Subcompact Culture — The small car blog: Quick Ride: Zero Motorcycles…

18 Апр 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Subcompact Culture — The small car blog: Quick Ride: Zero Motorcycles… отключены
Zero XU

Quick Ride: Zero Zero XU and Zero S ZF6

In addition to a fan of small cars and small I also take a keen in electric vehicles. They a minimum of moving parts and a is as close as the nearest wall Needless to say I was thrilled to get a chance to ride both of Zero current street models: the XU and Zero S.

There are only a of street legal production motorcycles that will a full size … to speeds for any significant distance. Of the few are, I think Zero make the prettiest ones you can buy right now. Both look like real not some electric appliance or mountain bike with a

It’s not a scooter, it’s not a it’s a real motorcycle and it the part.

The XU has white bodywork on a frame with spoked It has the definite look of a super (think dirt bike street wheels and tires) its dirt bike roots. The S is all with cast alloy in a deep metallic crimson.

It has a modern shaped headlight of a basic round one and just a more swoop to the minimal giving it more of a … fighter look. Both have inverted forks, usually reserved for higher end in the gasoline world. Great for great for handling.

The XU is the smaller It weighs only 221 lbs. has a top of 65mph (55mph sustained a max range of 42 miles in the city and 28 on the freeway. The larger S comes in two the ZF6 and ZF9, the difference being a battery for the ZF9 which increases They weigh in at 297/341 respectively, top speed of 88mph for (75mph sustained), and max ranges of miles city or 43/63 highway.

Take the range with a grain of salt. EPA MPG ratings you’d need to be a rider with a delicate on the throttle to achieve them. those ranges make bikes real possibilities for commutes and the ZF9 is the first production to boast a range over a 100

Both bikes also a switch for either Sport or Eco Eco mode gives you less and more regenerative braking for range.

Battery technology is key to electric vehicles feasible. is green but the batteries can be anything Lithium ion and a host of other new technologies have helped from cell phones to cars get more power less weight, nearly power until complete more recharge cycles, charging memory problems, whites, and brighter colors.

You get the Downside? They’re usually toxic and very difficult if not to recycle. And sometimes they fire. Or explode.

The Zero’s salt-based battery is different. It tend to get hot in use, so no fires or Toxic? Hardly. You can legally it in a landfill.

Not that you would, you can and recycle it, but it’s nice to that the toxic footprint is so for something that powers a vehicle.

These bikes are cleanly made and well The suspension, brake, and all other are obviously top notch stuff. mostly machined parts, not cast stuff. The frame is a of art and Zero takes great in both its looks and light

If there’s one thing that out as sub-par it’s the body over the tank and rear They’re made of thin, plastic, they’re quite and resilient but they just have that super look of everything else. A bit sculpting on the panels would them up to the level of everything

I rode the smaller XU first. Its weight is immediately apparent by throwing a leg over it. Another that is immediately obvious is an well balanced suspension the front and rear.

The XU feels a bit soft to me but bounce up and on the seat and the front and back go up and down in perfect unison. low to mid range gasoline bikes on the especially from Japan, soft forks. I’m a guy at 220lbs. but even lighter often note the tendency of ends to dive excessively even moderate braking.

I wish I knew.

Getting is very simple: turn the thumb the ignition switch to on. The will go through a setup that takes a few second and a large green light on the illuminates. Twist the throttle and you go. Controls for everything are standard controls with two notable there’s no clutch or gear

Both bikes are single twist-n-go affairs. I found looking for the clutch and gears a few in the first few minutes of riding.

take off is both impressive and It’s really difficult to a high torque electric accelerate smoothly from a stop and also difficult to speed smoothly at low speeds. never ridden an electric I was gritting my teeth and waiting for the take off lurch. that came. There’s a slight and then a silky smooth away. The disappointing bit?

feels kinda gutless up to 10mph. It’s not terrible, I was to scoot out in front of some trucks at a light and cross lanes but it’s obvious reigned things in here. is all due to the way the motor’s speed controller is You can get amazing torque from motors at low speeds.

I’m the motor and battery combo have spun the tire it melted but that would do bad like make lots or get hot and eat the battery’s charge really

Once past 10mph you can a notable increase in the available I rode it around through traffic and then on some deserted streets. When you the throttle there is an initial from a … stop and progress up to 10 mph but then, well, it feels like a small Throttle and brakes both and modulate very well.

The suspension is well balanced, well balanced. All three of us who the bikes noted afterward the composed suspension was the most feature of the XU. What I thought soft in the parking lot was perfect, for my fat ….

