Motorcycles

Zero motorcycles unveils beefed-up 2017 electric motorcycle range

2017 Zero DSR: beware of opening the taps on this one on a loose surface
2017 Zero DSR: beware of opening the taps on this one on a loose surface
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2017 Zero S: new smartphone app now allows you to update your bike's firmware without a trip to the service centre
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2017 Zero S: new smartphone app now allows you to update your bike's firmware without a trip to the service centre
2017 Zero DS: please don't try to put petrol in it, that's a fast charger.
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2017 Zero DS: please don't try to put petrol in it, that's a fast charger.
2017 Zero FXS: slow charge at home or work, fast charge on the go
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2017 Zero FXS: slow charge at home or work, fast charge on the go
2017 Zero range: not lacking in torque or fun factor
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2017 Zero range: not lacking in torque or fun factor
2017 Zero S ZF 6.5: a new short-range urban commuter version of the S
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2017 Zero S ZF 6.5: a new short-range urban commuter version of the S
2017 Zero SR: I feel like there needs to be a companion shot to this where Geoff waves back at the Zero rider on the highway at 90mph, not having to hunker down Rollie Free-style to conserve juice!
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2017 Zero SR: I feel like there needs to be a companion shot to this where Geoff waves back at the Zero rider on the highway at 90mph, not having to hunker down Rollie Free-style to conserve juice!
2017 Zero S ZF6.5:  smaller battery option allows a lockable luggage space in behind a clip-on flap.
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2017 Zero S ZF6.5:  smaller battery option allows a lockable luggage space in behind a clip-on flap.
2017 Zero S:  luggage flap open
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2017 Zero S:  luggage flap open
2017 Zero S:  ...and there's the lockable luggage space. Handy.
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2017 Zero S:  ...and there's the lockable luggage space. Handy.
2017 Zero DS: a decent bit more power and torque, with new battery options
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2017 Zero DS: a decent bit more power and torque, with new battery options
2017 Zero DS: the dual sport model in the Zero lineup
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2017 Zero DS: the dual sport model in the Zero lineup
2017 Zero DSR: all S series bikes without power or charge tanks now have a waterproof luggage space in the upper tank
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2017 Zero DSR: all S series bikes without power or charge tanks now have a waterproof luggage space in the upper tank
2017 Zero DSR: now up to 116 pound-feet of torque, more than any street legal sportsbike will give you
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2017 Zero DSR: now up to 116 pound-feet of torque, more than any street legal sportsbike will give you
2017 Zero DSR: road/trail fun machine
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2017 Zero DSR: road/trail fun machine
2017 Zero FX: available with removable or integrated battery options
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2017 Zero FX: available with removable or integrated battery options
Zero's new IPM (internal permanent magnet) motor handles head much better than the old surface mount motors.
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Zero's new IPM (internal permanent magnet) motor handles head much better than the old surface mount motors.
2017 Zero FX: 11% more torque is added to what was already a very fun bike
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2017 Zero FX: 11% more torque is added to what was already a very fun bike
2017 Zero FX: the giggle machine of the Zero range
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2017 Zero FX: the giggle machine of the Zero range
2017 Zero FXS: FX attitude with street wheels made for corner carving
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2017 Zero FXS: FX attitude with street wheels made for corner carving
2017 Zero FXS: wild on a tight racetrack
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2017 Zero FXS: wild on a tight racetrack
2017 Zero IPM motor: handles heat much better, so you can go harder for longer
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2017 Zero IPM motor: handles heat much better, so you can go harder for longer
2017 Zero S: a big jump from 68 to 81 lb.ft of torque  for 2017
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2017 Zero S: a big jump from 68 to 81 lb.ft of torque  for 2017
2017 Zero S: ZF6.5 model with lockable storage trunk
