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Zero 2011: A Toddler’s First Steps

Okay, there are MD readers out there who don’t want to hear about e-bikes at all. There are others who only want to hear about e-bikes that offer the value and functionality of internal-combustion machines. All you guys can get up and go make yourselves a sandwich or have a cream soda. You won’t like this story. 

For the rest of you, you may have read my test from 2009 of the Zero S supermoto and you may have surmised I didn’t really find the S to be a developed product. During my test ride and visit with Zero CEO Gene Banman I noted issues with its brakes, seating position, wheel size, top speed, charging time and even the seemingly loud rattle of the chain. Banman must’ve read the story, as many of these issues have been addressed by a major redesign of Zero’s four-bike product line for 2011. 

Zero’s past models have been very interesting from a design and engineering perspective, but they had a definite techno-geek/bicycle nerd look to them. The bodywork and frame looked gawky, the tire choice (for the S) was odd, and the bikes even utilized downhill mountain bike rear shocks. But the company seems to have changed direction somewhat. Famed off-road racer (and BMW/Husqvarna insider) Scot Harden got hired as the national marketing director, and former Buell engineer Abe Ashkenazi is now VP of Engineering—a clear message that Zero is serious about building real motorcycles, not just feel-good eye candy. And to back that up, the new bikes suddenly look more like real motorcycles, with smooth, flowing shapes, recognizable motorcycle hardware and other changes aimed at improving performance, handling and braking. 

Performance is helped by some important changes. The battery gets 12.5 percent more capacity, and an optional quick charger reduces charging time to about two hours (expect four hours without the quick charger), and an accessory plug adapter allows the use of standardized public charging station plugs. Top speed is 67 mph, and range—by the EPA’s UDDS urban driving test—is 43 miles for the S and DS dual-sport, and 30-60 minutes for the X trail bike or the high-flying MX. (Both the X and MX are also available in road-legal versions. ) The S and DS free themselves of their chains, instead getting clean, quiet, maintenance-free belts that Zero claims will last the life of the bike. 

Brakes, wheels and suspension also get upgrades. The fork and shock get new internals (but the shock is still based on, presumably, a Fox bicycle item) and more adjustability. The S and DS brakes receive a bigger front rotor, steel-braided lines and other improvements. The wheels on the S and DS get cool red anodizing, and the S now has semi-normal supermoto tire sizes—a 110/70-17 in front and 130/70-17 rear. The DS has a most-undualsport-like 100/80-17 front and 110/90-16 rear. 

But the biggest news, I think, is the styling. The bodywork has been simplified, turnsignals, lights and mirrors are reshaped, the S and DS seats look more like they’re designed for humans, and both the S and Ds get new fenders and flyscreens as well as black-finished battery cases, which make the bikes look more compact and light. Pricing is $9995 for the S, $10,495 for the DS, $7995 for the X and $9495 for the MX. All Zeroes get two-year limited warranties, and the street-legal versions are eligible for big price breaks in the form of state and Federal tax breaks and rebates. 

Sure, at those prices nobody’s going to say these bikes are bargains, especially if they’re judged against their fossil-burning cousins, even with the state and Federal incentives. But for a low-volume made-in-USA product, the Zero line represents a solid value. And that’s not just my opinion; Zero is selling enough bikes to expand its manufacturing space in its Scotts Valley, California (near Santa Cruz, naturally) facility to 34,000 square feet and add another 25 employees in 2011. 

Baby steps compared to the millions of motorcycles sold worldwide, but at least we’re talking about baby steps and not crib death. I may have a chance to ride the new bikes—and tell you about another new Zero model—next month.

130 Comments

  1. Mr. Mike says:

    All these predictions that electric technology will never equal the performance of internal combustion remind me of the following quote: “It is apparent to me that the possibilities of the aeroplane, which two or three years ago were thought to hold the solution to the [flying machine] problem, have been exhausted, and that we must turn elsewhere.”
    – Thomas Edison, 1895

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  2. Joe says:

    There seems to be people who talk the talk when it comes to e-power. Who out there has an ebike, ecar, elawnmover, eweedwhacker, esnowthrower and no fuel powered anything.Just curious, anybody out there who walks the walk.

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  3. Joe says:

    Dose anybody know how much a replacement battery set cost for the Zero, and how many cycles they are expected to last through.
    Also I’m not sure that taxpayers should be paying to susidize the Zero. If the Zero jumps into the motorcycle market shouldn’t it swim or die on its own.

    Fully agree with Gabe regarding politics on this comment page, this is not place for it.

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  4. Gabe says:

    Man! I don’t know why you guys who aren’t interested in e-bikes insist on reading and posting comments to e-bike stories! I wish you’d discuss politics elsewhere.

