Zero Motorcycles

Discussion in 'Electric Motorcycles' started by T.S.Zarathustra, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. hamiamham

    hamiamham Been here awhile

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    I was in my local (NYC) Zero dealer yesterday checking out what he had on offer. I can see the appeal; the performance, the lack of maintenance, etc. One thing I wanted to ask is if you guys miss the shifting, the noise, etc of ic bikes? Or does the instant torque of electric make you forget all that ..lol
  2. MJSfoto1956

    MJSfoto1956 Been here awhile

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    You forget all that. You just enjoy the ride even more.
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  3. Jarrett2

    Jarrett2 Been here awhile

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    Initially, I enjoyed not having the shifting, noise, heat, vibration, etc. But over time, I started missing it. Especially, when riding faster. Maybe only when riding faster.

    When I'm at a trackday or riding through some curvy roads with my Triumph Speed Triple RS with Qucikshifter, the sound of the engine is about 50% of the fun. Hearing the shifts, hearing RPMs on acceleration and engine braking, I love the way the exhaust note sounds on this bike. Search YouTube Speed Triple RS Raw videos if you want to see what I mean, specifically the one that says something like "Best sounding stock exhaust" or something like that. I would take my Zero DSR out to the same roads and despite being considerably slower, the experience was a bit hollow or lacking when compared to doing the same on my Speed Triple or other ICE bike and this was related to the lack of engine feel/noise.

    After putting a few thousand miles on various Zero models, I've come to see them as commuters only, to be used similarly to a scooter. Nice and easy back and forth city riding for work and errands. Outside of that, they start to become very limiting and a bit boring. When you really push them, they go into Thermal Protection Mode and reduce their performance back to commuter speeds. I ended up selling/trading mine and went fully back to ICE bikes due to range and performance issues.

    That said, if you ride really nice and easy and don't push your bike's performance at all and want something nice and quiet for running to the store or work, they are really good for that, but there are MUCH less expensive options for that as well.
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  4. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    There were some Zero models that would overheat a few years ago, but I thought they fixed that. Did they not?

    A DSR is not in the same league as a Speed Triple, and never will be. Perhaps an SR/F would be a better bike to compare?

    What I enjoy about traveling in/on an EV is the more pure experience of moving through space and time. The conveyance isn't the point, the movement is. The noise and shifting don't add, they detract. I guess it depends on whether you enjoy the conveyance for its own sake or the movement itself. It's a personal thing. We have all been so inundated with ICE inputs for so long that it may take a while to unlearn and stop expecting that part of the experience.

    Example: It's disorienting at first to not have the sound cues that help you gauge your speed. You need to be gauging your speed visually, not aurally, regardless of what you're riding. Sound is the wrong input. Just like paying attention to peoples' brake lights is the wrong way to keep from rear-ending the vehicle ahead - you need to be watching for changes in closing speed. Closing speed is the primary input. You shouldn't be depending on brake lights, which are secondary.

    It can be argued that EVs can make you a better rider/driver.
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  5. Jarrett2

    Jarrett2 Been here awhile

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    Mine were 2019 models. FX and DSR. They might have fixed it in the SR/F, but the previous models definitely overheat easily when pushed.

    SR/F is closer to a Speed Triple in performance, at least up to 90 mph or so. Also considerably more expensive than the Speed Triple.

    About all the space and time and better rider stuff... that's just like your opinion, man :)

    Take it to the track and show me better lap times on the Zero versus an ICE bike and I'll take the "better" part into consideration.
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  6. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    Like I said, it's a personal thing. It's worth noting that I spent most of my life more deeply embedded in the ICE world than most, including at the extreme performance end, and my opinion is now heavily in favor of EVs. YMMV.

    I hadn't heard before of any late model Zeros going into thermal cutback. Not good news to know that they can just by flogging them hard. Zero likes the 'no fluids' concept because it makes for simpler (and cheaper) construction, but I think liquid cooling is a better approach - for both motor and controller. I think they need to accept liquid cooling to retain their position in the market. Even some cheaper Chinese bikes have it - see the VOGE ER 10 on p42 of the News/Updates thread.