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2017 Zero S: ZF6.5 model with lockable storage trunk
2017 Zero S:  ZF13.0 model for maximum range 
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2017 Zero S:  ZF13.0 model for maximum range 
2017 Zero SR: still the performance kind of the Zero range, with a modest power and torque boost
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2017 Zero SR: still the performance kind of the Zero range, with a modest power and torque boost
2017 Zero SR: now making 116 pound-feet of torque and 70 horsepower
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2017 Zero SR: now making 116 pound-feet of torque and 70 horsepower
2017 Zero FX: by far the most hooligan friendly of the Zero range 
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2017 Zero FX: by far the most hooligan friendly of the Zero range 
2017 Zero FX: silent dirt bikes open up all kinds of riding options 
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2017 Zero FX: silent dirt bikes open up all kinds of riding options 
2017 Zero range: more power and more torque than 2016
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2017 Zero range: more power and more torque than 2016
2017 Zero range: premium paint jobs improve the appearance and durability of all S-based models
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2017 Zero range: premium paint jobs improve the appearance and durability of all S-based models
2017 Zero Motorcycles range: electric has come a long way in Santa Cruz
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2017 Zero Motorcycles range: electric has come a long way in Santa Cruz
2017 Zero DS: a little heavy for serious dirt work, but good fun nonetheless
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2017 Zero DS: a little heavy for serious dirt work, but good fun nonetheless
2017 Zero DSR: gets the premium paint
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2017 Zero DSR: gets the premium paint
2017 Zero DSR: not sure why this guy's standing up on the road
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2017 Zero DSR: not sure why this guy's standing up on the road
2017 Zero DSR: beware of opening the taps on this one on a loose surface
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2017 Zero DSR: beware of opening the taps on this one on a loose surface
2017 Zero FX: brilliant fun in the Santa Cruz hills
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2017 Zero FX: brilliant fun in the Santa Cruz hills
2017 Zero FX: silent dirtbike for stealth hooliganism
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2017 Zero FX: silent dirtbike for stealth hooliganism
2017 Zero FXS: silent electric supermoto gets more power and torque
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2017 Zero FXS: silent electric supermoto gets more power and torque
2017 Zero FXS: he looks like he's having fun
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2017 Zero FXS: he looks like he's having fun
2017 Zero S ZF6.5: lockable storage compartment will come in handy
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2017 Zero S ZF6.5: lockable storage compartment will come in handy
2017 Zero S: lockable storage up top, too - much better than the zip-up compartment on the previous model
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2017 Zero S: lockable storage up top, too - much better than the zip-up compartment on the previous model
2017 Zero S: lockable, waterproof tank storage
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2017 Zero S: lockable, waterproof tank storage
2017 Zero S ZF6.5: the new short-range urban commuter variant
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2017 Zero S ZF6.5: the new short-range urban commuter variant
2017 Zero S ZF6.5: less power, less range than the ZF13.0 but cheaper and lighter
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2017 Zero S ZF6.5: less power, less range than the ZF13.0 but cheaper and lighter
2017 Zero S ZF6.5: cutting the large monolith battery in half allows extra storage options
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2017 Zero S ZF6.5: cutting the large monolith battery in half allows extra storage options
2017 Zero S: now over 200 miles of city range on the 13.0 kilowatt hour model
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2017 Zero S: now over 200 miles of city range on the 13.0 kilowatt hour model
2017 Zero SR: combined with renewable energy, you've got a zero emissions ride
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2017 Zero SR: combined with renewable energy, you've got a zero emissions ride
2017 Zero SR: one ride of this thing is generally enough  to open most people's eyes; these things are the future
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2017 Zero SR: one ride of this thing is generally enough  to open most people's eyes; these things are the future

