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Zero Motorcycles

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

  1. longslowdistance

    longslowdistance Long timer Supporter

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    All we electric riders are early adopters.

    Nitpickers have a quiver full of reasons that we should be miserable, but guess what, we are having a ton of fun with our early gen electrics.
    woodsrider-boyd likes this.
  2. WagonWillie

    WagonWillie Been here awhile

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    No regrets here!
  3. brap attack

    brap attack Adventurer

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    I've read through this entire thread and there are some really good points all around. Thanks everyone for contributing. Im considering the ZERO FX and am wondering does anyone here actually off road with it regularly? If so, could please share your experiences further, I'd be deeply grateful. I'm used to riding KTM 525, XR650R, and various other larger bikes. I was thinking FX 7.2, I ride aggressively off-road and that's my main interest. I would commute on it some, and will be living in Maui with the bike here in 2 months which is mostly 40 mile or less rides 1 way, with very low speed limits. Seems like I could do a lot of scooting around with it effectively, although its much more important for me to be able to actually dirt bike in terms of what bike I bring with me to the island.

    Im also wondering with charging the FX, it plugs into a standard 110 socket, does it also plug into electric vehicle charging stations? If so, is that considerably faster than the 9 hour, 110 charging time? to get the 2 hour charging time with the 110 socket, how many plugs and charging upgrades do you need? Can I set the bike up for 220? would it charge faster that way? Am I'm going to have to ask random stores/people to charge my bike and such is a concern of mine.

    seriously concerned about the overheating issues if riding slower, technical trails without a lot of airflow going over it, is this a thing or just sustained open throttle? Also concerned about hamming on it too hard on jumps and such, I've sheered some subframe bolts completely on a KLR 650 before jumping it to much haha. Im going to beat the shit out of this bike in all honesty, crashes included. Will this bike actually hold up like a dual sport dirt bike similar to a XR650R or 525, or am I going to be deeply disappointed and out a bunch of money? Is there any protection around the battery itself to protect it from crashes or landing on a funny rock or root in a slow speed awkward fall? how sturdy are the batteries in general in regards to crashes? Im not one to treat things delicately, especially dirt bikes, so it has to be fairly bomber for me. Ill also be very far away from any deanships, which feels like a bad idea...
  4. Jarrett2

    Jarrett2 Been here awhile

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    I haven't owned an FX in a while, but I'll try to answer what I can.

    First up, the FX is my favorite small bike that I've ridden off pavement. There is something about the lack of heat, noise, rotational mass, etc. that makes the FX really fun to ride in technical situations. Also the near silent running makes it more enjoyable for me as well. It seems more like a powered mountain bike than a dirt bike. I've never ridden a trials bike, but it seems like that's what it would be like.

    I didn't do any single track on mine, but I would if I still had it. I did ride it somehwat hard off pavement and it was a lot of fun The stock suspension is soft and might need some upgrades for that. It also has a belt stock, might want to change it out with their chain kit for durability, if they still offer that.

    As far as range, here is what I got on mine:

    RangeChart.PNG

    The slower you go, the farther you go. The harder you ride, the shorter your trip will be. I could run mine out of battery in 32 miles if I wanted to. Or I could creep along at 25 mph and a do 70 miles. That's on the 7.2 battery. The bike really makes you ride to its limitations rather than your own. That's what made me sell it.

    As far as I know, there is no way to speed up the charging on the FX. It always takes 9-10 hours when plugged into a 110 wall socket. They do make an adapter that let's you plug it into some faster charging stations, but the bike still recharges at the same rate as it would if it were in a 110 wall socket.

    If you ride it near WOT throttle for extended periods of time, it will overheat and slow itself down. Granted, I never overheated mine off pavement. Every time I put mine into Thermal Protection mode, it was on paved roads or a paved race track. As far as the durability of the bike in terms of thrashing it, I don't know. I never pushed mine that hard. They used to offer an MX model directly from Zero that was supposedly more sturdy than the FX, but I don't know if that's still an option. My guess is, it won't take the abuse that a KTM or Honda dirt bike will.

    I suspect as hard as you say you ride, the FX might very well be a disappointment off road. On road, it sounds like it can do what you want, as long as you have hours to leave it on the charger once you get where you are going.
    I loved my FX, but ultimately these limitations drove me back to gas bikes. I have a Husky FE 450 now and it does all the things you are asking about better than the FX does, but it isn't a cool electric bike.

