The term e-bike spans a wide range of two-wheeled vehicles. Whether it’s the Sur-Ron X, Ducati’s first electric mountain bike, or Jeep’s $6,000 example, they all make up the amorphous category. Does it need pedals? Not necessarily. Does the presence of an electric motor make it a motorcycle? Not in the eyes of the DMV.
When Zooz Bikes Founder Chris Zahner set out to create a concept vehicle that challenges his company’s design process, he moved away from the BMX-inspired Urban Ultralight and toward motorcycle influences. The result of the exercise is the stripped-down, minimalistic Concept 1 and it further blurs the lines of e-bikes.
The most striking thing about the Zooz Bikes’ Concept 1 is the simplicity of design. The BMX DNA is still evident with the frame’s sloping top tube and polished finish, but the e-bike takes after a motorcycle from there. From the dual shocks in the rear to the USD forks in the front to the café racer-style headlight cowl and seat, the Concept 1 definitely makes a statement about motorcycle design.
“The amazing thing about electric bikes is how simple they are,” said Zooz Bikes Founder Chris Zahner. “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.”
Gallery: Zooz Bikes: Concept 1
While the electric platform allowed Zahner to do away with countless internal combustion components, he still needed to mount a 72-volt QS Motor, a battery back with Samsung 35E cells, and a controller. When all was said and done, the electric powertrain and 85-pound curb weight helps to propel the e-bike to a top speed of 60 mph.
Zooz also acknowledged that the Concept 1 is just that—a concept. With the low-mounted handlebars and a short distance between the footpegs and seat, the e-bike's ergonomics seem a bit cramped even for an urban mobility option. None of this is lost on Zahner, as he doesn’t see the Concept 1 as practical or salable, but more as a stepping stone for future projects.
Whether it’s another pedal-assisted bike or a futuristic café racer, we’re looking forward to how Zooz Bikes widens its own range of e-bikes.