Hugo Eccles is the industrial designer who co-founded Untitled Motorcycles, a company that redresses a range of two-wheeled machines in a pared-down, artful, classic aesthetic. All 34 bikes in the portfolio of past work on UMC’s website look like they were designed to do one thing, but 33 of those bikes look like they were designed for that purpose in the past. The holdout, called the UMC-063 Zero XP, looks like its creators live in the future and have sent their transport back to us. The ride is based on the Zero SR/F, a bike Motorcycle said was the “culmination of $300 million and 13 years in development,” and “the best electric motorcycle currently in production” when it was released last year.
Zero asked Eccles to do what he does, involving him while the bike was still in the late prototype stage. Eccles said, “The [SR/F] can go from zero to 200 kph (124 mph) without a single gear change, and the acceleration feels a lot like piloting a jet. I started thinking in terms of control surfaces, both human and machine, and everything fell into place from there.”
The stock SR/F is already no-nonsense, designed to look like a naked streetfighter without the bustle of internal combustion parts. UMC stripped it down to the steel tube frame, 14.4-kWh battery, and suspension, then built it back up. There’s CNC’d aerospace-grade aluminum for the nose and intake ahead of the battery, belly pan, and fork brackets on the the stock Showa adjustable front suspension. At the base of that front fork, a sharp-edged fender in aluminum and CNC’d polymer with polycarbonate edges holds station over a Pirelli Diablo Superbike tire wrapped around a cast alloy wheel.
The solid tank form on the stock bike is now a polymer buttress with a touchscreen panel on top, a knee panel in back, and clear air below, which meant relocating and customizing the Zero 3.0-kW charger. A second polymer panel drops from the frame around the battery and under the bike. The Ultrasuede seat rests on an aluminum shell. The rear fender’s been dismissed, leaving a redesigned version of the stock swingarm and mono-shock with piggyback reservoir to look at, along with a fat Diablo Superbike tire on a sinister cast alloy rim. What isn’t aluminum has been covered in Aerospace Material Specification AMS-36375 ‘Ghost Grey’ experimental aircraft paint. The LED lighting throughout puts on another show of its own.
Weight has barely changed, the Zero ZP just four pounds lighter than the Zero SR/F. The specs remain the same, meaning an electric motor with 110 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque, and a combined range of about 123 miles without accessories.
Eccles said, “Drag bikes were an inspiration,” demonstrated in that “With the XP, you’re literally riding the motor. This is a deceptively powerful bike and I wanted to physically embody that raw power.” The name, on the other hand, is said to be a retro flourish recalling the Windows XP operating system. We don’t see anything retro about this bike, and if there were ever a time to play the game “One of these things doesn’t belong,” here we have it. That doesn’t stop the UMC Zero XP from being a gorgeous electric bike — started with a custom anodized aluminium RFID key fob — that we’d love to ride into the future so we can meet its real creators.