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Old 03-10-2013, 08:47 PM   #31
Red Sand
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That's a very cool motorcycle.

As long as it wheelies, I'd like to have one.
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:03 PM   #32
Solarbronco
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I live in Meridian, where are you? I'd like to go riding with ya sometime and check that bike out. How is it in the dirt? Can it take a jump without breaking anything? Can it do a day at Hemmingway?
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:03 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Sand View Post
That's a very cool motorcycle.

As long as it wheelies, I'd like to have one.
Ha, well, power wheelies are difficult on this bike. Not quite like the old Buell in that regard. Consider that you are starting off in road gear and it makes some sense, along with a the longer wheelbase and big old heavy battery pack up front.

However, Wheelies and stoppies are easy on the 2013 Zero FX as seen here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DQcvZnE-X8

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Old 03-10-2013, 09:17 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solarbronco View Post
I live in Meridian, where are you? I'd like to go riding with ya sometime and check that bike out. How is it in the dirt? Can it take a jump without breaking anything? Can it do a day at Hemmingway?
Hey Solarbronco,

I live half way between Boise and Idaho City just off of Hwy 21. I commute to Meridian so the bike will be out there most days soon if the weather starts to warm up to riding temps. Hopefully tomorrow....

The DS is pretty easy to ride in the dirt. I ride dirt every ride to get to the highway which is 3 miles of steep rough dirt road. The dirt limitation is the 17" wheel up front but it feels stable and power is really easy to dial up and smooth.

I don't plan on doing a lot of jumping with the DS but it certainly looks like it could take some off road use and the frame is the same basic design as the Zero MX which flies well.

What is Hemmingway? Not familiar with it, sorry. I mostly ride in Boise county and further up towards Stanley, Sun Valley, or McCall.

PM me and we can arrange a meeting out in Meridian if you want to see the bike or you can go to Big Twin in Boise to look at the new ones.
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:28 PM   #35
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70 ft-lbs of torque, up to 44 hp

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Old 03-13-2013, 10:07 PM   #36
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The workmanship on that machine looks top notch. The welds are excellent, obviously quality focused rather than output. I can see why it's 14K, sort of like the Tesla of MCs. Similar approach, high tech, high quality, low production. At the cost I consider them more of an engineering exercise, a very nice one forsure

Thanks for the review, very interesting.

Till battery technology gets allot better I think the electric MCs will be destined to be used for urban offroading and commuting.

Someone needs to take the chinese approach to these, cheap off the shelf componets, use the bulk of the unit cost to fund the expensive batteries. Get it out to more riders at a reduced cost. IMO, affordabilty is what will turn the tide on electric vehicle use.

I already see a lot of Chinese parts on this bike, that is what puzzles me on the price.
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:25 AM   #37
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The electric bike sure looks good.But things worry me,the belt and charging +battery life.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:34 PM   #38
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I already see a lot of Chinese parts on this bike, that is what puzzles me on the price.
The large price comes along with a 9KW battery.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:37 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by MORT666 View Post
The electric bike sure looks good.But things worry me,the belt and charging +battery life.
According to Zero the battery life will not be an issue as it is rated to achieve 80% capacity up to 300,000 miles. There is a 2 year warranty. Time will tell.

The belt is an easy swap... I will soon have some reliability data on the belt as I ride a lot of sandy dirt.

Everyone told me that the belt drive on my Buells was terrible and I would get stranded after it broke. I put almost 50K miles on my 2 Buells including a lot of dirt/gravel roads and I never had any issues with it.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:10 PM   #40
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500 Mile Impressions

Well, it is hard to believe, but I have already put 500 miles on the Zero.

Normally, at the this point with a new bike I would change the engine oil and filter. Not on this ride. Nothing really to do other than make sure some fasteners are still tight.

Some things that I love about the Zero DS at this point:

- Smooth throttle response. It is really perfect, like what perfectly tuned FI almost is.
- Silence. It is really surprising what you can hear without an ICE along for the ride
- Simplicity. I thought that it might be a bit boring riding a single speed bike without any challenging power curve but I find it kind of distills riding down to its purest form without the ICE distractions.
- Almost Zero Maintenance.
- NO GAS. It is so much fun to ride by the gas station and know that I will never stop there and pour money into the pump.
- Slim but comfy seat. I guess most riders did not like the 2012 seat as it is narrow and dirt bike style. The 2013s have wider seats. I like the 2012 seat and find it plenty comfy for the Range that this bike has. It is easy to move around on.
- Little details like the frame welds, the foot pegs, the material that the seat is made from.
- Made in USA by a small company that is doing great things, kinda reminds me of my Buells in a way. One of the chief Buell engineers is the CTO at Zero.
- Balance. The bike weighs 340 lbs but it feels lighter.
- Belt final drive. Smooth, silent, no lash.

