- 67 hp, 144 Nm of torque, 188 kilos, 200 km of range and 0 to 100 km / h in 3.9 seconds !
- A futuristic machine to discover absolutely for your driving pleasure
- In the saddle
- In the city
- On highways and main roads
- On departmental
- Comfort / duo
- Consumption / autonomy
67 hp, 144 Nm of torque, 188 kilos, 200 km of range and 0 to 100 km / h in 3.9 seconds !
A futuristic machine to discover absolutely for your driving pleasure
Sign of the times: here is the first test of an electric motorcycle on Le Repaire des Motards. Oh, there was a precedent with the BMW C Evolution scooter, published in May 2014, but a scooter, in essence intended for driving mainly in the city, is a natural receptacle for electric motorization in the same way as a city car like the Renault Zoe. There, with the Zero Motorcycles, we are talking about a motorcycle: either a machine overall just as suitable as a scooter to ensure everyday life, but which must meet specifications that are much more demanding in terms of driving pleasure..
This is the bet of Zero Motorcycles, an American company based in California: the firm founded in 2006 by Neal Saiki, a former NASA engineer, made the bet of electrified fun. And the fun is the motorbike, not the scooter. Zero started producing small cross-country motorcycles, then diversified between 2009 and 2012 with an approved road range, but not very convincing, before laying the foundations for what constitutes the current range..
New for 2016 at Zero are the 13 kWh batteries which are available on the SR (roadster) and DSR models; in 2015, they had "only" 12.5 kWh.
And this range, precisely, begins to advance arguments which become squarely admissible: the Z-Force engine of new generation develops the equivalent of 67 horses, which is the level of a good 500 cm3 thermal (even more, Kawasaki ER-6, Yamaha MT-07 and others proposing of the order of 72 horses), while the instantly available torque is 144 Nm. 144 Nm: a value rarely achieved in the motorcycle world since, for comparison, a Ducati X-Diavel is at 131 Nm and a Kawasaki ZX-10R with 210 hp is at 113 Nm. In fact, 144 Nm is just a little less than a Yamaha 1700 Vmax, which delivers 145 Nm but at 5000 rpm. While the Zero DSR is immediately.
Suddenly, the Zero DSR promises acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h in 3.9 seconds, a top speed of 158 km / h and a range that varies, depending on the case, between 113 and 237 kilometers (range at 138/288 kilometers with the addition of a Power Tank, which adds almost 3 kWh of batteries, 20 kilos and 2,700 €).
Obviously, the Zero is likely to have many detractors from the outset, including a large majority who have not even tried it. We know in advance the arguments of the anti-electric: it is too expensive, it does not go far enough, it takes a long time to recharge, it is not so "clean" as that since it recharges with nuclear or coal electricity, it does not make enough noise, it does not go fast enough and many others. The only thing missing is "it is because of her that little Gregory sank in Vologne" and like that, we will have really accused her of all the evils. We know that the biker world is, in principle, quite cautious about any notion of innovation: proof by the market, with about fifty Zero sold in France in 2015 (and 409 BMW C Evolution scooters), figures that remain low even if it is true that unlike the automobile, the electric two-wheeler does not benefit from any tax incentive. However, who today would want to do without an ABS, whereas 10 years ago, this security was not considered useful for "pure" and "real" bikers on the pretext that "to know brake, you deserve it "? So, inevitably, should a motorcycle without an engine, without noise, without a gearbox, inevitably constitute a killer? Motorcycles are manly. Motorcycles are all about adrenaline, guys, it’s a titanium Akrapovic speeding up spitting flames and terrorizing old women and children, not some sort of hair dryer with wheels moving forward " wiiizzzz " !
The electric motorcycle does not claim to be the ideal motorcycle nor, in fact, the one of tomorrow; it is ONE solution, not THE solution. Yes, it requires resources and openness (a little, a lot, everyone will put the cursor in the right place). But above all, it deserves to be discovered, because it has an immense quality: that of helping you take a step back and take stock of your motorcycle practice. Just that. Because the electric motorcycle is also a breakthrough innovation: no less than that !
