Driving report Zero S-DS

Driving report Zero S-DS

Driving report electric bike Zero S / DS


“High Voltage” was the name of the first album by the Aussie rockers from AC / DC, the development of electric motorcycles remains extremely exciting. Now the American e-bike manufacturer Zero is adding a completely revised model year and is rocking the established combustion scene.

Even if you are critical or even negative about electric mobility and claim that the hype is over: The Zero S. and DS make 54 hp. That’s a word, even old burners have to admit. Especially in combination with a weight of 175 or 179 kilograms with the highest battery capacity. And that is “fully brindle”, with plenty of kilowatt hours on board.

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Driving report Zero S-DS

Driving report electric bike Zero S / DS

Zero S and Zero DS are therefore very easily on the level of a 250. The full torque of 92 Newton meters, which the brushless permanent magnet motor with recuperation delivers practically from a standing start, is best known from 1000s at the height of their creative power .

Are you impressed? But don’t worry, the Zero guys intervened wisely in the lower speed range. And first of all, these are, of course, prospectus information. But still: You suspect that there is a lot of tension on the low-reaction belt drive of the Zero S and Zero DS when the power grip moves to the stop.

The Zero S and Zero DS e-bikes in city traffic

And without switching, without coupling, completely automatically. And at first surprisingly gentle, because below 30 km / h, Zero’s electric tinkerer from Santa Cruz, California, expediently expelled the surge of torque from the compact power pack, whose drive shaft is concentric with the swing arm axis.

But then, once in motion, things are difficult. Without any effort, only accompanied by the increasing buzz of the air-cooled power source, the Zeros beam their way through the city traffic of Barcelona towards the end of the town, slide easily into the smallest gap, are city speedsters par excellence.

Under these conditions, Zero promises a range of 220 kilometers for the small S and 203 kilometers for the DS for the largest battery variant with a powerful 11.4 kilowatt hours. With the smaller version (8.5 kWh) it should be 166 or 153 kilometers. For an e-bike of this performance category and driving dynamics, this is a peak value that can even satisfy gasoline junkies.

But: In view of the impressive performance (from 0 to 100 km / h in 5.7 seconds, the top speed is 153 km / h) and the pulling qualities of the new Zero generation, the city limits are not the end as usual, but the beginning of everything Electrical desires.

The Zero S and Zero DS e-bikes on the country road

Even skeptics want more. Want to get out, into the mountains, where a fascinating motorcycle paradise awaits right outside the city gates of the Catalan metropolis. Want to see what the e-bike can really do. The Zero Armada hums like a swarm of hornets through the Spanish spring, brakes and accelerates at a really brisk country road speed without anyone missing the clutch, gearbox or the combustion noise.

On the contrary, there is something about weightlessness. The Zeros whiz dynamically and almost silently through the Catalan mountains, the Americans have managed the response of the new Z-Force engine wonderfully smoothly, which releases almost twice as much power as that of the previous year’s model with just 28 hp.

The Zeros only require a bit of getting used to in Eco mode at the apex of the curve, because the propulsion is then slightly delayed and noticeably more restrained over the entire speed range than in Sport mode (can also be switched while driving using a rocker switch to the left of the cockpit).

So a quick click, now it’s full speed ahead, the Zero S and Zero DS change their character noticeably. Instead of sliding, it is now time to accelerate, the effortless and noiseless pulling through from the lowest speeds is an absolute experience. Vibrations, performance holes? Naturally not available with this drive technology. And so happens what otherwise never happens on an e-bike.

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Chassis, running gear, suspension, brakes

In view of this dynamic, all of a sudden it is no longer just the engine that is the focus of interest, but also the chassis. The petite Zero S flits quickly from one corner to the other, despite its petite stature, it offers decent ergonomics even for tall people, but unfortunately no appealing suspension comfort. The suspension elements from the Taiwanese supplier Fastace transmit particularly short, hard blows to the driver almost unfiltered, and not only on the Zero S, but even on the higher and supposedly more comfortable Zero DS with its longer suspension travel.

“It’s our turn,” assures Zero Marketing Manager Martin Driehaus (see interview on page 61) when asked about the spring elements and the IRC and Kenda tires, which also come from the Far East, and points out that the brakes were taken care of when the model was changed. They are now from Nissin and do their job not enthusiastically, but properly.

The fact that a somewhat peculiar braking feeling with a little “lagging” deceleration occurs at first is due to the energy recovery (recuperation) when decelerating, when the motor practically acts as a generator and charges the batteries. How intense this braking torque is can be controlled very trendy in the latest zero generation via smartphone app. In addition, almost all the parameters supplied by the motor and battery of the zero bikes are displayed there. Clearly the most important: the remaining range in kilometers.

In the test drives with frequent and heavy use of power, the reserve status was reached after around 120 km, even with the largest battery version, on average around 150 km should be possible before a Zero has to be plugged back into the (household) socket at around eight Hours to charge. And something else stands in the way of mass distribution: The price of the new Zeros at 13,995 (8.5 kWh version) and 15,995 euros (11.4 kWh version) is well above what a comparable conventional one Motorcycle costs.

