American electric motorcycle maker Zero Motorcycles has officially pulled the cover off its intriguing sport-tourer-esque SR/S model a few days earlier than promised. Zero had said it would be revealing all on 24 February but then a host of leaked images went and spoiled the surprise.
Bedeck Yourself in TMO Gear
But, hey, why make us wait for the goodness? And from what I see, this new bike looks very good indeed. Less than a week after going stupid for the Harley-Davidson LiveWire* I feel inclined to get a little silly for this thing, too. Admittedly I’ve not ridden it or the SR/F upon which it is built, so I don’t know if it can produce the same ridiculous level of thrill as the Harley, but certainly the numbers are right: 110 hp and 190 Nm of torque. The LiveWire claims 104 hp and 116 Nm of torque.
Of course, those numbers aren’t new. The SR/F delivers the same performance. What’s grabbing everyone’s attention is that fairing, which is something that people like me have been asking for on electric bikes for a long time. We always assumed that its presence would not only make the bike a more effective commuting tool, helping to keep some of the weather off, but also reduce drag and thereby increase efficiency. It seems our assumption was right. Zero says that a tucked rider will see a 13-percent improvement in range.
Although, admittedly, I guess we should take that with a grain of salt. Riding at normal speeds in full racing tuck makes you look silly. I suspect most riders will choose inefficiency over embarrassment. They won’t have to feel embarrassed about the overall look of the bike, however. I’m strangely digging its 1990s Ducati SuperSport/Suzuki GS1200SS vibe. Especially in the Cerulian Blue color scheme. I mean, that is a legitimately good-looking… dare I say it, gorgeous… motorcycle that appears to be well put together. I would be very happy to be seen on that thing.
Meanwhile, Zero says it has tweaked the bike’s ergonomics from those of the SR/F, via lower pegs and higher handlebars, to give riders a more upright and relaxed riding position. As someone who hasn’t ridden the SR/F I can’t tell you whether this was necessary, but comfortable is always good.
“The ergonomic comfort of the SR/S even extends to two-up riding, giving passengers the ride of their life with matching lower pegs and a larger seating area,” states a Zero media release. “The fine-tuned suspension adds yet another level of luxury to the ride.”
The SR/S is also dripping with tech: corning ABS, cornering traction control and drag torque control (I guess we can’t really call it a slipper clutch when the bike has no transmission) all delivered via a Bosch MSC set-up. The bike’s futuristic dash provides you with all kinds of information, as well as the ability to alter performance/character with a number of riding modes: Street, Sport, Eco, Rain and up to 10 programmable custom modes. I feel that may be overkill – How could you be so persnickety as to want 14 different rider modes? – but more is more, I guess.
ONE OF MY PREDICTIONS IS ALREADY COMING TRUE:
10 Moto Predictions for 2020
Because we live in 2020 and you’re not allowed to have things any other way now, the bike also offers all kinds of connectivity, some of which I suppose could be useful (I tend to be pretty cynical about the idea of connectivity apps). The SR/S gives riders the ability to monitor the bike in four main areas: Bike Status and Alerts, Charging, Ride Data Sharing, and System Upgrades and Updates. The following passage from Zero’s media release explains those areas in detail:
“1) Bike Status and Alerts: The SR/S alerts riders regarding bike status, including interruptions in charging and tip-over or unexpected motion notifications. In addition, the “Find my Bike” function allows riders to keep tabs on the motorcycle at all times.
2) Charging: The SR/S takes the convenience of recharging to new levels with the ability to remotely set charging parameters, including Targeted Charge Levels, notification of State of Charge (SoC), Charge Time Scheduling and Charge Tracking. These notifications allow riders to control all aspects of charging and to monitor charge status even when away from the motorcycle.
3) Ride Data Sharing: Riders can gather, relive and share extensive data about their ride through the app. An industry first, the motorcycle records bike location, speed, lean angle, power, torque, SoC and energy used/regenerated. Riders can replay each ride and also choose to upload additional content to record and share their full experience. Riders also have the option to keep data anonymous.
4) System Upgrades and Updates: New updates and diagnostic capabilities allow riders to remotely download the latest Cypher III operating system release to ensure optimal performance and provide access to feature improvements.“
But you want to know about range, charging time and price, right? Those seem to be the things people lock onto when it comes to electric bikes, one set of numbers often feeling too small and the other too big.
Within the context of electric bikes – especially ones that look as good as this – the SR/S is reasonably priced. “Reasonably” isn’t quite the right word to use there – perhaps “tolerably?” Or “not insufferably?” Anyway, the standard model will set you back £19,590. That drops to £18,090 after applying the UK government grant for electric vehicles. I’m afraid I don’t know US pricing for those of you playing along in the States.
If you add a 6kW Rapid Charger, which will allow you to charge from 0 to 95 percent in an hour at a Level 2 charge station, the price jumps to £21,590 (or £20,090 with the grant), but you also get heated grips and aluminum bar ends.
Zero says the SR/S has a range of “up to” 200 miles on a single charge with the addition of Zero’s Power Tank, which probably jacks the price up quite a bit more. Looking at the SR/F’s non-Power Tank numbers, which I assume would be the same as those of the SR/S or close, it claims 161 miles in city conditions, 99 miles when traveling a steady 55 mph, and 82 miles when riding a constant 70 mph. Mixed use of highway/city obviously earns greater distances.
Although I’m willing to bet everyone else will use the term, Zero does not refer to the SR/S as a sport tourer in its media release. But I suspect a lot of people will be looking at it that way and wondering if such an application is possible. Can you tour on it? With these numbers I’d say it is. With patience. Stopping every 80 miles or so to juice up for an hour, it would take roughly 10 hours to cover the 400 miles from Cardiff to Edinburgh. That’s not great but it’s also not terribly far off how long it actually takes me to make that trip on a petrol-powered bike; I like to stop a lot.
The price is, admittedly, still a lot to swallow, especially if you’re mentally locked in to the idea of relegating the bike to commuter duty, but I don’t find it outrageous. Completely unattainable for me, yes, but not outrageous.
Zero are doing some amazing things, and, as I said four years ago, I feel electric motorcycles have already arrived. It’s now just a matter of getting riders to shake free of their rigid (and often incorrect) perceptions of what an electric bike can deliver and what sort of bike they actually need.
MORE IMAGES OF THE ZERO SR/S
* Again I say: that bike is awesome.