And for those who like the technique, the Repaire recently devoted a whole file on the technical functioning of the electric motorcycles..
Apart from the absence of an exhaust and the shape of the “engine”, an engine that we do not see on many faired motorcycles, the Zero DSR does not fully denote in the current motorcyclist fleet. We are therefore faced with a trail normally and logically constituted: high, thin, long and, in fact, rather harmonious in its proportions. And then, looking at it from a distance, the opening at the base of the swingarm is a design stroke that almost makes you think of an exhaust tip..
Seen up close, the Zero DSR undoubtedly has many features of the "traditional" world of motorcycles: the massive aluminum frame, the inverted fork, the pretty perforated rims, the generously dimensioned braking system, the turntables. footrest. The line of design at the level of the saddle, the space allocated to the "tank" and the side scoops is again in line with the classic world of motorcycles, while the battery fairing, which sparkles in the sun with its satin coating, masks the specificity of this bike quite well. In other words: it takes a sharp eye to notice it right away, resting on its kickstand in the company of other motorcycles. Only the rear light is of a rather ordinary design.
Initials "crafted in California" (handcrafted in California) as well as the American flag subtly integrated on the top of the rear hull testify to its origin and bring to four the number of American motorcycle manufacturers, with Harley-Davidson, Indian and Victory. Uncle Sam’s country is definitely more and more verbose.
The fully digital dashboard is very complete: speed, time, battery charge level, indication of range and consumption in kWh, temperature and many other things, such as the remaining recharging time when it is plugged in. We just regret that reading all these functions is not super obvious: you have to enter the "trip 1" box to have access to autonomy, for example. Another small downside: if the quality of the assembly does not call for criticism, that of the plastics of the covering, which seem to be scratched easily, are not related to a motorcycle of this price.
In the saddle
In the Zero range, the SR is the roadster and the DSR the trail. Suddenly, from one to the other, the saddle height goes from 807 to 843 mm. The suspensions are not the type to slump as soon as a pilot takes his place on board: like many trails, the DSR is therefore not made for short legs and other garden gnomes. , 70 will therefore only tiptoe on the ground.
That said, it remains rather conciliatory: its size is quite close to a trail of 400 cm3 like a Suzuki DR-Z 400 and its weight of 190 kilos, thanks to an excellent distribution, is not felt. Subjectively, it even looks like the DSR weighs 30 kilos less. It even seems to be on a slightly high 250.
Then, the driving position is natural, the controls fall well in hand, the brake lever free play is adjustable, the dashboard is readable. In fact, the Zero DSR is a motorcycle like any other! The only difference: no gas tank and instead, if the Zero is not equipped with the Power Tank, (a small bag with a small zipper), which contains the charging cable and leaves room for small objects like a large Samsung Galaxy Edge-type mobile phone.
A little turn of the key. Folding the side stand. A few short seconds of waiting and the Zero makes a very small popping noise. That’s it, we’re ready to go: this power-up spares us a starter button since there is nothing to start. Then it’s simple: no speed, no clutch, just a grip of gas, a lever and a brake pedal..
Possibly, the only operation to be performed is to choose your driving mode, by pressing the "mode" button, located below the circuit breaker on the right stalk..
Three possibilities are offered: "eco", which reduces power and optimizes range,"sport", which gives access to all the power and" custom "; the latter allows, via an App to be downloaded on his smartphone, to connect to the motorcycle in Bluetooth® and set the desired level of power and "engine brake" via energy recovery when you cut the throttle.
In the city
Welcome to the world of silence. Well, that’s theory. Because, paradoxically, driving entirely electric reinforces the perception of violence in the contemporary world! When you stop at the fire for the first time, you will find that it is rudely noisy, the craftsman next to you whose old Citroën C15 Diesel spits black smoke in the tap sound of his tired old Diesel certified Euro Minus 3 . But is it more bearable than the other moron with his big three-wheeled scooter, his sinister face with his big jowls embedded in the faux fur of his down jacket and his approved exhaust "me, life in society, nothing to give a fuck "! Not sure ! Driving entirely electric makes people aware of the virtuous aspect of silence and we come to imagine an urban ideal where noise pollution would have disappeared, which would not be without impact on the reduction of stress and mental pathologies in the city. . Such a world is not incompatible with the practice of motorized leisure activities full of sensations, it being understood that these do not have their place on the main boulevards anyway..
