Deus X Zero

Zero x Deus - A Custom Zero SR/S

An electric custom from Woolie

Deus Ex Machina and their iconic custom fabricator, Michael “Woolie” Woolaway have been longtime favorites here at The Bullitt. Zero Motorcycles recently joined forces with Deus ex Machina to create the first fully customized Zero Motorcycles SR/S. The SR/S was introduced in February and immediately garnered accolades for its elevated design and extended range over its naked street bike sibling, the Zero SR/F. This build marks a significant landmark as Deus’ first electric motorcycle and last Deus build from Woolie.

Zero x Deus - Custom Zero SR/S

Words below from Zero Motorcycles.

Woolaway, who had first encountered the Zero Motorcycles Race Team engineers at the 98th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb competition in Colorado Springs last summer, was immediately enamored with the platform and began to plan a custom build using a Zero electric motorcycle.

Zero x Deus - Custom Zero SR/S by Woolie

“When I met the guys out at Pike's Peak and really got a good look at the bike I thought, that bike is the perfect platform to build something with because there's no gas tank and there's this trellis frame that's beautiful and everything else comes off and there's nothing there,” Woolaway said. “So in my mind quietly, I was thinking, I'd love to do something with that bike because it's a blank sheet of paper.”

Zero x Deus - Custom Zero SR/S by Woolie

The master builder was sent a stock SR/S shortly before the vehicle’s public launch in early 2020 and immediately set out to design and build a truly unique, one of a kind electric motorcycle. Working through constantly shifting conditions as facilities began to become less accessible due to the coronavirus lockdown protocols, Woolaway used all of his decades of industry connections to keep the build moving forward. The design was inspired by some of the builder’s earliest influences while still elevating the platform’s award-winning and proprietary technology.

“I wanted to do something kind of old and new, old shapes that I grew up with and new technology, no computer work, just foam, plastic, shaping and measuring tools, transfer tools and kind of the old school way,” Woolaway added.

Zero x Deus - Custom Zero SR/S by Woolie

Despite the artisanal craftsmanship that went into the fabrication of the build, there was nothing short of the latest technology available for the build itself. Constructed entirely out of a single mold of carbon fiber composites, Woolaway enlisted aerospace engineers from Lockheed Martin to assist in the completion of the monocoque assembly. The custom body work also still wraps around Zero Motorcycle’s advanced powertrain comprised of a motor capable of producing 114 hp and a top speed of 124 mph.

Zero x Deus - Custom Zero SR/S by Woolie

“We’re thankful to Deus and to Woolie for choosing to work with us on this custom SR/S,” said Chris Metcalfe, VP of Marketing for Zero Motorcycles. “They are each such iconic and influential forces in the motorcycle industry and they’ve been the perfect partners for this one of a kind build and powerful collaboration,” Metcalfe added.

Zero Motorcycles plans to include the collaborative project as a central fixture in their remaining 2020/2021 exhibition schedule. To learn more about the Zero Motorcycles x Deus ex Machina build, the Zero Motorcycles SR/S, or to schedule a test ride, head here.

For information about Deus ex Machina customs, merchandise, or locations, visit www.deuscustoms.com


Zero XP by Untitled Motorcycles

Zero XP by Untitled Motorcycles

Future forward design

Hugo Eccles has graced the digital pages here on multiple occasions - and he has with so many other motorcycle and design outlets. Eccles is co-founder and design director of Untitled Motorcycles, a design company that creates and builds custom motorcycles for private clients and for factory brands such as Ducati, Triumph, Yamaha, and Zero.

With an impressive industrial design career and background, Eccles has a unique eye and an accompanying borderline scary attention to detail. Untitled Motorcycles was founded in 2010, by Hugo Eccles in San Francisco and his his business partner, Adam Kay, nearly 5,000 miles away in London, England. Over the last 10 years, the both locations have produced some solid customs but the San Francisco workshop has put out some of the most immaculate and interesting custom motorcycle designs worldwide.

Recently, Hugo turned his focus to electric motorcycles, partnering with Zero Motorcycles and has created a masterpiece of future-forward design with his Zero XP.

The Future

Zero Xp by Hugo Eccles

The Zero XP is a new type of electric motorcycle, one that discards conventions and defies expectations. Developed without compromise and built with precision, the XP combines cutting-edge design with state-of-the-art technology, representing a new era of motorcycling.

The Experience

Zero XP Zero Motorcycle

The Zero XP doesn’t look like a conventional motorcycle because it isn’t a conventional motorcycle.

