Curtiss Motorcycles continues to push the design envelope of electric motorcycles with its Zeus Radial V8. The latest Curtiss electric features eight battery towers with machined fins in place of cylinders. The towers are arranged in a flaring radial “V” pattern which narrows front to back to accommodate a rider’s legs. The design is a nod to the V8 motorcycle Glenn Curtiss made in 1907 which set a land speed record of 136 mph. Power from the eight electron-filled cylinders is projected to be 16.8 kWh at 399V. The battery package is teamed to a proprietary controller and a motor Curtiss is co-developing with British engineering firm YASA. Initial power output is projected to be an eye-catching 217 horsepower and 147 lb-ft. of torque in a motorcycle that weighs 460 pounds.

The batteries and electric motor are housed in what Curtiss is calling a “sketetal space frame,” the open-air design aimed to achieve maximum cooling. The Zeus Radial V8 frame is comprised of a steel rib backbone along with 1.75” chromoly tubing, though titanium is listed as an option for the chassis as well. Both the monoshock rear and girder fork feature similar tubing as the frame, adding congruency to the backbone’s curvature. The swingarm and girder fork are machined out of 6061 aluminum. A RaceTech monoshock is tasked with suspension duties front and back, the shock offering 6” of travel and is fully-adjustable for both high and low speed compression and rebound damping. A set of matching 18” BST Carbon Fiber Wheels balance out the electric motorcycle’s aesthetics and each is teamed to 230mm Beringer floating aeronal cast iron discs and Beringer radially-mounted Aertoec calipers, four up front and two out back. A belt final drive will transfer power to the back wheel which is outfitted with a cush drive to handle the tremendous amounts of instantaneous torque the Zeus Radial V8 will be capable of delivering. The motorcycle is slated for production in 2020 with an MSRP of $75,000.

In this overhead diagram you get a good view of the flaring radial "V" configuration of the batteries. 

Curtiss Motorcycles was formerly known as Confederate Motorcycles, a company that produced high-end, V-twin-powered motorcycles with industrial design for 26 years. In 2017, it switched its name from Confederate to Curtiss Motorcycles and announced it was transitioning from producing traditional combustion-powered motorcycles to electrics. Curtiss unveiled its first Zeus prototype at the 2018 Quail Motorcycle Gathering in Carmel, California, a boxy motorcycle with two electric motors mounted in a large single case. Curtiss followed up its initial prototype by introducing the Zeus Bobber and Zeus Café at EICMA later that year. The two later versions featured a more palatable design along with a battery/motor package developed in-house by its new Advanced Powertrain Division led by Paul Ogilvie. The initial Zeus prototype sourced two motors from Zero Motorcycles. The Zeus Radial V8 is the company’s boldest venture to date, and while its 8-pack battery arrangement is unconventional, its tubular frame, top-shelf RaceTech suspension, Beringer brakes and carbon fiber BST Wheels speak in the universal tongue of high performance motorcycling.

Curtiss Motorcycles first Zeus prototype was a bit beastly. The company continues to hone in both the aesthetics and performance of its electric motorcycle. 

Curtiss Motorcycles Zeus Radial V8 Specs and Pricing:

PEAK OUTPUT (claimed): 217 hp

CONTINUOUS TORQUE (claimed): 147 lb-ft.

BATTERY CAPACITY: 16.8 kWh at 399V

CHASSIS: 1.75” Titanium or Chromoly tubular hand welded and machined 6061 aluminum fusion

Front:  Double-wishbone parallelogram fork with machined 6061 aluminum girders and direct-action, race-proven RaceTech monoshock, fully-adjustable for high and low speed compression and rebound damping, 6” of travel
Rear: Machined 6061 aluminum swingarm with centerline RaceTech monoshock offering two-speed compression and rebound damping, 6” of travel

INVERTER: Cascadia Motion PM100 Propulsion Inverter

HEAD ANGLE: 27 degrees




Front:  4 X 230 MM Beringer floating aeronal cast iron discs with four-piston Beringer radially-mounted Aerotec calipers
Rear: 2 X 230 MM Beringer floating aeronal cast iron discs with four-piston Beringer radially-mounted Aerotec calipers

Front: 110/80 R18 on BST Carbon Fiber Wheel
Rear: 160/60 R18 on BST Carbon Fiber Wheel

PRICE: $75,000 USD