    Anyway, Scot Harden of Zero liked the story and asked Abe Ashkenazi Mickey’s thoughtful and intelligent (yes, it happens sometimes) question about using the Zero in cold weather. Here is the answer:

    “With our batteries, you don’t have to worry about damaging them at cold temperatures when DISCHARGING. In other words, if the bike was sitting outside at 40F or colder, the only thing that you may experience when getting on it and taking off is reduced performance until the battery warmed itself up while discharging. However, what you do need to be weary of is charging them at any temperature below freezing (below 32F); such “cold” charging will damage the battery to a certain extent (the further below freezing, the more damage), resulting in reduced cycle life. Hence, if people are riding in very cold weather, we should advise them to charge as soon as they get off the bike, while the battery is still warm.”

    Thanks for reading and posting, you guys!

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    • ROXX says:

      This entire “e-bike” thing by its very nature is political.
      The reasons being there are those that want to ride e-bikes, and then there are those that want you to ride them also.

      @Mr. Mike, nobody here is saying this will never work, just not yet.
      It will be a great thing someday, but someday (4 hour recharge, limited range and speed) are not here yet.

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  5. Jz says:

    Some people are under the assumption that scientist and chemist will not be able to design a synthetic oil substitute that an engine could run on reliably the same as it would good ol’ fashion oil and gasoline. Which, would inturn force us motorcyclist to go electric. I don’t believe the electric motorcycle is the way of the future. I think there is more options that have not been made public. Let’s see what the future brings in the way of motorcycles. I bet Honda won’t be bringing out an all electric goldwing anytime soon, maybe a gas electric hybrid but not a full on e-bike.

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    • kpaul says:

      I never said Honda will go out of business. :) Just the opposite. Honda has the FCX Clarity with a powerful electric motor, the hybrid Insight, Monpal ML200 electric scooter, EV-neo electric scooter in Japan etc. Honda is doing very well. I love their products. Honda will be a major force in the electric vehicle market. Just the facts and data Steve not my opinion. I don’t know everything far from it. But I do try to use facts and data to guide my opinions and decisions. I learn from everyone. If someone believes in a myth about electric vehicles it is my duty to point out the truth. no ego involved Steve.

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      • Steve says:

        I rest my case….

        I know you didn’t say anything about Honda… I was employing something called SaRCaSm! I tried to explain to you that many posts on here sound one way to the reader but another way to the writer & the reader often “reacts” without truly knowing what the writer actually was trying to say…. YOU JUST DID IT AGAIN! you had no idea that I was just being sarcastic… but yet you persist in trying to tell EVERYONE here that ONLY YOU know & the rest of us are math challenged idiots…
        I know.. you’re going to say that’s not your intention…. we’ll you’d be right if it was only me that felt that way but a bunch of posters seem to feel the that way. Stick to talking about bikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  6. Jz says:

    If you want to go electric then buy a segway. All e-bikes are too expensive. I don’t like them and probably never will and that’s my opinion. I care about the environment. i just don’t think there’s a need for an electric motorcycle.
    A motorcycle is meant to have an internal combustion engine.Without it you don’t get the full effect, IE; roar of the engine, wind in your face, bugs in your teeth from having an ear to ear grin in your face from flying down the road on two wheels.

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  7. Dusty says:

    The electric car and Motorcycle craze is driving me nuts. Even the name “Zero” for the name of the company is misleading. Do electric cars and motorcycles put 0 emissions into the atmosphere? The answer to this question is ABSOLUTELY NOT! Where do we get the electricity to charge these batteries? What happens to the batteries once they wear out? If I bought a GM Volt today and started driving it to work and back every day, it would probably triple my electric bill to charge it every day before my daily commute, that means that my local coal powered power plant will have to burn more coal to meet the demands of my increased electricity useage. Then 5-10 years from now when my batteries wear out and get replaced, most likely they will be sitting in some landfill. I know, I know, we are supposed to recycle but there is still going to be waste somewhere with these batteries. I am hoping that someday in the NEAR future, everyone will wake up and quit wasting time on this electric fad and either work on real clean technology or just use what is already working which is more efficient internal combustion engines.

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    • kpaul says:

      Well like it our not the market will decide. Oil will become more scarce and become more expensive. Political pressure will be such that coal and nuclear plants will be built in record numbers to meet the consumer demand for energy. Electricity will be the primary way we move around after the year 2030. Inefficient internal combustion engines which lose much of their output via heat will be gone like the horse and buggy.

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      • Dusty says:

        Really? Electric cars are going to replace Gas cars by 2030? What evidence do you have to prove that opinion? My opinion is that electric cars are a current fad driven by the global warming myth and will go away within the next few years as it becomes more and more aparent that Global warming is in fact the myth that it is.

