ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Bikes > Thumpers
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-09-2013, 05:17 PM   #1
Wind_Rider OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Wind_Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Idaho
Oddometer: 304
Going Electric !! 2012 Zero DS Long Term Rider Report

I have followed Zero Motorcycles for several years now. They have made great strides in the past years in making an EV that is actually practical to use and own. In early 2013 I took delivery of a new 2012 Zero DS. This thread will chronicle details of my journey to electric motorcycles and in particular the 2012 Zero DS.
Wind_Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2013, 06:11 PM   #2
Wind_Rider OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Wind_Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Idaho
Oddometer: 304
About Wind_Rider

When reading reviews on ADV I think it is important to understand the experiences of the reviewer so here is some history on my riding background.

I started riding bicycles at age 4 and removed my training wheels when I kept getting high centered. At age 5 my Dad brought home a Suzuki Grasshopper mini bike and I was instantly hooked. I rode motorcycles around the farm as a kid growing up in the Idaho Outback and started riding on the street at age 14. I have owned the following motorcycles:

Suzuki GS 400
Kawasaki GPz 550
Harley Davidson Sportster 883
Kawasaki KLR 650
Honda TransAlp 650
Kawasaki KLR 650 again
2006 Buell Ulysses
Yamaha TW 200
2010 Buell Ulysses
2008 Yamaha XT 250
and now
2012 Zero DS

I have riden over 250,000 miles altogether with only one accident that required a hospital visit and killed a motorcycle. I ride a motorcycle whenever there is not ice on the road and it can transport what needs to be transported. I live up 3 miles of steep rough dirt road so every ride involves dirt. I live in Idaho which is dual sport heaven for about 7 months of the year. I commute to work on motorcycles.

I have a family, a day job, and am in my mid 40s. I read ADV in the winter to get my fix virtually when there is snow and ice outside.
Wind_Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2013, 07:04 PM   #3
Wind_Rider OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Wind_Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Idaho
Oddometer: 304
Some Random Historical Motorcycle Pics

Here are some pics of some of my favorite motorcycles from my recent past.

[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]



















Wind_Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2013, 07:33 PM   #4
G19Tony
Gnarly Adventurer
 
G19Tony's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: KLAS
Oddometer: 394
I was just looking a Zero Motorcycles at a dealer in Las Vegas. Very tempting.

Subscribed.
__________________
Honda CT70, Hodaka Dirt Squirt, Kawasaki Versys, Suzuki TU250,
Honda CRF250L, Honda CRF80F, Honda CRF230F, Honda CL70.

Nothing's too cruel if it's funny enough.
G19Tony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2013, 08:24 PM   #5
Wind_Rider OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Wind_Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Idaho
Oddometer: 304
Electric Test Ride

I had been watching and reading about Zero Motorcycles since they first came out. Last summer a local shop (Big Twin BMW) started handling Zero Motorcycles and I had a chance to test drive a 2012 Zero DS.

I really liked the silent, smooth rush of electric power but I could not see the $14,000 price tag fitting into my budget.

In the last year I had downsized my motorcycle from a 2010 Buell Ulysses to a 2008 Yamaha XT250 and I was having more fun in the dirt and riding a smaller bike.

I was planning on getting a new Honda CRF250 this spring. I had decided that for the type of riding that I am doing now I don't need a really large, expensive motorcycle.
Wind_Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2013, 08:32 PM   #6
Wind_Rider OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Wind_Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Idaho
Oddometer: 304
Going All Electric

Through a strange series of events that involved winning a raffle, year end discounts, and Zero's Cash for Carbon program, I ended up with a new 2012 Zero DS in my office in February of this year. Yes, I put it right in my home office and let it sip electrons to keep the battery topped up in the cold.

I decided that electric technology was a fit for 95% of my riding at this stage of my life. I should be able to make some great 40-80 mile loop rides on the weekends and I can easily make my commute of 32 miles one way on the Zero DS. I have a place to charge at work to make sure there is enough juice to make it back and run a few errands if needed as well.

