Hugo Eccles is founder and director of Untitled Motorcycles, a design company that creates and builds custom motorcycles for private clients and for factory brands such as Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Triumph, Yamaha, and Zero.
Originally an industrial designer Eccles has led projects for global brands including AT&T, American Express, Alessi, Hewlett Packard, Honda, TAG Heuer and Nike.
A graduate of the Royal College of Art in London, Eccles got his start working alongside Bill Moggridge and Tim Brown at international design consultancy IDEO, and later with celebrity designer Ross Lovegrove. After a decade of working in London, Eccles emigrated to the USA in 2003 to become Global Director of Product Design at Fitch, winning numerous awards for the agency. From there, he went on head the Arnell Group’s Innovation Lab in New York City.
“We’ve been fans of Hugo’s work since we saw his Hyper Scrambler on Jay Leno’s Garage.” says Zero’s VP of Product Development, Brian Wismann.
In 2010, Eccles returned to the UK to work with Sir Terence Conran as MD of Studio Conran, and later Creative Director at Native Design. He returned to America in 2014 to establish Untitled Motorcycles in California, the epicenter of custom culture and design.
Untitled Motorcycles exclusively customizes the new Zero SR/F
A few short months after Zero Motorcycles revealed its newest SR/F model, the Californian manufacturer has unveiled the ZERO XP, an experimental electric motorcycle designed and built by Eccles. Last year, while the SR/F was in the final stages of development, Zero gave Eccles exclusive access to the pre-production prototypes and to their team of engineering and electronics experts.
“We appreciate how Hugo works with a select group of brands on a few carefully-chosen projects. We’d been looking for the right opportunity to work together for a while and felt the SR/F was the perfect fit for Hugo’s future-forward design approach”, says Zero’s VP of Product Development, Brian Wismann.
For Eccles, who trained at the prestigious Royal College of Art in London and has worked on concept cars for Ford Motor Co., the custom SR/F project was a unique 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 these 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 ZERO XP’s bodywork is as about as spare as it gets, 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 and carefully reintroducing only what was required, like the knee panels, which Eccles’ prototype studies revealed to be critical to the rider’s ability to control the bike.
Those 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 knew that I didn’t want to hide the powertrain behind a fairing,” says Eccles. “I wanted to unapologetically celebrate the electric character of this motorcycle.”
The XP’s powertrain is a machined aerospace aluminum core that contains the batteries, motor, charger, and other control components and incorporates the seat. “Drag bikes were an inspiration,” says Eccles. “With the XP, you’re literally riding the motor. This is a deceptively powerful bike and I wanted to physically embody that raw power.”
Eccles also drew inspiration from rally car aerodynamics and experimental aircraft. “The XP can go from zero to 200kph without a single gear change, and that 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.”
If you’re wondering what it’s like to ride, the XP’s ergonomics are surprisingly familiar. “The SR/F already had good ergonomics, so I didn’t want to mess around with those,” says Eccles. 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. Custom clip-on handlebars, integrating an internal throttle and minimal switchgear, lend the motorcycle a more aggressive stance.
The final result is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. “Hugo is one of the most interesting designer-builders out there and it shows with the ZERO 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, Eccles 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 is to celebrate this unique riding experience through an entirely new function-led aesthetic. If the ZERO XP looks futuristic, it’s because electric motorcycles like the SR/F are the future.”
Eccles intends to offer a limited production run of the XP. He is also working on a bolt-on kit (headlight, tank, seat, etc) for the stock SR/F.
- Length: 80” / 204cm
- Width: 27” / 68cm
- Height: 39” / 98cm
- Seat: 30” / 76cm
- Weight: 481lbs / 218kg
- Range: 80-160mi / 130-260km
- Speed: 124mph / 200kmh
- Custom-designed, CNC’d polymer panels with frosted polycarbonate edges
- Custom seat, upholstered in ultrasuede, UMC tag
- Custom CNC’d 6061 aerospace aluminum seat shell, nose and bellypan
- Custom CNC’d 6061 aerospace aluminum fork brackets
- Aerospace Material Specification ‘Ghost Grey’ experimental aircraft paint
Frame & Suspension
- Zero SR/F frame, modified
- Showa SFF-BP 43mm self-balancing forks, adjustable preload, compression, rebound, modified
- Twin 320mm NG floating front discs with dual J.Juan 4-pot calipers
- Zero SR/F 3.50 x 17” cast alloy front wheel
- Showa GK01 monoshock with piggyback reservoir
- 240mm rear disc with J.Juan single-pot floating caliper
- Zero SR/F 5.50 x 17” cast alloy rear wheel, Gates Carbon Drive belt
- Pirelli Diablo Superbike race tires (180/60-17 rear, 120/70-17 front)
- Zero ZF75-10 – 102v, 900A electric motor with clutchless direct drive
- Zero ZF14.4 Power Pack – 112 Li-ion NMC cells, 102v nominal (116v peak), 14.4 kW/h
- Relocated & customized Zero 3.0 kW charger unit
- Custom CNC’d top bracket with integrated speedometer and dot matrix display
- Custom clip-on bars, with internal electronic throttle
- Motogadget Motoscope Mini LED display, integrated into custom top bracket
- Dot matrix ‘D/N’ display, integrated into custom top bracket
- Custom-molded grips
- Ruffy 5-way thumb joystick with custom-molded rubber cover
- ISR brake master with integrated switches, internally wired
- Goodridge Sniper 2 braided stainless steel brake lines
- Custom CNC’d 6061 aluminum footrest brackets with ABS heel guards
- Zero Cypher III display, integrated into ‘tank’
- Customised Zero firmware
- Customised and relocated battery charger
- Motogadget m-Lock keyless RFID ignition, integrated into ‘tank’ screen
- Custom anodized aluminium RFID key fob
- Motobox custom LED tail light array with integrated turn signals
- Motobox custom LED panel edges
- 4XLED twin headlights