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  8. sc56 says:

    Would I buy one? Not yet. If I had pocket cash to buy and not miss the cash I would get one, it would make a great city, urban bike, . But my KLR 650 gets 50 MPG with a range of 300 miles and it only takes five minutes to fill up.
    The range wouldn’t be to big of a deal when we have a charging station at every gas station and you can recharge in a short time.
    You need people who are willing to buy into new technology and take the risk, to help fund the research to keep it moving forward.

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  9. Old town hick says:

    If a quiet “whirrrr” replaced the sound of internal combustion, then everyone around would hear me grunting and groaning as I ride my finally-perfected electric dirt bike in 2028. Of course I’ll be really old by then.

    BTW, why don’t these things have a gearbox and clutch? Seems like a pretty fundamental omission, and this would alter the characteristics of current motorcycles way more than just the power source.

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    • kpaul says:

      No transmission needed dude. That’s the beauty of electric motors. Broad instantaneous torque curve. Less moving parts thus more reliable. It’s really a beautiful thing

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      • Bob says:

        There is a useful advantage to having a gearbox. To drop the motor rpm. Sure the torque is the same everywhere but with rpms comes horsepower and batter consumption. You don’t need peak HP for cruising speeds. Use the gearbox to drop the rpms and reduce battery consumption. There you go…a little more range.

        A simple planetary gear like was used in the old 3 speed bicycle hubs wouldn’t take a whole lot of room.

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  10. Montana says:

    Unless there is a quantum leap in battery technology, (there is none currently on the horizon — even for Columbus) electric vehicles will continue to be little more than a transportation adjunct, like bicycles, buses and trolleys.
    However, if they make an electric motorcycle with the performance, range and refresh rate of my current motorcycle, sign me up!

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  11. ROXX says:

    Here is a link for you;
    The United States is “home to a vast supply of oil, estimated at over 2 trillion barrels.”
    The Green River Formation, a giant untapped oil shale deposit in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
    A 2005 report by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit think tank based in California, estimated that the Green River Formation holds between 1.5 and 1.8 trillion barrels of oil, of which roughly 800 billion barrels are recoverable.
    “Present U.S. demand for petroleum products is about 20 million barrels per day, so 800 billion barrels would last for more than 400 years if oil shale could be used to meet a quarter of that demand,” the think tank noted in a brief.
    However, it added that there are technical problems.
    “Assuming the private sector decides to invest in oil shale development and production, we expect that an oil shale industry capable of producing more than a million barrels per day is at least 20 years off,” it said.

    Read more: http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/how_much_oil_does_the_u_s_have#ixzz1Dd5jngGl

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    • kpaul says:

      Oll shale has been tried back when Jimmy Carter was President. I am from Colorado. It’s too expensive and energy intensive to make it economical. Coal man Coal. Try again ROXX. From the article you sighted “However, it added that there are technical problems. “Assuming the private sector decides to invest in oil shale development and production, we expect that an oil shale industry capable of producing more than a million barrels per day is at least 20 years off,” it said.
      Oil shale isn’t the answer. too inefficient and expensive. Been there done that and it didn’ work. You would have to strip mine it then heat it. The energy cost benefit model didnt’ work. The oil companies did make money off the government from the oil shale research though. Oil shale is like fools gold. Try researching again using USGS data and oil industry data.

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  12. kpaul says:

    Now I know how Columbus felt. The anti-electrical crowd here are very much like the earth is flat crowd during Christoper Columbus’ day. So many myths abound about electric power have been posted here. It’s the batteries dudes i.e. batteries have always been the limiting factor in electric vehicles. I bet many of you don’t know that modern diesel locomotives actually power the wheels via electric motors. The diesel engine is used to make electricity to drive the electric motors. Thus locomotives are hybrids that don’t need to transmissions and are more efficient than conventional diesel drive motors.

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    • kpaul says:

      Facts and Data
      Proven oil reserves in the United States are 21 billion barrels (3.3×10^9 m3), excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Currently, the United States consumes 19.6 million barrels per day, of oil. That is about 7.1 billion per year. So now you know why we are importing so much oil. Drill baby Drill won’t help. Electricity made by coal, nuclear, hydro, solar is the future.

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      • Steve says:

        thanks for the “Facts & Data Mr Gore” but I think you are jumping to conclusions here. I haven’t read 1 thing “anti” here about whether or not the US should use more nuke, coal, solar, etc….

        but the facts are that there are tons of anti hydro… the states out west will go to war over water & the eco freaks hate dams… happening in Atlanta too…1 river, 3 states…. same with coal…I’m all for it but tons of anti-coal… none of them live in West Va or other coal states… same with nuke… lots of anti-nuke…. we have a nuke place about 20 miles from my house… no problem.

