Why should car guys have all the fun? Motorcyclists have watched on in quiet angst as car guys enjoy their engine swaps. There are far too many LS-swapped Miatas out there. You can’t even tell if the Honda Civic pulling up next to you is a stock machine or hiding an Acura motor underneath.
Motorcycles, on the other hand, have nothing to hide. Swapping motors on a motorcycle is a task best left untouched. The swap job is out in the open, not lending itself too well to the overall aesthetic. The engineering aspect is another headache.
Cole Mishler from Zero Motorcycles was hardly dissuaded by the fact. He went ahead and created a motorcycle that can go toe-to-toe with stalwarts like the Yamaha MT-09 down a dragstrip.
The object of Mishler’s attention was a Honda MSX125 Grom. It’s a 125cc, four-speed monkey bike that posts a humble 10hp and is in no hurry to get anywhere.
Why the Grom?
Cole had an answer: “The stock Grom has a tiny frame and a low-performance engine. So I saw the potential to really showcase the power and quality of the Zero drivetrain.”
And so was birthed the Grom Reaper. It now boasts of 27hp. More importantly, the torque figure sees an 800 (yes, 800) percent boost from 11Nm to a massive 90Nm. That’s close to Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 territory.
The Grom Reaper has no mass to show for its muscle though. Kerb weight has gone up to 107.5kg from the stock figure of 104kg. Mishler unlocked a little more top speed from the Reaper which now tops out at 106kph. A humongous 55-tooth rear sprocket as big as the 12-inch wheel governs the top speed and helps transmit the oodles of torque coming from the electric motor.
Wait, what? Electric motor?
Yes. Zero Motorcycles has crammed its electric motor and wiring harness into the Grom Reaper. When Mishler first proposed the idea of this bike, the team at Zero was excited, taking the project on in the after-hours. The Grom underwent a massive transformation in the R&D department at Zero’s headquarters in Scotts Valley, California.
“It was actually pretty easy to sync up the Zero drivetrain. We started by stripping out the ICE parts and the stock wiring harness,” said Mishler. “The Grom has a single frame downtube, so we cleaned it up and welded additional brackets directly onto the frame.” Mishler installed a new wiring harness and spliced the Grom’s lighting into it once the motor, controller and battery were mounted to the bike.
The battery module is a single ZF 3.6kWh unit lifted off a Zero FX. It fits rather nicely in the tank area. Mishler himself shrouded the module with a custom fibreglass shell he glassed up himself. The finished Grom is less Honda and more Zero. It also wears a menacing ‘mini streetfighter’ aura now.
Finally, the team ditched the 31mm stock forks and replaced them with high-end Öhlins numbers for a sorted ride. A remote reservoir shock out back is also from Öhlins. “It’s for a smoother riding experience,” said Cole.
The Grom Reaper possesses superbike levels of torque bundled in a monkey bike frame. Does this make for a fun bike? “My favorite part about this whole project is seeing the look on everyone’s faces once they get back from the ride. It’s impossible not to smile.”
Please take the hint Zero Motorcycles, and put an electric monkey bike into production. Pretty please?
All Images Credit: Bike Exif