly trying their darnedest to stand out from the crowd. But that's to be expected in this dog-eat-dog world of survival, as long as they get it right. And what Matt Chambers so eloquently states rings hollow if you notice the dumpy atelier behind him with a partially disassembled engine hanging from the sprinkler pipe. 75 grand? No thanks.
Marco McClean
I absolutely /love/ the video. The guy's delivery reminds me of Sanjay of the FrogHammer branding agency in /Slings And Arrows/. And his rampant penis bike is very cool, no argument there.
Martin Hone
Where to start...no mention of performance, handling or braking, so confirms that this is a rich mans toy or collector piece .....and the Zeus Radial is actually a Vee. Glen Curtis's original V8 motorcycle may have been its inspiration, but get the name right please ....
Tom Phoghat Sobieski
Exactly how dumb does Confederate think motorcycle riders are? Minimalist design? This thing is a giant phallic symbol, on 2 wheels. You won't need leathers, just a shirt open to your navel, and gold chains around your neck. And "Radial" buy the guy a dictionary and be done with it.
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