Zero Motorcycles continues to look for ways to expand its brand and product line. Although Zero already has the largest lineup of electric motorcycles, it still wants to branch into new areas. And, it seems that they have just done that.
Zero and Deus Ex Machina partnership
The electric motorcycle manufacturer recently joined forces with Australian specialty shop Deus Ex Machina. Together, they worked on building the company’s first fully customized bike. Deus Ex Machina started with a Zero SR/S and transformed it from an ordinary sport-touring machine into a custom bike that combines cafe racer elements with sport touring.
Deus’s Michael “Woolie” Woolaway used his magic to design and build the new Zero SR/S based machine. Using a less is more styling theme, Woolie’s new custom Zero SR/S has been given a complete makeover.
The new machine now wears a handcrafted, carbon fiber, single-piece retro-inspired fairing. Even more interesting is that the single-piece fairing extends from the very front of the bike all the way to the rear. Woolie spent a great deal of time designing the fairing to get just the right silhouette. Using foam, he hand shaped the bodywork until he was happy with its appearance.
Then, he asked some Lockheed Martin engineers for help in fabricating the design in carbon fiber. Ultimately, the team’s efforts paid off with softened lines and the appearance of a machine made for speed.
In an interview on Zero’s website, Woolie said that his design inspiration comes from the old shapes he grew up with. He then transformed those shapes into something he considers modern. Woolie did all the shaping work by hand.
“The way I shaped the bike was just by hand, when I started with the gas tank and, and just worked from there forward to the fairing and then from there, back and from there down and it was all very organic. I didn’t have any drawings. No computer work, nothing like that. Just, foam, plastic, shaping tools and, measuring tools and transfer tools and kind of the old school way.” – Michael “Woolie” Woolaway to Zero Motorcycles
Unpainted, the entire custom fairing (and bodywork) weigh in at about 7 pounds. The fairing’s low weight is achieved through the use of an all carbon fiber core mat honeycomb. While it is very light, it provides exceptional strength and stiffness. Even more impressive is that without using a computer or any drawings, Woolie’s design mounts to the bike using only four bolts that insert into the bike’s existing bolt positions.
More than carbon fiber
But the bike has much more than a custom carbon fiber fairing. Woolie liked the fact that the custom electric bike did not have a shifter. In keeping with the theme of uncluttered footpegs, he removed the foot brake and replaced it with a custom thumb brake. Accordingly, there are no longer any foot controls. There is no need for a foot brake, and Zero’s SR/S never had or needed a foot shifter. As a result, the bike’s pegs are clean and clutter-free.
“It doesn’t have a shifter, it doesn’t have a foot brake because it doesn’t have a clutch lever because it doesn’t have a clutch lever that can now become the brake. Because your thumb is going to be a lot more sensitive than your foot. And I just wanted to highlight the fact that this is not a normal motorcycle or what would be considered a normal motorcycle for me, and for most of the people I grew up with, it’s something different and special.” – Michael “Woolie” Woolaway to Zero Motorcycles
Woolie’s paint scheme highlights the one-piece unit’s carbon fiber. Instead of covering it entirely in paint, most of the body panels are clear coated. This offers a nice view of the underlying carbon fiber. Woolie says the design harkens back to the “…fifties with scallops and pinstriping like how you would have done a hot rod, in like 1962 or something.”
Adding a modern touch and some additional aesthetics, the bike has a single winglet on each fairing side. They were made from a piece of winglet from a Formula 1 car. Woolie says the winglets stabilize the bike quite a bit, especially at speed, and add a little bit of downforce.
While he doesn’t know how much the winglets will help, Woolie thinks that the winglets add another cool and different detail.
But bodywork isn’t the only upgrade to this custom electric motorcycle. The bike’s suspension components also have upgrades. Up front is a Showa factory specification world superbike fork. At the rear, the bike uses a Showa world superbike spec rear shock. To reduce unsprung weight, the bike also features Dynamag carbon fiber wheels. Rounding out the upgrades are a custom made one-piece Saddlemen seat and a hand-blown Zero Gravity windscreen.
There are many custom bikes out there, but not so many electric custom bikes. What do you think of Zero and Woolie’s efforts? Would you like to see Zero produce a similar bike? Do you think they should continue to build other custom machines? Let us know in the comments below.
All photo credit: Zero Motorcycles