The Zero XP produces almost double the torque of a super bike, delivered linearly and continuously. Minimal, aerodynamic bodywork supports the rider and directs airflow over the motorcycle. Controlling all the incredible power, and keeping the Zero XP planted, is a state-of-the-art safety system.

The onboard ride computer offers for standard and ten individualized ride modes. Ride modes are switchable on-the-fly, transforming the Zero XP from a cruiser on the highways to a super moto in the twists.

The Cockpit

Zero XP custom dash by Hugo Eccles

The Zero XP features beautifully minimal and completely functional controls. Anything that distracts from the riding experience has been removed.

Primary Display: Speedometer - see only the information you need for riding - nothing more, nothing less.

Secondary Display: Color TFT - controlled by the thumb toggle or the smartphone app, the 5” screen displays the motorcycle’s status including batter charge, range, ride mode, and operating temperature.

Custom rearsets - optimally positioned for comfort and control. Rear Master - traditionally positioned foot-operated brake master.

Custom Hand Controls: From Brake Master - CNC aluminum racing master with adjustable-reach level.

Thumb Joystick: An intuitive 5-way thumb toggle that controls the blinkers and ride modes.

The Chassis

Zero XP by Untitled Motorcycles

The Zero XP’s chassis uses road-proven geometry and construction for strength and reliability.

The Powertrain

Custom Zero Motorcycle - The Zero XP

The Zero XP’s battery pack, controller, and motor are all supplied by Zero Motorcycles.

The large capacity 14.4kWh battery gives the Zero ZP a range of up to 161 miles. Vertical fins strengthen the structural aluminum case and assist in cooling the cells during charging.

The Numbers

Zero XP

Length: 80” / 204cm
Width: 27” / 68cm
Height: 39” / 98cm
Seat: 30” / 76cm
Weight: 481lbs / 218kg
Range: 80-160mi / 130-260km
Speed: 124mph / 200kmh

The Wrap Up

Zero XP front end

Eccles has already garnered lots of international acclaim with his unique Hyper Scrambler that made it on to Jay Leno's Garage, Playboy Magazine, Designboom and GQ Italia to name a few. His 1975 Moto Guzzi 850T ‘Supernaturale’ beat 300+ entrants to win the Design & Style Award at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering 2017. His "Fat Tracker" for Moto Guzzi's V9 Pro Build series was another note-worthy effort. Previous builds aside, his Zero XP stands alone in an entirely different universe where creativity, imagination, and stunning execution all live together perfect harmony.

"The XP isn’t intended as a future motorcycle but, instead, a present-day motorcycle from that parallel reality." - Hugo Eccles

Untitled Motorcycles: Web | Facebook | Instagram
Photography by Aaron Brimhall: Web | Instagram

Zero XP


Alone With The Gods

...and life lessons from a farm movie

As we slide into a new year, new machines are (finally) hitting the road and it got me thinking that it’s time to start ranting about electric motorcycles on The Bullitt. 

But here’s the thing: It’s actually not the sexy and well-designed machines I am seeing on the interwebs that has me scratching my head, or even the amazing hardware on display in Portland this past weekend at The One Motorcycle Show.

What has influenced my thinking on motorcycles recently is a movie about a farm. No joke. 

Big Little Farm got me thinking about motorcycles. 

Granted; food, sex, music, women, politics, art, travel, literature, essentially everything (but Trump) reminds me of motorcycles, but this film in particular distilled three truths that got me thinking about the electric future that 2020 has coiled up inside of itself.

Life lessons from a farm movie:

  1. In the complexity there is infinite possibility.
  2. Observation, followed by creativity, is your greatest ally.
  3. What pushes us forward is having a purpose in this world.

And yes, you guessed right. (If you are nodding your head up and down, you have been sucked into the wake vortex of Universal Law). For #1, check out Hugo Eccles' build that just lit up The One Moto Show this past weekend. Yeah, for sure, lots of ink has been spilled on this bike and there is little I can say at this point that is headline worthy.

Zero XP by Untitled Motorcycles
Hugo Eccle's Zero XP. Photo: Ludovic Robert

The Zero XP is:

...like a private jet that got ground down in a pencil sharpener.

...like an industrial designer got to quit his day job and on his last day had some Jerry McGuire fantasy where he emails around THE DESIGN he’s always wanted to do, flips the bird to the CEO and wheelies out of the parking lot.

...like a skyscraper in Dubai that had asexual reproduction with a Rem Koolhaus sex robot from the future that bred with Godzilla.