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.

2017 Zero range: more power and more torque than 2016
2017 Zero range: more power and more torque than 2016

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 ZF 6.5: a new short-range urban commuter version of the S
2017 Zero S ZF 6.5: a new short-range urban commuter version of the S

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.

2017 Zero S:  ...and there's the lockable luggage space. Handy.
2017 Zero S:  ...and there's the lockable luggage space. Handy.

Check out the 2017 Zero S in the video below:

2017 Zero Motorcycles - Zero S

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 DSR: not sure why this guy's standing up on the road
2017 Zero DSR: not sure why this guy's standing up on the road

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: by far the most hooligan friendly of the Zero range 
2017 Zero FX: by far the most hooligan friendly of the Zero range 

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).

9 comments
VincentWolf
They make bikes for basketball players only. Short people need not apply.
Mzungu_Mkubwa
@Vincent, likewise, fans of cruisers, bobbers, baggers, cafes, or any other style of MC need not apply either! Looking at that shot of all their models lined up, its very clear that they're passing off basically the same chassis as variety. I'm not saying that what they're peddling doesn't work very well, or that I wouldn't take one in a heartbeat if it came anywhere near my budget... it just seems like its time to pour a little more into the creativity side of design rather than the (admittedly awesome) engineering tweaks we've seen for the last half decade or so. Ramp it up, boys!
guzmanchinky
I am fully ready to replace my WR250R with an FX. However no one at Zero can give me an honest answer on how much range they have off road. Some say 20 miles. Some say 40. My WR can go 150 miles on 3 gallons. I don't need that. But I do need at least 50...
possum1
Modular construction makes sense - see the early John Bloor Triumphs. Keeps cost down, no need to re-invent the wheel. Absolutely not for the hipsters and their "image bikes", these things are great off-roaders and commuters - practical short range motorcycles for people who ride motorcycles rather than chase the hipster 'vibe'. Well done Zero - just need to improve the range so I can go on longer rides !
ChecMate
Yes, I agree totally with Mzunga about the lack of variety in chassis designs, as I would buy one if a touring model was offered, but all their models look like off road designs with that ridiculously useless high back fender.
dhz
What surprises me is the willingness of article writers to buy into claims. Loz says "remaining by far the biggest producer of performance electrics on the market" What is "performance electrics" Loz? Zero factory reps say the goal for this year was to sell 800 bikes. Zero's President said they would break even at 1,000 bikes. But examining the Federal recall records show that up through 2015 total bikes sold out to customers was roughly 250 a year. With the floor plan to dealers in 2016, and the big push to get dealers, a lot more bikes were made, but not necessarily sold as they set on dealer show room floors. Push through marketing seems to be causing a lot of Zero to be dumped by dealers at huge discounts. Just examine the Internet sales sites to see prices 1/2 off and even down to $1,700 for bikes with dead battery. If I wanted a Zero, I would buy one of those. Then there is the "Zero, the global leader in electric motorcycle". Really, on what basis? Units sold to the public? Zero does not release production figures, nor does ZEV Electric, and the other non public companies including BMW and the C Evolution. So how do you know. Company like ZEV have much larger sales than Zero outside of the USA, where Zero seems to move more inside the USA. But no one is putting out figures. On the basis of technology? Most of the brands are not much apart in use of battery, or anything else except for what appears to be a staggeringly huge advantage in efficiency for the use of the in wheel hub motors by ZEV Electric where they beat even the Zero streamliners at the Vetter Challenge and scored 34% better against a naked Zero in efficiency and range per battery kwh. Zero's new motor is a big improvement in that with its magnets captured in rotor pockets it eliminates the fear of magnets flying off and causing serious damage compared to other chain/belt drive type motors. Performance electrics? Go on the electric motorcycle forums and read the complaining about bikes shutting down from overheating. Examine the SEVCON controller and their specifications to see something like a full power run of about 11 seconds before the non finned, no cooling, controller pulls back when that 1 inch thick slab of aluminum on the bottom has picked up all of the heat it can from the MOSFET. While you are on the sites, read that the performance claimed by ZERO is unobtainable by their owners. I hope these new models fix that. Then there is that claim of up to 202 miles of City range on the top models and really huge claims like that on other bikes. So go to the Zero site and click on specs and the little ? mark by the City range to see that this is derived from the J2982 SAE test. Now look up that test to find that it is not a range test at all. It is a simulation done on a dyno for a very short period with max speeds of 19 mph where the results are then projected out to a guesstimate based on battery size. No wonder no other company posts such a range or ever mentions such a test. Its just a piece of worthless garbage to a would be buyer that just amounts to puffery that is misleading to would be customers. Keep at it Zero, the industry needs you. But keep up the puffery and risk choking your customer base to death on the manure.
ljaques
I'd absolutely love one of the FX bikes, but Vince is right. With a seat height almost 5" taller than my inseam, it would be very hard to mount. Maybe weld a step/peg onto the kickstand? I don't mind the lack of models, as the FX looks fine to me. They've packed everything in as best they could while keeping it motorcycle-shaped. Guz needs the FX ZF6.5. I'm glad there are incentives to lower the price. That means I'm only $9k short.
ljaques
I wish Zero made a shorter, medium-performance, lower-priced model which fit somewhere between the Kuberg Freerider (2kW, 31mi range, 84#) and the Zero FX (20kW, 41mi range, 247#) I hope Zero sees this. There don't seem to be any medium performance long range electric motorcycles out there. While high performance, as Zero provides, is fun, range is of more importance to many more people. And with the lower price, I'll bet they sold tens (if not hundreds) of thousands in the first year.
VincentWolf
Zero should get it's act together and stop lying. Three years ago I emailed them and got a response back saying they were working on a cruiser style Zero bike. Still waiting 3+ years later. Does it really take that long to design a cruiser style bike? If so, then Zero should exit the business altogether!
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