Things that I wish were better:

- Steering lock is surprisingly limited for a small bike. If it were not for that this would be the easiest tight spot bike ever. As is, be aware of the limited radius before committing to the turn.
- The charge cable port on the bottom corner of the bike is awkward and always covered in dirt/mud. I am going to move this at some point.
- For a long travel suspension it sure seems harsh. It lacks the progressive feel of other suspensions that I have ridden and owned. I think it would take quite a hit to bottom it out. This could be due to the fact that the suspension is new and I am riding in the cold. I will spend some time with the suspension settings when it warms up a bit and see if this can be improved by spinning the dials.

The owners manual comes on Flash drive which is different:



The manual is pretty basic but does contain torque values for major fasteners. There is no shop manual from Zero.

Rear shock provides a surprisingly harsh ride. I have washed the motor with a gentle spray... it does get dirty from my riding.



I added a Wolfman tank bag to the tail of the Zero DS. It fits perfect and I really like it here rather than on the tank.





Sorry, bad light on that photo.

Footpegs are excellent for OEM !!



For those of you who worry about the belt drive's reliability I am the test of your theories. I feed it a regular rock, sand, and mud diet. We will see how it holds up over time and miles.

The nice thing about the Zero final drive is that it can be quickly converted to chain final drive if desired. They have a kit with the right ratios ready to go.



After the first 500 miles I am very happy to own this bike and am looking forward to the next 10,000 miles of silent riding.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:45 PM   #41
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Range Anxiety

Now that I have ridden the Zero for a bit, I am more at ease with range issues.

My commute is an indicated 34 miles one way and covers a little bit of everything. There is some dirt, some twisty canyon 2 lane, some hills up and down, and then some freeway at 75 and 65 MPH.

After this completely varied riding the Zero arrives at work with 6-4 bars of energy remaining on the bar graph energy meter. 11 bars is fully charged. I am blessed with a workplace that allows me to charge when I am at the office so I always leave fully juiced again.

If I am rolling down the freeway at 70MPH a bar will go away about every 4 miles. If the bike is ambling along on the backroad at 45-55 MPH then it will cover 6-8 miles for each bar. Riding in city traffic they go a long ways.

What I have found after several trips back and forth to work is that the bike can easily handle that distance and there is always energy to spare. If I ever need to go further, all I have to do is find a way to get there that is slower and then I can travel more distance on the remaining energy.

If your commute is a 70-80 MPH constant freeway drone that goes very far this bike is not for you. If it is mixed, like mine, then the Zero does fine but the bars will go away faster as the bike's ground speed increases.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:19 PM   #42
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Planned Farkles

Oh, the farkles that can be done these days!

I have already added the Zero Summer windscreen which is nice for those cold mornings. It can be easily removed for trail rides with 2 thumb screws.

I also added some Cycra Stealth DX hand guards from the dealer. They are very light and only for breaking the wind and brush but they seem to be a nice fit on the DS.



I would like to add the rear foot pegs (2012 models were homologated without rear pegs so they are an option) and a set of hard cases. I am looking at putting some Givi E21 side cases on to provide some rain tight storage for commuting and errand running. I always find myself carrying things on my motorcycles like this:



or this:



I just really dislike rolling the pickup when there is riding weather.

I don't think that the Zero DS is going to be as good of a bike of burden as some of my previous steeds were but I would like to get some bags to add some carrying capacity.

Lastly, I would like to get another charger so that I can take a few longer trips with charging stops. Dual chargers cut the charge time in half so the battery pack could be topped up in 3-4 hours depending how empty it was.

Wind_Rider screwed with this post 03-14-2013 at 10:37 PM
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:07 PM   #43
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Very kool! I would like an electric but I'm 20 miles from town and the round trip alone at 65-75mph would leave little run around/reserve battery range. 11 bars X 4 miles per bar is only a 44 mile range??? We are planning on moving soon so it may fit then?? Great to hear some real world experiences!!
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:28 PM   #44
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Cool, glad to see someone putting one to real world use. I have seen these bikes the past few years at the Nevada 200 trail ride, but haven't bothered to take one for a ride.

One thing I would correct; it should be a brushless DC motor, not AC.

Also, an electric bike should be capable of out running any IC bike off the line since electric motors have 100% torque at start up. However, I am sure the speed control limits the pulse width to keep it from shredding belts and tires. Your start up power should be adjustable through programming the speed control.

Having gone back and forth with electrics and IC in another hobby, RC flying things, electrics have advantages and disadvantages. I have come to this conclusion; electrics are capable of unbeatable short term performance, but IC always wins with longevity and weight. Also, electrics will burst in to flames in a crash much more readily than IC, ironically. And electrics are NOT necessarily better for the environment. BUt if shear power and performance is the goal, nothing will beat electrics. I have built power systems that weigh about 500 grams, and produce over 2hp. That is pretty amazing to me.
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:20 PM   #45
Stretch67
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I live and work in town, with a commute of about five miles each way. No joke, if I were still riding on the street, I'd get a Zero.
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