THE ZERO SR
*disclaimer, this blogpost will be in European Metric numbers, like km/h and kg, for the exact numbers for zero in Mph and lbs see Zeromotorcycles.com
Slowly but surely, the offer in Electric motorcycles starts to grow all over the world. I had never ridden an electric motorcycle before, so together with Zero Motorcycles I discussed the possibility of trying out their fleet of motorcycles. And finally, the day came! I got to try the Zero SR first.
As a Electric motorcycle newbie, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect when riding an electric motorcycle. Sure, I had heard the stories about the immense torque and also about the problem of not having a lot of range, because electric motorcycles simply aren’t fully advanced in that part yet, but other than that my mind was open for new experiences. Already no longer being a girl that prefers loud exhausts over anything an having an open mind for what the future brings.
So, the day came that I could welcome the Zero SR to my home for the coming 2 weeks, I got it delivered to my doorstep by a cargo truck. Quite a special feeling, not gonna lie!
The truck driver got the Zero SR out of the truck and placed in front of my doorstep, and once he was gone and I waved my goodbyes I could take a good look at this machine.
One of the things that stands out directly is the kind of bronze colored engine in the middle of the motorcycle. It’s cilinder formed and quite large. It says “Z-Force 75-10” on the side which is the name of the engine, which is also air cooled and delivers 14.4 kWh power and the bike has a whopping 166 Nm torque. Upon looking a bit further your eyes starts missing a few parts, which would be the gear lever and handle. You do not need to shift on this bike, so those aren’t necessary!
It’s a pretty good-looking bike, and I was stoked to get to try this one out.
Quickly after the Zero got delivered I decided to take it for a spin. It had just rained and it was still drizzling from time to time, so I put the bike in “rain” mode, and took off.
It’s quite an unique feeling of getting to twist the throttle and immediately feeling a response, smoothly going up in km/h but not having to shift one single time. It surely also was something to get used to when coming to a stop or slowing down for a roundabout. I was grabbing air trying to get the clutch more times than I can count in the first 10 minutes. But, after I got a little acquainted with the bike I quickly learned that it was no longer necessary and I could let go of my urges to grab hold of the clutch, for most of the times, that is.
If I have to give one word to describe this first ride, it would be “smooth”. Because, that it was! I did not really miss the feeling of throbbing and thrusting from an combustion engine when riding, though I did sometimes wish I could “drop a gear and disappear”, like the saying goes. The Zero however has that insane amount of Torque, especially when you twist the throttle from stand still. It doesn’t overwhelm you, though. It’s thrilling and fast, but those first few meters Zero thought it through well enough and it won’t blow you off your saddle, even when you’re in sport mode. So, easily said, the first ride I got a good view of riding this, for me, completely new bike in the rain. It responds well, and on roundabouts and in corners it doesn’t take away your confidence at all, even though the tarmac is wet.
A few rides down
Now that we’ve done a few rides I have got to know the Zero a little bit better (I figured out it has cruisecontrol!), my partner Rick also had a chance to ride it, and even my good friend and photographer Jane got a chance to test it out when we went out for some videos and pictures! Everyone that has tried it out up until now is super stoked about the abilities of the SR, the way it goes trough corners smoothly and also about the torque when pulling up. I myself am absolutely loving every ride I have the chance to make with the Zero and take every opportunity I have to take it out for a spin, even though we’re in the midst of moving into our new home ;-). I think, that says enough, but also that I am a riding addict and can’t go a week without riding a motorcycle, hehe.
Since having it I have already received tons of messages from people asking all kinds of stuff about the Zero SR. One of the most frequent questions being: What’s the range? And although I would love to give a quick and easy answer on that, it is a bit more complicated than that.. This is because it completely depends on your riding style. This is already the case with your normal combustion engine motorcycles, but with electric motorcycles even more so because it repurposes the braking into more energy. So, the Zero website gives us an insight on the range in the city, on the highway with 89 km/h and both, and on the highway with 113 km/h and both. All very specific numbers, probably copied and pasted from miles into km/h on the European website. You can check out those numbers through this link. We’ll be using what we have experienced ourselves.
