Zero Motorcycles says that “unprecedented demand for electric motorcycles” has motivated its early release of new 2022 models, which are available now. Zero added that getting these models into dealers early will help them put “more riders on electric motorcycles than any other manufacturer.”
2022 Zero S
At the heart of the new 2022 Zero S naked street bike is a proprietary Z-Force 75-5 passively air-cooled, radial flux, interior permanent magnet, brushless motor, with energy supplied by a 7.2 kWh lithium-ion battery. The same setup can be found in the 2021 Zero FXE. Zero claims the new S can manage 89 miles of range through city streets and produces 78 lb-ft of torque and 46 horsepower with a top speed of 98 mph. It’s available in Twilight for $11,195.
2022 Zero DS
The trail-ready 2022 Zero DS shares the same base configuration as the S including motor and battery, and Zero says the DS has an off-road range of 82 miles on a fully charged battery. The DS is available in Quicksand for $11,195.
2022 Zero DSR
The 2022 Zero DSR is the sporty naked of the three and although it shares the same Z-Force 75-7 brushless motor, a more powerful 14.4 kWh power pack provides a claimed range of 163 miles of range and a top speed of 102 mph, while producing 116 lb-ft of torque and 70 horses. The DSR is finished in black and has an MSRP of $15,695.
The 2022 Zero S, DS, and DSR are all powered controlled by the company’s proprietary Cypher II Operating System, which manages the motor, battery, Bosch ABS (standard on all three models), and the Bluetooth connectivity module, to pair the machine to the mobile app for rider customizations. All three models also benefit from an updated full-color, optically bonded, 5-inch TFT display.
Zero Motorcycles has been around for well over a decade now, and it’s no surprise that the evolving EV space has seen a great deal of innovation in that time. Although the key issue of range vs. weight will still give petrol-heads reason to pause, it’s also fair to say that e-motos have become a good deal more practical, and fun. But perhaps the other enduring issue holding back potential buyers is their cost. Case in point, Zero’s fully faired and extremely quick SR/S or naked SR/F will set you back $20,000.
Enter the FXE. New for 2021, Zero has taken the existing frame from the FX and added a redesigned body. The starkly modern, supermoto styling is very similar in appearance to the FXS – tall, slim and sporting a raised front mudguard. However, the FXE is capable of a claimed 100-mile range on a full battery charge and costs $11,795, which can be bought down to around $10,000 depending upon available EV rebates and credits.
The 7.2 kWh battery in the FXE drives a passively air-cooled, brushless, permanent magnet motor, which produces a claimed peak power of 46 horsepower and 78 pound-feet of torque, and with a top speed of 85 mph, the FXE can take to the highway. Unlike the more expensive models, the FXE is not compatible with public charging stations and is designed to be charged via a standard 110-volt household outlet. It takes over nine hours to fully recharge the battery, although this can be reduced to just under two hours with the optional accessory charger. The FXE utilizes Zero’s Cypher II operating system and the new connectivity enabled 5-inch TFT display is compatible with the Zero app, providing access to ride modes, Eco and Sport, and battery status.
A Showa 41 mm inverted fork, and monoshock take care of suspension and are adjustable for preload, compression, and rebound damping. Bosch calipers are fitted with a single disc front and back, and ABS is standard. Zero claims a wet weight of 298 pounds, which promises exciting performance from the 46 horses available and a handy machine for dealing with tight urban spaces. But surprisingly, advantages in accessibility imparted by its lightweight are somewhat undone by the tall seat height, which at 32.8 inches will put some shorter riders off.
Compared to many of its heavier, more expensive competitors the FXE is a lightweight and thrilling runabout, and what it gives up in range it makes up for in accessibility and potential for fun. The FXE makes for a credible commuter bike, capable of taking to the highway but ideal to zip around town on.
Zero FXE Specs
Base Price: $11,795 (excluding electric vehicle rebates and credits) Website: https: zeromotorcycles.com Battery: 7.2 kWh Motor Type: Air-cooled, brushless, permanent magnet motor Transmission: Clutchless direct drive Final Drive: 90T / 18T belt Wheelbase: 56 in. Rake/Trail: 24.4 degrees / 2.8 in. Seat Height: 32.9 in. Wet Weight: 298 lbs. Charging Time: 9.2 hours (via 110-volt household outlet to 95 percent) Fuel Consumption: 373 eMPG (claimed) Maximum Range: 100 miles (claimed)
Zero Motorcycles has released its first new model since 2016, the 2020 SR/F, and with its streetfighter look and steel trellis frame it’s blurring the styling lines between gas and electric motorcycles.