        But I’m not reading that here… but the facts seem to be (from what I read) that the US has a substantial amount of good ‘ol oil & most likely will extract it… which is good for the US (where we live) economy.

        & When it comes to electric bikes… I don’t think anyone here would not want an electric bike that performed along the lines of a GSXR-750 lets say or even a big cruiser type bike as long as it could go for more than 20-30 feet wihout a charge, etc….

        so relax Copernicus! & remember… writing on these little forums is in no way the same as face to face so something you react to here when reading a comment might be interpretted much differently if you were face to face… I find most people here to be pretty reasonable… sure they have their preferences but hell… so do I….

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        • xootrx says:

          Additionall, those numbers vary according to who is publishing them. Those quoted above look more like the numbers of current exising wells. The estimated untapped reservoirs of crude oil in the U.S. is believed to be much more than that, which is why foreign governments have as many off shore wells within our international coastal limits as we do.

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          • kpaul says:

            Nope those numbers are reserves most of which are undeveloped. Please do your research before making such claims. The so called North Dakota find is included in the number. The Dakota oil find which has been falsely reported on Fox as a the savior to our energy needs could only support our oil habit for 6 months. Drill baby Drill just won’t work. Time to move away from oil. We have more coal than anyone else in the world and those are proven reserves not speculative.

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        • kpaul says:

          “but the facts seem to be (from what I read) that the US has a substantial amount of good ‘ol oil & most likely will extract it… which is good for the US (where we live) economy.” Again our reserves are only 21 billion barrels which can’t support our habit of 7 billion per year and growing. Simple math which seems to be a problem for most oy you.. Lots of coal in the western states dude.

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          • Steve says:

            Then by all means go out & purchase an electric bike Kpaul! you have my full support & I’m sure all of the rest of the anti-electric bike crowd supports you too. Someone has got to be 1st & it might as well be YOU! Maybe people with follow your lead & they too will spend $10k on one of these so as to help quell this nasty gas “habit” the rest of us math-challenged people have!

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    • William says:

      That’s interesting about the diesel engine running electric motor drive gear. I didn’t know that.

      I wonder if instead of all electric, maybe a hybrid motorcycle similar to the Chevy Volt would work for a motorcycle use? That way you could still use some gas to run a small engine to supply the batteries and you’re not stuck without power on a ride.

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      • Zuki says:

        William, diesel-electric technology is from the first half of the 20th century. It’s not new, break-through technology like kpaul proposes. There’s a reason General Electric was/is involved with locomotive manufacturing then and now and General Motors was from the 1930s up until 2005 when it sold EMD (Electro-Motive Division), which is now known as Electro-Motive Diesel.

        BTW – I prefer electric RC vehicles over nitro-powered ones, but in no way am I interested in electric motorcycles!! The Jenny Green-Gores can have them!

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      • brian says:

        I’m not a chevy fan at all, but I will admit I like their take on the Volt. That was departure from what everyone else is doing with hybrids. Like you I wonder why someone hasn’t tried this design on a bike? I doesn’t take much displacement to generate electricity, the driving range is acceptable and no recharging is needed.

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  13. wingben says:

    Electric motorcycles of this type will only be used similar to how scooters are today. I don’t see them ever replacing an internal combustion motorcycle. Doubt they’ll ever be used for a weekend road trip or even a day trip. I prefer to not ride to work (and I work at a motorcycle dealership) because I don’t want to stop riding after my 12 mile commute. When I get on my motorcycle, I want to ride at least 75 miles. A 20 minute ride just isn’t fun to me. When you commute on a motorcycle, or when I do at least, it takes the joy out of motorcycling.

    I can definitely see these taking off in urban areas, but they will never replace motorcycles.

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  14. Dave says:

    Did nobody read the first paragraph of the article? It’s not a GSXR and it’s not trying to be.

    FWIW, electric will never match a combustion street bike’s performance, but it could possibly rival a motocross bike’s. That would overcome lots of land access issues. Someday we won’t have a choice either way. On a long enough timeline (in our lifetimes) gas motos will all but go away.

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    • Joe says:

      Dude wake-up your having a nightmare. Is thats AlGore’s timeline your talking about. It sounds like your ready to roll over and give up already and want to spend 10k on the ZERO. No wake-up and be a man, spend that 10k on a KXF450.

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      • kpaul says:

        Electricity is the future get used to it. No more gas bikes by 2030. Electric bikes will get better just like electric cars are. Telsa, Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus, and Chevy Volt. Just the beginning. Electric motors are simple and more reliable. No more expensive valve adjustments, oil changes, etc.

