2022 Zero FXE Review - First Ride

Ryan Adams
by Ryan Adams

An aesthetic redesign of the Cypher 2 platform

If you feel like you’ve seen the 2022 Zero FXE somewhere before, there’s a good chance that you have – or at least something similar. In 2019, Zero teamed up with industrial design firm, Huge Design to create the Zero SM concept for the Portland-based One Moto Show. While Huge Design is mostly known for consumer product design, they had been collaborating with Zero at the component level for some time prior.

The response to the Zero SM concept was overwhelmingly positive – and not just from attendees of the custom motorcycle show, but from dealers and other interested parties. The FXS model on which the SM concept was built has been the company’s most popular model for some time. While supermoto racing has gone in and out of total obscurity here in the U.S., popularity hasn’t waned so much in Europe, where we’re told Zero sales have surpassed the US since 2018.

Styling is now on a level worthy of sitting next to the SR/F and SR/S.

The original design of the SM concept was approached by breaking the motorcycle down into a hierarchy of design elements: the seemingly one-piece billet aluminum fuselage inspired by consumer products and aerospace designs that sits on a “machine core” of technology. Zero sees an essential surface that represents all of the touchpoints with the rider floating over that core of technology which – being electric –has allowed Zero to take a more pragmatic approach to the machine core while celebrating the “cleanliness” of the design that was able to be achieved with an electric motorcycle.

The FXE’s 32.9-inch seat height isn’t too tough to manage since the machine weighs in under 300 pounds.

If you’re curious why we touched on the design portion of the Zero rather than starting with the power plant as we do so often, it’s because the Zero FXE is built upon what the company calls the Cypher 2 platform – a platform that is the foundation of both the FX and FXS models. Simply put, from a performance, range, and chassis standpoint, the FXE uses almost all of the existing components found on the existing FX models.

The FXE loses the “hot-swappable” battery option that the other FX models currently offer. We were told by Zero officials that over the years, there haven’t been many customers who have taken the company up on the option. Primarily, the feature has been used in law enforcement and military applications.

This means the Zero FXE offers a claimed 100/60 mile range of city versus highway out of its 7.2 kWh battery. The Z-Force 75-5 passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux, interior permanent magnet, (!) brushless motor is said to produce 78 lb-ft of torque and 46 horsepower giving it an 85 mph top speed. A 100-percent charge is reached in 9.7 hours, though this time can be reduced by nearly 75 percent when linking (four) accessory chargers ($600 msrp). And although it is possible, Zero has some ominous warnings about connecting four chargers that should make one more than a little leery about doing so.

We’ve got non-adjustable ABS, but no TC on the stylish new FXE so interested hooligans are able to light up the rear, whooooweeee!

The Showa suspension components remain the same with an inverted 41mm fork allowing for seven inches of travel up front while the Showa piggyback shock has nearly nine inches of travel in the rear. Bosch Gen 9 ABS technology is used in conjunction with J.Juan braking components.

Sport, Eco, and Custom ride modes are included with custom allowing the rider to alter max torque, top speed, max regen via the Zero Motorcycles app on your smartphone.

New to the Cypher 2 platform is the five-inch TFT display which has a bonded display producing information on a vivid screen that’s easy to read no matter what lighting conditions you happen to find yourself in. This new display not only integrates nicely into the FXE’s design, but is also the most sophisticated display used on a Zero motorcycle to date.

Two beaks are better than none.

Riding the machine, it’s quite similar to the FXS – as one might imagine. It’s 298 pounds are hardly noticed while moving as the machine is light and nimble on its Pirelli tires, an excellent feature of a bike that’s meant to dart around urban sprawls the world over. Braking components also offer more than enough power to get the bike slowed in a hurry and are easily modulated, though they have a slightly aggressive initial bite.

It’s a stylish rendition of the fun canyon carver the FXS has proven itself to be. The instantaneous torque is quelled by Zero’s software to ensure you don’t loop yourself out in perpetuity, but the FXE still scoots pretty good once you get past the danger zone. Spirited riders with poor BP will surely feel the kickstand trying to wrench the rear tire from the ground whilst feeling their oats, but there is more than one way to fix that problem. The riding position is supermoto over-the-handlebar, but not so much as to be uncomfortable.