Ok, that last one went WAY OFF the rails, but you get my point. In the moto design space, the only losers are the brands that aren’t in the game (yet). We get to see designs that inspire us to be better human beings (read: urban mobility) when processed through the minds of great designers.

For #2, check out the Tarform Scrambler Prototype. 

Tarform custom electric motorcycle
Tarform Scrambler Prototype. Photo: Ryan Handt.

Yes, another machine that has been scorching the internet (and, of course,  was also featured in the Motorcycle Arts Foundation exhibit Electric Revolution) where it more than stood out - it punched you in the face with a fistful of greatness. 

3D resin printing, advanced manufacturing, AI, hand-shaped steel, machined aluminum - it is pure cognitive dissonance as it delivers on the creativity required to fuse the promise of both future and past in one simple design execution.

One of my free wheeling spiritual friends once asked me to define “pure consciousness” and I was stumped. Next time I am asked this question at a cocktail party I am going to toss them the keys to my Tarform Scrambler and let them swing a leg over it while I Uber home and sext his wife.

Lastly, I believe #3 grounds this conversation to a halt. 

Whether you are exploding a “normal” looking Zero motorcycle into a future sex robot, or 3D printing the most beautiful electric machine out of Brooklyn that is ready for prime time (summer of 2020!), all these bikes share a vision that pushes the big guys way (the hell) out of their comfort zone. I’ve seen cool e-bikes online from Ducati and BMW and I do not doubt that Honda and Yamaha will wait on the sidelines and scale the living shit out of electric two wheeled transportation. They will appeal to our rational animal brains because they will be cheap, scaled production bikes that will do everything except make your groin ache with anticipation. (No disrespect Honda, I love your bikes, but I need to make a point here).

Thus, did you make note of what happened over the weekend in Portland, OR?

Why? The hardworking underdogs of the electric space, Blatant Moto has a bike called The Deathrattle racing in The One Moto Show’s first ever electric flat track race. 

Blatant Moto's "Death Rattle"
Blatant Moto's "Death Rattle". Photo: John McInnis.

I love this bike (yes, yet another Electric Revolution bike from The Petersen Museum... see a theme here?) and I love these guys for their passion. 

...I love that the heart of this bike is the recycled Red Shift motor they snuck out the back door of defunct (and never-to-be-forgotten) Alta Motors.

...I love that it took a bunch of coffee swilling hippies from Portland to instigate the first(?) e-flat track race in the US.

...I love that Revival Cycles is going to do a super cool electric custom sometime in 2020 (I actually have no idea if that is true, I just hope that someone leaves a copy of this on Alan or Stefan’s  desk and they get so pissed off at me for saying this that they actually do it).

Bukowski gets it. He may not be a rider, but I believe he was clearly connected to purpose (or a bottle of Jack) when he wrote this about electric motorcycle design.

“If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery--isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.” 

In 2006 there were few if any electric bikes on the road. Last Sunday, there were three car ads in the Stupid Bowl for electric cars. When I leased my i3, the BMW sales guy said there were “nearly 5 million electric cars on the road” globally. 

Designing electric bikes is like being alone with the gods - and it really is the only good fight there is.

We’re getting there people, we’re getting there.

 

** (Nice job Zero Motorcycles, Hugo, The 1 Show, Tarform, the Blatant moto nerds, Andy Dibrino/Team Blatant Moto and Bukowski.)

The One Motorcycle Show 2020

PDX moto mayhem

The One Motorcycle Show descends upon Portland, OR once a year and is now in its 11th year. The show is going on this weekend and boasts to have 10,000 beers , 5,000 high-fives, 200+ bikes, 5 bands, 70 vendors, 20 partners, 15 race classes all under ONE roof! One of the best things about The One Motorcycle Show is that there's really something for everyone. Vintage bikes, cafe racers, trackers, modern retro builds, choppers, vintage motocross bikes, mini bikes, side cars, vintage board trackers, all the way to futuristic electric bikes. Lucky for us, we have our good friend, and amazing photographer, Erik Jutras on the scene. Enjoy!

