Just because the candidates for Best Electric Bike this year are rather sparse doesn’t mean there isn’t a motorcycle worthy of an award. Energica’s new Experia certainly appears to be worthy of consideration, but as we mentioned in our opening page, a model needs to be available in dealers by the time of our posting. The Experia is not. This leaves one really excellent motorcycle left to choose. It would be hard not to recognize the Zero DSR/X in the Best Electric category after basically calling it the best motorcycle Zero has made so far. If you look at where Zero started – as essentially a glorified mountain bike – to where the company is now, and in a relatively short amount of time, the DSR/X is very impressive. In a way, you could say the DSR/X is the ultimate evolution of that original glorified mountain bike. Built to capitalize on the ADV craze sweeping the industry, it certainly is the most capable Zero so far.
Unsurprisingly, it boasts the current pinnacle of Zero’s engineering talents. From the highest battery capacity to date and its most torque-rich motor, to the level of refinement within the proprietary Cypher III operating system. Partnering with Bosch to integrate its safety systems lends another point of credibility to the doubters out there, as do the premium components from J.Juan and Pirelli. Maybe the most important thing, however, is simply creating a motorcycle that looks, feels, and works like… a motorcycle. Zero’s done that with the DSR/X. Apart from the sound and the charging routine, the learning curve to riding a DSR/X is basically nill. We’re kidding ourselves into thinking it will give the likes of the BMW GS or KTM Adventure series a run for their money, but let’s give credit where credit is due. The Zero DSR/X is a good motorcycle without the need for qualification.
Much has been written about the switch from ICE to EV-power motorcycles, and regardless of where you stand on the transition, you have to acknowledge that it is in the area of urban mobility that EVs really shine. City commuting usually covers shorter distances, and places to charge the vehicles are more common. As was noted in our review of the BMW CE 04, we have finally hit the tipping point: “Smart people wisely said that for electric vehicles to succeed, they need to do a better job than their gas counterparts. Ideally, the price would be a bit lower, but other than that, I think that’s where I’m at with the CE 04.”
From a design standpoint, the CE 04 makes sure you know it’s an EV maxi-scooter. The step-through design was traded for a double-cradle steel frame to which electric car powertrain components were attached. Covering that hardware is futuristic bodywork. Out back, there’s no hint of a swingarm-mounted engine. Instead, a belt announces where the motor is placed, and that motor itself is interesting because the compact 42-hp motor is exactly a one-third section of the electric motor found on BMW’s X1 plug-in hybrid compact SUV. The battery is effectively one of the 11 battery modules powering BMW’s iX full-electric SUV. Interesting stuff. Premium models also include a quick charger for riders who push the 80 mile range.
Because BMW’s designers decided to play around with how the CE 04 carries itsit’s battery weight, it is quite well balanced and handles remarkably well. Power for the stop light Grand Prix is more than ample, though it does trail off at speeds above 50mph. The top speed is limited to 75 mph. Unfortunately, with that narrow, naked back end, storage isn’t as spacious as other scooters, though.
Because of its unique styling, (almost) hooliganish acceleration, and immense practicality, Motorcycle.com has voted the BMW CE 04 to be the 2022 Best Electric Motorcycle Runner-Up.
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