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Image courtesy Zaiser Motors

Clean Transport

We Interview Zaiser Motors Founder Anthony Cross & Talk Electrocycles

Zaiser Motors made waves a few months ago when it released renderings of a cruiser-style electric motorcycle that offered features you don’t normally find on e-motorcycles

Zaiser Motors made waves a few months ago when it released renderings of a cruiser-style electric motorcycle that offered features you don’t normally find on e-motorcycles. Some were fundamental, like a relaxed, cruiser seating position and weather-defying two-wheel drive. Others were more nebulous, like a promised 300-mile cruising range. Compared to bikes like the Harley Livewireand Damon Hypersport, it seemed like a moonshot. To people all too familiar with EV startups and broken promises, it seemed like vaporware. To people who loved the graceful lines of the Indian Chief, the styling seemed a bit clunky. Zaiser founder CEO only listened to one of those groups, and went back to the drawing board, coming back with not one, but two Electrocycle (™) designs.

The first is the Silhouette, and it’s a much cleaner, more developed take on the original cruiser design that continues to promise 120 MPH top speeds and 300 miles of range. The second is the Arrow, a bike that targets commuters and city riders who are looking for a lighter, more affordable Electrocycle™.

“It should be BRG (British Racing Green),” I told Anthony, when he sent me the original Arrow renderings. “Otherwise, it’s perfect.”

Anthony doesn’t take the compliment. He looks at the renderings again. “You’re right, actually.”

That’s the surprising thing about the Zaiser founder. Anthony is remarkably un-full of himself and down to Earth — a trait I haven’t found in many product designers. More than that, though, he’s a genuine motorcycle enthusiast, and he genuinely believes he can bring something to the table that hasn’t been there before.

“We’re definitely working on some fun trim levels down the line,” he says, and we talk a bit more about his vision for the Arrow, which is aimed at a different segment of the motorcycle market, one closer to the space occupied by players like Livewire and Zero. But, frankly, they don’t have the look.

I ask Anthony if he thinks the bike will be ready for the Electrify Expo live show in Austin this November. “I want to ride it onto the stage for the reveal,” I tell him. “It will fit well with my summer guy/fat biker look, you know?”

“I think it was made for that, actually!” he says, cheerfully. And that’s the thing about Anthony that seems to set him apart from a lot of these guys and their ultra-ambitious startups that are going to change the world and reinvent commuting and all that. Anthony’s like, a regular dude (albeit a talented one) who happens to love motorcycles, and he’s not trying to convince you that he’s anything but. “Right now we’re trying to raise $50,000 specifically to build a prototype, but building prototypes for that little isn’t exactly a walk in the park, so we’re really trying to drive that raise home.”

Anthony was worried about the unexpected death of comedian Norm MacDonald and Apple dropping the new iPhone 13 on the day of his initial press release hurting his chances at meeting his goal. “None of us come from rich families,” he explains. “We’re all pretty broke and just trying to make this happen.”

He needn’t have worried. At the time of this writing, Anthony’s Zaiser Motors has raised more than $80,000, and is just starting to gain real traction. I can’t help but be happy for the guy.

“Dude, one of my first jobs was working in the prototype shop at Mosler back in the 90s. Even back then $50,000 wasn’t a lot (to build a prototype)!” I told him. “I dig your take. The electric motorcycle won’t fly (in the US) until there’s a cruiser, IMO. That’s still the US market, and maybe for another decade or two, yet.”

For his part, Anthony seems to agree, but it’s clear that I’m the old guy in this conversation. Anthony appreciates cruisers and is steeped in their history and traditions, but he has his own kind of love for them, and it’s different from mine. Similarly, I appreciate the urban utility of the UJM-style Arrow, but it feels a bit weird with my feet underneath me — let alone behind me! The Arrow is the future of the sport, probably, while the Silhouette is the now. If only just.

The clever bit, though, is that a lot of the engineering will carry over from one bike to the other. From the press release, “Zaiser Motors’ unique modular system allows for maximum personalization and sustainability/replaceability of parts, including the battery, to meet expectations of other rapid development cycles within the industry and further extend the lifespan of each vehicle.”

It sounds a little too PR-ish for my tastes, but Anthony hired a professional to help with the PR launch, and they’re doing him good. That may not be a particularly compelling read for me, but I’m not investing thousands into Anthony’s vision, either. The people that can will respond well.  They’ll also like the nod to the typical “green” concerns about emissions and sustainability found in the PR. “Because the motorcycles are 100% electric, it’s estimated that the bikes will cut down emissions, saving 12,000 pounds of CO2 each year per Electrocycle™. The company also aims to recycle the majority of the components within the first 10 years of production, making this one of the most sustainable electric bikes on the market.”

Zaiser’s ticking all the “want” boxes, and they’ve got their ask. Now the only thing that remains to be seen is whether or not they can deliver on their concept bikes’ promises. I’m not convinced they can, but I’m convinced that they’re sincere enough to give it their best shot, and my garage will be a happy enough place for a big Zaiser bagger to find itself in if they do.

How do you guys feel about Anthony’s chances? Do you think Zaiser Motors has what it takes to compete with Livewire and Zero by going where they ain’t, or do you think those guys are skipping the cruiser market for a reason? Scroll on down to the comments section and let us know.

 Zaiser Motors Pitch Video

 
 
 
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Written By

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.

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