Zero Motorcycles today unveiled its 2016 lineup, and the biggest news is the addition of two new models: the Zero DSR and the Zero FXS. We first reported about Zero filing trademarks for the DSR and FXS names back in March, hypothesizing on what the new models would be. It turns out we were right. Read on for more details.
Also introduced is an all-new Z-Force motor, the Z-Force IPM (Interior Permanent Magnet), Zero claims is more efficient, faster to cool and boasts a higher thermal capacity. What this means in the real world is the ability to ride it harder for longer and sustain higher top speeds. The following 2016 models will come equipped with the updated motor: Zero DSR, Zero SR, Zero FXS, Zero S ZF13.0 and Zero DS ZF13.0.
The lithium-ion cell technology inside the Power Packs (batteries in Zero lingo) have been further optimized, meaning, with the addition of the accessory Power Tank, range can reach up to 197 miles in the city and 98 miles on the highway at 70 mph, according to Zero. Of course, riding habits and terrain will have a major impact on range, but so far we’ve been pleasantly surprised with how far we’ve been able to ride on a single charge on existing Zeros.
Zero has also announced a fast-charging accessory called the Charge Tank that, with the help of Level 2 charging stations, allows full charges in under three hours, but more on that later. First, let’s focus on the two new models.
If you’ve been keeping track of Zero’s model lineup, then you’ll remember 2015 saw big improvements throughout the Zero line, as Showa provided new suspension, Pirelli the new tires and J.Juan the new braking components. For 2016, the focus is back on new models, and the recipe for the DSR should be obvious to any Zero follower. Taking the DS platform, Zero has then fitted it with the same high-output, 660-amp motor controller and high-temperature magnets first seen in the Zero SR, itself introduced in 2014.
Zero says this setup provides 25% more power than the standard DS (67 vs. 54 hp) and 56% more torque (106 vs. 68 lb-ft), and the high-temp magnets allow for more aggressive riding for a longer period of time before thermal cutback sets in. Otherwise, the DSR is practically identical to the standard DS, the latter available in ZF9.8kWh (8.9kWh nominal) or ZF13.0kWh (11.4kWh nominal) varieties. With the addition of the accessory Power Tank, battery capacity jumps to 15.9kWh (14.0kWh nominal). All three battery options are slightly improved from 2015’s selection of ZF9.4, ZF12.5 or 15.3kWh with the Power Tank. The DSR is not available in the ZF9.8kWh configuration.
The Showa suspension, J.Juan brakes with ABS and Pirelli MT-60 tires haven’t changed from last year, but the new Z-Force IPM motor will be mated to the Zero DSR and Zero DS ZF13.0. Other minor differences include a taller handlebar on the DSR and DS compared to last year’s DS, and a new brake pedal is better positioned compared to previous models, for better modulation – which is a complaint we’ve had on past Zeros. The Zero DSR will retail for $15,995, not including any applicable incentives in your area.
Though we have no evidence to support this, we’d like to think the Zero FXS exists because of us. We’ve been fans of the standard FX since its introduction in 2013, but since that time we’ve only ridden it in stock form once: Riding in the dirt playground of Scot Harden’s backyard. If you don’t know, Harden is an AMA Hall of Famer and Zero VP of Global Marketing (his off-road racing resume is legendary. Seriously, Google him if you don’t already know who he is). The rest of our experiences with the FX involved racing it on a go-kart track for 24 hours, racing (and crashing) it up Pikes Peak, and putting it head-to-head with a Suzuki DRZ400SM. Each time, the stock FX went with 17-inch hoops and street tires instead of the stock 21-inch front, 18-inch rear wheels.
So it only makes sense to think we had at least a little influence bringing the 2016 Zero FXS, with cast 17-inch wheels, Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tires and a beefier, 320mm brake disc, to life. Apart from the wheel, tire and brake differences, the FXS also receives the new Z-Force IPM motor (standard Zero FX models do not). Both FX models do see a 14% increase in capacity from their hot-swappable batteries, the single battery rated at 3.3kWh and the dual-battery setup 6.5kWh (2.9kWh and 5.7kWh nominal, respectively).
The taller handlebar found on the DS for 2016 is also seen on the FX and FXS, and to better handle the supermoto track instead of the single track, the FXS front Showa suspension has reduced travel compared to the standard FX – from 8.6 inches down to 7.0. Rear suspension travel stays the same at 8.94 inches. Power ratings haven’t changed from last year, as all FX models are still rated at an impressive 70 lb-ft of torque and either 27 hp or 44 hp, depending on battery configuration. Combined with a curb weight of 293 lbs for the ZF6.5 (251 lbs for the ZF3.3), we can already tell you the FXS will be a hoot to ride based on our experiences above. Both the FX and FXS will set you back $8,495 for the ZF3.3, or $10,990 for the ZF6.5. Like the entire Zero line, this is before any applicable incentives.
If Zero has fallen behind compared to its competitors in one area, it’s the integration of J1772 charge ports to accept Level 2 charging. That issue is rectified in 2016 with the new $1,988 Charge Tank accessory shown above. This dealer-installed option is compatible with 2015 and later S, SR, DS and DSR models, and sits in the storage compartment area in the faux fuel tank (so, no, you can’t install both the Charge Tank and Power Tank range extender).
Effectively tripling the on-board charging speed, the Charge Tank is designed for Level 2 charge stations and accepts the J1772 dongle. It complements the standard 1.3kW onboard charger for a total of 3.8kW of charging capacity. Zero claims this is the equivalent of up to 53 miles per hour of charging, with the ability to charge a ZF9.8 power pack from empty to 95% in two hours. Add another hour for ZF13.0 packs. Of course, if your battery isn’t completely empty when you plug in, charge times will shrink dramatically.
Lastly, Zero is making it easier to own a standard S or DS model with the ZF9.8 power pack by dropping the price for each by $1,000, to $10,995. Though the least expensive Zero to purchase is either the FX or FXS ZF3.3 at $8,495.
New models are scheduled to arrive in dealers starting in November 2015, while the Charge Tank accessory will be delivered starting in Spring 2016. Visit www.zeromotorcycles.com for more information.