The SR/F, powered by a new ZF75-10 IPM (Interior Permanent Magnet) motor and ZF14.4 lithium-ion battery, delivers a claimed 140 lb-ft of torque and 110 horsepower. Go ahead and read that again. Yes, that’s more torque than any of today’s top-of-the-line 1,000cc superbikes, and it beats Zero’s own personal best of 116 lb-ft and 70 horsepower, as seen on the 2019 DSR we reviewed last November.
With twist-and-go operation and no transmission, Zero’s controller quickly doles out power in a smooth, linear fashion all the way up to the peak, with response, power and regen (battery regeneration and “engine braking” function) regulated via Street, Sport, Eco, Rain and up to ten additional custom riding modes. The SR/F is also the first electric motorcycle to be integrated with a Bosch Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC) system, which works with the SR/F’s Cypher III operating system to optimize cornering ABS, traction control and drag torque control.
Zero says the SR/F is the first fully “smart” motorcycle thanks to the Cypher III system, which now offers comprehensive rider connectivity. SR/F owners can monitor the bike in four ways:
Bike Status and Alerts – This includes tip-overs or unexpected motion notifications, plus interruptions in charging. In addition, the “Find my Bike” function allows the rider to keep tabs on the SR/F at all times.
Charging – The rider can remotely set charging parameters, including targeted charge levels, charge time scheduling, charge tracking and more.
Ride Data Sharing – The SR/F records bike location, speed, lean angle, power, torque, charge level and energy used/regenerated, and riders can replay and share the experience via the app. Riders also have the option to keep this data anonymous.
System Upgrades and Notifications – Riders can remotely download Cypher III OS updates to stay up to date and ensure optimal performance.
Battery life and charging time are two of the most important concerns in this early stage of electric motorcycle development, and as the newest Zero product the SR/F seems to be showing steady improvement. Despite the massive increases in power and torque, claimed range from the standard battery (without the optional Power Tank installed) is 161 miles (city), 82 miles (highway, 70 mph) and 109 miles (combined). This is roughly equivalent to the less-powerful DSR we tested in November.
The SR/F, like all Zero electric motorcycles, can be plugged into a standard 110V wall outlet to charge the battery, but it’s the first to come standard with a Level 2 Rapid Charger. So while you could plug it into a wall, using a Level 2 station will net serious reductions in charge time.
The standard SR/F, which retails for $18,995, comes with a 3.0 kW Rapid Charger that Zero says will charge to 95 percent in 4 hours, and to 100 percent in 4.5 hours. The premium SR/F, which also comes with heated grips, a fly screen and aluminum bar ends, is equipped with a 6.0 kW Rapid Charger that charges to 95 percent in 2 hours, and to 100 percent in 2.5 hours. It retails for $20,995. Both models can also be upgraded with another 6.0 kW Rapid Charger that drops charge time (to 95 percent) to as little as one hour.
Both SR/F models are available in two colors, Seabright Blue and Boardwalk Red, and will be available in dealers this spring.
Sometimes, I can be such a sucker. Apparently, the good folks at Zero Motorcycles know this and jumped on my weakness. While unveiling the 2019 DSR dual-sport electric motorcycle in Santa Cruz, California, the Zero reps set the hook and reeled me in. Following the tech presentation they explained, “…and after the street portion of the ride we’ll ride off-road at a private ranch that we’ll have all to ourselves—dirt roads, unimproved roads, water crossings, a beach-riding photo op and some single-track too.”
What??? In my younger years I spent lots of time riding motorcycles around this very same area, decades ago before much of the land became fenced and gated. So I had a good idea about the mix of redwoods, bay laurel trees, ferns and banana slugs we’d see. Sold! I was all in and ready to roll.
Regarding electric vehicles, some cite concerns about limited range and hassles with recharging battery packs. That’s legit to a point, but the Zero engineers continue to notch advancements by tapping into new battery chemistry, advanced magnet composition, better firmware and redesign of the motor controller for more efficient yet more powerful motors, increased long-term charge storage and more. Claimed horsepower increases from 67 on the DSR we reviewed in 2016 to 70 on the new model, and torque jumps from 106 lb-ft to a whopping 116 lb-ft—that’s more grunt than the most powerful 1,000cc sportbike in production today, as the Zero reps love to explain, and the controller delivers it very smoothly and quickly.
