Curtiss Hades: Brilliant design, or visual abomination?

Say you want to grab attention for your electric motorcycle company in the middle of a crowdfunding drive. How would you do it?

Curtiss, the company formerly known as Confederate, has taken the following actions:

  • First, lure back high-profile designer J.T. Nesbitt to put together a polarizing design.
  • Second, add in some sort of woke sub-text; in this case, the bike is said to waste as little raw material as possible.
  • Third, add in some controversial design features that might still appeal to your less politically correct fanbase while giving millennial riders an illusory tough guy image. This time, the influence is supposedly drawn from a handgun.

The result is the Hades, an electric motorcycle design that’s supposedly Nesbitt’s attempt to “charge to harness and express dark energy.” It all sounds very sci-fi, for sure, but does it work?

As always, the appeal of any motorcycle design is subjective. The perfect example is Nesbitt’s previous work with Confederate; some people loved his Hellcat and Wraith designs, while others panned them as excessive.

However, it’s worth pointing out that some designs just don’t seem to work for most people. There are some familiar visual cues, to be sure. Note the battery pack designed to look like a bullet, and a suspension linkage that looks like a revolver cylinder. The front suspension is also a familiar, if unusual, design, looking similar to old Nesbitt designs.

But the rest of the bike? It’s an incredibly different-looking machine. It’ll be interesting to see if fans flock to this new stripped-down design ethos. Or, maybe it will end up another oddball transitional model in the history of vehicles, with its minimalist nature setting it apart but not necessarily building an immortal fan base. While the Airco DH2 moved aviation forward for the Brits, the Sopwith Camel is the plane that went down in the public consciousness. Which one will the Curtiss Hades turn out to be?

Other deets from the Curtiss presser: “While Hades’ powertrain is still being optimized, Curtiss estimates power output of 217HP and 147 lb-ft of immediate torque. Battery capacity is projected to be 16.8 kWh at 399V. When it enters production in 2020, the Curtiss Hades motorcycle will sell for $75,000 USD.”

In other words, this bike really only exists as an idea right now anyway, with Curtiss still supposedly working on the actual tech details.

The presser also mentions the ongoing crowdfunding push from Curtiss: “The company stated that its goal is to uplift to either NASDAQ or the upcoming Long Term Stock Exchange (LTSE). The current equity campaign closes on July 31, 2019.”  If Curtiss doesn’t raise enough money to meet its goals, this debate over the design might be a moot point anyway, as the Hades may end up stuck in development hell.

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