Zero XP by Hugo Eccles
Zero XP by Hugo Eccles

Indian Hooligan racer at The One Motorcycle Show
Indian Hooligan racer
Futuristic tail on Hugo Eccles Zero XP at The One Motorcycle Show
Futuristic tail on Hugo Eccles Zero XP
The One Motorcycle Show is getting fancy
The One Motorcycle Show is getting fancy
Part of the "21 Helmets" display; Blind Optmism by Bryce Wang
2-stroke goodness
Flat tracker from The One Motorcycle Show
The Lunar Project by Carboni e Metalli
The essence of The One Motorcycle Show
Vintage vibes
Norton racer
Norton GP-750 racer by Bilton-Smith

The One Motorcycle Show - Instagram | Facebook

Photos: Erik Jutras - Instagram | Facebook


Huge Moto custom Zero FXS

Silent Supermoto

As we get excited for another iteration of the One Show in Portland, OR we took a minute to reflect on some of last year's favorites and one in particular came to mind; Huge Moto's custom Zero FXS. The One Show is known for their inclusiveness of all makes and styles, yet it still predominately consists of petrol-burning machines, making Huge Moto's electric supermoto stand out even further from the crowd.

Huge Moto Zero FXS supermoto

The Zero FXS is a fun, lightweight electric supermoto-styled bike from the Scotts Valley, CA manufacturer. In stock form, styling is already pretty clean and straight forward but even solid stock designs can be improved upon with the right minds at work.

Last year the custom FXS garnered a lot of interest and our friends at Bike EXIF immediately reached out for a feature. While much of the background and details can be seen on EXIF, we feel the build certainly deserves another moment in the spotlight here and Zero Motorcycles graciously shared these killer photos from Aaron Brimhall with us.

Custom Zero FXS supermoto

electric supermoto - custom Zero FXS

While Huge Moto agreed to not hack up the frame, the team at Huge Moto turned their design plans towards an improved aesthetic. The main plan was to create a flow across the top of the bike, drawing eyes away from the electric components and frame, and focusing more attention and ‘visual weight’ on the front end.

For an improved ride, the Zero FXS was fitted with a high-end Fox Racing shock in the rear and new wheels all round: 17-inch Sun rims custom laced onto off-road hubs from the Zero FX.

Huge Moto Zero FXS supermoto frontend

The dirtbike look and feel of a typical supermoto was retained with a long flat seat and tail along with a visually similar front beak. The headlight with halo LED adds a modern touch to the overall feel.

Huge Moto Zero FXS supermoto tail

We love the subdued color palatte chosen for the bike and while the bodywork is not handformed metal - it's CNC machined out of ABS thermoplastic polymer - it still has that raw look to us. The little touches of red along with the modern head and tail lights complete the look giving us a clean and simple feel on a undoubtedly high-tech machine.

Huge Moto Zero FXS supermoto headlight

Huge Moto Zero FXS supermoto - right side

And after building our very own Ducati Hypermotard "Bullitt SP", we've been in love with the supermoto styled bikes and have been looking for our next bike in the category. And after pining over these photos of Huge Moto's creation, it has us taking a hard look at Zero's FXS.

Huge Moto Zero FXS supermoto

What are your thoughts on the build, or even electric bikes in general? Is this is bike you'd like to have in your garage? Let us know in the comments below.

Huge Moto | Facebook | Instagram | Zero Motorcycles | Images by Aaron Brimhall


MotoBeachClassic2019_Hero

Moto Beach Classic 2019

Hooligans take over Huntington Beach

Surfing, hooligans, custom motorcycles and flat track racing are some of the best things in the world. Combine them together in Surf City, USA and you get the Moto Beach Classic.

The Moto Beach Classic returned to Bolsa Chica State Beach Saturday, October 26th for a day of exciting motorcycle racing, live music sets, surf competition, art show, custom bike show, vendors and much more.

The Moto Beach Classic in only its third year has rapidly become a marquee beach event. The Moto Beach Classic draws motorcyclists, artists, musicians, and fans from all walks of life, cultivating a community of eclectic humans celebrating a life on two wheels at the heart of Southern California Beach Culture.

I don't have much else to say. Good times, with good friends. Here are some images from the day. Looking forward to Moto Beach 2020 already!

Vintage Indian Motorcycle

 


Custom Alta Redshift by Walt Siegl

As told by Walt himself

Mike Mayberry contacted me several years ago to order my Bol d’Or model. Soon after, he placed an order for a Leggero, and since I involve my clients in the decision making about their builds, I got a chance to get to know him via phone. Once we met personally, we realized we have a lot in common. Mike is the founder of Ronin Motorcycles, which in my opinion represents the quintessential all American performance bike.

Walt Siegl custom electric Alta motorcycle

During a visit to his workshop in Denver, I had the chance to ride several electric motorcycles he owns. I was so impressed by the sensation, I decided that my next design challenge was an electric bike. I had already been thinking about building something smaller, something that represents the future, something with two wheels that many people have access to, even without a motorcycle license; maybe a moped or a scooter, something relatively affordable. Even before I test road Mike’s electric bikes, I had been interested in the e-motorcycle challenge: to create a machine that is devoid of all the familiar components that make up a combustion engine motorcycle.

