At the highest level, Curtiss exists to make the best and finest LEV’s of all. My real contribution to the Curtiss One, other than sharing this aligned vision, was my mandate that the proportion of every Curtiss be ideal. Unique types and styles for varying tastes are envisioned; every Curtiss must have perfect proportion.
When I was a kid in the early 1970’s, I knew the guys who ran and hung out at the Harley dealer in Baton Rouge. These were shovel head types, they never really got on with the blockheads. Certainly, the shovel rocker box was far more aesthetically desirable in its design detail, but the real difference, in my opinion, was that the shovel was an inch shorter. I always believed that one inch is subliminally what turned the hard core Harley aficionado of that time away from the taller engine/motorcycle.
With the Curtiss One, we deliver 25% more potential peak power than our old-tech gassers, yet we have cut 10 inches of fat from the core of the machine. It’s like the aesthetic difference between a 1970 Hemi Challenger or Z28 Camaro and their modern day interpretations. The former are like they were intended to be: natural, confident and lovely; the latter are inorganic, commercially-driven reactions to the plethora of safety, noise, pollution control and fuel consumption regulations that have afflicted car and motorcycle makers since 1970.
The Curtiss One’s proportion is 28.5% slimmer. Irrespective of gestalt, detail or graphic design, the effect is what you would expect. It is like seeing someone after they reduced their weight by 28.5%. There is a renewal of inner comfort in that persons skin, a rejuvenation of confidence and a relaxed, likable sense of ease and attractiveness that wasn’t there before.
And it doesn’t come easy! Shrinking the powertrain to its highest level of core density and weight was required. It has taken time. It has taken developmental dollars. It has led to the purchase of the most expensive per-unit powertrain technology we have ever specified, by far. Was it worth it?
On my first ride back home in New Orleans I got my answer. Down by the river on Chartres Street, I was making a left turn when a very pleasant and attractive middle aged lady asked if I would stop for a second for her to communicate something to me. I dutifully followed her instruction. She proceeded to inform me that the Curtiss One I was riding was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. From this, I extrapolate that it was worth it!