Zero SR Electric Motorcycle

Recently, I test drove the Zero SR Electric Motorcycle in the California desert. In many ways, I loved it. But I’m glad that good old petrol bikes are not going anywhere soon.

First, the good: Instant power. All torque, all the time. (Although I found it best in Sport mode, avoiding a slight lag in Normal mode). No clutch, just twist and go. Easy to dart in and out of traffic or off the line if necessary. Surprisingly quick. Really superb for city driving.

The not-so-good: Aggressive riding position was fairly uncomfortable. Would have loved a more laid back version for cruising around town. Not totally silent as I suspected, but sounded a bit like an army of cicadas, especially when slowing and stopping.

But the biggest problem by far was the range / recharge. The folks at Eagle Rider told me to expect around 100 miles range, and they were right on. As I climbed the mountains outside of Palm Desert, the range began falling precipitously and I was completely preoccupied with the remaining range to the detriment of enjoying the ride. I turned around before reaching the summit for fear I would be stranded. As I descended, the range actually increased, and I made it back to the hotel with 30 miles range to spare, but I cannot imagine not being obsessed about running out of juice. Especially considering the recharge time was 9.5 hours!

So, after riding around for a couple hours, I had to park it overnight to recharge. Not ideal.

There is no question that the Zero SR is more than capable and practical for commuting to and fro. And it is kind to the polar bears. I’ll just wait until recharging takes minutes, not hours, and/or batteries are plentiful and swappable, before I consider owning one.

Bronson BigelowComment