    In my opinion, the Zero FX (and really the whole Zero line up) is not made for people that ride hard. They are really geared to the easy going commuter bunch. The harder you ride a Zero, the more limitations you find, especially in the FX line.

    All that said, I still think about getting another one from time to time. If a clean used one popped on my local CL at a low price, which almost never happens, I'd probably buy it just to have that ride experience again. But only because I had gas bikes in the garage for serious riding.
    Rider68 and mandatedmotorvation like this.
  5. brap attack

    brap attack Adventurer

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    Thanks for the in depth reply. The more I mull over it, the more I'm realizing that the bike is not where I'd need it to be to be stoked about it. Im sure that the limitations are going to be a disappointment for how I want to use it. I like pushing it to the extreme, and if the bike was holding me back instead of fear, that's a big no go. That being said, all the up sides are very appealing and its sucks to miss out on them, I'm truly looking forward to the day when silent is the norm. I'm thinking that I'll stick with my bigger ICE bikes for now for a true dual sport experience, especially to be able to island hop around and spend some multi-day trips out and about. Maybe I'll try out a Sur Ron as a single track mountain bike type experience out there and keep my ICE to have more of an actual motorcycle.
    Jarrett2 likes this.
  6. Rider68

    Rider68 Been here awhile

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    I have an FXS and I concur with Jarrett2. As far as motorcycles go, the Zero's aren't that delicate per se. But compared to true offroad motorcycles...yeah, they are.
  7. Mykola

    Mykola Stoked

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    Quick question: Are there mounting racks out for the GIVI V35/V37 cases for the S/SR/DS/DSR?
  8. REALGRAVEROBBER

    REALGRAVEROBBER LEAVING GRAVES EMPTY

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    Despite great efforts, the Zero product doesn't appear to "be there" yet. The $8,000 starting price tag is a lump of hard earned money to throw out the window for such a product (note: currently we are in the greatest economic recession since The Great Depression).

    Local blowhard who inherited a motorcycle store here in Missoula, Montana in 2012 touted "all these gasoline bikes will be in museums in 10 years." Well, the Zero electric bikes failed to sell well enough for them to even maintain being a Zero franchise store. Poor sales also cost them their Suzuki franchisee status. Now they sell knock-off Jeep copies, and Yamaha. Maverick Motorsports is still ... well sell only bikes with engines. So I guess all the gasoline engine motorcycles aren't quite all museum pieces yet.

    I can not imagine where the economics of the Zero electric bike pencils out. $8,000 to buy. 25 mph, or faster to have a dead battery at 32 miles total distance. 10+ hours recharging time. If they nailed it at 8 hours a normal working person could charge it for a commute home, whoops.

    You can buy a $2,000 FZ6 and have zero problems.
  9. SteveAZ

    SteveAZ Long timer

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    I just don't see how anyone is going to build a real electric touring moto anytime in the next ten years (i.e. capable of 500+mi days with no more than 5-10min stops)

    Most of my moto miles have had touring requirements so while having a passing interest in them I just don't see something more than a very light electric trail machine in my stable... and not so sure about that either...


    YMMV
  10. jimmy650

    jimmy650 South Canol Racing Club

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    You must have very old information. My SR/S easily goes over 100 miles per charge and I can recharge at hundreds of level 2 stations in a few hours. A perfect commuter. Plus it blows away almost any other bike on the road with it's acceleration.
    MJSfoto1956 and Carlisja like this.
  11. Rider68

    Rider68 Been here awhile

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    Square peg, round hole. The electric bikes can do what they do, not what something else can do. Nope, they aren't for touring, but for what it is, I love my Zero.
    magnussonh, MJSfoto1956 and Carlisja like this.
  12. SteveAZ

    SteveAZ Long timer

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    I get it - they look like tons of fun but they just won't meet my requirements and likely won't anytime in the foreseeable... I'm not interested in commuting on a moto anymore... PHX metro areas just ain't much fun for that to me...