When I got the Zero SR I saw on the dashboard that it gave a specific range of 170 km. The Zero SR wasn’t new out of the box and used before by someone else testing it, so I was already considering that the last person using the Zero had probably been using it in sport mode, which drains the battery quite a bit faster.
As I got to riding in the rain in rain mode I quickly saw that the range wasn’t going down that quickly, probably because I was having an easy ride in the rain getting to know the bike. After a ride of about 30 kms I came home and saw on the dashboard that it now said it had a range of 158 kms. I was pleasantly surprised to see it hadn’t used a lot of battery on this easy ride and that the range actually went down way less in km’s than the length of my ride was.
The second time however I went for a ride on the back with Rick, he put it into sportmode to try it a bit out. We had been riding around for about 2 hours and had covered somewhat around 90 kms, when we got home the range was down to 10%. That was a bit scary on the way home, especially since we didn’t really know how fast the battery would drain once it goes below 10%.
So, all in all, from a full battery until charging again for the 1st time I had covered around 120 km’s. It was though with 2 adult people on the bike for the most of it, and some sporty riding together with Rick. If I were to be alone and would, in the sport setting, but not ride sporty on every part of the journey I would have easily gotten that 170 kms out of the bike.
Another question I have gotten a few times is: What’s the top speed. And, I have tested it out on a safe and sound location and came to 171 km/h in the sport setting. I also tried it out in eco and it feels like there’s a limiter in there at 120 km/h. It won’t go faster.
There is an upgrade available in the Cypher store for the SR which will give it some more power, and with that it is supposed to go up to 200 km/h. Which is fun, but other than use on track I don’t see where in the Netherlands you would really need that.
I also got questions about weight and height of the bike, and the motorcycle itself has a weight of 222 kg, and even though you can feel this when the bike isn’t on and you have to move it, somehow once you turn the ignition key and flip up the side standard, it feels so much lighter. It probably has something to do with the technology in there, but that’s something that’s way too cryptic for me, so I’ll just leave it at that I can feel something happening.
The height of the seat is 787 mm, a pretty good height and being 1m75 tall with shorter legs than some of my shorter friends, peoportionwise, I could flat foot easily on this bike!
Pro’s & Cons
I promised everyone an honest an open review on the Zero SR, and even though I am mostly very positive about this bike and what it can do, as seen above, I also have some things that could be better, or that I would do differently.
First of being the Cypher store. You basically have all kinds of options available on your bought motorcycle, but to use some, you have to pay to unlock them and install them. That’s kind of like treating motorcycles like they are an Playstation game, which they aren’t.. But, on the other hand, if they were to do it differently, say metaphorically, by sending you a package in which you can find a USB or hard drive that you then have to stick into your motorcycle to download the data and install it onto your motorcycle, then it would be very time consuming and less zero emission because there is a whole lot of boxing and sending out and storage centers and all that kind of stuff involved.. But, it kinda makes it feel like you have this motorcycle, which you legally bought, you have the documentation and everything, but it still isn’t completely yours because the company Zero still has a lot of grip on what things you’re allowed to use, and which not.
It seems as if there should just be another option Zero has to give which would make it feel a bit less like you’re unlocking something on your motorcycle which was already there when you bought it.
But, then again, it’s a bit of software that you have to download to put on your motorcycle, maybe it isn’t really already there on your motorcycle to begin with. Maybe what is already on your motorcycle is an empty slot that you can fill with said software download. And in that case, it would be less fishy, but still something Zero should maybe rethink.
Other than the Cypher store, which is a con in the format of software, there is really not much to say negatively about the Zero SR. It’s an amazing bike, has steering control which is as sharp as a filet knife, and seamless acceleration. I do miss the feeling of being able to drop a gear and then twisting the throttle, giving you an explosion of torque. But this bike already has so much torque on it’s own, it’s something that can be missed.
So, what do you think? Are you willing to try out electric riding, maybe even a Zero Motorcycle?