Zero motorcycles unveils beefed-up 2017 electric motorcycle range

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2017 Zero DSR: beware of opening the taps on this one on a loose surface(Credit: Zero Motorcycles)

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Still out in front of the performance electric motorcycle market by far, Zero Motorcycles has beefed up its entire range with IPM motors, boosted power and torque, and a few little surprises for 2017. The entire range has just been unveiled at EICMA Milan.

Zero Motorcycles is going strong, clicking over its 10th anniversary earlier this year and remaining by far the biggest producer of performance electrics on the market.

Now, just in time for EICMA Milan, it's released details on its 2017 model range. Rather than a complete overhaul, the 2017 lineup is another incremental upgrade. Each year since 2013 we've seen these things get faster, torquier, and sometimes cheaper. Battery size, range and cycle life has increased. Heat management has improved. Every year the equation becomes a little more convincing, and Zero says its sales growth through 2016 indicates people are definitely getting on board.

For 2017, the new IPM (Internal Permanent Magnet) motor is rolled out to every model. There's also new, higher amperage motor controllers for extra acceleration, as well as a fatter drive belt to take the extra torque. That's a lot of torque on the SR and DSR models, which are now smashing out 116 pound-feet. For reference, the mighty KTM Super Duke 1290R squeaks out a measly 106 lb.ft. Now I'm not saying the SR goes like a 1290, because it doesn't. But that's the ballsiest naked stomper on the planet, and these humble little watt sippers are now making nearly 10 percent more torque.

If, like many, you're hoping for something fully faired or in a cruiser/tourer style, this is not yet your year. Mind you that's not stopping enterprising battery bike fans from sticking their own fairings and fast chargers on and enjoying true long-range capability.

There's also improved "premium" paint jobs for 2017, plus a new smartphone app that lets you update your motorcycle's firmware and some slight changes in how the S and DS battery pack options work out – so here's a quick breakdown on how the numbers change for each range.

2017 Zero S and DS – the standards

The standard street and dual sport models of the Zero range used to be split into 3 and 4 brick monolith batteries, meaning that effectively, you could buy one with 3/4 of the big battery block full of cells, or totally full depending on your range and budget.

Zero has reconsidered this and moved to offering 2 and 4 brick models. The ZF6.5 models have half the battery capacity, half the range and a little less firepower at full tilt than the ZF13.0 models, but they're some 95 lb (43 kg) lighter, and the extra space allows zero to build in a lockable storage compartment. Zero sees them as the urban commuter option, they're much cheaper and still offer more than enough juice for the average hoon to work and back.

Check out the 2017 Zero S in the video below:

Prices effectively stay steady from the 2016 range, but the shunt on the 13.0 models jumps from 68 to 81 lb.ft, and power is up from 54 to 60 horsepower, which will make them even more of a giggle.

The 2017 Zero S ZF6.5 will sell for US$10,995, weigh 313 lb (142 kg), and go 81 city miles (130 km) with peak torque of 78 lb.ft and 46 hp (105 Nm and 34 kW).

The 2017 Zero DS ZF6.5 will sell for US$10,995, weigh 317 lb (144 kg), and go 74 city miles (119 km) with peak torque of 78 lb.ft and 46 hp (105 Nm and 34 kW).

The 2017 Zero S ZF13.0 will sell for US$13,995, weigh 408 lb (185 kg), and go 161 city miles (261 km) with peak torque of 81 lb.ft and 60 hp (110 Nm and 45 kW). An optional Power Tank boosts range to 202 city miles (325 km).

The 2017 Zero DS ZF13.0 will sell for US$13,995, weigh 413 lb (187 kg), and go 147 city miles (237 km) with peak torque of 81 lb.ft and 60 hp (110 Nm and 45 kW). An optional Power Tank boosts range to 184 city miles (296 km).

2017 Zero SR and DSR – the bad boys

There's no half-battery option for the R series bikes; these are all about power and an eyebrow-raising ride experience. With the new motor controllers, torque jumps from 106 to that meaty 116 foot-pounds, and horsepower creeps up from 67 to 70. Range and price are unaffected.

The 2017 Zero SR ZF13.0 will sell for US$15,995, weigh 414 lb (188 kg), and go 161 city miles (261 km) with peak torque of 116 lb.ft and 70 hp (157 Nm and 52 kW). An optional Power Tank boosts range to 202 city miles (325 km).

The 2017 Zero DSR ZF13.0 will sell for US$15,995, weigh 419 lb (190 kg), and go 147 city miles (237 km) with peak torque of 116 lb.ft and 70 hp (157 Nm and 52 kW). An optional Power Tank boosts range to 184 city miles (296 km).

2017 Zero FX and FXS – the hooligans

The wheelie-poppin' dirt bike and corner-carving supermoto of the Zero range now both get the IPM motor and a nice little kick in the pants – from 70 to 78 lb.ft of torque, and from 44 to 46 horsepower on the full fat ZX6.5 model – thanks to the higher amperage motor controllers.

There remains the option of the ZF3.3 with half the battery capacity and a little less oomph, and that's probably the ideal Zero to have as a backyard screamer for people with a bit of land and easily annoyed neighbors.

Zero has found that a lot fewer people than expected have been using the modular battery system that allowed hot-swapping of batteries at track days, or for fleet bikes. So the 2017 FX and FXS bikes are now available either with the swappable modular batteries, or with a lighter, more secure integrated battery. Both 6.5 kWh models enjoy a US$500 saving over the 2016 model.

Take a look at the 2017 Zero FXS in this action-packed video below:

The 2017 Zero FX ZF3.3 will sell for US$8,495, weigh 247 lb (112 kg), and go 41 city miles (66 km) with peak torque of 78 lb.ft and 27 hp (105 Nm and 20 kW).

The 2017 Zero FXS ZF3.3 will sell for US$8,495, weigh 251 lb (114 kg), and go 45 city miles 72 km) with peak torque of 78 lb.ft and 27 hp (105 Nm and 20 kW).

The 2017 Zero FX ZF6.5 will sell for US$10,495, weigh 289 lb (131 kg), and go 82 city miles (132 km) with peak torque of 78 lb.ft and 46 hp (105 Nm and 34 kW).

The 2017 Zero FXS ZF6.5 will sell for US$10,495, weigh 293 lb (133 kg), and go 90 city miles (145 km) with peak torque of 78 lb.ft and 46 hp (105 Nm and 34 kW).

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