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      • Dave says:

        For the record, I own a Honda Superhawk, which I love. All the talk about new found oil reserves is a slight smokescreen. They’ve always know that oil was there, it was financially probihitive to get at it and probably still it. If oil gets back to $100 a barrel (it will) then it becomes more viable. As oil’s cost continues to rise we will be forced to stop burning it for fun.

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  15. Wilson R says:

    Funny how they quote the top speed and the range but never the range at top speed. Most of my commute would be at the claimed 67 mph top speed. What is the range at that speed? I doubt if I will ever get a straight answer as the advertised range would suffer and would hurt the marketing image of these machines if the truth were told. Guess we’ll just have to wait until some poor shmuck puts down $10,000 to find out.

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  16. Joe says:

    Wait a minute, dosen’t most electicity come from coal or nat.gas making power that is wired through grid. Why purchase an inferior product when your are not actully saving resources. Some day there may be a better way than the fuels we use now but you can’t force a market, they will take care of themselves.

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    • kpaul says:

      Well the real cost of oil is more like $8.00 a gallon if you put in the cost of defending middle eastern oil. But I agree the market will take care of itself. When I was in California earlier this week an expert was predicting $5.00 a gallon in LA for gas this summer especially if there is a revolution in Egypt.

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      • Falcodoug says:

        Kpaul, do you have a special interest in electric power or are you just kidding around?

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        • kpaul says:

          No just looking at the facts and data. We don’t have enough oil offshore in Alaska or anywhere else We have plenty of coal, natural gas and uranium. Just the facts dude just the facts.

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      • Joe says:

        Please do not toss out speculative numbers. Also there are many more variables to why oil cost what it dose. Producing more oil localy will surely drive the price down, and there are known undisputed locations of oil in and around the U.S.

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        • kpaul says:

          Joe we don’t have enough domestic oil. We have plenty of coal and natural gas etc but not oil. You have to get off Palin’s Facebook page and do some research. Alaskan oil will only last a few months at our current consumption rate. The recent North Dakota find will only last a 6 months. Dude we don’t have enough oil left .. Do the numbers.

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        • Dave says:

          The US’ oil deposits are well known. Foreign oil is far cheaper than extracting our own oil (est @ $60-80+ per barrel a couple years ago). Producing oil domestically will only drive the price down after it goes WAY up, which it eventually will.

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  17. Dean says:

    Pretty good for a first (or second) entry in to the market. It should appeal to some bikers with a relatively short commute.

    Same power for the cost as a Harley, so maybe they will sell thousands if they Chrome it, paint some flames and skulls, etc…

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  18. Reed says:

    I think these things are a great start! Although the average motorcyclist may not buy one I hope that enough do to keep the ball rolling. I think these bikes are a big step up from V1.0 that was introduced only 3 years ago.

    I know if I had one I would be poaching all kinds of local mountain bike trails!

    Also, these bikes are more like 3/4 size motorcycles and really should be compared to a Yamaha WR250x or WR250r on the streets and a CRF150R Experts or track. Yes these bikes are $$$, but this stuff is just in it’s infancy!

    I also don’t get all the HATE, if you don’t want it don’t buy one- simple enough.
    Hey, these are engineered and made in the USA, gotta love that!

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  19. ABQ says:

    In urban areas these are great. Even for commuting in Albuquerque, where there is a ZERO representative. There is also a machinist in Rio Rancho that makes motors that go 180mph for an electric bike company in California. It may seem as if the future of electric vehicles is somewhere down the road. I can tell you that it is near by. Some will say that the cost would also buy a lot of gas. But, you can say that about any motorcycle. It’s about the freedom and the ride. As for me, I am still looking forward to the development of brown gas and fuel cells. If only the military would license out their designs for the benefit of Americas economic freedom.

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  20. ROXX says:

    Hummm….
    I have $10k just sitting here, and I was going to buy a used Hayabusa, and a GSXR 600 track bike…..
    But for the same price I can own a ZERO!!!!!
    WOW!!!!
    Sounds like SO much more fun!!!!
    What was I thinking???
    I can be sitting around watching that thing recharge during the rolling blackouts this summer!!! HOORAY!
    I am saving the planet! HOORAY!

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  21. joe says:

    like Steve said. unless they get the range to 150 miles and a top speed of 75mph this is usless outside the golf course or the home for retired bikers.

    why don’t we get that hdt diesel bike to the public for about 8k. that is something i would buy today.