    I was rooting for Lightning's Strike in large part because of their tiny AC induction, liquid-cooled motor. But the Strike doesn't even come with ABS, never mind ride modes, and they're now what - 2 months overdue on shipping bikes?
  7. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

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    I like "no fluids" approach too. I haven't heard anyone using thermoelectric cooling on their motors, wonder if that's a better option for the future?
  8. Todd157k

    Todd157k Long timer Supporter

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    Mine will heat up enough to get the warning light on the dash however it has not gone into any kind of "limp mode". It usually happens when the ambient temperature is 100 deg F (+) and riding at fwy speeds.. ah, lets say "traffic speeds" which may/may not be in excess of the posted speed limit. Always safer to travel with the stream than against it.. right officer???
    I'm thinking of an air duct to wrap the airflow around the motor fins.
  9. WagonWillie

    WagonWillie Been here awhile

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    My '16 SR has never gone into thermal shock in spite of my best efforts. I have ridden up the mountain in 100 F temps at over 75 MPH for 20 miles, and while it drains the battery quickly, the bike handles the thermal load just fine. It may be different in an urban environment with low speeds and stop and lots of go, but I don't ride in towns if I can avoid it.

    I love riding on the quiet(er) Zero. I have moved the mirrors down to the bar ends so now the motorcycle pretty much disappears from my field of view so sensations of riding actually become heightened; one feels every degree of lean, every G of braking and the joy of that so smooth torque pushing you forward so seamlessly. I do delight in the joy of getting my ICE bikes to shift as quickly and smoothly as possible and getting the blip of the throttle perfect on multiple downshifts remains a challenge that I practice all the time, BUT to forget all that with the Zero is wonderful as well. The total focus on the delight of moving through space in time quietly and quickly is worth the price of admission in my book.
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  10. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    I certainly like the no-fluids idea in general since simpler is better - IF it does the job. (TE cooling gets a lot of interest, but my understanding is that it's not very efficient.)

    Increasing demands for performance make 'no-fluids' a challenge, and I believe that what is defined as 'normal' behavior needs to include having a big pile of fun. No one wants to have their fun cut short because the machine can't keep up. That's just not accepted in even the most mundane cars, why should it be OK on a performance EM?

    It may be that the Zero is close to being up for all-purpose flogging and just needs a little help, but it's low on Zero's priorities because it's not a frequent problem - severe flogging may not be a very common use, and the bike protects itself when it happens.
    I was thinking of something along the same lines. Perhaps Zero finds it difficult to do that in a way that looks professional and tidy? (Or maybe it's another tooling charge they'd rather not spend on right now.) I'd concentrate more on keeping the motor uncovered so cool air can reach it at low road speed, but add a scoop and/or duct that would be an extension of the cowling bottom - to get fresh air to what is probably pretty much a dead air space around the motor. You could maybe even add an auxiliary fan. I don't really like the idea of fan noise, but if it only runs on rare occasions it might be workable.

    It's important to understand that liquid cooling is really just air cooling moved to a different place, and maybe spreading it over a larger surface area. You may (or may not) be able to get the same effect by doing a better job of air cooling where it's needed.
  11. Jarrett2

    Jarrett2 Been here awhile

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    Don't get too hung on the torque numbers. 116 ft lbs, 140 ft lbs, etc. Those numbers do not equate to ICE bike torque numbers in terms of acceleration. The electric bikes aren't THAT quick. My DSR was about as powerful as a SV650. Any decently powered liter or better sport or naked bike will run off and leave the whole Zero lineup.

    The SR/F is a bit more powerful, but my Speed Triple would also outrun it ultimately and its not really that fast of a naked bike. Another thing to consider, while ICE bikes technically get more performance as the gas wains (due to lower weight) the electric bikes are the opposite. They are at their most powerful at 100% charge. As the battery runs down, the computer takes various aspects of performance away subtly. First it is peak speed, then later its acceleration. Once the battery gets too low, some of the models can't maintain highway speeds any more and if they do, the battery runs out faster at that point.

    Then there is the range anxiety. Can my bike make it that far? I don't know. Keeping the speeds down and keeping your eye on the battery level as you go to make sure. At first, it is kind of a fun game. After a while, it gets tedious. I could run my FX from 100-0% charge in 32 miles if I wanted to. I ran my DSR + Power Tank (marketing term for extra battery) down from 100-0% in 83 miles just by having fun instead of riding conservatively. Then the ride is over for 9-14 hours while it recharges depending on the model. You can also trade range for recharge speed, by adding a Charge Tank instead of a Power Tank, but it wasn't worth it to me since I have no charging stations around. Even then you'll still be waiting a good while to ride again instead of a 5 minute fill up at the gas station for an ICE bike.