If the city remains noisy, it is no longer because of you. On the handlebars of the Zero DSR, you learn to use your ear again: the rolling noises of the tires, the whistling of the brake pads and the hissing of the electric motor create a new sensory universe for you. For the rest, it is only happiness: between the natural balance of the motorcycle, the right dosage of the brakes, the perfect dosage of the throttle grip which allows you to ride at walking pace, smoothly, where to send the mash to fit in the traffic, the Zero DSR transforms urban journeys into moments of real pleasure.
Softness, silence, stealth, flying carpet, lightning accelerations: here is a new series of keywords which will accompany your daily life (and which are the opposite of "engine heating up, clutch hard, gearbox slamming, dead point impossible to find"). And redefine your relationship to mobility, as well as freedom. With yours ending where everyone else’s begins, the great strength of the Zero is that it is never a nuisance. There, the pleasure is quite simply doubled.
Eco mode. You will appreciate it in the rain. The power comes obediently. Sport mode? You would do well to hang on to the handlebars. that is a severe blow to the hair.
In the fire, the Zero makes people talk. "Is that an electric motorcycle?" ; "Yes" ; "How much is it?" ; "Uh … As the name suggests, it’s a Zero. Zero, there’s no engine"; (a brief silence); "And it’s good ?" ; “You can’t even imagine!”. And at the green light, the Zero takes off and leaves everyone behind. Be careful though, because we arrive quickly and nobody heard you … A distracted pedestrian is shot so quickly !
A novelty for the 2016 vintage: a command for warnings on the left stalk, useful when moving up legal queues. Since we can’t hear you coming, you might as well show off! And as perfection does not exist, we can blame a slightly wide handlebars (and located at the level of the mirrors of SUVs and vans), a slightly limited turning radius (the large tubes of the inverted fork quickly come to a stop) . The practical aspects are reduced, but no more than on any motorcycle without a top-case and if you cannot put the anti-theft device under the saddle, the small bag at the location of the tank can accommodate a large disc lock . It’s already that.
On highways and main roads
With the equivalent of 67 horsepower, the Zero offers more than enough performance for road or highway use. On the other hand, the very logic of an electric motor is not favorable to a permanent use at full load, under penalty of considerably straining the autonomy which, according to the use, varies from single to double. And there, we will be in the simple.
On the motorway (under German protectorate), we checked: the Zero takes 160 meters like a flower and does not pose any problem of stability, despite the typical trail position and the resulting wind resistance. Under these conditions, the battery charge indicator loses every unit almost dizzyingly. Then, as the engine will start to heat up, the machine will settle on a "reasonable" cruising speed which will be limited to 145 km / h, but if we play this for a long time, it will be difficult to exceed 100 kilometers of autonomy. The "eco" mode reduces the top speed to around 115 km / h and thus extends the range..
You have to understand that the electric vehicle is not "cheese and dessert", but one or the other. It’s like the American automaker Tesla announcing 250 km / h and 500 kilometers of range for its top-of-the-line model, the 700-horsepower, four-wheel-drive P90D, but in fact it is not. It’s one or the other. The Zero is no exception to this harsh law of physics. Suddenly, to make the most of it, you have to follow a rule that applies to any type of motorcycle, electric or thermal: happiness is in the meadow. Finally, the meadow, the wood, the beet plain, the countryside, what…
The Zero DSR is doubly comfortable in the countryside, because you are there less often (and for a long time) at full load and because this is where the true trail spirit is sublimated. There, the Zero DSR continues its festival, by a mixture of universes whose sum is downright addictive.