Walt Siegl custom electric supermoto

Mike Mayberry is an industrial designer and I greatly admire his talent. I’ve enjoyed many conversations with him about design in general, and how it effects people, about motorcycle design, the motorcycle industry, and the future of two wheel transportation. I recognized in him the same urge to search for the right answers for good design by getting out of your comfort zone, and then when you arrive at that edge, making a better informed decision about what is best for the project. He also happens to be an absolute wiz with mechanical computer programs. Since I wanted to embrace the most current technology in designing an electric motorcycle, I asked him if he’d be interested in collaborating with me.

We thought it might be smarter to start with a donor bike, since we’re both very opinionated as designers, and we needed to see if we could work together long term before diving headlong into a ground up project that would include the development of a battery pack and an electric motor.

Alta custom motorcycle - Walt Siegl

Both of us saw this as a possibility to design an electric bike that we would both want to own: An urban Enduro.

Using ALTA as the donor for its battery pack and sophisticated hardware/software was an obvious choice since ALTA achieved great success over the years as an electric bike company that was truly competitive against race bikes with combustion engines.

Walt Siegl custom electric Alta motorcycle - left side

The key design decision that we made was to fully embrace the battery pack as the power source for the bike, instead of hiding it. We wanted to celebrate the essentials of the electric motorcycle. Mike and I agreed that our design aesthetic would resist the impulse to create novelty, designing something honest, user-friendly and durable, while using as few components as possible. So there is no mis-understanding of what this machine has been designed for: pure business. From the get go I wanted to design a modern looking machine, that is visually understood as E-Powered.

Walt Siegl custom electric Alta motorcycle - rear

The key performance decisions: It had to be as light as possible, but stand up to rigorous use. It had to have precise handling and the correct ergonomics for optimum performance. We changed the dirt bike geometries by designing our own chrome moly frame, so Ohlins road bike forks could be used. We designed a structural carbon fiber subframe and carbon fiber bodywork. For the prototype standard woven carbon fiber sheets were used. For the remaining 8 bikes that are being built, the woven carbon fiber parts are being replaced with forged carbon components. This material not only lends the bike a modern feel, but it is also very strong.

Custom Alta electric motorcycle

In addition to the carbon fiber bodywork and frame, we also designed and produced triple trees, taillight, wheels, foot controls, and a new swing arm that helps achieve the geometries and handling that we were after. We had a tight deadline to finish the prototype for the Electric Revolution show at the Petersen Automotive Museum in LA, so it still has the donor bike swing arm. We had only three months to design and build the bike. I started by sketching the principal Gestalt of the bike in pencil, and then sharing that design with Mike in front of his computer over a weekend to create a principal computer model to work with. Most of my evening hours were spent sketching various options to share with Mike via text and emails and several hundred hours of phone calls 😉 He was left with the tedious task of converting my paper sketches to computer models. My lead tech, Aran, and I were left with the task of finding mechanical solutions for all the design elements. Plugs for the carbon fiber molds were machined out of urethane. Some of the components were 3D printed to check fitment and then turned into useable parts.

I think that electric bikes have a strong future. Young people especially always embrace the romance and fun of traveling on two wheels. Newcomers to two wheels don’t have the reference to combustion engines, therefore they won’t miss them.

E-power distills the riding experience. There is no sound other than the wind, which kind of translates to “I’m moving.” It’s the next best thing to flying. I feel like I enjoy riding even more because it happens in the silence. You’re not preoccupied by anything else but forward motion. Because of that it feels awesome. I feel like it even has the potential to make me a better rider, because I can fully concentrate on what the bike does underneath me. I think all of us wool and dyed motorcycle riders should at least try an e-power bike once, to form our own opinion. I’m fully aware that electric powered technology is not the final answer to our planet’s pollution problems, but I see it at least as a step in the right direction. We should all be coming together to help support the advancement of clean technology in whatever way we can. — Walt Siegl

Walt Siegl MotorcyclesWeb | Facebook | Instagram
Photography by Gregory George Moore


Custom Zero Motorcycles SR/F

First and only factory custom Zero SR/F

It's good to be on the inside

Chris Metcalfe is the Senior Creative Director at Zero Motorcycles and is safe to say he knows a few people at Zero's Scotts Valley, CA plant. I recently got to know Chris and when he showed me a photo of his new Zero SR/F - the first and only factory custom Zero SR/F - I was floored. The new SR/F is already the best looking Zero ever produced but seeing the subtle touches Chris made had me wanting one badly. Clearly our tastes are similar and we both remarked on how our Bullitt CB and his SR/F both use a very similar color palette.

