A cutting-edge electric bike with a V8 architecture is not your everyday treat
We know that “V8” and “electric motorcycles” don’t go well in the same phrase, but Curtiss’ newest creation is the perfect example we’re wrong.
Almost a year ago we introduced to you Curtiss’ new (at that time) Hera concept, an electric motorcycle with a battery pack that harked back to the good old days when Glenn Curtiss became the fastest motorcycle rider of the world. The all-new Curtiss Zeus is the proud heir of the bike Glenn rode at 136.3 mph (219.3 km/h) on Ormond Beach in Florida in January 23, 1907. But man, it has changed…
If anything, the design language and the same adventurous spirit are the only things that survived more than a century. The Curtiss Zeus is a new breed of a machine, bold, daring, assertive, and one that will instantaneously split th audience between fierce haters and enamoured adorers. Zeus has known multiple design iterations in the prototype stage from its introduction last year, but it appears that the Radial V8 is the one that will make it into production.
The bike exudes minimalism and is as striking a presence as it is clean and slender. The central section is the one that captures attention first. Curtiss went for a set of 8 cylindrical battery packs angled like the cylinders of a V8 petrol engine. The angle is progressively smaller from fore towards aft, also provinding enhanced cooling. Curtiss engineers even say that this design offers the best cooling thanks to the way air currents flow between the “cylinders” and we have to take their word for it.
Zeus can store a massive 16.8 kWh, in line (and more so) with what top electric bikes offer today. For measure, Zero’s largest standard battery carries a 14.4 kWh charge. Now, 16.8 kWh might seem a bit overkill, but Curtiss’ motor choice needs all the juice it can muster. Instead of the initial Zero dual powertrain, Zeus has a Yasa P400 R motor that peaks at a whopping 217 hp and 199.3 Nm of torque.
The front suspension uses a 6061 aluminium parallelogram fork with a fully-adjustable RaceTech monoshock, wheras the rear relies on a RaceTech two-speed compression and damping adjustable shock from the same supplier. Both ends have 6” (152 mm) of travel. The chassis comprises hand-welded titanium and chromoly elements with 6061 machined aluminium parts.
Stopping this beast in due time requires serious braking force, therefore Curtiss threw in four 230 mm Beringer aeronal cast iron floating rotors squeezed by 4-pot Beringer radial Aerotec calipers for the front, while two similar units are present in the rear. BST delivers the 18” carbon fiber wheels, shod with an 110 mm tire in the front, complemented by an 160 mm one in the back.
Now, such crazy specs come at a price, and Curtiss isn’t shy to ask $75,000 for the Zeus. Pre-orders are now being taken already, ending July 25th. Production begins in early 2020, but no delivery time is specified. You can also decide to invest a minimum of $1,000 in Curtiss shares as the company is securing more funds. Their 5-year business plan sees $50 million from bike sales by the end of 2025, so if you’re feeling inspired by this daunting bike, you can actually own your share of the company.
Crazy design – checked. Striking looks – checked. Insane specs – checked. Drooling to see the first Zeus on the road next year – in progress.