Curtiss breaks the motorcycle mold for all-electric Zeus
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.
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 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