Curtiss One: American firm open order book for £87k electric model

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Curtiss Motorcycles have started taking orders for their first electric bike, which is called the One. The Curtiss brand was born back in 2015 as an electric venture for the very much petrol-driven Confederate Motorcycles.

There have been several concepts between then and now, including the 'electric V8-powered' Zeus 8 and the Hades, which took design inspiration from a handgun. But the One is the first model you can actually buy, if you’ve got a spare $115,000 (around £87,000).

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The bike has a similar silhouette to previous concepts, all of which take inspiration from Glenn Curtiss’ V8-powered land-speed bikes from the early 1900s. The frame is long and low with an adjustable headstock that allows for a rake angle that can be adjusted between 27 and 31 degrees.

Curtiss One left side

Adjustability is the word of the day, as the One also has 19 footpeg positions for the rider and 8 for the passenger.

So, what about performance? Well Curtiss claim the finished bike will weigh just shy of 193kg and have a power output equivalent to around 108bhp with 147.5lb.ft of torque. But with a future software update, they reckon that power figure will be boosted to around 214bhp – more than most superbikes can manage.

To add credence to these performance claims, Curtiss have also disclosed where the powertrain technology has come from. The bike’s axial-flux motor, for example, comes from British firm Yasa, who have supplied tech to lots of manufacturers and are a subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz.

Curtiss One from above

The downside of all that power is that the One has a claimed range of 120 miles in the city and just 70 miles on the open road, after which it’ll take 2hrs to charge to 80% and another 40 minutes to fill up completely.

The horizontal rear shock and girder front end use bespoke suspension components from RaceTech while the Beringer 4D brakes dual disc brakes (both on one side) will be recognisable to fans of the Brough Superior SS100.

Curtiss are taking orders for the One now with a down payment of $30k (around £23k) needed to secure your order – just 300 will be built. You can play around with the configurator on the Curtiss website but buyers will have the opportunity to customise their own machine with the firm’s designers before it is built at the end of 2022.


Curtiss Zeus 8 officially official, will enter production in 2020

First published on 19 August 2019 by Ben Clarke

Curtiss Zeus 8

The mad-looking electric motorcycle above is the Curtiss Zeus 8 - a production version of the V8 Hera concept that's set to go into production for 2020.

Thanks to a collaboration with Fast Radius, a 3D-printing firm that builds over 60 parts for the Zeus 8, the bike is set to cost around $75,000, or roughly £62,000.

"Curtiss' mission is to 'create sustainable, desirable, intergenerational, mean, clean, and green future-proof hot rod motorcycles,'" said H. Matthew Chambers, CEO and Chairman of the Board for Curtiss.

"Fast Radius' best-in-class hybrid manufacturing approach and operational efficiencies will enable us to deliver the Zeus 8 on time—satisfying the strong demand from our global audience."

The bike was revealed to the public last weekend at the Quail Motorsports Gathering in California. It has the equivilent of 214bhp so it's going to be lively. We're looking forward to a test ride...


Curtiss unveil Hades, latest electric concept

First reported 18/07/19 by Ben Clarke

The Curtiss Hades looks... different.

The designers at American electric bike firm have unveiled another rendering of a whacky machine to follow the V8 Hera model.

Although just a CAD drawing at the moment, Curtiss are claiming a power figure of 217hp with 147ftlb of torque and a 16.8kWh at 399V battery capacity.

The Hades is slated for production in 2020 and customers are invited to register interest in the $75,000 model now.

"We have a deep and abiding respect for materials," said the bike’s designer, JT Nesbitt. "Our goal with Hades is to build the least wasteful machine possible. This not only applies to how the motorcycle operates, but also how it is constructed.

"Most of the parts on the machine serve more than one purpose. Like Miles Davis, we’re playing the fewest possible notes to convey the emotion. That’s minimalism."


Curtiss unveil 'V8' Hera

First published - 05/07/19

Curtiss V8 concept side view

New images have emerged of American electric bike firm Curtiss' V8 battery electric bike concept. And they're claiming an incredible 217hp and 147ftlb of torque from the bike's E-twin motor. 

Using a V8-style battery arrangement, the Curtiss Hera took its design inspiration from Glenn Curtiss’ 1907 V8 motorcycle with which he set a land speed record of 136.3mph on Ormand Beach, Florida.

"With Hera, we set out to create the world’s most luxurious motorcycle," explained Curtiss CEO, Matt Chambers when we saw concept drawings in 2018.

"Featuring the world’s first V8 battery architecture, an ultra-powerful, yet refined, E-Twin motor, and a 66-inch wheelbase, Hera will occupy a class all her own."


Curtiss unveil cafe and bobber electric concepts

First published - 15/11/18

Curtiss Zeus Bobber concept

American electric motorbike firm, Curtiss, have unveiled two new concept versions of their Zeus electric model (also a concept) slated for production in 2020. The café and bobber variants build on the concept prototype of the Zeus unveiled in February 2018 with upgrades made possible by advances in electric bike tech.

"Our original Zeus concept prototype featured obsolete battery and motor technology that was as graceful as a cinder block," explains Curtiss Design Director, Jordan Cornille.

"This made it difficult for our team to engineer the machine we all aspired to create. With our new Advanced Technology division, we are developing new battery, motor, and control system technologies that enable us to deliver on our clean, modern aesthetic vision."

When the café and bobber variants were released, Curtiss started throwing some very impressive sounding performance stats around. "By utilizing cutting-edge energy storage systems to balance power and range we aim to deliver a range of 280 miles, 145ft-lb  of torque and a 0-60mph time of 2.1 seconds, all with a 140Kw motor," explained Paul Ogilvie, Advanced Power Train Division Leader.

There’s no word yet on charge time or price, but if Curtiss achieve stats like that it will put the bike in the same ball park as the British, Jaguar-Land Rover backed, £90,000 Arc Vector.

Curtiss Zeus Cafe concept

Who are Curtiss?

You’d be forgiven for not having heard of the firm, but you may have heard of Confederate or Zero. Confederate used to make small-batch bespoke motorbikes that were as expensive as they were bonkers, like the Hellcat and the P51 Combat Fighter.

In 2017 they announced a new partnership with electric motorbike makers, Zero under the banner of Curtiss. The Curtiss name came from Glenn Curtiss, a builder and racer who set numerous motorcycle speed records in the early 1900s.

Glenn Curtiss astride his V8 motorbike in 1907

Despite the fact that Curtiss is an electric bike company, the only motorbike they currently sell, the Warhawk, has a 2,163cc V-twin petrol engine. Just 35 of the £86,140 Warhawk were scheduled for production, representing the end of the fossil fuel driven chapter in the company’s history.

The Curtiss Warhawk petrol V-twin

Curtiss Zeus

In May 2018 Curtiss unveiled the first Zeus prototype powered by a 14.4kWh lithium-ion battery and the world’s first ‘E-Twin’ power unit (two motors joined to a single output shaft).

Original Curtiss Zeus prototype

Curtiss said at the time that the design DNA of the Zeus would define every Curtiss motorcycle moving forward.

"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," said Cornille at the time.

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Ben Clarke

By Ben Clarke

Assistant Editor (Motorcycling), hick for life, two cylinders max