I reached out to Chris and asked if I could share his SR/F and the story behind it here and he kindly obliged.

I did consulting for Zero prior to working for them full time, and I learned about this bike well before it was ever an actual bike. It was a big reason I wanted to come work at Zero. I had already been sold on the experience of riding an electric but when I saw this design I knew I wanted one for myself. And as a creative person I can’t help but customize my own motorcycles. With such a premium motorcycle I had to do a premium color. I have always been drawn to Audi Grey, or Nardo Grey, so that was my first choice. I chose to do a leather saddle in the same caramel color as the motor, which really helps tie it all together.

This is the only factory custom. The parts were painted prior to going down the assembly line with a handmade premium leather saddle to really help it stand out.

I cannot emphasize enough how amazing this thing is to ride. With little noise and no gears or clutch, it's absolutely buttery smooth to ride. More like riding fresh powder on a snowboard, or surfing on a perfectly glassy wave.

- Chris Metcalfe

Thanks, Chris. Say no more. You've got the looks dialed in, and it sounds like a blast to ride. We just want to know when we can have a go ourselves!

Zero Motorcycles: Online | Facebook | Instagram


Kalk electric motorcycle by Cake

Is the motorcycle world over as we know it?

Musings From An Open Bar

Here is what I am trying to make sense of today on The Bullitt:

  1. The rise of K-pop boy bands
    (strangely, I don’t hate them and would like to see them cover some Velvet Underground songs).
  2. People who say “sorry” when they walk between you and the grocery store shelf (yes, this bothers me, and it should bother you. Why do people say “sorry” all the time when they don’t mean it? Is this just me? Don’t words matter?). Speaking of which….
  3. Redacted reports and right wing conspiracy theories
  4. The untimely death of Wheels and Waves and the wild success of the Electric Revolution opening at the Petersen Museum. Don’t rely on my take on it (below), get off your ass and go to the Petersen and see with your own eyes.
  5. The hater who drove across town through LA traffic just to tell me, to my face, how electric motorcycles will “neuter the market and never sell. But thanks for the taco’s bro…”

My editor, whom I cannot bad mouth because he actually has to approve this post before it goes live, told me that my last rant (I mean blog post) “Electric Viagara” was too long.

“Show, don’t tell John.”

All I could think to say in response was “go buy some organic mustache wax Patrick, and more importantly, is The Bullitt going to cover my expenses to go see the Handbuilt Show?”

As it turns out, Patrick grounded the Bullitt corporate jet and I was forced to view the fun had in Austin from my laptop. And now it’s a week later, so I’m not sure what rattled me more...the motherf*cker of all custom builds from those wingnuts at Revival (The Birdcage!) or Marquez and Rossi both making colossal rider error(s) on the Circuit of the America’s.

As a matter of choice, this article isn’t even about the Electric Revolution. Why you ask?

Because (use my screaming voice here) “I need to dedicate this space to my rant on the inevitable adoption of electric motorcycles!” How will I do that you ask?

Well, I could part your hair with the mind-blowing Racer X...

Racer X by Mark Atkinson
Racer X by Mark Atkinson

I could tantalize you with the minimalist simplicity of the Blatant Moto Tracker (RIP Alta, long live Alta Motors)...

Tracker by Blantant Moto
Tracker by Blatant Moto

I could tease you with the 3-D printed and “sexually active” NYC street prowler by Tarform.

Tarform by Taras Kravtchouk
Tarform by Taras Kravtchouk

Or, I could plant the seed of ripping through LA traffic on the souped up Energica MotoE World Cup machine called the Ego Corsa (in this case, your Ego is your amigo). Sidenote: I did get to chat with Stefano Benatti, the CEO of Energica at the opening and he laughed off the carnage of the Jerez fire in a way that only Italian guys can. Which begs a different question, what do these Italian guys eat or drink that allows them to move through the world in such a carefree way? (Italian accent here). “John, it is no problem the fire. We continue.” Maybe I need to add more tiramisu to my diet?...help me out here.

Energica Ego Corsa by Energica Motor Co
Energica Ego Corsa by Energica Motor Co

Lastly, maybe it was the beer I shared with Noel Connolly, the builder of this next machine, or the Strom 36 keychain he gave me as a gift (swag is swag), but this salt flat looking racer got held up in customs, missed our opening event, and just got hoisted onto the second floor of the Petersen. While leading an AP film crew through the exhibit recently, I hustled downstairs at the Petersen to see it before they brought it upstairs. The AP news team was not interested. Their loss! This beast is insane.