One, the large handlebars, the 130 mm wide rear tire and the contained template give it barely demonic agility. Those who learned to ride a motorcycle in the school of lightness will understand, the others, weaned on 190 wide tires, are really missing something; the DSR twirls from one turn to another with the agility of a Romanian gymnast, with a simple pressure on the handlebars or a small pressure on the footrest, almost defying the notion of gravity.
Two: this demonic agility is doubled by times that are worth those of a roadster 1000 in full, with one tooth less in the gearbox output pinion. Truly ! We are not joking and he is not a figure of speech. Moreover, the word that best suits the Zero DSR in its overtaking exercises on departmental roads is "teleportation"..
Teleport: you’re somewhere, you want to be somewhere else, let’s say there, 100 yards in front of that rusty old Twingo and well, presto, there you are. And in silence, which is the third highlight of the drive, the sounds of tires, brakes and transmission punctuating the score. Small friendly message to novice pilots: the times are downright stratospheric and it’s downright funny, but they only rely on a Pirelli MT-60 in 130/80 x 17 and in the wet, it can become playful in the absence of control traction.
As for the feeling of the chassis, the quality of the brakes, the reading of the work of the suspensions, the finesse of the dosage of the acceleration, the Zero DSR could show some thermal motorcycles….
In good trail, the Zero DSR can venture into the paths. There, we will praise the good ergonomics of the standing position on the footrests, the smoothness of the throttle control and the progressive feeling of the brakes, from which the ABS does not disconnect. Afterwards, with 144 Nm of torque to pass right away, it might be better to start in "eco" mode! Pirelli MT-60 tires will be good allies before the terrain becomes very greasy … Best of all, the Zero will allow you to get as close as possible to the little Bambis without frightening them..
Gone are the days when Zero Motorcycles were rightly criticized for their chassis elements that seemed to originate from the ATV world. Now, they are equipped with quality equipment. The Pirelli MT-60 tires replace the Taiwanese Kenda tires on previous vintages and the suspensions come from Showa, with a 41 mm inverted fork, fully adjustable (preload, rebound and compression) and which debates on 178 mm. At the rear, it is a mono-shock absorber which also comes from Showa. It is also fully adjustable, has an outer reservoir and 179mm debate. We are therefore dealing with quality material.
Overall, the suspensions seem firm at first on small shocks, before proving to be more accommodating and flexible, with good damping capacities, on larger ones. These elements guarantee fun and rigorous handling at the same time..
The Zero DSR does not weigh very heavily and can arrive very quickly. It is therefore important that it has good braking. This is the case, despite the apparent simplicity of the device, with a single 245mm disc at the rear with a single piston caliper and a larger 320mm disc at the front with a 2-piston caliper. It sounds weak on paper, but it’s very convincing in reality, with a relatively smooth attack followed by a good bite a millimeter later and excellent feeling on the lever..
The brakes come from J. Juan, a little-known Spanish brand (except experts who already know that this year it is equipping the Kawasaki ZX-10R with World Superbike by the 2013 and 2015 world champions, Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea).
A 9th generation Bosch ABS completes the device.
Comfort / duo
There, the Zero DSR will not score too many points. Ransom for the contained dimensions of the bike, the space on board is not very generous, the saddle is of the firm type and, as we have seen, the suspensions rather firm on small shocks. The duo is possible on daily trips, but it will be necessary to be in love for the long journeys of the holidays. What the Zero is not too capable of doing, unless the logistics are quite complex; so, that’s good.
The passenger can count on handles embedded under the seat backrest and the ambient silence promotes discussions. The other side of the coin: it makes the silences even more deafening, which is not terrible for a couple at the end of their life who have nothing more to say to each other..
Consumption / autonomy
As we said above, the electric vehicle is cheese or dessert and the Zero DSR is no exception to the rule. Between going fast and going far, you have to choose. It’s the same for a thermal motorcycle, but you can put a part back in the jukebox in the form of a two-minute stop at a gas station. This is not (yet) possible for electric vehicles.
Let us praise the truth of the figures of Zero Motorcycles: where, in the automobile, certain manufacturers advance completely fanciful consumption values, the figures of autonomy advanced by the American manufacturer are credible and here is what was noted during this test.
