GRID's Top 5 Custom Electric Motorcycles
Updated: Aug 18, 2021
Just before we release our GRID Street Tracker and Street Scramblers into the wild – here at GRID we wanted to acknowledge other custom bike builders that have blazed a trail in this field. Custom electric motorcycles have been around longer than you think – but in the last year or two, the quality of these bikes has progressed from backyard builds to concepts that are pushing the big boys in the electric motorcycle world to up their game. In summary:
Most Fun - DAB's Concept-E
Highest Spec - Deus' Zero SR/S
Toughest Looking - JVB-Moto's Harley-Davidson LiveWire
Most Unique - Untitled Motorcycles Zero XP
Most Affordable - Huge Moto's Zero FXS
Here’s our favourite game -changers so far (not including our bikes of course):
2 words - Fuck Yes! The first bike on this list is a bit different - it's a custom motorcycle company that have completely developed their own electric motorcycle platform - rather than building on the established Livewire or Zero platforms. DAB Motors have been on the map in the custom motorcycle world for a while. Founded in 2017 in South-West France DAB were the first custom bike builders in Europe to get their LM-S model Euro4 Certified. That bike was a real head-turner, but the Concept-E is something else altogether.
The electric motorcycle we all want – the perfect city bike with a range of 110 kms and a top speed of 105 km/h. Competing in that 125cc petrol commuter bracket. Like the other bikes on this list - DAB didn't pull any punches when it came to premium parts. Ohlins rear suspension, Ohlins front forks, Pirelli super moto tyres, Excel rims, Beringer controls plus a host of custom-made futuristic parts like the thermoplastic PMMA engine guards and awesome high-end looking lighting. There's just so many good parts to this bike - it's probably better you check out the video below rather than listen to us swoon over them:
Zero had one eye on future models when they sent Huge Moto a 2018 FXS to play with. They had seen Huge's work on a Honda CBR and were impressed. This concept bike by Huge Moto was the foundation for the new design style we have now seen launched with the Zero FXE.
Bill Webb - chief designer at Huge was looking to move attention away from the electric engine to the top and front of the bike. The 2-piece ABS thermoplastic body/tank/tail hints towards inspiration from another bike we love - Husqy's Vitpilen and definitely draws the eye in. The supermoto seat seamlessly slips into the body and flat/smooth surfaces highlight the difference between this and a petrol bike with no engine components protruding out. We love the small details like the red and silver air intakes around the motor. The supermoto rims and tyres look hell fun for street riding. The only 2 parts of this bike we are not super keen on are the headlight section and sticking with the belt drive instead of going for a chain conversion. Those belt drives seem to be the cause of a lot of stress for existing Zero owners. And the headlight looks a bit too Eyes Wide Shut for us - but maybe you're into the kinky stuff.
The hefty $50,000 AUD price tag has limited the number of custom Harley LiveWires since the bike's launch in 2020. There's not many punters or bike builders that are willing to drop $80k on a custom bike project, parts and labour. Thankfully Harley took matters into their own hands and commissioned bike builders JVB-Moto to make something to appeal to more riders. Mission accomplished! JVB-Moto have released a number of aggressive looking custom motorcycles in the past few years and they applied that winning formula to the LiveWire spectacularly here.
The subtle smoothing of body and tail make this LiveWire look more muscular. JVB's round headlight framed into a matt black face plate gives the bike more street appeal than Harley's shrunken down classic fairing. The tank looks more integrated into the frame - JVB used the same turquoise colour on both sections unlike Harley's contrasting colours on the stock bike. The frame has had some plastic fairings removed and Blaze spot lights mounted behind the forks. The tail section and tail tidy look chunkier and stronger - something that looked a little bit lightweight before. And finally those solid wheels complete the powerful look. The JVB team have announced they will be running a small batch of these bikes - so if you have the cash get in there quickly.
A real head-turner that harks back to an era of classic sports bikes. Deus' LA Co-Founder Michael Woolaway met the Zero team at the 98th Pikes Peak event and immediately knew he wanted to build something unique with their platform. The launch 2020 launch of the SR/S platform proved to be the perfect timing for Deus' project. Woolaway said "I wanted to do something kind of old and new, old shapes that I grew up with and new technology, no computer work, just foam, plastic, shaping and measuring tools, transfer tools and kind of the old school way.”
His technique may have been old school - but the materials and components were certainly not. The single-piece body is constructed of a single mold of carbon fiber composites which Woolaway enlisted the help of aerospace engineers to complete. Did we mention it has wings?? We're not sure if they're mostly there for the look or to add downforce at high speeds (the bike has a limited top speed of 200 km/h) - but they look fucking cool regardless. WSBK suspension from Showa, ultra-light Dymag carbon wheels, custom racing forks by Attack Racing. This bike isn't just a piece of art - it's got one of the highest specs we've seen on an electric motorcycle. The final piece was the hand-blown windscreen by Zero Gravity. Yes this bike would cost well over $100k to build - but it is a masterpiece.
Typically at GRID - we feel like a lot of electric motorcycle manufacturers try too hard to showcase their advanced technology in the design of the bike. There's been some pretty crazy concept bikes like the Arc Vector, Fuell Fllow and Johammer J1. While those bikes definitely have their appeal to some - could you actually ride one down the street without looking like a Star Trek fanboy? Then we saw this thing. Yes it is futuristic - the colour and texture remind us of dystopian 90s Sci-Fi films The Matrix, Terminator and APEX. But it doesn't look gothic or Marvel-like.
Achieving this look took a monumental amount of CAD modelling by the Untitled team - over 1,500 hours worth in 10 weeks. The base bike is a Zero SR/F. Very little has changed with the drivetrain, brakes, swingarm, suspension and wheels. All the stock bodywork was stripped off and replaced with CNC'd aluminium, polycarbonate and ABS panels. The beauty of this approach is scalability - all of those parts can be reproduced at the touch of a button. Is Zero going to do another FXE here and launch the XP as a limited edition? If so it will probably be a lot more affordable than options 3 and 4 on this list.
Did we miss any? Some awesome custom electric motorcycles are popping up and we're pumped about it. Now it's time to launch our GRID models and see how they measure up....