The new 2011 Zero XU is the fifth member of Zero Motorcycles’ lineup of electric bikes, joining the X, MX, S and DS. The XU is based on the Zero X’s platform, sharing many of its components but adding as street legal equipment, road-tuned suspension and street tires.
“We’re excited to announce our fifth model for 2011. The Zero XU is ideal for those living and working in a city,” says Gene Banman, CEO of Zero Motorcycles. “With no shifting, quiet operation, comfortable ergonomics and optional onboard storage, riders of all experience levels are able to focus on simply enjoying the ride. Add to that the ability to remove the power pack and the Zero XU becomes the ultimate urban crosser.”
The biggest feature of the Zero XU is the removable power pack. With most electric motorcycles, including Zero’s other models, the batteries are charged while still installed in the bike. That may not be an issue for those with ready access to public charging stations or power outlets. Otherwise, electric motorcycle owners are limited by where and when they can charge their batteries.
With a removable power pack, XU owners have more options for where to charge their batteries. XU owners can quickly slide the power pack out of the frame and take it elsewhere to be charged. They don’t have to worry about running extension cords outside or finding a parking location close to a power outlet. Those who can own a second power pack, or business owners with a fleet of Zero XUs can also quickly swap in a new power pack while leaving the old one to recharge.
The XU’s 2 kWh lithium ion power pack is identical to the ones used in the Zero X and Zero MX and can be used interchangeably. According to Zero, the power pack can gain a full charge in about two hours. Like all 2011 Zero models, the XU is available with an optional quick-charger which can reduce the charge time to about 72 minutes for a full charge or an hour for a 90% charge. According to Zero, the power pack offers a range of 30 miles and has a lifespan of 32,000 miles.
With a claimed weight of 218 pounds, the XU is the lightest of Zero’s street-specific models (the Zero S and DS claim a weight of 297 pounds) but it’s heavier than the street legal versions of the Zero X (201 pounds) or the Zero MX (205 pounds).
The front suspension offers 5.3 inches of travel and has adjustable compression and rebound damping. The rear suspension has 5.5 inches of travel and offers adjustable preload and rebound damping. The braking system is similar to the Zero X with a two-piston front brake and single-piston rear brake, both with 220mm discs. The wheels are also the same as those on the X with a 19-inch front and 16-inch rear.
The 2011 Zero XU is priced at $7,995, the same as the off-road only Zero X. A quick-charger is available for $595. Zero is also offering the XU with side bags for an additional $249. The Zero XU is also eligible for a federal tax credit if purchased with a second power pack.
Visit our 2011 Zero XU gallery for more pictures.
2011 Zero Motorcycles Lineup