Electric Motorcycle of the Year Winner: Zero SR

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Things are moving steadily forward in the electric department, but for 2015, the Zero SR maintains its place atop the electron chain due to Zero’s customer support, parts availability, dealer network and relative affordability. Zero’s SR shattered our expectations in 2014 of just how powerful a production electric motorcycle (one able to be bought today) could really be, with a claimed 106 lb-ft of Hayabusa-style torque coursing through its 458-pound frame. The Santa Cruz, California-sourced sizzler uses a high-performance 660-amp motor controller and high-temp magnets to produce 25% more power and 56% more torque than the S model.

2014 Zero SR Review

For 2015, the SR gets a raft of worthy upgrades, including all-new custom Showa suspension, Bosch ABS and Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tires fitted to lighter wheels, which makes riding the super-smooth stealth machine sweeter than ever.

As with all electric vehicles, price and range remain the main issues, but plenty of other motorcycles that aren’t eligible for government rebates are catching up to the $15,995 base model ZR, and they burn petroleum-based fuel which costs $4 per gallon lately in our neighborhood. Zero claims its ZF12.5 power pack (11.0 kWh nominal rating) can squeak out 150 miles of range when the SR is used in low-speed urban commuting, and Zero’s optional Power Tank ($2,495) provides 2.5 kWh additional range.The batteries are designed to last the life of the motorcycle, and there are never any valves to adjust or engine oil to change.

Living With A Zero SR

For typical urban/suburbanite commuters, range isn’t really a problem at all, since most daily routines require way less range than the Zero provides. A great choice for many motorcyclists who like the idea of smooth, clean, quiet two-wheeled high performance.

Honorable Mention: Zero FX

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There are quite a few interesting developments on the electric bike market, but very few are actually brought into production, and none are as immediately attainable and useful as the Zero FX – our Runner-Up electric bike again for 2015. This one starts at just $8,495, weighs an enduro-svelte 247 pounds and will carry you up to 21 miles (combined use). What? Okay, you probably need the $10,990 FX5.7, the dual-battery version, which will travel twice as far on a charge; 42 miles isn’t all that far either, but it is if you’re using your FX like a big powered skateboard to zip around town, duck down alleys and roost up dirt roads in full-silent running stealth mode – or maybe mix it up with Preston Petty on the dirt track. The FX plugs into any standard outlet for recharging, or has the ability to swap in a fresh battery instantly.

2014 Zero FX Dirt Review – Video

Though Zero seems to have a lock on affordable electric bikes for hooning around on in the privacy of your own backyard or go-kart track, that didn’t stop it from upgrading the ’15 FX, like the SR, with new Showa suspension and Bosch ABS-equipped brakes. The new Showa gear on the FX gives it 8.6 and 8.9 inches of suspension travel, front and rear. And 21- and 18-inch Pirelli Scorpion tires mean you can probably get into all sorts of places you may not be officially authorized to be in, also thanks to the Zero’s silence.

Electric vs. Gas Supermoto Shootout

Now that Polaris owns Brammo and  H-D’s LiveWire is in the works, we look for lots more e-bike excitement in the years ahead. But for electric motorcycles immediately available for purchase in America, this duo maintains its place in our list of MOBOs.

Motorcycle.com Best of 2015 Categories

  • http://www.proteusmusic.com/ MrBlenderson

    I love the FX, if it were just a few grand less I’d probably pick one up.

    • Old MOron

      Hmm, you can get a $900 rebate, maybe talk the dealer down a grand. Would that do it for you? We’re still talking about $6,500 for a range of 21 slow, careful miles. I like the idea of electric motorcycles, but price and range are still too far out for me.

  • JMDGT

    Even I can appreciate the torque this thing puts out. A daily commuter seems to be the role for these bikes in today’s world.

  • Gabriel Owens

    I love these bikes. But 21 miles range? I’ve done 9600 miles since April.

    • benswing

      I’ve done over 10,000 miles on my Zero SR frm March-July (4 months). Where do you get 21 miles of range? I have been riding 100+ miles on the highway.

      • Campisi

        He’s talking about the FX running a single battery module, mentioned in the article as the cheapest Zero offering. I mean, it is, but who buys an FX without two batteries?

        • Gabriel Owens

          ok, I see. I don’t fully understand the battery situation.

  • Alexander Pityuk

    MO, could you please modify the MOBO picture every time, adding the watercolor stylized logo of each winning product to it’s intended slot? So that we can quickly remember what was chosen and what is yet to be revealed.
    P.S. This will also solve the problem of “not working links comments”

    • Kevin Duke

      We love your idea, and so we’ve implemented it! Thanks!

  • ‘Mike Smith

    The SR is a great little bike, the seat is my only real complaint. Range hasn’t been an issue in the 1,200 miles I’ve put on it since the end of April. I had a couple onboard chargers go bad but they were replaced under warranty. The bike gets twice the attention of my R1. Maybe not attention from hot chicks hanging out limo windows (yes that happened on the R1 and yes I was wearing a full-face helmet so they couldn’t see my ugly mug), but you’ll get lots of thumbs up and find lots of lookie-lous in the parking lot with the SR.

  • Starmag

    Coal bikes are way over rated.