    All of this led me back to ICE bikes after the novelty of the Zero's wore off. At this point, pretty much anything a Zero can do, an ICE bike can do better and cheaper. If you are hell bent on not burning fossil fuels, then its a viable commuter alternative, but if you just want to go ride and fun and not worry about when you'll lose performance or run out of range, ICE bikes are still king for now.
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  12. Jarrett2

    Jarrett2 Been here awhile

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    Here is a video of a SR/F ($20k+,110hp, "140" ft lbs torque) running against a Suzuki GSX-S 750 ($9k/100hp/55 ft lbs torque):

    Skip ahead to 14:06


    Based on specs alone, it should have been no contest, but those are the results and that's with a $11k+ price difference.
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  13. WagonWillie

    WagonWillie Been here awhile

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    Yep, ICE bikes are still the king...for now. That's not going to always be the case I don't think. Battery tech keeps improving as does motor tech. Swappable batteries could cut down fueling time to be less than an ICE bike. That system is already being used in Asia where bikes are much more prevalent and the dense urban jungles spread for kilometers.

    I also agree with your other points for the most part; range anxiety can be a problem on any rig, it just kicks in sooner with the EVs. Again as the tech and the quantity of charge stations increase this will become less of an issue hopefully, but for now it's a real consideration depending on where you live and how you ride. EVs are certainly not touring machines yet. As for performance I find the Zero SR to be about equal to any liter bike that I know of at street legal speeds. They don't have the top end, and lack the range of course. You are correct about the declining performance when the batteries get very low, but in almost all riding it's a non issue with my SR. That said the 0 to 80 mph range is very exciting on the SR and I'm glad they added an IMU to the SR/F because it would be a real handful without it.

    So, would I have an EV bike as my only bike? Nope. No way. But it's a great addition to the stable for what it is. If I can find a sport touring that does what I want (lots of tech, low weight, low seat height) then I'll happily move on from the Zero and the V-Strom. I like the Triumph Triple a lot and it's certainly on my radar; I'm glad you're happy with yours.
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  14. Jarrett2

    Jarrett2 Been here awhile

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    This pretty much closed the deal for me :)

  15. WagonWillie

    WagonWillie Been here awhile

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    Lovely! That could get addicting all right!
  16. Ray R

    Ray R Long timer Supporter

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    Are there any SR/F owners on here yet? I went to my local dealer and took a look at one over the weekend. It seems like a really nice bike. Solid components and good fit & finish. A few niggles for me: 1) At 6'4" and 60yrs old, I need more distance between the seat and pegs. I'd get the seat modified by Don Weber at Mr Ed's Moto. 2) I'd want to lower the pegs an inch or two. The pegs look to be pretty conventional, so I don't think I'd have any trouble finding some kit that would work. 3) That license plate holder/frame hanging off the swingarm would have to go. Does anyone know if tail-tidy is coming out with anything?
    If Zero comes out with a DSR/F, that might be the ticket for me.
    That video above showing the SR/F and GSXS750 doing a rollon from 40mph probably isn't a good comparison, in my opinion. Maybe try it from a dead stop, or 10mph, and then see the REAL difference torque can make.
  17. REALGRAVEROBBER

    REALGRAVEROBBER LEAVING GRAVES EMPTY

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    Local dealership Maverick Motorsports here in Missoula Montana had them for a while. $8,000 for an electric bike, and the owner of the dealership had a big to-do to showcase them and he broke them in the parking lot. Broke the drive belts over and over. Not a confidence builder. I think they lost their franchise from Zero, then lost the Suzuki franchise. I assume the carpets will be rolled up in 2-4 years max. Muppets.
  18. Norty01

    Norty01 RIDERCOACH (RETIRED!)

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    Went to my local Zero dealer today as they were having "Zero Demo's."

    Anyway, I rode the FX enduro. There were LOTS of people there, curious about electricity. All the other models had people waiting in line to test. I went on a 20 minute hop with the group. Battery went from 85% to 77% in those 15-20 minutes, (about 12 miles.) *No wheelies occurred during the test loop.*
    Interestingly, there were quite a few ladies riding the Zero's. I wonder if this is going to be the market to tap...
    They seemed to be "looking for torque."
    It appears that depending upon the mode you select, you can get various levels of torque.
    "Commuter" is just that.
    "ECO" is just that.
    "SPORT" sells bikes though...

    Got back on my poor old gutless Harley and went to the tamale festival...

    (Sorry, couldn't load a pic via editing.) So, you got a separate post!
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  19. Norty01

    Norty01 RIDERCOACH (RETIRED!)

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  20. hamiamham

    hamiamham Been here awhile

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    Zero needs to make it easier for people to demo their bikes. a few weeks ago I spent about 30 mins talking to a dealer only to find out he didn't have his dealer plates and could not offer test rides. when he does get his plates there is a process which includes putting down a $500 (refundable) deposit, fillng out forms, giving them 2 days notice, etc.

    No shifting, no noise, instant torque... a lot of us want to have this experience...