One of the joys of owning motorcycles – particularly once they're a few years old – is ripping them to bits and building customs out of them. I know this from my experience butchering a couple of mid-'90s sportsbikes and turning them into street fighters instead of repairing crash damage to the fairings.
But what happens when you go electric? So much of custom motorcycle design revolves around presenting the engine and building bodywork to echo and complement its lines.
With electrics, there's frankly not much to work with. The motor is generally an anonymous cylinder mounted near the swingarm, and the bulk of the space in the frame is taken up with a big ol' battery. In the case of the Zero bikes, these batteries are big flat black boxes that offer outstanding power density and weatherproofing, but about as much in the way of aesthetics as a filing cabinet.
Which makes this custom an interesting case study. Starting out with a 2013 Zero XU, custom house Colt Wrangler has gone for a street tracker look with bodywork fashioned from brushed aluminum sheet.
The hugger and the front guard go in the bin. The dash gets inlaid in the tank. The dirt bike style seat is switched out for a thin, flat pad. The rear lights are tucked away under the seat unit and an LED headlight is integrated into something that looks a bit like a race plate.
The 16-inch rear wheel has been pulled to bits, the hub going into a new 19-inch spoked rim, and the front battery space (this bike only runs one out of a possible two battery modules) is repurposed as storage for the charging cords and adapters.
Does it work? Yeah, it's not bad once you adjust your thinking away from the expectation of an engine. Some angles are a touch awkward, but the proportions are good and the designer, Colt Lyons, has done a good job working off the Zero's boxy gate frame. Looks like it'd be a hoot to ride, as well.
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