Strom36 electric motorcycle
Strom36 by Noel Connolly

Ok, there’s my show, now I will tell.

These machines, which really strike me as sex robots from the future remind me of a Hollywood movie ending when we know everything is going to turn out OK. It’s like the motorcycle Field of Dreams, except it actually makes sense.

If it is the end of the (moto) world as we know it, well, I do feel fine.

I really cannot say it better than this article I read on Ride Now and I agree 101% that smaller displacement bikes and the custom scene seem to appeal to the snowflake millennial moto crowd. And yes, I am completely jaded, but I don’t believe what CNBC says about the deathblow millennials have delivered to the motorcycle industry, nor do I give an inch to my jerk friend from Manhattan Beach who spent most of the night at the open bar hammering Harley for the concept bikes we had on display.

“John, seriously, you think a gutless e-bike is going to get more people to ride?”

(oh, the irony of a corporate dude who arrived in his BMW sedan using the word gutless).

“Dude,” I started, caught myself, and decide not to use a different word.

Then I lied to his face.

“I don't really know what gets more people to ride.”

The truth was that I don’t want to spend my energy converting Mr. Gutless into a fan-boy.

I want to spend my time advocating for these machines and sharing my enthusiasm (or pass “the stoke” as we say in west coast terms). Because I know exactly how to do it.

On Monday of this past week I was asked to report back to the Petersen to give some 30 second talking head soundbites to the AP on a story they are doing on the electric motorcycles in the Electric Revolution. I came across the description for Roland Sands “E-Hooligan” and it brought a wry smile to my face and answered Mr. Gutless somewhat rhetorical question.

Answer #1: It’s seeing a bat shit crazy design like the Racer X.

Answer #2: Letting haters see what innovation looks like when brands like Harley really apply unconventional thinking to a market opportunity.

Answer #3: Simply put it's "throttles in hands." Electric Revolution Curator and MAF Director Paul D'orleans described this perfectly through the design of a small nimble street bike called the “E-Hooligan” sitting across the aisle from the Harley-Davidson LiveWire.

It “targets the fun factor as an ideal entry point to put throttles in new hands.  Unintimidating mini-motorcycles can metaphorically and literally squeeze through fences in urban settings, and follow the quasi-legal path laid by skate culture.”

Sounds like collusion to me.

eHooligan by Roland Sands Design
eHooligan by Roland Sands Design

Fonz-Triumph-The_Bullitt

Electric Viagara

The revolution will not be televised

In some giant corporate meeting on the Nike campus, about 20 years ago, the US Marketing Director opened a meeting by referencing the acronym “B.A.G” which was a simple way of stating a much larger idea: to achieve greatness, one must aspire to it. Thus, I was offered my first glimpse into corpo-speak via the creation of a Big Audacious Goal. Sure, it was yet another unnecessary acronym to complement the other cult-y quirks of working in Nike culture. But now years later, it has stuck with me, and I thought about achieving greatness when I asked Patrick if I could write some posts for his cafe racer media juggernaut; The Bullitt blog.  

I mean, if I had $0.10  for every decent cafe racer insta-feed or motorcycle blog on the internet, I could be at Chipotle right now. Generally speaking, I know the mindset of the dudes/gals who read this type of blog, so I am convinced you guys are a bit like me and think about many larger issues of moto-living on this planet. Like…

How do we create MORE opportunities to ride these great machines on a daily basis?

Why aren’t we on them, experiencing our life on two wheeled transport, every motherf-ing day?

Why are we always in these ridiculous (and large) cars? In a place like California where there are a handful of days you CANNOT ride, why do we give into car convenience as a default?

Commuter c4500
Your typical California grocery-getter

A Blog B.A.G.

Thus, I want to suggest something on the pages of The Bullitt that feels a bit different (hippy even) for a moto blog: we need to think about how we, as motorcyclists, can make a positive impact on our culture and society. Simply put, why not make California the largest two wheeled community on the planet. The benefits would be amazing...we’d all drink more coffee, we’d be waving at each other all the time (except the Harley guys of course), make freeway traffic a thing of the past, everyone would have (bluetoothed) helmet head, and we’d all watch and intellectually discuss both MotoGP and the Tour de France. (Yes, those bikes can be included too. Ever since I saw a sophisticated woman in Amsterdam riding a bike to work in leather and heels, in the rain no less, I wondered why can’t we have better bike culture in California?).

