Zero had a massive showing again this year, with a central spot on the show floor at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, CA. As press entered the show we were greeted by a pair of ladies handing us Zero brochures and reminding us not to miss their presentation.
Judging by how late most of the paper magazines were to report on these bikes, some even reporting on 2013 models when they’re all sold out, you’d have think they missed it last year. You know we didn’t. Full coverage here. And exclusive video interview with Zero owner Terry Hershner on the completion of his first (of MANY) cross-country trip on the Zero S. Oh how that bike has changed over the year! It was sad that the only Brammo at the event was the wheelie “ride” bike I saw outside near the stunt arena. The show continues in New York this coming weekend.
The big news last year was that Zero had begun using their proprietary powertrain, with twice as much power. That’s kind of a big deal. For 2014, the changes aren’t quite as drastic as that, but there is still a solid lineup. As a Zero owner, I’m most excited about the addition of an on-board clock. It’s been nice learning how long it really takes me to get from A to B, but all I ever really want to know is if I’m late. Although I have their awesome phone holder, I just don’t like riding around with my phone on the handlebar, and the clock is the one thing I really use it for.
Here, Zero’s VP of Global Marketing Scot Harden talks about the 2014 lineup: Highlights include the power tank, a spot in the “tank” where you can now put a spare battery for extended range on the S or DS models, to get up to 171 miles.
The bike I’m most excited about, of course, is the SR, which we wrote more about here. A true sportbike, the SR claims 67 hp and 106 ft-lbs of torque with a top speed of 102 mph. I’m hoping to be able to give you a proper ride report from a nearby racetrack sometime before Spring 2014. To quote: “The “R” configuration of the Zero S is designed for riders who simply want to go faster and accelerate harder.” Sounds like any Yamaha R1 owner who flogs the beejesus out of their Zero FX on a daily basis and feels a profound emptiness when that 85mph top speed is found. Regularly. Also sounds a bit like the racers who share the bike’s initials- Scott Russell and Scott Redding.
All models feature improved suspension:
» New, more integrated triple clamps
» New 43 mm forks across the entire model line for increased torsional rigidity and more precise steering
» Completely reworked internal settings on all rear shocks for more comfort and control
The S and DS also feature aerodynamic upgrades to improve powertrain cooling. More from their press pack:
IMPROVED BRAKING SYSTEM
» The Zero FX now features larger 240 mm rotors on the front and rear for improved braking performance
» A new rear brake caliper with a larger 240 mm rotor provides more controlled and powerful stopping power on every model
» 310 mm front rotor on the Zero S and Zero DS
IMPROVED DASH AND CONTROLS
» Dash has been completely redesigned
» High contrast and blue backlit LCD screen features new data that allows users to better understand their state of charge, see their current performance profile and view other useful riding information
» New and more ergonomic right-hand switch assembly with integrated switch to toggle on the fly between eco/sport/custom riding modes
» New custom riding mode setting allows riders to set their own performance profile in addition to the factory preset “sport” and “eco” riding modes (custom mode performance profile must be configured within the Zero Motorcycles App)
REFINED CHASSIS AND HANDLING
» New,more robust swingarm pivot design and bearings for increased torsional rigidity
» Integrated Power Tank frame structure stiffens the frames of the Zero S and Zero DS
» More robust head tube and head bearings for increased torsional rigidity and improved control
» Increased ground clearance and improved lean angle for better cornering on the Zero S
» Larger 140 rear tire on the Zero S for a larger contact patch with better traction
» Passenger pegs available as an optional aftermarket accessory
» Dual projector beam headlights with integrated flyscreen
» New seat is more integrated, more ergonomic and designed to carry a passenger
Zero motorcycles had VIP parking, as close as you could get to the entrance while still in the garage. Level 2 charging was also very close, closer than the designated motorcycle parking in the lot nearby. And yes, I was glad for that outlet and the 8 hours I planned to be at the event, as I used up almost every last drop flying to Long Beach from downtown LA, 26 freeway miles.
While my FX seat clearly has room for more people, I just can’t imagine a bike this nimble and fun to throw around through tight traffic being any fun with a passenger. The heavier and more powerful S and SR are far more appropriate for bringing a friend along on a ride.