I will miss long rides. The Zero can not do 500 mile days or all day back road epics.

For this year at least the Zero DS will be my only motorcycle.

Here is a picture of the bike the day that I committed to purchasing it on the showroom floor at Big Twin BMW.

Wind_Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2013, 08:54 PM   #7
Wind_Rider OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Wind_Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Idaho
Oddometer: 304
Pics and Details of the 2012 Zero DS

Here are some detailed pictures of the DS if you have not seen one in the wild.

Fast Ace suspension components allow for decent suspension performance and good adjustability. The motor is AC Brushless.



There is no transmission. The motor is directly coupled to a belt final drive. This makes for a very smooth and silent final drive. I had belt drive on my Buells and HD and like it. I hope it holds up to some dirt use.



I like the style. Not everyone agrees.



Dual sport tires provide decent traction in the loose stuff and nice manners on the road. The rear wheel is a 16" which will be really limiting in terms of what rubber can go on it. The 2013 Zeros have more standard wheel, tire sizes.





The charge port is in a dumb location for a DS machine. I cut off a power cord plug and put it in the socket when riding to keep it clean. Again, the 2013 models moved this to a more logical location. The on board charger lives here.



Cool mirrors. Nice view of elbow. Typical of most motorcycles.



Instrumentation is simple. GRN light tells you it is on. Turn on the key, put up kickstand, release kill switch, twist throttle and go.





Nice little details like the logo on the seat.



Slim profile.



The frame is a work of art. Absolutely beautiful. Same for the swing arm.





Brakes are single disc front and rear Hayes, as in Mtn bike fame. The rear brake doesn't get a lot of use as the motor provides regenerative braking. Braided steel brake lines are a nice touch.





Zero Force 9KiloWatt battery box. The heart of the bike and weight is here.





Belt Drive



Long Travel suspension.



I had Big Twin add some hand guards and a windshield for cold weather morning commutes here in Idaho.



Charging at work.

Wind_Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2013, 08:36 AM   #8
strongbad
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2006
Location: Idaho Falls, ID
Oddometer: 475
It looks like a quality bike, but an electric isn't on my radar at all because I take long trips. I noticed that you haven't spoken about range or price...the two main areas where electrics fall short of ICE bikes. I smile every time I pass an electrical outlet on my VFR...
strongbad is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2013, 09:51 AM   #9
Travrsx
Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: New Jersey
Oddometer: 30
Cool, I am very interested to hear a "real world" opinion about these bikes. In many ways, I think electic vehicles are the future, but I'm not entirely convinced that the technology makes sense yet. With the rate at which battery technology advances, I see these sort of machines being competitive (price and performance) to internal combustion in the next 5-10 years.

I think the short range of an EV makes sense for many everyday motorcyclists, though those of us on ADVrider like to invision the long trips, even though they account for only a very small percentage of our riding (for the most part). This zero bike seems great, but I am not interested at $14k. When the price can be more competitive with an ICE bike, I think they will sell plenty.

Keep the reports coming!
__________________
2000 Suzuki SV650N, 1991 Yamaha TW200, 1993 Honda CR250, 2004 Honda Crf-50, 1986 Yamaha Bw80 (x2)
Travrsx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2013, 04:17 PM   #10
Wind_Rider OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Wind_Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Idaho
Oddometer: 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by Travrsx View Post
Cool, I am very interested to hear a "real world" opinion about these bikes. In many ways, I think electic vehicles are the future, but I'm not entirely convinced that the technology makes sense yet. With the rate at which battery technology advances, I see these sort of machines being competitive (price and performance) to internal combustion in the next 5-10 years.

I think the short range of an EV makes sense for many everyday motorcyclists, though those of us on ADVrider like to invision the long trips, even though they account for only a very small percentage of our riding (for the most part). This zero bike seems great, but I am not interested at $14k. When the price can be more competitive with an ICE bike, I think they will sell plenty.

