Going Electric !! 2012 Zero DS Long Term Rider Report

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Wind_Rider, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    449
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    Oregon
    Indeed, it is nice to NEVER stop for gas.

    Yes, that is odd. My current sag adjustment on the rear shock is more than suggested in the manual so the spring is softer but small bumps and road irregularities come right through to the seat. I have both rebound and compression damping in the middle of the range.

    The fork is more compliant than the rear shock. I will play with the dials more this weekend.
  2. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Mar 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    449
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    Oregon
    So last weekend I met a friend at some local twisties. I had to put the DS on the pickup carrier to take the first 20 miles off of the loop in order to have enough range. That was a real drag for me... I always hate to transport a perfectly good motorcycle with a 4 wheeler but there is not another option for the route that I wanted to ride.

    I rode with a friend who is a new rider and was riding a Ninja 250 so I did not ride real fast. I did scrub off the edges of the tires a bit and the DS is a hoot in tight corners. On the route that we took there are some corners marked for 25 MPH and some complete switchbacks.

    Riding without any concern for powerband or gear selection I found that I could focus more completely on the essence of riding and line selection. Electric power is addicting.

    The DS is great fun in the corners but the fun runs out too soon for my taste. I wish that I had a 40KW battery pack that would fit in the same space and mass.
  3. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Mar 6, 2006
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    Oregon
    Here is the rear tire at 2610 miles:

    [​IMG]

    I have never seen a tire melt as fast as this, particularly on a small bike like this.

    I will put on a new BridgeStone TrailWing next Tuesday. Not a lot of choices for the rear 16" rim.
  4. lobolator

    lobolator Been here awhile

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    Jan 26, 2010
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    321
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    Corner of Kanc and Bear Notch
    You are having too much fun wringing it's neck, apparently. :huh :D :clap
    I can't wait for this to get to the point where I can have one, in the middle of nowhere, off the grid...
  5. 100mpg

    100mpg Self Imposed Exile

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    BAH! You still have 2600 on the left side and another 2600 on the right side! Thats a lot of miles...:D
  6. firecrotch

    firecrotch Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
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    495
    I would love an electric mx bike. Theres a gazillion mtb bike trails by my house.
  7. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Mar 6, 2006
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    449
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    Oregon
    Very true... Given the commuting heavy riding cycle that this bike gets I don't get enough twisty action to scrub off the sides properly.
  8. 100mpg

    100mpg Self Imposed Exile

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    ya gotta hang off the seat on the straights! :lol3
  9. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Oregon
    2,725 miles on the ODO now and the Zero continues to run perfectly despite my rough use model. Still no startup errors, no charging issues, no running issues.

    My range is improving slightly now, probably from the warmer weather. Yesterday I rode a total of 48 miles that was a mix of city, freeway (for about 7 miles) and dirt road riding. At the end of the 48 miles the energy graph still showed 6 out of 11 bars. 100+ miles could be real for city and backroad dirt riding. I am going to take some longer dirt road spins soon now that the snow is gone or leaving from some of my favorite high altitude paths.

    The more I ride electric, the more I like it. Now that we have had a few 90 degree days this bike is excellent. Sitting at a stop light on a hot day the bike makes Zero heat. That was a big change from my Buells which could really cook the rider on a hot day in slow traffic conditions.

    I went up to a Bridgestone Trailwing TW40 120/90-16 which is wider and taller than OEM but there is still plenty of clearance around the belt, swing arm, and rear fender.

    It looks like it will hook up a lot better in loose stuff that I ride a lot. I will get some ride data tomorrow.

    For the belt drive skeptics out there I carefully inspected the belt and drive sprockets and found no damage after almost 3,000 miles of mixed riding on pavement, gravel, sand, and dirt. I ordered in a spare belt and will keep in handy in the shop but it is looking to be quite durable so far.

    Tire swap was easy, this bike is really simple to work on.

    Some pics of the old and new tire:

    Original, about gone:

    [​IMG]

    New Tire:

    [​IMG]

    Clearance:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  10. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Oregon
    Do motorcycles really need all of those fancy progressive linkages and spring rates?

    Yes, they are wonderful.

    Motorcyclist Magazine has a staff review of a 2013 Zero S here: http://blogs.motorcyclistonline.com/2013-zero-s-streetfighter-34739.html#axzz2TKMUuVdw

    Great reading for anyone considering a Zero or other electric motorcycle.

