Electrifying Curtiss bike looks the part

EAT your hearts out, you Hog owners and fans: available in the US in next few months, and here in Oz by order, this Curtiss bike will blow any Harley into the weeds – without uttering a sound.

It looks mean as hell too, but the Curtiss Zeus doesn’t actually have an engine.

Those four big stacks on either side merely mimic a V8. It’s really electric powered and each of those eight cylinders is a battery in disguise.

The retro-styled two-wheeler machine comes from Curtiss, makers of some hairy bikes in the US, including a petrol V8 built by company owner Glenn Curtiss.

Glenn Hammond Curtiss, born in 1878, became the fastest man on earth in 1907, when he attained a speed of 219.4 km/h on one of his self-built motorcycles at Ormond Beach, Florida.

He was a pioneer aviator and leading American manufacturer of aircraft by the time the US entered WWI. 

Curtiss began his career in the bicycle business, earning fame as one of the leading cycle racers in western New York state before building lightweight internal-combustion engines for motorcycles.  

In 1904 when the American aeronaut Thomas Scott Baldwin bought a Curtiss motorbike engine to power his airship California Arrow. 

At the invitation of Alexander Graham Bell, he joined the then newly formed Aerial Experiment Association (AEA) in 1907. 

Flying the AEA June Bug in 1908, Curtiss won the Scientific American Trophy for the first public flight of at least 1 km  with an American aeroplane. Curtiss died in 1930.

The Alabama-based company that still bears his name, is now run by Matthew Chambers,  who said he planned to release more information as production of the Zeuss Radial V8 progresses, and expected to have them coming off the assembly line next year.

Pricing is expected to start at US$75,000, which is about $106,000 in Australian folding money. 

The company is meanwhile working on plans for  more ‘hyper-luxury’ motorbikes to satisfy folk who want something other than a Harley Davidson.

Curtiss worked with British company YASA to design the Zeus Radial V8’s eight batteries to create the spectacular V formation. 

The battery layout is unconventional, though the company claimed the formation actually helped achieve optimal cooling efficiency. 

Aside from the striking look, the battery and electric motor are commonplace in today’s budding market for electric motorcycles. 

The Zeus Radial V8 produces 162kW and 199Nm of torque, a boggling statistic for a motorcycle. And don’t forget, all of that torque is instantaneous.

The battery has a 16.8 kWh capacity for an estimated range of 450km—which is among the best projected numbers at the moment. 

 Dn’t be surprised if it sets a stack of speed (not to mention economy) records —  the Curtiss brand has done it before.

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