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Old 04-08-2013, 09:32 AM   #106
BrianTRice
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Originally Posted by wiswoodsguy View Post
Sorry to thread steal WR
Brian, is yours a DS as well ??

Thats the style Im interested in - most likely the FX or if KTM brings sumthin to the table.

Id really love to hear if someone has ridden their DS on some technical trails and what their thoughts were. I know it will never be my 520 EXC - but Id love to quietly play in the woods if I could too.
Yes, mine is a 2013 DS. I haven't ridden technical trails yet (still too rainy up here plus I have to get the bike *to* some trails), but have ridden my gravel and pothole-ridden alley to and from my driveway and it performs just fine. 7 inches of suspension travel and the weight (390lbs) is really low. The belly is the battery casing itself which is a sturdy aluminum box - I think it makes a not-trivial bash plate but I don't intend to test that too heavily.

The bike has a ton of torque (claimed 68ft-lb) compared to horsepower (54hp) so could probably negotiation most situations well enough. It doesn't leap up hills from a standstill but can still do it, and of course it never stalls. I think the worst that might happen is that cranking on the air-cooled motor from a standstill while stuck might get it overheated if you don't manage to move for a while.

My one complaint right now is that the 2013 has no proper rear mudguard so I am looking for a right-sized tire hugger to keep the dirt from landing on my jacket and passenger seat.

Worth noting that touching the front brake lever engages regenerative engine braking before the front brakes engage, so between that and the actual rear brake lever, you could probably get a lot of control on a downhill condition. Although the disc brakes themselves are not impressive as such.
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:51 PM   #107
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Zero Thread

No problem with thread heist at all from me.... I am happy to hear from Brian T or anyone else with a Zero who can add any input into this thread.
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:20 PM   #108
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Wind and Range

It has been cold and windy on the last few days. The wind can really take some juice to punch through. I generally arrive at the office with 4-5 bars of energy left on the "fuel" gauge but the wind knocked it down to only 2 remaining yesterday.

Now the bike has almost 1,300 miles on the clock. After that much riding I have grown familiar with range and recharge enough that I don't worry about it much. Even in the cold and with the wind and some freeway speeds the bike always has plenty of juice to cross the 36 miles to my office with stored energy to spare. It also always charges back to full while I am working.

The bike has run perfectly. It has always booted up on the first attempt, never thrown any errors, and throttle response has always been smooth, linear and perfect.

The snow is starting to melt away from some of the local trails and I look forward to reporting on trail riding with the Zero DS soon if the weather continues to warm up.
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:34 PM   #109
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Side Cases Coming Soon !!

Since my Zero is sadly mostly used to ferry me back and forth to work, I have found it difficult to commute with no locking, water tight storage. I have been riding with a backpack which I also dislike. When a motorcycle is your main transportation it just happens that you need to haul stuff on the bike.

I wanted some side cases that were slim, light, aerodynamic, and top loading. After a little research I ordered some Givi E21 side cases along with Givi WingRacks which will also give the Zero a tail rack and the ability to add a Givi Top Case. I had a Givi Top case for a KLR650 and really liked it for commuting.

Here is a link to the cases from RevZilla:

http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/g...FWQ6QgodCioAmA

In time I am considering adding a Givi Top case with one or two more chargers so that the charging time can be decreased in case I want to take some longer trips to places where I can find some juice along the way. With the Givi setup I could just snap my charger top case into place and take it off when I don't need to haul the chargers around.

The cases should arrive in a few days so I will document the install and final result. Hopefully this weekend.
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Old 04-19-2013, 04:57 PM   #110
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Givi e21 Case Install

I installed some Givi side cases on the Zero last night after work.

Givi makes excellent commuting luggage. For this install I used the WingRack which adds a top rack that can lock into a Givi Top Case as well. When a Givi top case is not present it makes a nice general use rear rack.

This luggage is light, lockable, weather tight, and complements the style of the DS. The e21s are slim so the whole bike will fit through if the handlebars will go through as well. The cases can be easily removed for trail riding if desired.

More pics tomorrow if the sun comes out, but here are few from my messy garage for now.





