Today at EICMA 2016 Zero Motorcycles unveiled its 2017 lineup of electric motorcycles. Although the company didn’t announce any new models, per se, there are some spinoffs of existing models to better suit price points – a request from customers that Zero paid attention to. We’ll cover the model improvements and spinoffs in a moment, but first we’ll start with big news that affects the entire 2017 line.
Bob Burnquist is a legendary name for anyone who follows skateboarding or extreme sports. As the winningest X-Games athlete in history, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise the adrenaline junky is also a motorcyclist. A Zero motorcyclist, in fact. As the owner of both a Zero FX and a Zero DS, Burnquist has grown quite fond of the electric motorcycle lifestyle, so much so that he will be featured in Zero’s next “ZeroCast” on Wednesday, March 16 at 1pm PST.
DigiNow has today announced the launch of the Super Charger, which is able to bring any Zero Motorcycle since 2013 to at least 80% charge, in most use cases, in under an hour. The Super Charger can also be used to recharge batteries in other electric vehicles, including the Victory/Brammo, Lightning Motorcycles and even electric cars.
Things are moving steadily forward in the electric department, but for 2015, the Zero SR maintains its place atop the electron chain due to Zero’s customer support, parts availability, dealer network and relative affordability. Zero’s SR shattered our expectations in 2014 of just how powerful a production electric motorcycle (one able to be bought today) could really be, with a claimed 106 lb-ft of Hayabusa-style torque coursing through its 458-pound frame. The Santa Cruz, California-sourced sizzler uses a high-performance 660-amp motor controller and high-temp magnets to produce 25% more power and 56% more torque than the S model.
In 2013, Zero introduced the platforms from which it would build upon for the future. Consisting of what, Zero claims, are the most energy-dense batteries on the market today, its propulsion systems remain quite advanced in the industry. However, off-the-shelf brakes, suspension and tires meant the bikes couldn’t quite reach their full potential. For 2015 however, Zero Motorcycles feels like it has finally come of age.
Zero made a splash last year with the introduction of the Zero SR, the hot-rodded version of its flagship S model. This year’s news is a little more subdued, but is still highly relevant all the same. Three big improvements will be seen across the entire Zero line for 2015: Showa suspension will now become standard, as will Bosch switchable ABS and Pirelli tires.
It’s always interesting to see how cutting-edge technology is incorporated into new motorcycles. Having written about bikes for the better part of two decades, I’ve seen the introduction of aluminum frames, inverted forks, electronic fuel injection, antilock brakes, a proliferation of exotic materials (titanium, magnesium, carbon fiber) and, more recently, semi-active suspensions and traction controls.
It’s 4am. My eyes are heavy and the pillow beside me is calling my name. Instead, cold and sleep-deprived, I cinch the straps on my Bell, throw a leg over Jeff Clark’s Zero FX, and head out on the Willow Springs kart track for another stint. The bike had already been racing nonstop for 14 hours. All I had to do was last 30 minutes.
Spanning 12.42 miles in length, with 156 turns and a climb of 5000 feet to the 14,100-foot summit, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one of the most spectacular and dangerous motor races in the world. Runoff is nonexistent, the cliff drops straight down, and the only objects to break your fall are trees or jagged rocks. Racers have been tackling the mountain since 1916, and while some have met their demise on the mountain, far more have successfully crossed the finish line, with many famous names listed among the winners.