There are some startups you just want to see make it due to sheer brashness of their ideas – and the execution of the product. Arc motorcycles, a hopeful startup electric motorcycle maker based in the U.K., is one of those concerns we hope finds success.
Not to be confused with film star Keanu Reeves’ ARCH motorcycles, Arc first pricked up ears in 2018 with images of the base chassis of their Vector prototype, which featured a radical front suspension, trick monocoque frame, a ton of tech and some interesting performance promises. Also, there’s that $117,000 price tag.
After three years, a worldwide pandemic and some near-death close-calls including the founder buying back the company, Arc has managed to stay afloat (sorry), and new photos show the Vector will retain its basic form seen in 2018, but now with a bit of stylistic frosting on the top.
The first bikes are reportedly heading to customers who backed the original crowdfunding campaign pre-covid. “The architecture featured in the images is now production-ready, and a number of production-spec Vector motorcycles will be out in Spain for final sign off and homologation over the coming months,” Arc CEO Mark Truman said in a press release. “Customers are already going through our new commissioning suite in Central England to individually tailor each Vector motorcycle so that they are all unique.” Want one? Better get your order in as Arc is only going to produce 399 units this year. You know Bruce Wayne is likely getting a low production number.
The new photos show the new bodywork, such that it is, consists of a small belly section that cleans up the motor area and a seat/headlight module that caps the battery case – which is also the bike’s primary frame component. The headlights consists of a pair of projection LEDS braced by some parenthetical LED DRL-type running lights. Turn signals are neatly integrated into abbreviated winglets that move outward from the headlight. Slick? You bet, and with a price tag like that, you better believe you can get it with some finely polished wood trim as an option.
Quick tech overview: The 485-pound bikes will be packing 138 horsepower and a massive 293 pound-feet of torque channeled through a single gear and chain drive. Top speed is limited to 124mph (200kph) and 60mph arrives in 3.1 seconds. The exotic hub-center front suspension gives the Vector miles of style and if other hub-center systems are a guide, will likely imbue the bike with some nice anti-dive stability heading into corners, but possibly at the cost of a wiiiiide turning radius in parking lots. Blacked-out Öhlins dampers control suspension movement and the wheels are lightweight carbon-fiber hoops.
Power comes from a clean-sheet 399-Volt 16.8kWh battery utilizing the latest Samsung battery tech, and Arc is claiming a range of 436km/270 miles on the NEDC cycle, which sounds a bit like numbers coming from a bike heading downhill in urban traffic with a tailwind with a jockey at the controls. Real world numbers? Probably less, as Zero’s SR/S with similar battery and motor numbers couldn’t quite net 90 miles of highway riding in my test, even under the most conservative of throttle minding.
But here’s hoping, and it’s unlikely most Vector owners are going to undertake long-distance sorties on their rare and every spendy machines very often anyway. Arc claims the battery can recharge in 40 minutes on a CCS/DC Fast rapid charger.
The Arc Vector is more than just a bike, it’s a whole system. A special Arc helmet with a retro design is also packing a rear-pointing camera that feeds into a full-on head up display (HUD) display system for keeping tabs on traffic, riding route, bike stats and more. An upper body “Origin” undergarment infused with eight haptic feedback points that are tapped into sensors on the Vector will give riders a literal shoulder tap when vehicles are in a blind spot, among other warnings. It will also bump bass notes along to the beat of whatever the rider is rocking out to while underway. The helmet, if they can make it work, would be a technological wonder although aftermarket HUD systems are also now appearing.
The Arc Vector shows one way forward for electric motorcycles as they slowly divorce themselves from the traditional form factors of their gas-powered progenitors. It’s a creative, bespoke machine that while not focused on outright record-breaking performance, definitely moves the needle on innovation, form and function. Worth the money? I’d have to ride one to tell you, but Arc should immediately patent and sell that shirt to the masses.