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    • ilikefood says:

      Well, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it. It all depends on where you live and ride. I live in NYC, and for a city bike a 40-mile range and 65mph top speed is perfect. You wouldn’t want this as your only bike, but then again there really isn’t a single bike that will do everything anyway. I ride a DR-Z400SM in the city, but I have a ST4 for longer trips.

      So as a city bike the Zero S would work great. As a toy that gets ridden out of the city on sunny Sunday mornings – probably not.

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  22. Jeff Mess says:

    I’m surprised at how many people hack down an idea like this. Perhaps it is not great if I compare it to some of the bikes I’ve had, but I just need to remind myself how many people lost their lives (and still are) for this precious oil our toys require. For me it couldn’t be too soon that crappy, made-to-break machines are replaced by clean, simple, and fun machines. Keep ‘em coming Zero and others!

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    • Zeattle says:

      How can people really believe stuff like this? we have 1.6% of the world reserve and 25.8% of consumption. We have no where near enough oil to support ourselves. It’s good to know that there are companies out there that don’t have their heads in the sand.

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    • kpaul says:

      We have plenty of coal, uranium, and natural gas. But we don’t have enough domestic oil even if we opened all of Alaska and all of the offshore stuff to drill. That is why electric cars will take over like it or not.

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      • ROXX says:

        The liberal myth is we don’t have enough oil.
        Fact; We have recently discovered some of the worlds largest oil field in the Dakotas.
        Fact; We don’t have enough electricity production.
        Fact; Liberals are stopping us from building nuclear power plants.
        Have you heard about the rolling blackouts in texas and California?

        I am not opposed to electric bikes and cars, they are just not near ready yet.
        That’s another fact.

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        • kpaul says:

          Not true look it up please. Not a fact cause you say so. Sorry don’t get your news from Glenn Beck and Fox News.. Show me your links to prove your “fact” please. You state opinions and call them facts. We don’t have enough oil period end of story. Give me links ROXX and Beck’s and Rush’s web sites don’t count

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        • kpaul says:

          Facts and data
          Currently, the United States consumes 19.6 million barrels per day, of oil. That is about 7.1 billion per year. The most optimistic projection of the North Dakota oil reserves is between 3 to 4.3 billion barrels Thus only a 6 month supply of oil. Hardly enough wouldn’t you say. Again. do your own research and don’t rely on Fox News

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        • Steve says:

          I agree ROXX….

          I’m with ya but if I write anything else, I met get reported as an “abuzer”…

          Like Max Cady (DeNiro)in Cape Fear says “I learned how to read while I was in prison”

          don’t be a sheep…

          Baaaaa—aaaaa—aaaaa

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  23. Donnie says:

    I really like the way these look. If they perform as great as they look, then Zero motorcycles are heading in the right direction.

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  24. Vrooom says:

    Nearly enough range for me to use for a commuter, I’d need 40 miles of range, with 30 at high speed. I’d imagine that’s pretty close to where it is now. 100 miles range at a 100 mph is the holy grail of these things. That would meet 80-90% of US motorcyclists needs. Not all of mine, but certainly for commuting and short rides it would do.

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  25. Jim Quinn says:

    When my wife and I visited China last October, I expected to see lots of bicycles on the streets, but most of them have been replaced by electric bicycles and scooters. I was told that the central government had dictated that gas-powered bikes and scooters needed to be replaced by electrics, and the people have responded by the hundreds of thousands. There were still a few gas-engine scooters on the streets, but they were rare. I’m sure most of the e-vehicles I saw had low top speeds and limited ranges; they weren’t sportbikes, for sure. But they seemed to work well for local commuting. As a pedestrian trying to cross busy streets at night, I was scared by the fact that they made almost no noise, and most riders ran without headlights, possibly to save their batteries. On top of that, most riders were pretty aggressive; stop lights were treated as suggestions, and they seemed to use pedestrians as apex markers! A guide in Suzhou said that depending on the model, e-scooters cost between $600 and $900 USD in China, cheaper than the imported versions available in Big Box and auto parts stores in the states, and much cheaper than the Zero and Brammo models.

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  26. ES says:

    I think that electric motorcycles will be successful… eventually, but is competing directly with very mature technology, and in what is an enthusiast toy market the way to go? If it were me trying to electrify motorcycling, I would be going back to the roots of every successful motorcycle manufacturer past and present, cheap and rugged basic transportation. Maybe a lightweight electric moped with solar charging, regenerative braking and a network of exchangeable battery stations for instant ‘charge ups’. Market to non enthusiasts looking for cheap and convenient local transportation, provide status versions for affluent greens, win races on Sunday so the enthusiasts will buy on Monday.

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  27. ron says:

    Well, you have to start somewhere to get anywhere. Like all e-vehicles, charge time, range and price are still big issues. But I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing.

