Photos by: Joseph AugustineVideo by: Joseph Augustine
As fans of electric motorcycles, we were excited when late last year Zero announced a new model, the SR. A high performance version of the company’s flagship streetbike, the Zero S, the SR answered the call to those wanting more. More what, you ask? Try more power and significantly more torque. And with the optional $2495 Power Tank, which is essentially an additional 2.8kWh module, S, DS, and SR models have the ability to travel up to 171 miles in urban use.
Zero was kind enough to grant Motorcycle.com the very first SR press bike, and while we’re still putting it through its paces, here are some quick thoughts about the bike from our time with it so far. A full review will come in the near future.
With 24% more power and 56% more torque than the standard Zero S, the Zero SR is one electric motorcycle that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The most immediate difference between the S and SR models is far and away the power. The 660-amp motor controller of the SR dwarfs the 420-amp unit of the standard S model, and in Sport mode the SR’s 106 ft-lbs. of torque flat out pushes your head back the moment you twist the e-throttle. And that head-snapping torque is available from a dead stop or at highway speeds. This is the beauty of riding electric. Of course, with more power comes more heat, and the SR’s motor is fitted with higher temperature magnets to help deal with this. Zero claims 0-60 mph times in the low three second range. That’s fast!
Zero updated the entire model line with 43mm forks, complete with adjustable compression and rebound damping, and our quickie first ride didn’t give us the proper chance to really test their abilities, so far the ride does seem more compliant and slightly firmer than I remember on the S model. In the twisty stuff, this firmer suspension helps transmit more feeling from both ends of the bike back to the rider – a welcome trait, as I’ve complained about lack of feel from the front end in past Zeros.
The SR seems relatively sure on its side, though the grip from the 110/70-17 front and 140/70-17 rear IRC RX-01R tires don’t inspire supreme confidence to rail through the dusty corners we encountered on our first time out with the SR. Lastly, the ZF2.8 Power Tank, and its location nearly at the highest point of the motorcycle, doesn’t do it any favors when transitioning from side to side. Its extra weight is noticeable when trying to flick the 444-lb bike. I’m curious how much of a difference I’d be able to feel riding the SR without the 45-lb penalty of the Power Tank.
New forks and revised suspension damping improve the feedback from the SR compared to past Zeros, but the heavy Power Tank adversely affects handling in the twisty stuff. Disregard the dirt gear, too. The reason why I’m wearing that will be clear in a future story.
I haven’t had much opportunity to try the SR in Eco mode to take advantage of the Power Tank’s range benefits, but so far I’ve noticed that Eco mode is not synonymous with “boring mode.” Power is quelled dramatically, but there’s still plenty to run away from the cars behind you when the traffic light turns green.
I’m also impressed with the new bespoke instrument cluster and its bevy of information. The brakes are solid, the ergos are comfy, and the Zero app makes the SR (and the rest of the Zero line) highly customizable.
But full details on all of those points will have to wait until my full review in the weeks to come. For now, when it comes to performance, know that the Zero SR is legit. Electric motorcycles may still be in their infancy stage, but you’d be mistaken to call the SR a toy bike. We’re even thinking of possible comparison tests between it and gas bikes – and I’m not talking about 250s either. Stay tuned.
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