If you’ve never heard of Curtiss Motorcycles before, don’t feel bad about it. They’ve only been around for a year or so.
The Alabama-based company used to make boutique cruisers under the Confederate Motorcycles badge. But in 2017 they decided that the word Confederate had developed so much negative baggage that they sold their name and intellectual property to a venture capitalist. They’re doing more than just a rebranding, though. They’re moving into an entirely new line of propulsion — electric motors.
Oh, they haven’t completely abandoned the v-twin market. In fact, the only Curtiss you can buy right now is a $105,000 Warhawk. And only 36 of those will be built. As we said, boutique.
But the company’s focus is on the future, which they believe is electric motorcycles. To that end, they’ve already announced on an electric model, the Zeus. The Zeus is a concept bike that’s still in development. To keep it tied into the company’s roots, they’re marketing it as an “E Twin//Electric” and “The Hot Rod God.” And that’s about all they’re saying on their website — it’s all TBA. Other reporting claims the twin electric motors put out 290 ft-lbs (393 Nm) of torque and 170 hp (127 kW)
But those machines aren’t why we’re here. We’re here because at the Monterey Car Week in August, Curtiss announced a second concept model, and this one’s a pretty radical attention-getter (which may be the whole idea.) In partnership with electric bike maker Zero Motorcycles, Curtiss is going to make another “Hot Rod God” called the Hera (the wife of Zeus in Greek mythology.) Here’s how Chairman and CEO Matt Chambers describes the Hera;
“With Hera, we set out to create the world’s most luxurious motorcycle. 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.”
So, longer than a Harley Street Glide, with an “E-Twin” that consists of two Zero Motorcycles electric motors paired with a single shaft sitting under the seat, using a belt drive and a coil-over shock absorber suspension.
Here’s their early imagining of what it will look like.
The bike’s design, they claim, is inspired by the same thing that gave the company its new name — early motorcycle pioneer Glenn Curtiss. On January 23rd, 1907 he became “The Fastest Man on Earth” when he took his Curtiss V8 up to 136.3mph on Ormond Beach in Florida. You can see the similarities in appearance between Glenn Curtiss’ custom-built machine and the concept art for the Hera.
Pricing for both the Zeus and the Hera hasn’t yet been announced. If Curtiss sticks with the same business plan it used in its Confederate days, expect a low production run and steep price tags.
Curtiss says that both the Zeus and the Hera will reach the market sometime in the next 18-24 months.