2014 Zero SR - First Ride Teaser

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

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!

EICMA Launch: 2014 Zero SR First Impressions – Video

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.

Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

Troy's been riding motorcycles and writing about them since 2006, getting his start at Rider Magazine. From there, he moved to Sport Rider Magazine before finally landing at Motorcycle.com in 2011. A lifelong gearhead who didn't fully immerse himself in motorcycles until his teenage years, Troy's interests have always been in technology, performance, and going fast. Naturally, racing was the perfect avenue to combine all three. Troy has been racing nearly as long as he's been riding and has competed at the AMA national level. He's also won multiple club races throughout the country, culminating in a Utah Sport Bike Association championship in 2011. He has been invited as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School, and when he's not out riding, he's either wrenching on bikes or watching MotoGP.

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  • JerkassWoobie JerkassWoobie on Mar 08, 2014

    I loved your 2013 Zero vs. Brammo shootout, will you be doing another one this year?

  • Doug S Doug S on Mar 31, 2014

    I got mine a few weeks ago, and from what I hear, there are only 12 in North America so far, with the full years' production scheduled for only 60 of the SR. I still can't believe what this machine's capable of. It'll outrun ANYTHING on the road that doesn't cost in the high six figures (and plenty that do cost that much), and yet it costs less than 1/10th to drive what my car costs. I've got 1500 miles on mine so far, which means that it's already saved me ~$750 in commuting costs.

    If you're thinking about getting one, but aren't sure it's all it's cracked up to be, take it from me, it's an unbelievable machine. I wholeheartedly recommend it over just about any other vehicle available today.