Here is a rundown on all the new motorcycles that are going to debut at INTERMOT, AIMExpo, and EICMA for the 2019 model year and beyond.
“I ride a Zero” or “my bike is Zero” always seemed like rather negative byproducts of the Zero Motorcycles’ brand to me. Generally speaking, a company should avoid associating their product as being zero or nothing.
Of course, the name is a cue to Zero Motorcycles emission-free motorcycles, using “Zero” as a call to action for those with a green agenda.
This always bothered me too though, since the market for environmentally conscious motorcyclists is incredibly small (at least when it comes to the ones that vote with their wallets), and the production of electricity in the United States isn’t exactly carbon-neutral, but I digress.
Secretly, I have always hoped that Zero would change its name. It would be a single step in a process that would require many, but it would be the bold first step.
The rules for such a drastic change are pretty hard and fast though – with the biggest caveat being that you don’t change a brand unless it is going to affect your bottom line.
This usually means that a company uses a rebranding to define a crack in time – a point where they either compartmentalize the mistakes of the past into the “old brand” while the “new brand” promises a new hope. You also see new logos when a company pivots in a new direction.
Unfortunately for Zero, neither of these examples seem to be the case, and that’s the rub. For Zero, I think you can make a pretty strong argument that the American electric motorcycle marque has its fair share of radioactivity.
Most of Zero’s baggage comes from its early days though, when the product was dreadful, the management team looked like a game of musical chairs, and the business decisions (especially on how to build a dealer network and support staff) were dodgy at best.
Crappy bikes, upset owners, and dealers with burned bridges… Yes, changing the Zero name could do wonders for the Californian company’s bottom line. So, let’s consider today’s news the Diet Coke version of that strategy, as Zero Motorcycles is sporting a new logo.
We will have a full account of the 10th Annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering posted soon, but I wanted to highlight one of the more notable events at the California motorcycle show – the debut of the Curtiss Zeus, an electric cruiser with tech from Zero Motorcycles and styling from the now defunct Confederate brand.
The first all-new machine from the Curtiss brand (we are not counting the Curtiss Warhawk, which looks remarkably like something from Confederate’s previous offerings), the Curtiss Zeus features two electric motors from Zero, which share a common shaft, and help produce a claimed 290 lbs•ft of torque and 170hp.
That bonkers feature is matched to an equally divergent style, which builds upon the design ethos that Confederate established previously. For instance, note the front-end setup, which is a carryover from the Fighter line of bikes from Confederate.
Confederate Motorcycles is to become the Curtiss Motorcycle Company. We reported on this story back in August already, so loyal Asphalt & Rubber readers should know that the news comes with the twist that the new company will focus on motorcycles that have electric drivetrains, provided by Zero Motorcycles.
Not much beyond those details was available at the time, and admittedly we don’t have a plethora of new information about this boutique American brand at this point in time as well, but we’ll share with you what we do know.
First of all, Curtiss Motorcycle will ultimately have a bike for a wide range of pocketbooks, not just the uber-rich that were serviced by Confederate. Curtiss’ first bike will be called the Hercules, and it is scheduled to drop on May 5, 2018.
Zero Motorcycles is recalling a bevy of its motorcycle models because of a turn signal that may stop working, without alerting the rider, which happens to violate Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) #108, “Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment.”
Thankfully, the recall only affects a grand total of 10 motorcycles: the 2017 Zero S ZF6.5, Zero S ZF13.0, Zero DSP ZF13.0, and Zero SR ZF13.0 lineup.
The idea of an electric personal watercraft is a little troubling at first, I mean…we are talking hundreds of volts and hundreds of amps surrounded by water, in an inherently unstable vehicle…what could go wrong, right?
But, for those who aren’t adverse to a little wake-up jolt, the all-electric Free Form Factory Gratis X1 personal watercraft might be an interesting way to spend a sunny afternoon.
And for savvy motorcyclists, the electric bits on the Gratis X1 should be familiar, as Free Form Factory is using Zero Motorcycles’s Z-Force powertrain to propel its watercraft.
Zero Motorcycles is recalling several of its electric motorcycle models for issues with their anti-lock braking system (ABS) hydraulic control units (HCU). The recall affects 61 units from the Zero S, DS, and FXS model lineup.
According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the wrong vehicle model information was loaded into the HCU on the affected machines, meaning that the ABS settings on those motorcycle were not the correct ones for that particular bike.
Zero Motorcycles has finally filled its vacant CEO position, announcing that Samuel Paschel will take over the reigns at the electric motorcycle company, and replacing Richard Walker who left Zero in July 2016.
A newcomer to the motorcycle industry, Paschel has a product development focused resume, and most recently was the Chief Commercial Officer at Skullcandy. He has also held management and leadership positions at Burton Snowboards and Giro Sports Design.