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Filling the gap: The Zooz electric motorcycle concept

This Zooz electric motorcycle concept hits 60mph and weighs just 85 pounds
There’s a yawning gap in the electric market between bicycles and motorcycles. But this intriguing concept from Texas manufacturer Zooz proves that you don’t need the size and heft of an electric moto to get rapid performance.

The Zooz Concept 01 has no pedals, can hit 60 mph (100 kph) and weighs just 85 lbs [39 kg]. The front and back ends resemble a motorcycle, but in the middle, there is … nothing. Folks who don’t like the ‘empty triangle’ under a custom motorcycle seat aren’t going to like this.

This Zooz electric motorcycle concept hits 60mph and weighs just 85 pounds
Most electric bicycles are basically ‘pedal assist’ machines. With skeletal, conventional-looking frames, they can reach up to 28 mph (45 kph). Then you have full-size electric motorcycles from the likes of Zero, which cost more, but offer more speed, range and bulk.

Concept 01 sits right in the middle.

This Zooz electric motorcycle concept hits 60mph and weighs just 85 pounds
“The purpose is to challenge the thinking of the audience,” says Zooz co-founder Chris Zahner. “It’s a bit of a poke in the eye, to force you to consider something new.”

“The amazing thing about electric bikes is how simple they are. Motors, heat exchangers, exhaust systems and gas tanks are requisite masses on combustion motorcycles. But the electric motorcycle can leave a whole lot more room for interpretation, by minimizing the number of elements necessary.”

This Zooz electric motorcycle concept hits 60mph and weighs just 85 pounds
The drive system on Concept 01, for example, consists of a battery, controller and hub motor. Besides an all-in-one throttle/volt-meter/on switch, there’s little else to it.

Chris describes Concept 01 as, “Something long, low and meant to be ridden at its limit—but on city streets while the city sleeps, without getting into too much trouble.” Power comes from a 4.3 kW system, with 72-volt QS hub motor. There’s a compact Kelly controller concealed in the tail, and a quick release, under-slung battery pack jammed with Samsung 35E cells.

Despite the stretched out look, the wheelbase is shorter than a CB500. The only other mechanical parts on the bike are Shimano stoppers, moped suspension, a steering stabilizer, the nickel-plated 4130 Chromoly tubing frame, and minimal carbon bodywork.

This Zooz electric motorcycle concept hits 60mph and weighs just 85 pounds
Chris shaped the carbon bodywork himself. “It’s a favorite material to use—although it doesn’t mean I enjoy the process!” he says. “It’s a beautiful juxtaposition next to the chrome, while being lightweight, strong and capable of complex shapes.”

The 18-inch wheels are are Borrani-style shouldered aluminum rims, shod with IRC moped tires. The foot pegs share a pivot axle with the swingarm, and are reamed BMX pegs.

This Zooz electric motorcycle concept hits 60mph and weighs just 85 pounds
“The forks are from an ‘internet special’ pit bike, with reworked internals for a new spring rate and rebound,” says Chris. He also made a custom caliper mount, and commissioned machined yokes from his friend Mark Atkinson—a familiar name to EXIF readers who are aware of the amazing BMW ‘Alpha’ build.

The handlebars are a custom moto-style bend from Zombie Performance, turned upside down and welded into position for a riser-less cafe look.

This Zooz electric motorcycle concept hits 60mph and weighs just 85 pounds
Concept 01 is an intriguing look at what’s possible when you blur the lines between bicycles and motorcycles, and start with the proverbial clean sheet of paper. And as a fast urban commuter bike, it would make a lot of sense.

“The most peculiar part of riding this thing is catching the attention of passers-by,” says Chris. “It’s not the normal eye-roll I get when riding my open pipe Harley, but rather a look of befuddlement.”

This Zooz electric motorcycle concept hits 60mph and weighs just 85 pounds
Chris rides regular motorcycles too, but sees a bike like the Concept 01 being more suited for city use. “The city that forced me to ride my Harley less because of clogged highways and ornery drivers is the same city that offers a whole world of urban terrain. The only difference is in the weapon with which to attack it.”

Chris stresses that this is a concept and not a precursor to a production machine, but Zooz has form in this game. It already makes the keenly-priced US$1,899 Urban Ultralight e-bike—an attractive, well-specced machine with a BMX vibe.

This Zooz electric motorcycle concept hits 60mph and weighs just 85 pounds
But the Concept 01 is a very different vehicle that heads into motorcycle territory. We reckon it’s not only a great commuter solution, but also a potential gateway drug into full-size motorcycling. And that can only be a good thing.

Zooz Bikes | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Chris Zahner | Video by David Leep

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