Given increased range claims of 163 miles in the city and 78 miles on the highway, even this new and improved iteration still offers a radically different performance envelope compared to internal-combustion machines. So the key is to clearly identify and stay within the working envelope. Specifically, Zeros can work very well for commuting (especially if you can recharge your bike while at work or school), and in the case of the DSR, it would be grand to have one on hand for riding out from a mountain cabin.
On pavement the street-biased DSR feels agile like a sporting 600cc bike in terms of weight and size—albeit one with monster torque. Much of its weight is carried low, which makes it feel even lighter and more nimble than its claimed 416-pound curb weight would suggest. Yet the instant-on torque rockets you out of corners, setting the front end to skipping over the pavement if you’re not careful. The wide handlebar lends leverage for steering input and you can slice and dice your favorite back road right into bite-sized pieces thanks to the stout aluminum frame and high-quality fully adjustable Showa suspension.
I got caught out on the fast-paced first corner; set on Sport mode, the Zero returns little regenerative “engine” braking when you roll off the throttle—surprise! Luckily, my old two-stroke reflexes kicked in and I just squeezed harder on the lever for the single-disc front brake. Off-road, braking power is less of an issue than tire traction; the hybrid Pirelli MT-60s strike a good compromise for street and dirt use, but of course they can’t match the grip of full-on knobby tires when riding on the loose stuff.
The DSR’s riding position feels open and comfortable, with a fairly broad and sufficiently padded seat, though the passenger step restricts rider movement a bit. The handlebar sits a tad too low for this six-footer while standing on the pegs, but the nice, wide footpegs are dual-sport comfortable.
In the dirt, managing the strong initial power onset can be a little tricky. But with practice it becomes simple to modulate power while negotiating tight spaces, especially if you ramp down to the Eco setting that restricts power delivery. (There’s also a Custom setting for adjusting power and regen to your liking.) Once you get the hang of it, negotiating tight quarters on heavily wooded trails becomes a joy since no clutch skills are needed—one less thing to distract you from the task of actually riding the bike.
In keeping with dual-sport and ADV bike trends, the DSR now comes equipped with a modestly sized windscreen, grippy tank panels for off-road, up-on-the-pegs riding, hand guards and a handy 12-volt accessory socket—all at no added cost over last year’s MSRP of $16,495. That adds measurably to the utility and versatility quotients. Also, the decent-sized “tank top” storage compartment is handy if you don’t install Zero’s accessory extra battery (Power Tank) or fast-charge (Charge Tank) setup.
Adapting to any vehicle takes some effort as you work to its strengths and cover its weak spots. We already do that when we jump back and forth from four wheels to two, so it’s just another parallel path when we jump from internal combustion to electric bikes. In summary, it’s not about the DSR’s limitations; it’s about how well it actually works as a motorcycle in a variety of settings. And as this short first ride proved, the 2019 Zero DSR can work very well indeed as a capable and versatile dual-sport machine.
2019 Zero DSR Specs Base Price: $16,495 Warranty: 2 yrs.; 5 yrs./unltd. miles for power pack Website:zeromotorcycles.com
Engine Type: Z-Force 75-7R passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux, interior permanent high-temperature magnet, brushless motor Controller: High efficiency, 775-amp, 3-phase brushless controller w/ regenerative deceleration Battery: Z-Force Li-ion intelligent Max. Capacity: 14.4 kWh Nominal Capacity: 12.6 kWh Standard Charger Type: 1.3 kW, integrated Input: Standard 110V or 220V Transmission: Clutchless direct drive Final Drive: Belt
Chassis Frame: Aluminum twin-spar w/ aluminum swingarm Wheelbase: 56.2 in. Rake/Trail: 26.5 degrees/4.6 in. Seat Height: 33.2 in. Suspension, Front: 41mm USD fork, fully adj. w/ 7.0-in travel Rear: Single shock, fully adj. w/ 7.0-in travel Brakes, Front: Single 320mm disc w/ asymmetric 2-piston floating caliper & ABS Rear: Single 240mm disc w/ asymmetric 1-piston floating caliper & ABS Wheels, Front: Cast, 2.50 x 19 in. Rear: Cast, 3.50 x 17 in. Tires, Front: 100/90-19 Rear: 130/80-17 Claimed Wet Weight: 419 lbs. Claimed Load Capacity: 356 lbs. GVWR: 775 lbs.
Performance Claimed Peak Horsepower: 70 Claimed Peak Torque: 116 lb-ft Claimed Top Speed: 102 MPH Claimed Range: 163 miles city/78 miles highway Charging Time (110V): 9.8 hours