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Rocketeer Style: A custom Vectrix EV from Shiny Hammer

Custom Vectrix electric scooter by Shiny Hammer
To die-hard petrolheads, electric scooters are harbingers of a dark future. They’re seen as soulless machines that place economy and practicality far above style and emotion.

Luckily for us, there are those that see potential for more. Last month we featured a gob-smacking BMW C-based sprint racer. Today, we’re featuring a very different but equally astounding EV.

Custom Vectrix electric scooter by Shiny Hammer
You’re looking at a Vectrix VX-1—or rather, the remnants of one. In stock form, the Polish-made VX-1 is a pretty vanilla maxi-scooter, promising 65Nm of torque, a top speed of 75 mph (120 kph) and a theoretical maximum range of 173 miles (280 km).

It has some noteworthy features: like a throttle that can be ‘closed’ to slow it down with regenerative braking, and a planetary gearbox with a direct drive onto the back wheel.

Custom Vectrix electric scooter by Shiny Hammer
This concept—dubbed ‘Hope’—retains all of that functionality, but wraps it in a package straight out of The Rocketeer. It’s the work of Samuel Aguiar, who operates as Shiny Hammer out of Saint-Quentin, a couple of hours north of Paris. Samuel designs both motorcycles and furniture, which explains his approach here.

“I was looking for a design that you would want to hug,” he explains, “without any aggressive shapes. Like a blend between a pre-A Porsche 356, an iPhone and a Pokémon.”

Custom Vectrix electric scooter by Shiny Hammer
“The original scooter from Vectrix is not really my thing, but when you take off all the secondary elements on it, you find a very cool and well-built base. It is all made of aluminum and the frame itself is very strong and light.”

It took Samuel four years to create ‘Hope’—from the initial concept to the final bike you see here. Working alone, he started with sketches before fleshing the design out with 3D renderings. The data exported from those renderings was then used to build the final form.

Custom Vectrix electric scooter by Shiny Hammer
“You can view the design in a ‘volume way’,” he explains, “with a large lower part and a small upper part; the lower part being the shape that you sit on (frame and batteries) and the upper part being the shape that you talk to (dashboard and handle bar).”

“Or in a ‘graphical way,’ with a central aluminum body that holds together the 102 cells; a front part and a rear part. The main role of the front and rear modules being to protect the heart of the bike, like bumpers, but also having an identity.”

Custom Vectrix electric scooter by Shiny Hammer
“Once the volume was defined I had to find a nice melody between the seat, the lights, the dashboard and all the other elements. It was important for me to stay very ‘ergonomic’ to make the design usable. This is where you decide whether to keep your idea as a sculptural state, or to bring it to a functional state.”

Samuel goes onto explain that Hope could have been designed a century ago, or in a century from now. He’s nailed that vibe, and to our eye it has a lot to do with the mix of materials he’s used.

Custom Vectrix electric scooter by Shiny Hammer
Laser-cut steel plates form the basic framework of the VX-1’s new body. Once those were down, Samuel used modeling mastic to work out the final shape, before creating each panel out of fiberglass.

The front and rear sections were painted black, while the center sections were wrapped in aluminum plates, riveted to the fiberglass. The dashboard surround was laser-cut from aluminum, and the inside of the steering cutout was molded from carbon fiber.

Custom Vectrix electric scooter by Shiny Hammer
The dashboard is especially elegant—Samuel’s kept the stock Vectrix gauges, but re-arranged them vertically along with the requisite push buttons. So there’s a firehose of information available: speed, battery level, projected range (based both on battery capacity and riding style) and more.

Custom Vectrix electric scooter by Shiny Hammer
Under the hood, Samuel left most of the VX-1 intact. He swapped the stock 13”/14” wheels out for a 17” combo, using a Suzuki GSF item up front, and a custom-made, three part aluminum design out back, matched to the scooter’s final drive. The new wheels are kitted with a Brembo brake system for more grab.

Custom Vectrix electric scooter by Shiny Hammer
The charger was moved from the front of the bike to on top of the batteries, and the angle of the rear fan controller was tweaked to make space for the bigger wheel. A few other electronic components were shuffled, and the foot pegs were trimmed and moved backwards.

The handlebar arrangement is all new. The bar itself is a steel, TIG-welded design, built in two pieces so that you can disassemble it if you need to open up the bodywork. Nothing’s been overlooked here, and even the new headlight and taillight blend seamlessly with Samuel’s design.

Custom Vectrix electric scooter by Shiny Hammer
So is this just a sculpture, or can it actually be ridden? “It’s very smooth, gentle,” says Samuel. “Most of the time, you can ride the bike without using the brakes—just by turning the throttle both ways.”

“Handling is light, and the bike holds its line very serenely. Being quiet, people look at it more than if it was noisy—and you can hear them talking about it, which is funny. Riding the bike at night makes you feel like a ninja, which I love.”

We can imagine. What a surreal experience it must be, wafting down a country lane in France, in darkness and near silence, on this extraordinary machine.

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Custom Vectrix electric scooter by Shiny Hammer