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Old 04-19-2013, 08:34 PM   #111
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More Givi Case Install Pics

The sun popped out for a minute. Here are some more pics of the Givi WingRack installation on the Zero DS.









They do ugly up the naked bike a bit....



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Old 04-20-2013, 08:14 AM   #112
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Your bike is coming along nicely. I wonder if it would be practical to bond a solar panel to a top case and charge the bike that way. Maybe it would charge while you are on the road? I've seen flexible solar panels.
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:56 AM   #113
Lutz
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I'll be following along here. I'm quite interested in EVs, but until range improves dramatically, they just won't be practical for me personally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by G19Tony View Post
... I wonder if it would be practical to bond a solar panel to a top case and charge the bike that way. Maybe it would charge while you are on the road? ...
In my opinion, with current solar technology, a bike mounted solar panel would be kind of like packing a thimble full of gas to extend your range....Just not enough to be worthwhile. For example, with a 6"x6" solar panel, you might get 3-4 watts on a bright sunny day. The current Zero DS on board charger is 1300 watts.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:16 AM   #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lutz View Post
I'll be following along here. I'm quite interested in EVs, but until range improves dramatically, they just won't be practical for me personally.


In my opinion, with current solar technology, a bike mounted solar panel would be kind of like packing a thimble full of gas to extend your range....Just not enough to be worthwhile. For example, with a 6"x6" solar panel, you might get 3-4 watts on a bright sunny day. The current Zero DS on board charger is 1300 watts.
Exactly.... solar panels are usually only 10-13% effective

the idea is there... but the panel technology is just not there... YET...
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Old 04-20-2013, 12:58 PM   #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G19Tony View Post
Your bike is coming along nicely. I wonder if it would be practical to bond a solar panel to a top case and charge the bike that way. Maybe it would charge while you are on the road? I've seen flexible solar panels.
Yeah, wouldn't that be the best?

Unfortunately as others have pointed out current solar technology just doesn't make enough power in that much area to make any difference. You could probably make about 20-50 Watts of power with available surface area and the bike would need about 5-10KW to keep up with demand from the motor as it rolls along under power.

The thimble of gas is a pretty good analogy.

Still waiting for Mr. Fusion, after all of these years.
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:21 PM   #116
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Trail Riding on the Zero DS

So far I have mostly been wasting my Zero miles going back and forth to work.

Today I decided to give the Givi Install a Rattle and shake test and do a little exploring on a local Jeep trail. The route was 20 miles of twisty 2 lane highway and 30 miles of Jeep trail. The trail climbed into the snow zone and had a lot of mud holes in it but the sun was out so it wasn't too bad.

I rode with a neighbor and friend who has a DR650 Suzi. Always better to ride with a friend on these kinds of outings.

Here are a few pics from one of the summits.





The DS is a really fun little trail bike. Having electric power and no transmission or clutch allows the rider to just concentrate on riding and traction. It is super fun and easy.

Running in Econ Mode is kind of like running traction control. Power delivery and throttle response is soft and smooth, just to point of the rear wheel spinning. Sport mode is fun and allows the motor to easily overwhelm the traction provided by the rear tire, power slide around corners and tackle steep climbs.

Electric power is so smooth it makes it really easy to tip toe through snow, ice, mud and other slippery surfaces.

The suspension has lots of travel and responds well to big hits. Small bumps still seem kind of harsh... one of these days I will have to play with the dials and see if I can get the suspension dialed.

The bike carries it's weight well and seems really well balanced and light on the trail. Surprisingly, it weighs the same regardless of fuel status.

Riding standing up the handlebar is a bit low but manageable. The foot pegs are excellent. Every OEM should use these foot pegs!



Range also goes way up riding trails. We arrived in Idaho City with 30 miles on the clock and only three bars gone from the energy gauge... this would equate to nearly 100 miles of range in this type of trail riding.

The big weakness of the Zero DS in the dirt is the tires .... both the tread and the size.

The more I ride this bike, the more I am liking it.
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:50 PM   #117
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Almost 2K miles

About 1900 miles on the clock now and the bike continues to perform perfectly. More updates after the 2K milestone.
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:52 PM   #118
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Great thread, very interesting to hear your real world experience with this bike
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:57 PM   #119
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2,000 Mile Report

Today the Zero crossed the 2,000 mile mark!