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  28. Gary says:

    I think most of you are missing the boat here. Not much range, sure they don’t- yet. Think of the Harley sportsters with their smaller than anything else peanut gas tanks, they were lucky if they got about I believe was around 80 miles to the tank. Top speed is getting right up there in a few other models and makes, but I’m sure the price is much farther up in the clouds. Electric is coming, whether we like it or not, most people are resistant to change, but it will come. Remember the first cordless screwdrivers? They were just about worthless except for the easiest screws. Now I think they could break your wrist. These few short years are making big differences in at least the appearance of these, and I’m sure functionality. I love the shreik of a four-cylinder, but I can see the day when a person will swoosh around a corner with a sort of jet fighter wine and that will be considered cool. And no, I am not involved with this industry at all financial or otherwise.

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  29. Steve says:

    not interested….

    can only drive these things for 1 hour or less & max speed is 67 (which probably equals 1/2 hour limit)…

    I can’t think of a use for 1 of these…especially at the price!

    if/once they develop a 6-8 hour capability with 150-300 mile range, with easy/quick recharge, these things will get some attention….

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  30. Mickey says:

    I do have a question for the author.

    Could one of these electric bikes be ridden 15 miles, parked at work for 9 hours in 40 degree weather, and then would it run the 15 miles back home when you come back out of work? ie: does cold draw down the batteries?

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  31. Mickey says:

    I don’t think they are at a stage in development where I would buy one, but someday maybe…if I live long enough. Chances are they won’t have them figured out before I’m worm bait though.

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  32. Patrick D says:

    As the article states, these are baby steps. I’m sure that 10 years into their lifespan, internal combustion engined bikes had similar limitations. I’m not in a hurry to buy one of these, but when it happens that I’ve no better alternative, I’ll happy change to the great-grandchildren of these bikes.

    The TTX race at the Isle of Man demonstrates the acceleration of the development of these technologies, and when you consider that 2010′s winner got round a 37 mile road course (including 500+ feet of elevation variation) at an average of over 90mph, we can see that sportsbikes and electric power plants will satisfy as all some day soon.

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  33. EE says:

    These are not baby steps, they are another dead end march into oblivion. Until we spend some basic research money to come up with whatever follows lithium (currently the best energy density batteries and at the end of their development potential) none of these vehicles (including the ridiculous cars like the Leaf) are realistic alternatives to anyone but a few “minimal needs” types and the eco-nuts with a statement to make.

    The sad part is that like Volt, this just bilks investors and naive early adopters of their cash. Lithium took almost 20 years to get us here… call me when your laptop runs all week and can be charged in 5 minutes… THEN the batteries will exist to make electric vehicles real.

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  34. MarkF says:

    I would consider an e-bike, if I had a bunch of extra cash. Pretty much just for commuting and I’d need a 40+ mi. range, at full throttle! But it would probably be something that looked like a maxi-scoot or Deauville. Sorry, just not for me.

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  35. Mr. Mike says:

    I’m rooting for these guys and all the other companies pushing the boundaries of electric propulsion and hope they remain sufficiently funded to surpass the overall performance of internal combustion engines ASAP. 100 years from now the only people running internal combustion engines will be the equivalent of today’s steam engine hobbyists.

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  36. Montana says:

    The sky is falling, the sky is falling, quick,
    get me an electric vehicle!
    Even if everyone in America bought electric vehicles,
    it wouldn’t begin to compensate for the Chinese and Indian
    hydrocarbon proliferation.
    But hey, if it makes you feel good.
    Just don’t make me buy one.
    Krakatoa polluted more than all Americans in all of history,
    yet somehow the world recovered — without Al Gore.

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    • Mr. Mike says:

      It seems a reasonable assumption that if electric vehicles became a compelling enough option for Americans to adopt them in bulk, so too would the Chinese, Indians and residents of other industrialized nations. Krakatoa is irrelevant because it was a singular event, whereas human emissions are continuous/increasing. Thanks for proving that politics and science don’t mix.

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    • HM in Appalachia says:

      You have spoken for me,and well.I bet a bunch of others too!The facts do not back up “chicken little” at all.Thanks,HM

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    • Cory says:

      To paraphrase George Carlin– The Earth will survive. We won’t, but the earth and the cockroaches will be just fine.

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    • mpolans says:

      Of course, Krakatoa killed alot of stuff too. But regardless of the environmental BS, having max torque from zero rpm would be pretty cool!

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    • kpaul says:

      Well when gas gets to $4.00 a gallon this summer my guess Montana that you will change your mind. Lots of coal in Montana that can be converted to electricity. Remember Montana its not just about pollution. It’s about cost and the cost of defending middle east oil. Besides take a trip to LA and they tell me again how you don’t think pollution is a problem. In Montana it isn’t but that’s because you have a few thousand people in the whole state.

