Michael “Woolie” Woolaway facelifts Zero Motorcycles SR/S into a retro-futurist café racer





When master fabricator Michael “Woolie” Woolaway gets down to fabricating a bike using old school techniques – it results in pure magic. A visually-pleasing form that resonates with the perfect symmetry of shapes that evoke a sense of excitement even before one pushes the throttle. For a change, Michael embarked on creating a custom electric bike – the first electric motorcycle that he has laid hands on for a thrilling collaboration. The collaboration between Zero Motorcycles and Deus ex Machina – courtesy of Michael’s creative inputs has resulted in a stunning custom-made all-electric SR/S café racer.

Zero Motorcycles SR/S was introduced in February this year, and it instantly resonated with buyers given its superior design and better range over the street bike Zero SR/F. Rewind back to last year when Woolaway came across Zero Motorcycles Race Team engineers at the 98th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb competition in Colorado Springs – the idea to customize a Zero electric motorcycle was sparked in the legendary fabricator’s mind. And what better way to do it than on the Zero Motorcycles SR/S – it’s a clean slate that can be modified with creative freedom. That’s because there are no gas tanks and the presence of a trellis frame makes it ideal to weave the magic. He was sent a stock SR/S before its unveil and even though he had to counter the difficulties related to coronavirus lockdown, Woolaway used decades of industry connections to keep things going. As he elaborated, “I wanted to do something kind of old and new, old shapes that I grew up with and new technology, no computer work, just foam, plastic, shaping and measuring tools, transfer tools and kind of the old school way.”

The custom SR/S capable of churning out 114 hp and a top speed of 124 mph is crafted from a single carbon mold of carbon fiber composites and Woolaway also took help from aerospace engineers from Lockheed Martin who helped with the monocoque assembly. Of course, there are custom inclusions like hand-blown windscreen from Zero Gravity, race car-style winglets, a brand-new seat from Saddlemen, custom thumb brake from Spain, Showa suspension, and ultra-light Dymag carbon wheels. Apparently, this is the first time the master crafter has been able to unleash his creative bits to organically shape something. As he added, “You’re thinking about function and seating position and weight distribution, distance to the pegs… I’ve never been able to just organically create a shape for a motorcycle like this ever. And it was a great experience and I hope everybody likes it.”

Designers: Zero Motorcycles with Michael “Woolie” Woolaway