Motorcycles

Curtiss breaks the motorcycle mold for all-electric Zeus

Curtiss breaks the motorcycle ...
The Curtiss Zeus prototype made its debut at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 5
The Curtiss Zeus prototype made its debut at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 5
View 16 Images
The Zeus electric motorcycle is the first to feature an E-Twin power unit that's built around two high-output electric motors driving one shaft
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The Zeus electric motorcycle is the first to feature an E-Twin power unit that's built around two high-output electric motors driving one shaft
The Curtiss Zeus is the first in a full range of hot rod gods
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The Curtiss Zeus is the first in a full range of hot rod gods
The Curtiss Zeus prototype made its debut at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 5
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The Curtiss Zeus prototype made its debut at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 5
The Curtiss Zeus prototype made its debut at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 5
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The Curtiss Zeus prototype made its debut at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 5
Design drawing of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
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Design drawing of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
Design drawing of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
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Design drawing of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
Design drawing of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
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Design drawing of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
Design drawing of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
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Design drawing of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
Design drawing of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
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Design drawing of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
Design drawing of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
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Design drawing of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
Front view of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
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Front view of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
Something a little different from Curtiss Motorcycles: Zeus electric motorcycle
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Something a little different from Curtiss Motorcycles: Zeus electric motorcycle
Rear view of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
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Rear view of the Curtiss Zeus electric motorcycle
The Curtiss Zeus is expected to make 170 hp  and 290 lb.ft of torque
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The Curtiss Zeus is expected to make 170 hp  and 290 lb.ft of torque
The Curtiss Zeus features a 14.4 kWh Li-ion battery pack and two high-output electric motors
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The Curtiss Zeus features a 14.4 kWh Li-ion battery pack and two high-output electric motors
The Curtiss Zeus prototype made its debut at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 5
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The Curtiss Zeus prototype made its debut at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 5

Alabama's Curtiss Motorcycles – previously high-end custom V-twin maker Confederate Motors – announced last year that it would kickstart a new "golden age of American motorcycling" by making only electric bikes going forward. That vision for the future of motorcycle design is based on sustainability, minimalism and fun and the first example – the Zeus – has been revealed at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering in Carmel, California.

First off, since the Zeus motorcycle is still in prototyping, Curtiss isn't giving too much away as far as specs and availability are concerned.

"Zeus introduces a fresh, all-new design DNA that will define every Curtiss motorcycle moving forward," said the company's Design Director Jordan Cornille. "This minimalist, pure, organic brand language has been carefully developed over the last several years, and foreshadows an entire family of Curtiss products to come."

"The all-mighty Zeus is the first concept prototype in a full range of hot rod gods to come," echoed Curtiss CEO Matt Chambers.

The Curtiss Zeus is the first in a full range of hot rod gods
The Curtiss Zeus is the first in a full range of hot rod gods

Though it keeps much of the bulk common to earlier Curtiss motorcycles, the Zeus electric signals something of a departure from the me-too design language of other manufacturers like Zero, Vanguard and Lightning.

"ICE motorcycles all have, more or less, the same components, so they have all grown to accommodate similar looks and proportions," Cornille told The Vintagent. "Electric motorcycles have completely different components, so there's no need for them to look, or be packaged like, traditional ICE motorcycles. This is where we believe our industry is missing the mark."

The design tweaks start with Curtiss ditching the false fuel tank altogether and arranging the layout of the electric components to best suit weight distribution and rider ergonomics. The Zeus is built around a clean-looking aluminum chassis, with rear turn indicators on the mono-shock mount, and running lights and turn indicators on the front mono-shock forks. the brake/rear light has been integrated into the seat platform.

The chain on the right of the chunky rear wheel rises up at an angle to the drive unit positioned under the seat platform, between rider and pillion. And there's a tablet-like display behind the handlebar's center post presumably for displaying ride stats and remaining charge.

As for specs, we do know that the prototype features a 14.4 kWh Li-ion battery pack in a "T-Block" configuration. Curtiss has replaced its love of V-twins with the world's first E-Twin power unit that's built around two high-output electric motors driving one output shaft. And the company is estimating that this combination will result in 170 hp (127 kW) and 290 lb.ft (393 Nm) of torque.

The Curtiss Zeus prototype made its debut at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 5
The Curtiss Zeus prototype made its debut at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 5

The Zeus concept was declared "Most Innovative Motorcycle" at the Quail gathering on May 5. "Zeus is the result of years of hard work, so out team could not be more proud to be recognized for our achievement as we re-imagine what the American motorcycle can be," said Cornille when accepting the award.

The Curtiss Zeus is due to start rolling off the production line in 2020. While we wait for more specs and pricing, take a look at the images in the gallery and let us know your thoughts on the design in the comments.

Source: Curtiss Motorcycles

15 comments
HalSlater
What about rider comfort? Or is this their "stealth" version and the production model will have a real rider's seat?
Bob Bolhuis
Based on how comfortable that seat looks, battery life should only need to be about 15 minutes... Kudos to them, however, for deciding that an electric motorcycle doesn't need to look like one with an ICE. That kind of thinking is what's required to be truly innovative.
WayneHennebury
Hideous monstrosity, and did i mention it's F-cking ugly.
jd_dunerider
The overall look being so bulky and with no fairings makes me think cruiser, but the seat height, handle bars, and foot pegs are all sportbike. Definitely a unique machine that will turn heads and terrify riders.
f8lee
So...no need for a shifter or clutch...presume the left caliper is for the rear brake? Speaking of which - what kind of braking system does it have? If disks, they don't seem very large (and I imagine with the battery packs the bike is no lightweight) - drum brakes? Or some kind of regenerative braking system - if so, how much stopping power can that provide?
Buellrider
I like it but would rather they concentrate on range and comfort. Sure would love to take it for a spin though. I read that Eric Buell is helping out in some fashion at Curtiss. Harley is to produce the LiveWire next year and I have ridden one and loved it but it was a bit small for my 6 ft frame. My wife at 5'4" found it perfect.
S Michael
Is it suppose to be a tunnel in a circle, with few stops. Boondoggle..
Daishi
It reminds me of the Dodge Tomahawk a little. Electrics open the canvas up a bit to some of the possible designs. One interesting thing about Harley making an electric is that there are a lot of people who make custom Harley's and we could see some creative customizations of it.
TPL
Like others, I admire the non-traditional thinking, but Frankenstein's monster was non-traditional thinking too and neither is/was attractive. It is, at once, compact yet massive, efficient yet excessive. That said, good art and good show vehicles get noticed, whether out of love or disgust, so I suppose this gets points for that.
MD
lol. it doesn't appear to look terrible for any practical reason. It merely makes an artistic statement with no real sign of things to come...