Fuseworks Media

The “perfect NZ-made canvas”: Art meets functionality in custom electric motorcycles

A 3D Halloween-inspired skull, a Gina Kiel original, and a one-of-a-kind hand-drawn design that took more than 100 hours to create are just some of the customised Streetdogs cruising streets around the country as artists and local businesses customise the ground-breaking New Zealand-made electric motorcycles.

150 Streetdogs have been produced so far by FTN Motion. An urban electric motorcycle designed to reduce congestion and make commuting fun, the team behind the Streetdog is also working with innovative businesses and artists who are putting their own stamp on the motorcycle’s body (that also contains 30L of lockable storage) in unexpected and eye-catching ways. Artist Jeremy Bennett was first introduced to FTN Motion when Wellington Airport’s custom Streetdog stopped him in his tracks while on display at the terminal in 2022. Jeremy went on to become one of the first 100 people to own a Streetdog and, a few months ago, customised a limited-edition Noir Streetdog; creating a head-turning spooky art piece for Halloween for Wellington’s annual Skullduggery exhibition.

“The Streetdog’s profile is very unusual, making it the perfect canvas for the ‘Skull Motorcycle’. After designing the concept, Wellington’s Wilde Signs created wraps, which were then layered to create a subtle 3D effect that’s even more impressive close-up. In terms of the Streetdog’s industrial design, it is considered functional and beautiful. Add to the fact you can individualise the body’s design, and its unbeatable,” he says. The Skull Motorcycle has now become part of FTN Motion’s in-house lineup, and Bennett is now turning his attention to customising his own Streetdog, with an Octopus-inspired design currently in the mix. Tyler Richardson is the founder of Helmart Design. Tyler is an artist who specialises in painting motorsport helmets for athletes and clients around the world. He started his business at 12 and has grown from making friends’ helmets to crafting distinctive pieces for drivers and companies worldwide. He recently customised his own Streetdog from FTN’s 2.0 production run. “As soon as I saw the Streetdog, I loved everything about it. It was the perfect New Zealand-made canvas for me to extend and showcase my artwork into a new realm while still carrying over my unique style and detail. “I started with 20 different design concepts before eventually coming back to one of my earliest ones. FTN Motion delivered the tank to me, where I hand painted every aspect, laying the line work and putting down colours. Together with matching helmets, the paintwork process has taken over 100 hours of work, and I’m so pleased with the finished product,” he says.

Garage Project’s Tiny Bike was one of the first-ever Streetdogs made. Distinctive with its orange body branding for ‘Tiny’ their zero-alc beer, Crocky Hargreaves says it’s been invaluable to the business.

“I use our Tiny bike a lot – initially around Wellington and now around Christchurch. We didn’t want it to just be a statement piece; we also wanted to become part of the business, and both its form and function have made this easy to do,” he says.

Wellington Airport’s unique Gina Kiel Streetdog, designed with Wilde Signs, is helping the organisation meet its goal of reaching net zero emissions for operations by 2030. FTN Motion began working with Wellington Airport while it was still in the original Lyall Bay workshop. Wellington Airport’s Phil Rennie says the artwork on their bike symbolises the Airport’s role as a gateway to the wider Wellington region. Wellington’s Wilde Signs has customised four bikes, including Jeremy Bennett’s Skull Bike and the World of Wearable Art Streetdog that featured in the 2023 show. Founder Ryan Rogers describes himself as an avid motorcycle enthusiast and says being able to personalise bikes adds to the brand’s cutting-edge approach to design. “As well as the customisations, we also take care of the vinyl decals for the bikes during all production runs. I really appreciate the aesthetic they bring to the brand, and we definitely get a kick out of seeing our designs out on the roads”, he says. Wilde Signs and FTN Motion work with Streetdog owners who want to customise their bikes. Michel Roncara, FTN General Manager, says the timeless design of the Streetdog allows people to re-think the traditional concepts of motorcycle design. “The choice of electric hub drive train – along with the practicality of 30lt of lockable storage – provides the unique opportunity to offer a canvas for our customers to express themselves,” he says.

 

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