Driving report Zero S-DS


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Technical data Zero S and Zero DS


The world of electric bikes: everything, including the engine characteristics, can be controlled via the smartphone in the waterproof mount.

Air-cooled brushless permanent magnet motor with recuperation on the rear wheel, integrated charger, 1.3 kW, battery: lithium-ion battery, 84 (112) cells, maximum battery capacity 8.5 kWh (11.4 kWh), clutch-free direct drive, toothed belt.

Rated output 40.0 kW (54 hp) at 4300 rpm
Max. Torque 92 Nm
Max. Speed ​​6300 / min

landing gear
Bridge frame made of aluminum, upside-down fork, Ø 48 mm, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut, directly hinged, front disc brake, Ø 314 mm, double-piston floating caliper, rear disc brake, Ø 221 mm, single-piston floating caliper.

Zero S:
Spoked wheels with aluminum rims 3.00 x 17; 3.50 x 17
Tires 110 / 70-17; 130 / 70-17

Zero DS:
Spoked wheels with aluminum rims 2.15 x 19; 3.00 x 17
Tires 100 / 90-19; 130 / 80-17

Dimensions + weights
Zero S: wheelbase 1406 mm, steering head angle 66.2 degrees, caster 82 mm, suspension travel f / r 140/149 mm, ready-to-drive weight 161 (175) kg, payload 181 (167) kg, seat height 794 mm, top speed 153 km / h , City range 166 (220) km, motorway at a constant 112 km / h 85 (113) km, combined 113 (150) km, charging time 6.0 (7.9) hours, rapid charging cycle (CHAdeMO) 1.0 hours. (95%).
Zero DS: wheelbase 1435 mm, steering head angle 65.5 degrees, caster 117 mm, suspension travel f / h 178/195 mm, ready-to-drive weight 165 (179) kg, payload 178 (164) kg, seat height 873 mm, top speed 153 km / h , City range 153 (203) km, motorway at a constant 112 km / h 74 (98) km, combined 100 (132) km, charging time 6.0 (7.9) hours, rapid charging cycle (CHAdeMO) 1.0 hours. (95%).
Colors Zero S: black, yellow
Zero DS: green, orange
Prices Zero S ZF 8.5 / DS ZF 8.5: 13,995 euros
Zero S ZF 11.4 / DS ZF 11.4: 15,995 euros
Contact www.zeromotorcycles.de

Zero FX


Should accelerate from 0 to 100 km / h in just under 4 seconds: the Zero FX.

Unfortunately, the FX was only available for a short test lap at the presentation, which leads to even new electric driving performance spheres. 125 kilograms total weight with 44 hp and 95 Newton meters of torque – that pushes the fork bridge in your face. The FX should accelerate to 100 km / h in just under four seconds, the batteries with 2.8 kWh (one battery) or 5.7 kWh (two batteries) can be removed. The price is 9,495 or 11,995 euros.

Interview with Martin Driehaus, Zero Marketing Director


Zero Marketing Director Martin Driehaus (45).

“There will still be a lot to do”
Zero Marketing Director Martin Driehaus (45) talks about the magic of a test ride with an electric bike, the zero maintenance and tax exemption of the Zeros, the high pace of development and the classification in the 48 hp class.

? Mr. Driehaus, who is interested in your products – and who will ultimately buy them?

! Of course, the field of interested parties is wide-ranging, but we can already see that many newcomers or those returning to the field are interested in our products.

? Why that?

! On the one hand, because the new models S and DS are suitable for an A2 driving license despite a peak output of 54 HP, because they are homologated with a continuous output of 22 HP. On the other hand, there is of course the manageable maintenance effort, because apart from checking the air pressure there is actually nothing to do, and we do not require regular inspections due to the practically maintenance-free motor. And then there are of course the non-existent emissions and the fascination of electric drives. And oil or gasoline stains in the garage are a thing of the past with a Zero, as are shifting gears and clutching or paying vehicle tax or gasoline!

? What is more of a deterrent to customers? The limited range or doubts about the durability?

! First of all, about durability: We give a two-year guarantee on the motorcycle and batteries for the road models. The battery capacity of the largest battery pack only slowly drops to 80 percent after more than 450,000 kilometers. With this package, the range is between 220 kilometers in city traffic and a good 110 kilometers at around 110 km / h on the motorway. This is sufficient for the range of applications of most customers, but we are continuously working to improve everything. For example, we have practically doubled the performance compared to last year’s model with the same range and reduced the charging time by 25 percent. At a CHAdeMO station, of which there are unfortunately only a few in Germany, quick charging is possible with the appropriate kit in an hour. A lot will happen there.

? How do you convey the fascination of electronics in view of the many reservations??

! Preferably with a test drive. To be honest: once people sit on the Zero and drive, a lot has been achieved. Most did not expect this dynamic.

? Where can you test drive?

! We currently have twelve dealers in Germany, but we are continuously expanding the network. A list can be found on the website www.zeromotocycles.de

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