A few short months after Zero Motorcycles revealed its newest SR/F model, the California electric motorcycle manufacturer has unveiled the Zero XP, a custom build from Hugo Eccles of Untitled Motorcycles.
Last year, while the SR/F was in the final stages of development, Zero gave Hugo exclusive access to the pre-production prototypes and to their team of engineering and electronics experts.

“We’ve been fans of Hugo’s work since we saw his Hyper Scrambler, says Zero’s VP of Product Development, Brian Wismann. “We felt the SR/F was the perfect fit for Hugo’s future-forward design approach.”
For Hugo, who trained at the Royal College of Art in London and has worked on concept cars for Ford, the SR/F project was an opportunity to rethink the design language of motorcycles.

“When you’re dealing with an internal combustion engine, you have built-in physical constraints,” he explains.
“The fuel tank has to sit above the motor to gravity-feed the carbs, the carbs are positioned away from turbulent airflow, the exhaust is routed to avoid heating the fuel or the rider, and so on.”

“But those rules don’t apply to an electric motorcycle—and that freedom is an incredible opportunity for a designer. If things like a fuel tank, exhaust, carbs, and clutch are no longer necessary, then what is?”
Apparently, not a whole lot. The bodywork of the Zero XP is minimal, with just enough to support the rider. And what there is, seems to float off the frame almost like an exploded diagram of a motorcycle.

The process began with removing everything except what was strictly required, like the knee panels—which Hugo found were critical to the rider’s ability to control the bike.
The knee panels blend into a transparent top surface that holds the system display and allows the rider to see down through to the electric powertrain.

“From the outset, I didn’t want to hide the powertrain behind a fairing,” says Hugo. “I wanted to unapologetically celebrate the character of this motorcycle.”
The XP’s powertrain is a machined aerospace-grade aluminum core that contains the batteries, motor, charger, and other control components—and also incorporates the seat.

“Drag bikes were an inspiration,” says Hugo. “With the XP, you’re literally riding the motor. This is a deceptively powerful bike and I wanted to physically embody that raw power.”
Hugo also drew inspiration from rally car aerodynamics and experimental aircraft. “The XP 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.”

Hugo has lightly modded the Zero’s frame and the Showa suspension, and installed a Motogadget Motoscope Mini LED display into a custom CNC’d top bracket. Motogadget also supplied the m.lock keyless RFID ignition, integrated into ‘tank’ screen.
The brakes are hooked up using Goodridge braided stainless steel lines and an ISR master cylinder, and use twin 320mm NG floating discs at the front. The battery charger has been discreetly relocated, and the lighting now comes from Motobox.

Despite the extensive mods, the XP’s ergonomics will be familiar to Zero owners. “The SR/F already had good ergonomics, so I didn’t want to mess around with them,” says Hugo.
He left the seat in its original position, along with the footpegs—which are now held by custom CNC’d aluminum carriers that support edge-lit heel guards.

Clip-on bars, with an internal throttle and minimal switchgear, lend the Zero a more aggressive stance.
The final result is unlike anything we’ve ever seen, right down to the ‘Ghost Grey’ aircraft paint.

“Hugo is one of the most interesting designer-builders out there, and it shows with the XP,” says Wismann. “You can really see his industrial design perspective in every detail. He’s created something truly exceptional.”
As extraordinary as the XP looks, Hugo says he didn’t set out to design a futuristic version of a motorcycle. “This isn’t about novelty for novelty’s sake, or some nostalgic idea of the future.”

“The goal was to celebrate the unique riding experience with a new and function-led aesthetic. If the Zero XP looks futuristic, it’s because electric motorcycles like the SR/F are the future.”
If you’re in England and you’d like to see that future close-up, the Zero XP debuts at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this Thursday and throughout the weekend.
Untitled Motorcycles | Facebook | Instagram | Zero SR/F | Photography by Ludovic Robert