No nose dives no wiggles turning corners. the same bike feels for a 165lb. rider and a 200lb. you know the engineers did their This chassis is seriously in.

So it feels like a regular just amazingly quiet. you stop. And it’s creepy how is going on. Nothing vibrates, makes any noise at all.

no reason to blip the throttle, no to pull in, no gears to shift. never had quiet feel so Even when you’re the bike is amazingly silent, a whir from the engine and and that’s it.

I noticed the same Prius drivers report, notices you. It’s obvious that no one notices even people crossing the just a few feet in front of you turn their heads. I was to yell at someone just to them out.


The quiet also has another With no engine growl or no gears to shift, and the sedate takeoff you don’t notice how you get to 50mph. There’s a definite in the acceleration once you’re 10mph and from 30-50 really pretty good.

You hear a huge rush of and suddenly you’re flying. you might be tempted to go WOT like you with an underpowered gasoline you actually do need to back it or you will plant yourself in rear bumper. Don’t get me it’s not neck snapping but if it for the lack of noise you’d you were riding a regular

I did flip the Eco/Sport switch and forth a few times. In Eco mode I feel a slight decrease in the range acceleration but it was still for getting around. It didn’t like anyone had cut the power in or anything, just a little

There’s also more braking but I couldn’t say for sure I any difference.

Zero XU


The S ZF6 was next. With one I headed straight for the freeway and I disappointed. Again, a slight and easy acceleration up to 10mph and things kicked in. Also no neck snapping acceleration but I knew it I was doing 75mph in silence except for the wind

It’s amazing how fast it got I’d have to say it felt than my everyday 500cc It’s also weird while a small gas engine to peter out as the speed goes up the just seems to keep on I had no problem merging and keeping up midday freeway traffic.

I off the freeway and wandered back the city. The S is heavier and the suspension a bit stiffer. I think it may be just a bit too The ZF9 is the same bike with more battery on board, that would be just the amount of weight to balance the feel.

It was again perfectly front to rear with no Handling was great, brakes and were both more up to anything needed. One rider who got it up to terminal velocity noted it started to get a bit twitchy at the front

It is a fairly small and light with a short wheelbase so that’s not surprising.

There are a of nice little touches all the bike. The open ended cross members of the frame as storage for the charging cable so you can it with you. The dash has a big green light to let you know the beast is awake. There are interlocks on the side stand and to keep you from unintentionally away from a stop. The is simple and easy to read speed and a ‘gas gauge’ there.

The XU was also fitted with an seat from Corbin. It was more comfortable than the seat on the S and if I were buying bike I’d cough up the dough for it.


So what’s not to Well, there’s always Charging times to 100% for the XU, S and S ZF9 respectively with just the on charger are 3.1, 6, and 9 hours. You can get to 95% in a bit time.

You can also add one extra off charger to the XU to take charge down to 2 hours, or add up to three off chargers to the the 6 and 9 bringing charge down to 1.8 and 2.4 hours. You can also add one or two accessory chargers to either S for proportionally different charging see the website for details. Of course of these chargers needs its own 15A circuit to run so if you want four chargers running you’ll four circuits and three of the sitting on the shelf in your


The prices are also to consider. The bikes start at $11,495, and $13,995, respectively. You may pay a bit more for freight and prep on a standard bike.

Due to the large these bikes qualify as materials for shipping purposes. Are bikes worth the price? say absolutely for all the cool green you get, but at those prices you also be looking at many alternatives.

If you’re looking to money a brand new 250cc costs less than the XU and gets around 60mpg, and a one can be had in good condition for just a few dollars. At the upper end, you can buy a lot of tech on two wheels for $14k and be getting 40-50MPG. Of course the cleanest gas bikes still more tailpipe emissions most cars, the emissions just aren’t as sophisticated

If you regularly ride long these are not the bikes for you. the performance is more than for getting around and having fun not going to leave any sport in your dust. If you ride a to help keep your costs down it will a while until the money you on gas makes up for the purchase price.

All said, I was really impressed both bikes and I had a blast them. For 99% of my riding, which is twelve miles each way to with a mix of back roads and any of them would fit the bill and be plenty fun for a short ride on the The cost is an issue, I could my garage with a few rat bike or a solid second bike for the I’d spend on these.

I’ve had my eye on electrics for the past few now and these are seriously cool. is definitely on my short list of bikes to put in the garage.

Zero XU
Zero XU
Zero XU


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