According to Confederate-now-Curtiss Motorcycle founder Matt Chambers, if Glenn Curtiss were to launch a motorcycle company in 2018, he would use electric power, just like he pioneered the American V-twin back in 1903. Chambers will reveal to the world his Curtiss Hercules e-bike at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering in Carmel Valley, California on May 5. Curtiss has partnered with Zero Motorcycles for their drivetrain, and the target retail price of the Hercules is $30,000, a far cry from the $100,000-plus the retail price of Confederate motorcycles over the past 25 years.“Seven years ago, in our twentieth year, we began research and development of our fifth-generation architecture,” Chambers said in a recent interview with Alan Cathcart. “We knew we were at a turning point; we had maxed out Glenn Curtiss’s invention of the V-twin American motorcycle. It was time to apply our years of design experience and earned wisdom with the best innovation and technology, just as Mr. Curtiss would do if he were leading us today.”
According to Chambers, the first 300 bikes will be built at his facility in Birmingham.
“But we’re going to create a new environment for the second and third year onwards—going forward based upon what our projections are, and I think we’ll have a pretty good idea from when we strike the match on May 5. Probably by the end of May we’ll have a good sense of what the interest in this program is going to be, and whether or not there really are people out there in their thousands who want to purchase a Curtiss E-cruiser—is it thousands, or is it hundreds, or is it tens of thousands?”
“The Curtiss models will deploy a modular architectural system, the design of which we’ve filed numerous patents on, as the foundation for an all-new Twin-Engine powertrain from the world leader in motorcycle torque production, Zero,” he added. “Their all-new powertrain package embodies a classical proportion, that’s lower, narrower, and with superior weight management to any other two-wheeled EV. The geometry and ergonomics are classic, too, empowering the rider with effortless control, as well as massive acceleration, top speed, handling, and comfort.”According to Chambers, Zero will supply Curtiss with its latest technology in a twin motor package, estimated (by Chambers) to have 175 hp and 290 foot-pounds of torque. Features like dual controllers, air cooling, and battery packs designed specifically for Curtiss. “Curtiss suspension will also be all-new and state-of-the-art, plus we’ll have a breakthrough in transparency, accuracy, and quality of information between the tarmac and the Curtiss rider. Whole new levels of safety have been designed into the Curtiss, which has the goal of being the world leader in this key aspect of riding on the highway. We’re turning many pages here.”“We’ve owned the Curtiss trademark for about seven years, and we acquired it because of my admiration for the achievements of Mr. Curtiss, who I believe was a truly visionary person, and a great motorcyclist,” Chambers explained. “Glenn H. Curtiss was three years ahead of Indian in creating the American V-twin—which they then copied, just as Harley-Davidson did five years later. He was running 136 mph on a motorcycle when those guys were running 50 or 60 mph, and bragging about it. And then he got bored with the whole two-wheel thing, and went off and essentially created flight with the Wright brothers. But he was the one flying the planes, and he designed the engines powering his aircraft, and it’s his rudder design, and all his technology that flies planes today, not theirs.”“He was a very brave man, because he not only rode his own motorcycles on Ormond Beach, but he also flew his own aircraft, including the seaplanes he invented. He was a man’s man—he was a guy who took inordinate risks, he was obviously an incredible technologist, but he’s unknown to the world today! I have great respect for the Harley story, the Indian story and the Triumph story and the BMW story, these are great stories—Honda’s story is a great story. But Glenn Curtiss dwarfs them all, and that’s not a put down to them, just that he was a true innovator whom they essentially copied. I think if Mr. Honda were still with us he’d say, ‘Oh, I’m no Glenn Curtiss!’ I really think he would say that.”