Keep the reports coming!
Very good points Travrsx.

One thing that is really obvious once you start riding EVs: There is a LOT of energy in a gallon of gasoline! It is hard to replace that with battery storage.

I am guessing but unless there are huge advances in battery technology we will see incremental increases for the next several years.

The future is probably more about fast charging. If the energy could be dumped into a 10KW battery pack in a few minutes then the experience of charging would be a lot like filling with gas.
Wind_Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2013, 04:13 PM   #11
Wind_Rider OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Wind_Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Idaho
Oddometer: 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by strongbad View Post
It looks like a quality bike, but an electric isn't on my radar at all because I take long trips. I noticed that you haven't spoken about range or price...the two main areas where electrics fall short of ICE bikes. I smile every time I pass an electrical outlet on my VFR...
Strongbad, Range is addressed some in last post. I am still learning the limits and hope to achieve around 80 miles of usable range in mixed riding once the weather warms up more here. I will post more on Range as I learn more about it.

The price is hard to reconcile on one hand and easy on another:

- It will take some time to get to price parity with a similarly featured ICE bike. However, depending on how much you spend in maintenance for your bikes it will happen with enough time and miles. The Zero will roll for less than 1 cent/ mile here in Idaho where we have pretty inexpensive power. There is hardly any cost in operating it. No valves to adjust, filters to replace, oil changes, etc, etc. Over time those costs will add up. However, with the Zero you have to pay the ticket up front and it is not inexpensive. I also appreciate the time that I used to spend on wrenching I can now do something else with.

- On the other hand the Zero represents and amazing amount of technology for a lower price than the average Harley Davidson that uses the same basic design that they have been using for 50 years. Before I get entirely flamed for that statement, consider that I have owned 2 Buell Ulysses and one HD Sportster. The point is, people drop that kind of coin on motorcycles that are way less in terms of the technology that they represent.

In my own case, I was compelled by the end of year incentives and Zero's Cash for Carbon program so the price was a lot less than the sticker and that made it worth it for me and my riding needs.

Until the price of EVs go down, they will probably not achieve mass market appeal but the 2013 Zeros are pretty amazing machines and if you have the budget to spend that much on a bike, they are a good buy in my opinion.
Wind_Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2013, 10:33 AM   #12
SoSlow
Having fun
 
SoSlow's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Manitoba
Oddometer: 839
Thanks for posting this stuff - I've been intrigued by the electric bikes for a while now.

What interval do you expect to have to replace the battery pack at?
__________________
2009 KLR650
2012 Versys 650
SoSlow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2013, 04:18 PM   #13
Wind_Rider OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Wind_Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Idaho
Oddometer: 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoSlow View Post
Thanks for posting this stuff - I've been intrigued by the electric bikes for a while now.

What interval do you expect to have to replace the battery pack at?
SoSlow. I never expect to replace the battery pack on this bike.

Zero rates the battery pack at 300,000 miles to 80%. That will do it for me!
Wind_Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2013, 04:24 PM   #14
SoSlow
Having fun
 
SoSlow's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Manitoba
Oddometer: 839
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wind_Rider View Post
SoSlow. I never expect to replace the battery pack on this bike.

Zero rates the battery pack at 300,000 miles to 80%. That will do it for me!
That's awesome! Let us know how it's performing when you get up past 275,000.
__________________
2009 KLR650
2012 Versys 650
SoSlow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2013, 05:10 PM   #15
Dave.0
Studly Adventurer
 
Dave.0's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2011
Location: The coldest part of Arizona
Oddometer: 681
I think these are great bikes. I test rode an S model in Austin at AF1 and really liked it. I sat on the DS and decided that would be the bike that I would get, and almost did. Then we moved to flagstaff, and now my commute is a lot shorter. Now I'm considering the FX, the range is short but enough and its really light and pretty quick.

Enjoy the bike and thanks for the real world experience.
Dave.0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 05:38 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014