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Redesigned 2019 Zero FX into Blackbird Electric Motorcycle

Written by Plan B motorcycles

The SR-71 “Blackbird” is probably one of the most iconic Stealth aircraft ever built and it was the top-notch technology for its time. Nevertheless, it ended up not being that stealthy at all, but what it lacked in the “incognito” department was overcome by its unbelievable speed, allowing it to simply leave the missiles behind.
Nowadays Electric motorcycles are arguably the top of our time’s technology, but are they working?
For sure they can be pretty fast.

Plan B Blackbird Electric Motorcycle

The Plan B Blackbird started life as a 2019 Zero Fx.

2019. Zero Fx
2019. Zero Fx

The customer asked for a small, lightweight, and nimble electric “modern cafè racer”, and because I love swapping purposes on a bike, the off-road “entry-level” from Zero was a perfect choice.

2019. Zerof Fx
Plan B motorcycles rear part

The rear part of the frame was chopped off and a lot of time was spent playing around with the geometry to make it road worthy. The OEM enduro wheels were ditched in favor of a set of 17″ Grimeca ones with supermoto tires, the forks are now 50mm USD Marzocchi with custom-made CNC “feet” to accommodate two massive Beringer 6 pots calipers and a double Metal Ceramic 340mm rotor set from Brilotech (yes, that’s an overkill).

Zero FX Resdesign
Plan B motorcycles – Zero FX retro redesign
Beringer 6 pots calipers and a double Metal Ceramic 340mm rotor set from Brilotech

Beringer 6 pots calipers and a double Metal Ceramic 340mm rotor set from Brilotech

Both the upper and lower clamps are also CNC’d from big solid aluminum blocks over my design to have the right amount of offset, ending up with a quite neutral 98mm trail (with some room for adjustment).

fully adjustable mono-shock from Gears Racing
Fully adjustable mono-shock from Gears Racing

Because of the moto-3-like dimensions, the clips are moved 50mm forward, allowing for a more laid-down riding position and a bit more weight on the front of the bike. At the back, the swingarm is still the OEM one with a new fully adjustable mono-shock from Gears Racing.

Handmade bodywork in aluminum “ink Coated” by the guys at Paint Republic Vignale

All the bodywork is handmade in aluminum and was then “ink Coated” by the guys at Paint Republic Vignale. A crazy job for a crazy couple of alchemists that makes the bike look a very deep, chrome-like black until the sun touches it. Only then you can see the aluminum of the bodywork underneath and all the reflections together with a handful of hidden details. The “magic potion” was laid directly on top of the aluminum panels to allow the see trough effect, meaning that not a single drop of filler is been used to smooth things out.

Blackbird cockpit design

The cockpit is super busy, as a proper aircraft one should be. Together with the original digital gauge, there is now an infrared rear view camera, a top-mounted radial steering damper integrated into the top clamp, several aircraft switches, and an attitude indicator. This serves absolutely no purpose but it’s fun to look at while you are making a corner.

Flipping the ignition of the bike will start the “pre-flight” check: the two air ducts on the side will open and close and they will now open up every time the brakes are engaged, working as a real active-aero/air-brakes combo.

At the same time, the two fans inside the lower fairing will start spinning, serving a double purpose. First is cooling, a feature that the Fx is missing from the factory, and the second one is a safety feature.

The fans speed is controlled by the throttle, so the more “gas” you give to the bike, the more air is channeled through the aluminum fairing, cooling the whole battery, motor, and regulator assembly and making a jet-like sound that will hopefully make the other users of the roads more aware of your presence.
Everything can be switched back off with the several levers and switches in the cockpit, allowing to put the bike back in quite true “stealth mode”.

When working on custom electric bikes nowadays it looks like two main roads are being followed; the “retrò” way and the super futuristic one. One of the main goals of this build was to set aside the “green” argument for a bit to see if a “contemporary” electric custom was possible and if it would fit into present history without the need for an internal combustion engine.
Still don’t know if this could be the future of custom motorcycle works, but for sure it can be the present.

EvNerds thoughts:

Plan B motorcycles added their Italian touch to the original Zero Fx design and reworked their way around the Zero FX chassis. They created a new form that not only brought some light to the original design but improved some of the cooling tech features inside the motorcycle. We can’t wait to see more Plan B creations in the future!

This story and article was written by PlanB motorcycles and posted by EvNerds for Christian and his brand: Plan B Motorcycles

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What do you think?


Written by EvNerds


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