Last month, we reported that Zero was revamping its lineup, updating the S, DS, and DSR models with the newer FST platform used by its higher performance models like the SR range and DSR/X adventure model. Our initial report was based on a document Zero submitted to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showing updated gross vehicle weight ratings for the models that were using the older SDS platform.
We’ve been waiting for news of a model from Zero called the DSR/X for nearly two years now. Despite trademark filings and vehicle identification filings, however, there’s been no indication from the Santa Cruz electric motorcycle brand about the mysterious model.
Zero Motorcycles has filed trademark applications for the names “Zero DSR/X” and “Zero FXE“. As usual, trademark filings don’t provide too many clues about their potential use, but we suspect the names will be for more off-road focused versions of the DSR and FX.
Funny thing about electric motorcycles: if you’re already an early adopter of the technology, the name Zero Motorcycles is all too familiar. If you still think electrics are as evil to the motorcycling landscape as Jar Jar Binks was to Star Wars… well, you might as well stop reading here. No matter where you stand, the staying power of Zero Motorcycles is hard to ignore. For over 13 years, Zero has been leading the way in electric motorcycle technology, and its staying power has seen it outlast all its competitors. For 2019, Zero is further staking its claim as the leader in electric motorcycle technology, perhaps bracing itself for the arrival of the Harley-Davidson Livewire in 2020.
Once upon a time, electric motorcycles had such short range and high MSRPs that only the most devoted of early adopters had a reason to consider owning one. Well, in the past couple years, improvements in range have resulted in electrics now being a viable option for riders who are looking for a greener alternative to internal combustion engine (ICE) motorcycles, which are relatively dirty compared to four-wheeled road users. So, we’ve taken the 2018 BMW C Evolution scooter and the 2018 Zero DSR as representatives of two different approaches to urban electric motorcycles to see how they stack up for everyday use. Note: This is not our typical comparison where we try to determine the best motorcycle out of a pairing. Rather, we are looking at two different electric bikes to determine their viability as urban transport.
Riding the Zero DSR quickly turned me into a child. Laughing hysterically as I sneaked through traffic and by unsuspecting pedestrians, getting a kick out of the shocked faces on these innocent bystanders was one of the first reasons I enjoyed the Zero DSR, the second involved the R part of its model designation. I came for the ninja-like stealth, but stayed for the claimed 116 lb-ft of torque. Any time there was dirt in sight, a patch of gravel, an unbordered planter in a parking lot, I would bee-line for it, lighting up that rear tire quicker than the aforementioned innocent bystander could shield themselves from the dust. I’d like to say I’m sorry to the man in that car at the Rose Bowl parking lot who endured a large cloud of dust blowing into his open car windows.
The truly all-purpose do-everything electric motorcycle still hovers just out of range (due to lack of range), but for those fortunate enough to own more than one motorcycle, and a job with a non-ridiculous commute, an electric bike is a fantastic way to go. Plug it in when you clock in in the morning, plug it in again while you swizzle your martini when you arrive back at the estate. Ride right past gas stations and all the naysayers who bray that electricity production burns fuel too. In 2016, nearly 10% of California’s energy came from solar; the goal is 33% by 2020.
I really like these things. Riding a Zero FX along a babbling brook and over some granite outcroppings a few years ago while hearing the water gurgle and the birds chirp was a come-to-Jesus moment that showed me the potential of silent running and instant torque. But I haven’t spent any time on electric bikes since that one.