Then I remembered...right! We can’t do this because the box people will drive over our face with their SUV’s as they drive a cash bribe across town to hand off to their kid's private SAT tutor. However, this is not an article about bike lanes or bikes without engines. Sure, I like them, and they fit this narrative, but I don’t have the patience to advocate for bike lanes nor should you waste your time doing it.

You know what I say to bike lanes?

Fuck bike lanes. 

Fuck waiting for them to be made even though the green paint looks great on the streets of Santa Monica, I have a different proposition: Lets take the streets back from the box people. We can do this today, without legislating anything, without needing to raise awareness or money, we can just start doing it and so we shall. These are not their streets, because the streets belong to all of us. The “ah-ha!” moment was when this dude named Jon Bekefy threw me the keys to an Alta redshift in the parking lot of a flat track event in Santa Maria about two years ago. I twisted the throttle, didn’t shift any gears, felt a surge of power that definitely registered with my head and well, other parts of my body, and then my brain imploded. Anyone can ride one of these machines.

This is how we get everyone hooked on motorcycles. Electric is so much fun, so easy, and tuned performance characteristics can match the individual rider.

(Sarcasm alert)

The universe wasted no time in providing us with proof that electric bikes were poised for mass adoption and provide launch ammo for our first offensive against the four wheeled boxes; because around that time Alta closed its doors in late fall of 2018. The industry took a knee for about .02 seconds, and then ZERO hit the gas (see how I did that?) and launched a totally cool bike called the SR/F and Harley primed the pump for the launch of their new e-bike segment.

Ok,  where I am going with this?

Look, I love internal combustion engine motorbikes and I think everyone should own one. But if we are going to take these streets back, or succumb to congestion pricing, self driving cars and Uber cannot save us either. We gotta shake this car addiction, and channel the urban energy and necessary mindset that we can learn from our  European “heels in the rain” friends.

How will we do this? By adapting a new attitude, acquiring two wheeled performance e-machines and by following my sure-fire 4 phase program. It is called, The 4 Phase Program.

The 4 Phase Program

Phase 1: Name the problem. “Cars suck and cause traffic”. Check.

Phase 2: Create a B.A.G. stated as “get LA people on two wheels.” Check (and shout out to Ciclavia even though this is still not an article about bicycles).

Phase 3: Brainwash people by using phrases like “torque” and “speed” in the same sentence as “electric” and “motorcycle.” Begin brainwashing process by writing blog posts under my real name for The Bullitt, a large multinational media corporation.

Phase 4: Disguise the propaganda as art and convince people it’s beautiful but useful. (Do we really need a naked body edition of ESPN magazine? Apparently). Let’s borrow that idea.

Electric Revolution

Enter the Petersen Auto Museum Exhibit Custom Revolution. It opened last spring and it sold out immediately. On Thursday (April 4) of this week, there is a private media event to kick off the Electric Revolution. YES!  This new exhibit will feature beautiful pieces of art, that go crazy fast and will give humans an opportunity to consider a life of movement that does not require 4 walls of glass and steel around you, are easy to operate and maintain, and are ready to take on the idea of urban mobility - an idea being championed by both Lime and Bird e-scooters.

It will include builders like local hooligan and hero Roland Sands, misfits from Alta Motors now disguised as normal guys with day jobs under the subversive name Blatant Moto, a bike with the name Cake that is all over Instagram, a sexy, dark and brooding beast from the streets of NYC called Tarform, and yes of course, a collab better than Neal Diamond and Barbara Streisand, that being Walt Siegel and Ronin Motorworks, to name a few.

Moto-people, I need you to go back and re-read the Phase 4 program section, tell me how you plan to incorporate electric two wheeled motorcycle transport into your life, and continue to follow this new section on The Bullitt while we sort out plans for world domination. Drop your comments in the sections below (and be part of Phase 3), and see you at The Petersen Auto Museum this weekend.

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Electric Revolution supported by Harley Davidson, opens on April 6, 2019 at the Richard Varner Family Gallery at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles California. Curated by the Motorcycle Arts Foundation co-founder Paul d'Orleans, the exhibit explores the history and current state of the electric motorcycle and e-bike industry with 23 examples of 2-wheeled electric vehicles from both custom builders and established manufacturers.

 

The exhibit assembles a dynamic mix of production, racing, prototype and custom electric motorcycles from world renowned manufacturers and builders such as Harley Davidson, who has graciously underwritten this exhibit and has provided three recent prototypes from their Electric Vehicle (EV) program, including the 2020 LiveWire which will be available to the public in Fall 2019.