In Sport mode and with dynamic driving (but respectful of the laws and the environment, not to mention that no animal was injured during this experiment): more than 130 kilometers. In "eco" mode, on the road, with a few basic principles of eco-driving: more than 160 kilometers. In "eco" mode, as part of urban use at reasonable speed and giving yourself a little pleasure from time to time: more than 200 kilometers. Of course, you get to "know your bike" over time and, as the days go by, recharging cycles and driving experiences, the question of autonomy becomes less and less stressful because you learn to better yourself. locate.
Thus, the Zero DSR is no longer just an everyday machine: by calculating a little, it allows you to go green from time to time. The issue of recharging is more problematic: on a mains socket, count 10% of battery recharging per hour. This is what we did during the test by plugging into a standard outlet at home (that of the vacuum cleaner).
In the context of intensive use, Zero offers the Charge Tank as an accessory, which allows you to recharge on fast outlets (Autolib style) in 3 hours.
Yes, the Zero DSR is expensive: for € 17,990, you can afford a brand new 1000 sports car, or a beautiful custom made in Milwaukee, or three utility motorcycles or even five or six Youngtimers full of charm..
Despite its price, is the Zero DSR profitable? Since Zero announces a price for electric use of around a euro cent per kilometer (a recharge costing 2 € and making it possible to cover 200 kilometers in the city overall), as well as a minimal maintenance cost? There, we are going to do a small calculation with a ladle. Let’s take a Honda CB 500 at € 6,000 and say that it consumes 5 liters per hundred (or € 6.5 of fuel every 100 kilometers). In this case, it would take 170,000 km to reach the overall price of a Zero DSR, taking into account the more than 2000 € of maintenance and costs required by the CB 500 to cover this distance. Zero has provided for this scenario by guaranteeing its batteries for 5 years and 160,000 kilometers. According to Zero, the battery has a lifespan of over 533,000 kilometers. You have to do them anyway !
However, this is not the way to see this Zero DSR, as the ideal courier machine. Who is it intended for? Perhaps the biker, admittedly a little wealthy, who has the impression of having covered the question and who will choose this DSR as a second machine for everyday life, before realizing that he will use it also a little on weekends. With her, he will rethink his approach to motorcycles, discover new sensations, rediscover the enthusiasm of his child’s soul. Because riding in Zero gives you a smile, quite simply because it does not ignore any of the pleasures of motorcycling, apart from shifting gears (but with the Honda DCT, we are starting to change our habits) or make noise….
Like any disruptive technology, the Zero can also appeal to early adopters, fans who absolutely want to be the first to experience this revolution. Yes, the Zero is expensive, but how much did it cost, one of the first computers that was just used to print Mickeys with 0’s and 1’s ?
To conclude, let’s not forget the spatio-temporal sphere: Zero Motorcycles was created in 2006. For the anecdote, in 2010, I had driven their DS model in Paris; I had come home in a tow truck after 48 kilometers, empty batteries. In 2016, the Zero DSR allows several days of daily use without recharging, as well as a short stroll in the countryside with friends on Sundays and, above all, having taken pleasure in every moment while in 2016, Suzuki us almost emerges from the SV of 2006. It makes you think about the direction of evolution, no ?
- Exhilarating driving pleasure
- Eco-responsibility in the city
- Striking performance (and in silence!)
- Very convincing chassis feel
- Correct autonomy
- The future is now !
- Guarantees all the pleasures of motorcycling…
- Battery guaranteed for 5 years and 160,000 kilometers
- The price, of course
- Handlebars a bit wide in town
- In town: pedestrians can’t hear you coming
- No traction control and instantaneous 144 Nm with the 130 mm trail tire: be careful in the wet !
- Ecological debate on the composition and recycling of batteries…
- Some finishing details
- No tax incentive for the electric two-wheeler
The technical sheet of the Zero Motorcycles DSR ZF13.0
- Itinerary: 400 kilometers, one week of daily journeys in Paris plus a walk in the Chevreuse Valley
- Motorcycle mileage: 500 km
- Problem encountered: I really didn’t want to return it…
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