Rebirth certainly seems to be suiting Curtiss Motorcycles pretty well. That’s one of the key takeaways out of the luxury electric motorcycle maker’s new documentary, The Opposite of Death. It’s available now to watch on YouTube, for the low, low cost of zero dollars, so you may just want to add it to your queue for the next time you have 44 minutes to spare.
In the film, you’ll learn more about the design and passion behind the Curtiss One electric motorcycle—evolved from the Hades to become the spectacular piece of American industrial design you now see before you. You’ll get a glimpse inside how Curtiss’ small but dedicated crew all work together, and how their thinking went in designing this bike. From founder Matt Chambers to chief designer JT Nesbitt to Jordan Cornille, engineer Vinay Valleru and Brian Coil, it’s clearly a team effort.
As Nesbitt describes it, the idea behind the One wasn’t just to build the best electric motorcycle they could. Instead, it was to build the best motorcycle, period. Those are bold words, but it’s hard not to be struck by the design elements of the One—which is truly unlike anything else. There’s no steam to be found here, but a fair bit of rebellion against convention.
Gallery: Curtiss Motorcycles The One
Unlike some electric bike makers, Curtiss proudly designed everything itself—including the battery pack. That meant it could choose a shape other than rectangular or square for its battery pack—and the result is packed inside a round, finned cylinder, optimally placed at the bottom center of the One’s design. Mass centralization has long been a key element of solid motorcycle design—but the resulting creation here elevates that concept into an art form.
It’s a light electric vehicle out of time—which is exactly what the Curtiss team was going for. In fact, ideally, Chambers says, they want this to be an “heirloom motorcycle.” Unlike heirloom tomatoes, you aren’t meant to enjoy it for a short time and then be done with it.
Instead, it’s the kind of heirloom that’s meant to be passed down for generations, because the battery is completely modular, not meant to be tossed aside once the current battery won't hold a charge. Also, just about any part of it can also be customized for an additional charge, if you speak to Curtiss about what you have in mind.
Of course, a high-end, boutique machine made with oodles of carbon fiber, titanium, and high-end componentry like this isn’t exactly cheap. The current starting price is $83,333 in June, 2022—which includes a solo seat, tandem seat, and a tool kit that lets you do all the usual stuff and also adjust both the rake and the trail as you see fit. The current delivery timeline is June, 2023—and shipping and delivery adds an extra $1,500 on top of the purchase price.