American electric motorbike company Zero Motorcycles used last weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed to showcase a minimalist custom bike created by Anglo American builders Untitled Motorcycles.
Zero gave Untitled Motorcycles’ Hugo Eccles access to a pre-production version of the 90bhp electric streetfighter to help him build his modified machine, called the XP, which is stripped back and forgoes anything that’s not essential to the running of the bike.
The former student at the Royal College of Art in London says that modifying an electric motorcycle gave him an exciting new challenge, commenting: “When you’re dealing with an internal combustion engine, you have built-in physical constraints. The fuel tank has to sit above the engine to gravity-feed the carbs, the carbs are positioned away from turbulent airflow, the exhaust is routed to avoid heating the fuel or the rider, and so on. But these rules don’t apply to an electric motorcycle, and that freedom is an incredible opportunity for a designer. If things like a fuel tank, exhaust, carbs, and clutch are no longer necessary, then what is?
“From the outset I knew that I didn’t want to hide the powertrain behind a fairing. I wanted to unapologetically celebrate the character of this motorcycle. Drag bikes were an inspiration. With the XP, you’re literally riding the motor. This is a deceptively powerful bike and I wanted to physically embody that raw power.
“The XP can go from zero to 200kph (125mph) without a single gear change, and that acceleration feels a lot like piloting a jet. I started thinking in terms of control surfaces, both human and machine, and everything fell into place from there.”
Hugo kept the Zero’s ergonomics fairly standard, keeping the original bike’s footpeg and seat position as the factory intended, but changed the stock machine’s flat ‘bars for some sportier clip-ons.
“This isn’t about novelty for novelty’s sake, or some nostalgic idea of the future,” Eccles added. “The goal is to celebrate this unique riding experience through an entirely new function-led aesthetic. If the Zero XP looks futuristic, it’s because electric motorcycles like the SR/F are the future.”
In addition to Zero’s modified custom bike, new British electric bike brand Arc Vector displayed its production machine for the first time at Goodwood. The £90,000 machine comes with an integrated helmet and jacket, with a planned production run of only 399 units designated to go on sale.