    I think the zero lineup is at the top of the heap for the right use cases
  13. liberpolly

    liberpolly Lazy rider

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    At the rate the battery tech is developing now, I give it two years max.
  14. SteveAZ

    SteveAZ Long timer

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    I'll take that bet
  15. NoMoreIdeas

    NoMoreIdeas Adventurer

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    I love Zeros (I own one) but lithium battery tech isnt going to follow Moore's law. Right now manufactures (Farasis in this example) are balancing many things, like battery foil thickness - too thin and you cant draw as much current from the battery but you get more capacity, or thicker to provide lots of current and faster charge times, but at a lower capacity and chemistry that favors lots of life cycles but quick discharge rates and fast charge times with low heat dissipation. They have went through a few iterations in the past 7 years but were looking at small increments and have gotten to a pretty good sweet spot in what these batteries can offer. I bet there's some left on the table, but definitely not 2-3x capacity at 4x the charge speed in 2 years.
  16. liberpolly

    liberpolly Lazy rider

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    [​IMG]

    Also, there's lithium ion phosphate tech reportedly coming from Tesla this year.
  17. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

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    Armchair theorists tend to gloss over the weedy details of technological progress. Yes, battery performance has evolved very rapidly over past years and it generally looks like a smooth progression. That leads people to rely on generalizations like Moore's Law (which is not a law, just an observation), when in fact technological progress happens in frequently unpredictable fits and starts. Or, to summarize in a way that has become very apparent to me over a long career in product development:

    You can't schedule invention.

    It is also a huge mistake to assume that lithium is lithium and its performance potential is about used up. Lithium is the ultimate for EV use because of its low density and high electric potential, but we are nowhere near extracting all its performance yet. There is a stunning variety of flavors of lithium batteries, all with their own unique and broadly diverse characteristics. You just can't lump them all together and hope to make any sense. We are probably reaching something of a plateau in terms of optimizing lithium batteries with current chemistries, materials and processes, but that just means we're nearing another big squirt forward as researchers get bolder with how they put this stuff together.

    Getting bolder will pay off. You need to keep in mind that the theoretical capabilities of lithium batteries are at least 10X higher than what we're getting now.

    Yes, 10X. We may not ever get to the theoretical max potential, but even given how far we've come, we're just getting started with this. And since every evolutionary increment presents new opportunities and potential paths forward, it's lunacy to try to figure out just where this will all end up. Or when.

    Patience. Enjoy the ride. We will get there. Not soon enough for some, surprisingly quickly for others.
    MJSfoto1956 likes this.
  18. Rider68

    Rider68 Been here awhile

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    I'm pro-electric motorcycles, but I'm not sure about that. I think "nowhere near" is a bit optimistic in regards to Lithium's capabilities. You can't get blood from a stone.

    Is there a link that suggests we are only tapping 10% of lithium's power?
  19. Jarrett2

    Jarrett2 Been here awhile

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    Check this out:

    "I purchased a 2020 FX with two removable battery modules in October 2019. I have driven 2450 miles on it, and have had the following issues:
    The motor replaced 3 times under warranty, and one time "recalibrated" after being stranded each time
    I upgraded to the chain kit after the belt broke (long tow from a KTM back to staging area)
    The drive sprocket that came with the chain kit "shattered", according to the dealership mechanic, which necessitated one of the motor replacements due to spline damage. It happened after driving over a small pothole on a dirt road at 50 mph.
    9 spokes broke on the rear wheel, then a week after replacing them, 3 more spokes broke. A full set of spokes are on order (not a warranty item).
    One of my batteries stopped working, and dealership was unable to "login" to the battery and obtain fault information. Currently waiting for Zero to respond to multiple phone calls placed by my dealership.
    Both my mirrors became loose and won't tighten, so i removed them (one of them I damaged when I dropped the bike).
    The battery retainer piece that has a lock on it fell off 3 times while riding, and 3 times I recovered it the next day. The latch frequently needs to be adjusted and monitored.
    I've lost my license plate twice, due to rear tire contacting the license plate when suspension is compressed.
    I dropped the bike once attempting a hill climb on a rocky trail, so forward speed was almost zero, and this caused:
    All six screw fasteners broke on the hole side of the fasteners that hold the upper and lower rear fender together and attached to the frame
    The rear upper/outer fender broke in half
    Rear turn signal broke off
    License plate snapped off
    Horn bent and disconnected
    Seat bolt on one side stripped the nut part that is welded to the frame
    Speedometer sensor wire cut to front wheel
    For the 9 months I've had the bike, over half of the days the bike was at the dealership waiting for parts and service (including 1 1/2 months waiting for dealership to reopen after COVID-19 outbreak). Does this sound excessive? I'm hoping a reasonable person would agree so that I can return it for a refund. I love the acceleration, the stealth, the attention, the lack of oil changes and gas station stops. But for nearly $15,000 for a dual sport dirt bike, it is not living up to expectations, and I cannot put faith that the sprocket will not fail again causing another motor replacement, or some other part to fail. I ride it about 50/50 offroad every day it is not in the shop, including in the desert like today when it was 109 degrees. I know it's only a matter of a short time before my next stranding experience. I carry extra drinks, an emergency locator beacon (never used), and try to ride with friends when venturing farther into the desert than I am prepared to walk. I miss my KTM 500EXC that was stolen after 3rd catastrophic engine failure in 3 years left me stranded on side of freeway 2 miles from home. The KTM's reliability looks quite superior to Zero FX in retrospect. Hopefully Zero works out the bugs by the time I've worn out my future 790 Adventure R into the dust."

