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Electric

This motorbike looks like the future we always dreamed of

Untitled Motorcycle’s XP Zero has hot hatch torque and Tate-worthy design

Published: 07 Jan 2022

This, in purely objective terms, is a custom electric motorbike. And that rather dry sentence illustrates the fundamental flaw in pure objectivity: the inability to make value judgements.

And, when you’re talking about a piece of rolling sculpture like this, a series of shapes and forms that combine and intersect, drawing your eyes and overpowering your brain, suddenly phrases like ‘my truth’ don’t seem quite so oxymoronic. Or regular moronic.

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The truth, at least from where we’re sitting, is that this is the kind of machine that we’d park inside the house, ditching the TV and spending evenings watching it instead. Then again, considering its maker, that’s likely a common reaction.

Untitled Motorcycles has been making bikes more beautiful since 2010, designing and building custom creations based on Ducatis, Triumphs, BMWs and so on. As it happens, we’re also particular fans of its Hyper Scrambler, an 800cc trellis-frame Ducati that weighs less than a Vespa. We’re guessing it’s fairly sprightly.

And this fierce focus on stripping a bike of any unnecessary weight, be it physical or visual, is so far up our street that it’s already pulling into our driveway.  If weight is the enemy of any car – and it absolutely is – that goes double for motorbikes.

Which brings us neatly to the biggest problem with electric power: weight. For all that humanity has figured out, it seems that making an electric powertrain with decent range and low weight is a bridge too far. Or at least it used to be.

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While car makers release two-tonne leviathans and call it good (to say nothing of the upcoming Hummer EV, which rivals the Death Star for sheer mass), it doesn’t half seem that bike builders have figured out the secret.

To wit, the XP Zero weighs 218kg – just 6kg more than the Honda CBR1000RR, 5kg more than the delectable MV Agusta F4RR and a single kilo more than the Ducati 998. For a little comparison in the weight stakes for EV bikes, that’s 31kg less than Harley’s Livewire and 40 less than Energica’s Ego superbike.

In terms of motivation, you’re looking at 110bhp from... well, an electric motor, obviously. For anyone not familiar with road-going motorbikes, a good rule of thumb is that 50bhp is plenty, 100bhp is properly quick, 150bhp is nearing superbike territory and 200bhp is smack in the middle of it. Anything past 200bhp, just for reference, is entirely doolally. But, much like the power wars that the big German brands got into a while back... well, you get where we (and they) are going.

Even so, what this brace of increasingly overpowered superbikes can’t offer is mammoth torque. For instance, it is entirely possible for a regular punter to go and buy a Ducati Panigale V4R, then ride off with a frankly absurd 234bhp between their legs. But that tower of power, as with most motorbikes, comes courtesy of stratospheric revs – more than 15,000 of them at peak output. There’s a very healthy 83lb ft on offer as well (you wouldn’t make so much power otherwise), but that figure immediately pales in comparison to the XP Zero’s 146lb ft, plastered across a torque curve that stays flat well into licence-shredding speeds. For reference, that’s about the same torque as the Hyundai i20N.

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As you might expect, then, the performance figures are hardly shabby. The official on-road 0-60 time is 3.7 seconds, which, when you consider that nought to 124mph takes 7.0 seconds, does feel like it’s limited by a) traction and b) the rider’s ability to stay on the bike. Just by way of comparison, that’s the same 0-124mph time as the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 and LaFerrari. So, y’know, brisk.

And, when countless bursts of neck-snapping have spent your battery, the onboard charger can top off the 14.4kWh battery in two to four hours. Should you then ride like a respectable human being, you can expect 160 miles of range before needing to repeat the operation. Naturally, there are various performance modes you can select, depending on your situation, needs and how willing you are to listen to the imp of the perverse.

Should you engage in some impishness (we can relate), a bevy of top-shelf components – aerospace aluminium this, remote reservoir that, floating caliper the other – guard against an immediate dose of inevitability. All the same, we’d recommend all of the gear. And all of the track day too, while we’re on the subject. But regardless of the speed, it’s always going to look like a piece of rolling sculpture. Until you bin it, of course. Then it might just look like modern art.

Objectively, then, the XP Zero is fast, lightweight and powerful. Subjectively, it’s a damn shame we don’t have one.

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