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  37. mpolans says:

    The only e-bike I’d consider is the Brammo, but it’s been so long since I’ve heard about them I’m starting to think they’re vaporware.

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    • Cory says:

      The Brammo bikes are looking better than ever, and are getting close to acceptable range/power capabilities. Recharge time on all e-vehicles is the killer to me. I just don’t think that we will see this tech really go mainstream until you can get from 10% charge to 100% in a minimum of 15 minutes with a <10 minute recharge time as optimum.

      http://www.brammo.com/

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  38. kpaul says:

    Electric bikes like Electric cars will someday rule the roads. It’s the future get used to it.
    from 38,000 ft above California going back home to Seattle from Long Beach
    kpaul
    B.S. Electrical Engineering.
    Electricity Rules!

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    • kpaul says:

      P.S, LA could use more electrical vehicles. Smog is better but still really bad compared to other cities. Forget hydrogen Governor Brown. Build some nuclear and coal power generation plants in the desert and get LA off the oil habit. Good for the economy and good for the environment. Coal plants are still cleaner than driving around million + gasoline and diesel powered vehicles.

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    • Old town hick says:

      “from 38,000 ft above California going back home to Seattle from Long Beach”

      Instead of trying so hard to indoctrinate motorcyclists, how about harping on Boeing and Airbus to make electrically-powered airplanes.

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  39. John says:

    I’m actually interested. I can’t find the 350cc-450cc ‘trail bike’ I want and I’ve got all the sun in the world going for me.

    The price has to come down and the battery power go up first though. Maybe in 2-3 years.

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  40. ben says:

    I will never buy an electric bike.

    I am 36, thank god there are enough real bikes out there to keep me riding for the rest of my life if somehow these soulless electric golemcycles should take over

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    • ROXX says:

      I agree Ben.
      Some of these folks need to trade in their ‘man card’ for some ‘big girl panties’.

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      • kpaul says:

        LOL Give an electric bike with massive instantaneous torque and I’ll spank your soon to be obsolete gas bike. In 10 years MotoGP will have an electric bike division. Ben when you are 56 and gas is $20 per gallon you will be happy with the electric bike you will be riding. :)

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  41. Kent says:

    I think a more useful version would include some luggage space.
    It’s a grocery getter and about town bike. I feel that the function is more like a scooter than a motorcycle.

    Where scooters shine, is the ability to hold your helmet while you’re in the store, and a few bags of groceries when you’re done.

    An electric urban runabout could be a good thing. If I didn’t have a freeway commute (and I had a spare 10k) I’d think about one. I’d also keep my “real” bike

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  42. Bob says:

    The name “ZERO” says it all.

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  43. Old town hick says:

    Seriously, who buys these things besides Al Gore and Ed Begley Jr.?

    Really, I would like to hear from an actual owner.

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  44. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    Love the e-bike developments…especially refreshing to see two-wheel innovation after Harley presents us a warmed-over push-rod.

    Will test-ride at earliest opportunity

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  45. steveinsandiego says:

    range is much too short for me, and top speed is less than the speed limit on the freeways. if i could squeeze 200 miles out of a charge, and cruise at 80 mph, i’d maybe think seriously about it.

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  46. Norm G. says:

    as a staunch industry advocate, i hope these guys sell like a BRAZILLION units (domestic and international) at msrp never discounting a single one. however, my alpha purist side screams, “a motorcycle sans sound track, isn’t so much a motorcycle…? as it is motorcycling [neutered] down to fundamental transportation”. ok, i just bought some pastrami, marble rye, and ingelhoffer’s… gotta run.

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  47. Bud says:

    The street version is really odd. Its peculiar blend of old and new, an electric motor and belt drive, with wheels and lighting that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a street bike 59 years ago, a chin fairing that should have been used to cover the underside of the bike and smooth out the shape but doesn’t, and doesn’t blend into the radiator shrouds/gas tank on a bike with no radiator or gas. The seat appears to be the same unit as on the dirt bikes, but without the matching bodywork so it’s totally out of place. And it’s hard to tell from the photos but it looks like the tailpiece/rear fender is similarly in need of reworking. And did they get a good deal on brake lines that are 6″ too long?

    I want to see the technology work out, but this thing is just a big pile of WTF?

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  48. thanks for your report. I will look forward to your road test. they would be well directed to give one to you for a long term steed.
    10k seems like to much considering I would be a guinea pig of sorts lol

    john wodarski

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  49. uncle quinn says:

    um…….no

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