The “Ex”-man, Virgil Exner, head of Chrysler design in the halcyon days of American Industrial Design, always noted that “she’s got to drive like she looks”. Replace drive with ride and you frame the magnitude of my emotions as I mounted the One for my first ride at 10:32 p.m. on January 7, one hour and 28 minutes from my 67th birthday.
I knew what I wanted. My personal priority from the outset of this dream project can best be summarized by one word; centering. This was not about incrementalism. We killed new Golden Age proportion, 100%. Now, to meet the “Ex”-man standard, we required new Golden Age “Balance”. Two-wheeled transport inherently lacks balance. After all, humanity shares the common memory of the first time we were turned loose on our bicycle without training wheels. By nature, there was a side-to-side to and fro that corrputed our balance. This sensation fueled our fear of falling, making it more likely. On the ICE motorcycle, these dynamic mechanical motions complicate and corrupt far more due to the volume and non-lineariaty of moving bits, the inherent asymmetry of the old technology and the fact that these compromises make it impossible to precisely position the rider at the center of his machine. The One is the first motorcycle ever to be precision centered. The output of the motor is keyed at its center on the exact center line of the Curtiss. This 39mm hard-steel axle connects the core, within which the powertrain is centered, to the legs of the beast, likewise centered, as are the arms, connected at the neck. The only moving piece is that oversized output shaft and the perfectly centered wheels. This advanced state-of-the-art design facilitates placement of the rider in perfect symmetry to his machine.
The proof of the pudding is in the tasting, and it’s good. Our priorities have been justified. What I felt and sensed on that critical first Curtiss One riding experience was BALANCE, exponentially greater than ever experienced before on two wheels. I can wax poetically about the highest level of quality man/machine information sharing, it being so sublime, precise and easy to access and understand. Clarity indeed abounds.
But what I dreamed of and wanted most of all was what I got; pure confidence.
It is the greatest sensation; the root of a better way for a greater age.