So far the bike has had Zero problems. It has always booted up with no errors, charged perfectly, and throttle response has always been perfect as well.

I took it out for a distance ride today and noticed that the Givi cases, slim as they are, are actually out in the wind stream. I made a 65 mile loop ride that was mostly twisty 2 lane highway with speeds from 45-60 MPH and some corners marked as low as 25. I also did about 10 miles of dirt road. I arrived home with one flashing bar and was just about out of go juice. I think for future rides where I go for Max Range I will pull the Givis off and get a few more miles. A top case would probably cause less wind drag and that might be why Zero is offering a top case for the 2013s but not side cases.

Riding to the end of range no longer creates drama for me. Making rides that are out and back on the same track you just ride until 5 bars of energy are gone and then turn back.

Riding this bike in the real world this is what I can typically achieve for range:

- 45-50 Miles, Freeway speeds from 65-75 MPH
- 60-70 Miles, 2 lane highway, speeds 45-60 MPH
- 65-100 Miles dirt roads, speeds 20-45 MPH (Will test more soon)
- Seemingly forever around town... I pass through town so it is hard to get an accurate around town range for me but it is a lot

After 2,000 miles I am now familiar enough with the Zero to make some conclusions about it.

1. Riding on the freeway is not what this technology is for. It just can't feed the electrons fast enough right now. Not a huge deal for me, as I have always disliked freeway riding on motorcycles anyway. I find that I find excuses to get off of the freeway even on my commute to shorten freeway miles. The bike can do it for the length of my commute but it is just not much fun.

2. Electric Motorcycle commuting is here today with the Zero. This thing just makes an excellent commuter ride. It is fun and easy to ride and it actually saves time never having to make a pit stop at the gas station. The range is sufficient unless you have a really long commute. Refueling takes about 2 seconds to plug it in at the end of the day. What is more convenient than that?

3. The Zero Motorcycle has almost nothing to maintain. It is very nice for a busy person like myself to spend very little time with tools in my hands and just ride it, plug it in, repeat. After crossing 2K miles still no maintenance required.

4. The Zero is really fun to ride on Jeep trails and dirt roads. The suspension is loosening up now and is more compliant than when it was new. Rear shock compression damping still seems harsh but the bike does drink in bit hits and soaks them up. I still need to play with the suspension settings and see if I can optimize it a bit but it is pretty good as is. The big limiter in the dirt is the small wheels. It is fun to ride in silence and not bother with gear selection and clutching.

5. The Zero is perfect around town. It is extremely efficient for power usage in town and wastes no power at stop lights. It is very easy and fun to ride around the city and the DS ergos let you sit up a little higher for a good view of traffic around you.

6. The Zero DS is a lot of fun on twisty 2 lane rides but the fun runs out too soon. I am going to haul it to some local twisty sections soon to get more of the good stuff in without having to get there and back as well.

The only wear items to note are the rear tire, which looks to wearing out at a pace to require replacement in about another 1,000 miles, and there is some wear on the shock damper body where mud got crushed between the spring and the damper. I think this is cosmetic but I will probably try to wash that off after muddy rides.

Here are some pics from rides this week.

By ArrowRock Reservoir:



And some pics on a local Jeep Trail :





I saw a bear near this spot a few days ago on a mountain bike. No bears today on the motorcycle.

After 2,000 miles I am still very pleased with the Zero DS. It does what I need from a motorcycle right now and it does it very inexpensively with hardly any maintenance required.

Best of all, the motorcycle fun factor is high with this bike.
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:54 AM   #120
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Interesting thread! I am really interested in owning an EV motorcycle one day. Passing up gas stations on every ride must be very free-ing. The fact that the maintenance cost is low is great but it seems like there is very little to do in the first place. So this technology not only saves money but time. Very Eco- friendly as well.

It's interesting that you say the suspension takes big hits well but is harsh with smaller stuff because usually it's the opposite. If the suspension can take big hits usually there's a lack of firmness at lower speeds or when hitting smaller objects. If adjusting it doesn't work you might need to change the fork oil for a lesser weight.
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