    I have to agree with Editor in Chief Marc Cook's observations of the Zero's suspension who I quote below:

    "Suspension compliance remains the last frontier of refinement for Zero. What’s there is taut but seems unsophisticated."

    Well said and accurate for my bike as well. My DS has more travel than the S model in the review, and it will drink up the bigger hits but it seems not up to par with other modern motorcycles in terms of progressive response and compliance from the smaller stuff.

    Another good quote from Marc Cook in the article: ""Electric propulsion is intoxicating." - Editor-in-Chief, Mark Cook"

    That is very true and I am also finding electric propulsion to be addicting.
  11. Shadowist

    Shadowist FX Artist

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    20
    It's fantastic seeing real-world reports on Zero Motorcycles. I've actually been really strongly considering one as my primary commuting bike. Then working on my 03' DRZ to do some adventure riding some day :D

    Looking ahead, I realize that after graduation and my loans, I simply won't have the time (and money!) to do a west coast ride to Alaska. I also won't have the time to constantly maintain a bike (particularly my old one). So, in looking for a bike that's nearly maintenance free, almost literally costs nothing to ride, and has a nice amount of torque to get around traffic...it's hard for me to find reasons not to invest in one :D That Zero FX is particularly inviting.
  12. crypto666

    crypto666 Long timer

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    ho chi min

    You too huh? I would have to buy more panels to charge it, so add another thousand to the price for me.

    Had another chance to ride one a few weeks ago, and passed it up again because I was busy. I saw Scott Harden sneeking around on one at a RV park; these things would be killer for bow hunting.
  13. crypto666

    crypto666 Long timer

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    100% torque at 1 RPM, that rocks!
  14. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Oregon
    If you want a bike that costs almost nothing to ride and takes precious little time to maintain then Zeros fit the bill. I am almost to 3K miles and my cost of ownership has been a new rear tire and some go juice and time to keep it running has been almost nothing. For commuting a Zero is the best machine there is. It is truly the best commuting motorcycle that I have ever ridden. If your commute fits within the range limits then you will not be disappointed.

    That FX model looks amazing. I am going to demo one of those soon but I could not live with it's limited range. Several times now I have been down to the last bar and today I went to the hidden bar so I would have a hard time living on 5.7KW.
  15. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    I have gotten some odd responses to my Zero from the local ungulates. I live in an area that is something of a game preserve. I often have elk in my yard and it is not unusual to ride through a couple of herds of elk or deer on the way to the highway.

    The silence of the Zero frightens the elk. After seeing it in action for a few months now the local elk are starting to get used to it and don't react as strongly to it but they initially were more spooked from it's combination of speed and silence. I got a lot less reaction from my other ICE motorcycles in the past or while driving a cage.

    The locals are getting used to it now and I rode within 20 feet of a couple of cow elk on the way home tonight.

    In regards to hunting though, I think that boots always beat anything with wheels for getting close with a bow.
  16. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Passed the 3,000 mile mark today.

    Still the bike is perfect. No charging issues, no startup failures, perfect throttle response.
  17. Cat0020

    Cat0020 El cheapo

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    NW of Philly, Hoboken, Brooklyn, Jamaica NY.
    What is the longest distance you've traveled on a single charge?

    Does running the battery to empty (or near empty) before recharge shorten the battery life in the long run?

    Does partial recharge shorten battery life?
  18. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Oregon
    The longest that I have made is 69 miles. That was mostly 2 lane highway. I will start riding some more dirt rides and I should see some rides with 100 mile ranges when the average speeds are much lower based on some mixed rides that I have done.

    The BMS (Battery Management System) protects the battery bank from deep discharge and from overcharge. So there is no problem running the bike to empty. Once empty, it should be recharged quickly. LiIon batteries should not be left deep discharged for long periods of time so it is not a good idea to run it to empty and leave it uncharged if there is power near by.

    There is no problem with partial recharge.

    Zero recommends to simply plug in the bike whenever it is not being ridden. The BMS does all of the logic to maximize battery life and to let it do it's work just plug it in.
  19. 100mpg

    100mpg Self Imposed Exile

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    What kind of charger is it? And, can you plug the charger into an EZ watt meter to see how much it costs to charge it? EZ Watt
  20. plugeye

    plugeye unforgiven

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    Garland, Texas
    My fear would be returning to ICE with all the noise and maintenance