Electric Motorcycles

Published on September 30th, 2014 | by Susanna Schick

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Zero Motorcycles Presents Their 2015 Lineup | Intermot

September 30th, 2014 by  
 

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So you know all those upgrades you did to your 2014 Zero S, SR, or DS to make it really kick ass? Well, for 2015, that’s all stock, including 10% more range you didn’t get. Unless you’re pulling a Terry Hershner. He did just complete the first Electric Iron Butt, on a modified Zero S. The FX doesn’t get more range because they still haven’t figured out how to stuff more energy into those swappable battery packs. All in good time… The same four models make up the line, the S, SR, DS and FX. The red is a bit darker, while the yellow and orange bikes are a bit brighter and warmer.

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For police and security customers, there are police versions of the S, DS and FX. the new FXP, an FX with all the bells and whistles (literally) a cop bike would need. And for our brothers at arms, there’s the MMX, a military grade version of the FX, developed solely for military customers. Hopefully only the good guys. I’d hate to see my bike in the wrong hands. Zero’s Scot Harden held a conference call with some of us to discuss the new models. He mentioned that police and military are very strong customer segments for them, and they expect those orders to double over the next year.

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All Zero models now come with fully adjustable Showa suspension, developed over the past three years specifically for Zero. I haven’t noticed a problem on my 2013 FX, as the bike is so light and flickable anyway. On the S and SR’s I’ve ridden, however, the bike didn’t feel that solid, especially at high speeds. So it will be nice to experience an improved suspension. Compression, rebound, and preload are all adjustable for both the forks and the shock. Harlan Flagg of Hollywood Electrics tells us they’ve modified the suspension on many customer’s bikes, so he’s very excited about the improvements coming for 2015.

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I fully intend to attempt to ride a 2015 Zero FX up as many staircases as I can. There are plenty here in LA…

The entire Zero line also come stock with Pirelli tires. The S gets their Sport Demon tires, while the sportier SR gets the grippier and taller profile Diablo Rosso II, an awesome dual compound I’ve been running on all my street bikes for years. They heat up quickly and grip very well. The dual compound provides even more stickiness on the sides for maximum traction at full lean angle. These are the tires I paid a mechanic to put on the 2014 SR before I even took it to Refuel at Laguna Seca. The cast wheels are also redesigned, with a sharp new design.

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For 2015, Zero FX owners will also be able to buy any of the accessories Zero sells to their Police customers for the FXP. This means an rack for that Givi top case you can’t live without, a flyscreen, crash bars… Now if they’d just sell us all the siren and PA system…

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All 2015 Zero models also come equipped with Bosch ABS. Although regenerative can provide plenty of stopping power for normal conditions, sudden stops and riders who like to play hard will require excellent brakes. It can be turned off, hopefully with the swipe of a finger on the app. I’ve never felt the need for ABS on a motorcycle. A good motorcyclist knows their bike’s limits, how much braking to use when. Shoot, I’ve even done a stoppie on my 177 HP Yamaha R1 in LA traffic to avoid being doored, and no harm came of it. Still, the European Union, in their infinite wisdom, has decreed that all motorcycles sold in the EU from 2016 onward, will be equipped with ABS. Yawn. At least you can turn it off and still do stoppies and back it into turns at will.

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I asked Scot Harden what all this would add up to, and he said the 2015 models MSRP’s are only about $300-$350 more than the 2014’s. This is great news, as it could mean the cost of batteries is declining for Zero. I also asked them about fastener quality, as that has been a bit of an issue on some bikes. Harden explained that they’re now using a higher quality of fasteners. They are all ISO spec structural fasteners (class 8.8 and above), and Zero have improved upon the use of button heads on frequently serviced joints. In addition to this, they now use DC tools for maximum threading and torque precision on installation.

All photos courtesy of Zero Motorcycles.





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About the Author

Susanna is passionate about anything fast and electric. As long as it's only got two wheels. She covers electric motorcycle racing events, test rides electric motorcycles, and interviews industry leaders. Occasionally she deigns to cover automobile events in Los Angeles for us as well. However, she dreams of a day when Los Angeles' streets resemble the two-wheeled paradise she discovered living in Barcelona and will not rest until she's converted the masses to two-wheeled bliss.



  • BlackTalon53 .

    They should make a fully faired sportbike, mayn people like the looks. Unfaired standards are just a small niche market, even among ICE bikes.

    An electric cruiser might be even better. I have always thought a bike like that would be a huge hit with female riders – low seat height, no clutch, no shifting, no maintenance requirements, no filling up at gas stations with dodgy characters hanging around.

    • Well, Harley seems eager to capture the electric cruiser market. But as a tall female rider, I love my FX ride height. 😉 Please note, all the characteristics you list as being ideal for female riders are actually ideal for new riders, of any gender. I know some women who love working on their vintage bikes as much as they love racing them.

      And yes, a proper faired sportbike would be awesome. Zero is doing their best to produce electric motorcycles at prices people will actually pay, so anything that adds cost is tricky. I was begging Craig Vetter to consider developing a fairing that doesn’t look like an airplane, and he won’t do it. What we need is an Aerodynamics engineer to develop an aftermarket carbon fairing for the SR that makes it look sexy AND increases its range. Sure, it won’t increase the range as much as a Vetter fairing would, but at least it won’t look ridiculous. I’m sure there’s a happy medium out there somewhere.

      • BlackTalon53 .

        The LiveWire is much more similar to the Zero S than to typical cruisers IMHO – I wonder why they did it that way, aren’t cruisers something like 90% of bikes sold in the US? manufacturers seem to believe that the typical cruiser crowd want their noisy straight pipes.

        I think they are wrong there and that there is a large segment of people – including many women – who would love the cruiser experience but can do without the noise and who would jump at the chance to buy a bike like that. It would help if people would finally get over the “loud pipes save lives” nonsense too …

  • smartacus

    I hear they can go 98 miles at 75MPH

    • the S, SR, and DS most definitely can. In my review of the 2014 SR with the power tank, I definitely got over 100 miles range keeping my speeds close to 80MPH most of the time. It does overheat, so you have to ratchet it back to 70MPH when the temp warning light comes on. That will prevent the governor kicking in and forcing you to limit it to 55MPH!

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