    "Just an update after picking my bike up from the dealership today. First, thanks for all the comments. I'm glad at least a couple other owners agree on some areas for improvement. And I agree, the mirrors, fenders, turn signals, and belt drive all could be considered consumable, and I'll take responsibility, because those are not my primary complaint. Today I found out Zero denied my warranty claim to replace the battery which won't accept a charge. Yes the battery with the big yellow decal that says 5 year warranty on the side. The only explanation provided was denied due to damage. Nothing specific, and no option to service the battery. According to Zero, my only option is to buy a new battery for $2895. I tried to argue, that if there is damage to the battery, then without knowing any details about what specific damage they are referring to, then wouldn't the most likely cause of damage to the battery be related to the 3 motor failures that were replaced under warranty, as opposed to something that I could do to the battery as the operator? The motor is the consumer of the battery output, and if the motor failed 3 times (one time it started to run the bike in reverse, and another time the temperature indicator would skyrocket as soon as the throttle was applied without power going to the wheels, so internal short with excessive battery drain to instantly overheat..) those correlate as related to the battery where failure of motor could cause damage to battery., How could I as user damage the battery? Sure there are a few minor scratches on the case, but there are no cracks, and no specific damage cited by Zero. I could swallow my anger and frustration, had they denied my claim because of something specific, such as had they found evidence I performed deep water crossings, or rode in the rain, or rode when it was 110 degrees, had any of those reasons be listed in the Owner's manual as abuse, and had there been evidence I committed those acts. But there is nothing in the manual describing limitations that I exceeded. I actually drive the bike pretty tame compared to the advertising videos. I don't jump the bike, ride wheelies, or do burnouts. I ride as fast as I can on trails, which is about half the speed of the marketing videos (I'm 56 years old and only been riding for 4 years.) I haven't been injured on the Zero, and the only damage I did to the bike was cosmetic and those consumables. I probably do ride it harder than most riders, and I can keep up with some of the riders half my age, but I don't think I deserve this treatment from Zero. The Zero FX would be the perfect bike for me, if only it would live up to what it is marketed as.. a dual sport that kicks the pants off of the KTM E-XC. And Alta went out of business, so not a viable option. Zero might be heading towards the same fate unless they make some improvements, starting with building trust in their brand. Right now, on a scale of 1 to 10, based on my experience... well a lot can be said in just a name, and maybe the name speaks for itself. ha ha.. ok not funny."

    More proof these bikes are just commuter scooters despite the marketing.
  20. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

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    https://chargedevs.com/features/sol...commercialization-and-whats-still-years-away/

    The short version of what's keeping us from using much more of lithium's capacity is doing it in a way that gives it a useful life and safe operation. Lithium metal anodes and ceramic electrolytes are rather far removed from today's traction batteries, but they are already in use in small scale devices like medical implants. So not meeting lithium's potential is really more a matter of using production processes similar to what to we've always used (thick films, roll processing) - the limits are the processes, not the materials, except insofar as you have to optimize your materials to work with a non-optimal set of processes.

    The big leap is when we break away from the limitations of today's processes, and devise materials and processes together to maximize performance at EV sizes and quantities. i.e. real solid-state.