2019-Zero SR/F roadster
25th February 2019
Electric | 54/110bhp | 140lbs-ft torque
◄PREVIOUS STORY NEXT STORY►
Zero Motorcycles has released details of the latest addition to its all-electric fleet, and the firm is talking big numbers and making bold claims. The bike, un-cunningly named the Zero SR/F, is claimed to be "the unprecedented combination of industry-leading power, control, and connection".
Whilst clearly born into the same Zero family, this newcomer has muscled its way to new heights with a bigger motor, a larger battery pack, more power, more torque, increased range and a lot more electronic tech.
Zero calls its new motor the ZF75-10 and reckons it can whine out a maximum of 110 horsepower (for shorter bursts of speed), or a more typical 54 horsepower for everyday, all-round cruising. Top speed is reckoned to be 124mph. And yes, continuous "pedal-to-the-metal" running will eventually overheat the works and shorten motor life.
The lithium-ion battery is labelled the ZF14.4. By using the firm's scalable Rapid Charge System, the system allows the bike to be configured/charged for 3kW (38 mile range), 6kW (76 mile range), 9kW or 12kW (153 mile range) using any standard Level 2 charge station. And the 12kW option can, apparently, recharge the battery pack to 95% capacity in one hour. But talk long and carefully with a dealer before you buy in order to understand the full charging routines. It's confusing.
Maximum torque, says the firm, is rated at a very healthy and arm-wrenching 140lbs-ft (190Nm)—and being an electric motor you can have all that oomph at zero (or is that Zero?) revolutions. Tip: experiment carefully on a quiet road with launch techniques at low and high speeds before you get clever in traffic. This bike has very forgiving onboard tech. But there are still fundamental laws of physics to consider.
Other features include a belt final drive (Poly Chain® HTD® Carbon™ belt); a swinging arm pivot that's concentric with the motor output shaft (for improved belt life and handling), clutchless direct-drive transmission, Bosch Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC), and 17-inch wheels front and rear (3.50 and 5.50).
Beyond all this, Zero tells us that what makes its new bike so compelling is its Cloud-friendly Cypher III operating system that ensures the left side of this motorcycle knows exactly what the right side is doing, and understands the changing road surfaces better than any of us mere humans ever will. All this ensures "the best-in-class straight-line ABS and cornering brake control, traction control and drag torque control."
That's a big boast that remains to be tested, and aspiring buyers can knuckle down to this enjoyable chore via 10 programmable custom riding modes, plus presets listed as Street, Sport, Eco, and Rain.
Additionally, Zero has included a highly sophisticated app that will monitor everything from speed, to power usage, to next fill up, to power & torque limits, to lean angles, to numerous other metrics.
The ready-to-roll weight, thanks in no small part to its steel trellis frame, is a tad over 500lbs (227kgs). And because, unlike petrol-powered motorcycles, the bike doesn't get any lighter as it gobbles the volts, that 500lbs will be with you from start to finish.
The fuel consumption is a little trickier to evaluate. However, Zero reckons you can expect around 200 miles on a full charge—but that will be with the additional "Power Tank" which (oh-oh) won't actually be available until the autumn of 2019. Until then, the range is more likely to be around 150 miles—and naturally that will vary hugely depending on the local conditions (hills, bends, potholes, etc), and how much you fool around with the lights and indicators.
Overall, it reads like one hell of a package, and Zero understandably wants a hefty packet for this big boy's toy. The Premium model is offered with a 6kW Rapid Charger, a fly screen, heated hand grips and aluminium bar ends. It can be yours for £19,990 (minus whatever government Plug-In Motorcycle Grant is available at the time of purchase, which could be as much as £1,500). So you might be looking at £18,490 on the road, or thereabouts.
Meanwhile, the Standard model with a 3kW Rapid Charger is £17,990 (or £16,490 with the aforementioned hand-out from HMG).
Overall, this looks like a pretty compelling motorcycle and will certainly raise the bar for other manufacturers developing rival machines. Just remember that electric bikes are definitely an acquired taste, and many "traditional" bikers are probably never going to acquire it.
The bike warranty is two years, incidentally. But the power pack comes with a five year unlimited mileage promise. We have no idea what price will be charged for a replacement power pack. However, unless new and radical battery tech isn't forthcoming, it probably won't be cheap. So ask before you buy.
Hint: take a pinch of salt with you.
Finally, here at Sump we've got limited experience riding electric motorcycles and scooters, and we've got mixed feelings on the general feel, sound and dynamics. But until you actually try one for yourself, you won't know which way you'll jump. So check out one of the twelve Zero Motorcycle dealers currently operating in the UK. You just might be shocked at how the biking world has changed.
The ICE has to come to an end sooner or later.
◄PREVIOUS STORY NEXT STORY►