I know, It’s hard not to feel bashful looking at this upskirt of the FXE’s motor. I wish I could tell you that the naughty feeling subsides once you straddle the fun little machine, alas… It’s designed for fun, and I suppose some utilitarianism.

We were told the sales team, dealers, and consumers alike have been stoked on the new FXE model. As are we. The Cypher 2’s latest iteration, the FXE, brings its styling more closely in line with the last two models Zero has released: the SR/F and SR/S models. Those two machines – and now the FXE – have addressed the styling issues (or simply lack thereof) Zeros have been chastised for in the past.

Level 1 & 2 charging is available.

Brian Wissman, VP of Product Development at Zero also drilled home during the presentation just how obsessed the engineering and design team was in staying true to the concept, which, if you’ve seen the Zero SM concept ( Google it), they did an incredible job. Not only did the team produce a visually stunning motorcycle, they did so while creating the new styling with components that feel solid. There’s no plastic squeaking or flexing as you’re riding it as though the company just slapped some plastic on the FXS in the cheapest way possible. The finishes exude quality and feel that way. For $11,795, the FXE holds a $500 premium over the FXS. We’re told the FXS will remain around for a while but will likely be fully replaced by the FXE within the next two or three years.

According to this shot o’ the screen, we were looking to get about 67 miles out of our ride which included full-throttle rips through undisclosed locations sandwiched by slow speed scootin’ in town and creepin’ on campus.

We got only a brief ride on the FXE around the hills of Santa Cruz, so commenting on range is best left to the manufacturer’s claims until we have a chance to test one for ourselves. As we always say, your mileage may vary, but with electric motorcycles, it can really vary. Hopefully, we can get our hands on one sooner than later to get some real-world range tests and charging times.

Zero will be hosting a 20-stop demo tour which will take place in conjunction with the International Motorcycle Show Outdoor series in addition to other stops along the way. But you don’t have to take it from me, if you’re interested and the claimed range could work for you, catch a ride at one of the cities on Zero’s World Tour. Units should be arriving at dealers any minute.

2022 Zero FXE

+ Highs

  • Torque on tap
  • Flickability
  • Finally looking the part

– Sighs

  • Nearly $12k still isn’t cheap
  • An increase in performance would be nice after 5 years
  • Extra range would be nice too

2022 Zero FXE Specifications

Motor TypeZ-Force 75-5 passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux, interior permanent hi-temp magnet, brushless motor
ControllerHigh efficiency, 500 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration
City100 miles
Highway, 55 mph60 miles
» Combined75 miles
Highway, 70 mph40 miles
» Combined57 miles
Peak torque78 ft-lb (claimed)
Peak power46 hp at 3500 rpm (claimed)
Top speed (max)85 mph
Top speed (sustained)75
Power packZ-Force Li-Ion intelligent integrated
Max capacity7.2 kWh
Nominal capacity6.3 kWh
GFCI outlet level 1 charger type650 W, integrated
Charge time (standard)9.7 hours (100% charged) / 9.2 hours (95% charged)
InputStandard 110 V or 220 V
TransmissionClutchless direct drive
Final drive90T / 18T, Poly Chain HTD Carbon belt
Front suspensionShowa 41 mm inverted cartridge forks, with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear suspensionShowa 40 mm piston, piggy-back reservoir shock with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Front suspension travel7.00 inches
Rear suspension travel8.94 inches
Front brakesBosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan asymmetric dual-piston floating caliper, 320 x 5 mm disc
Rear brakesBosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan single-piston floating caliper, 240 x 4.5 mm disc
Front tirePirelli Diablo Rosso II 110/70-17
Rear tirePirelli Diablo Rosso II 140/70-17
Front wheel3.0 x 17
Rear wheel3.50 x 17
Wheelbase56 in (1,422 mm)
Seat height32.9 in (836 mm)
Trail2.8 in (71 mm)
Curb weight298 lb (claimed)
Equivalent fuel economy (city)533 MPGe
Equivalent fuel economy (highway)213 MPGe
Standard motorcycle warranty2 years
Power pack warranty5 years/unlimited miles

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Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams

Ryan’s time in the motorcycle industry has revolved around sales and marketing prior to landing a gig at Motorcycle.com. An avid motorcyclist, interested in all shapes, sizes, and colors of motorized two-wheeled vehicles, Ryan brings a young, passionate enthusiasm to the digital pages of MO.

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