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Old 11-17-2013, 05:18 PM   #1
Wind_Rider OP
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Going Electric II: 2013 Zero FX Long Term Rider Report

In the spring of this year I started a 2 wheeled journey on an all electric Zero DS motorcycle. I rode the summer of 2013 on only that electric motorcycle and chronicled my experience here in this thread: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=869280

Surprisingly, I ended up selling the 2012 DS and picked up a 2013 Zero FX which is a more dirt focused bike so this thread will detail my long term ownership experience with the FX model. I expect that this bike will be around my garage for years to come so this will be more of a long term report.

Yes, this is not a thumper but there is no electric section yet for this forum so I will post it here as I think the electric experience and the review of the FX will most likely interest thumper riders.
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:21 PM   #2
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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
2012 Zero DS
2013 Zero FX

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.

Some of this is redundant from the DS thread so skip by if you have read it all before.
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:25 PM   #3
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Some Random Historical Motorcycle Pics

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

[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]



















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Old 11-17-2013, 05:25 PM   #4
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:32 PM   #5
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13 FX vs 12 DS

Last season my riding was mostly commuting with a some weekend rides on local trails and fire roads. The DS worked great for that.

So why trade? Well, i got a decent offer to sale the DS and I have been lusting after the FX model since it was released.

The big differences are that the FX has lower weight at only 275 lbs with 2 battery modules and bigger tires, rims, and longer travel suspension. For 2013 Zero engineered their own motor and the FX has the Zero designed motor which is more powerful, completely sealed for dirt/mud use, and pretty much awesome in every way that an electric motorcycle motor can be. It puts out 44 HP and 70 ft-lbs of torque enabling effortless wheelies. That is a lot of torque for a 275lb motorcycle and the rollon and acceleration experience is vastly improved from my 2012 DS.

Pics next....
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:58 PM   #6
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Been waiting for this one!
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:07 PM   #7
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Zero FX Pics

Some pictures from the Dealer shop before I brought it home.









IRC GP-110 OEM Rubber which is a decent DS tire:



Lots of suspension travel

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Old 11-17-2013, 06:46 PM   #8
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Ride Photos

By the Lake:



On a fireroad:



Self Portrait:



Riding the FX is a blast. It has tremendous thrust and the bigger hoops that roll over the rough stuff better.

The new motor makes more noise than the 2012 model and while it is still quiet, as it spins up it makes an angry howl that is fun to experience. I find myself laughing inside my helmet and the fun factor is reminiscent of my Buell Ulysses motorcycles from years ago only without the vibration.

Twisting the throttle on this bike quickly makes the energy bars on the meter go away but it is great fun while it lasts.
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:56 PM   #9
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FX Battery Packs

The FX frame has 2 slots for dual ZF2.8 Battery packs. Each Battery pack contains it's own BMS (Battery Management System) computer. The battery packs can be swapped in minutes and charged outside of the bike or with the onboard charger.

The onboard charger is a 650 Watt unit and can charge 2 ZF2.8 battery packs from empty in about 8 hours.

Zero announced a new "Battery Tank" feature on it's DS and S models which is a ZF2.8 battery pack that can be installed in the space where an ICE motorcycle holds it's gas tank. Since the size for that battery pack is now built into every Zero Motorcycle model in 2014 it is my hope that sometime in the future there will be a ZF5 or ZF10 battery pack that will allow my to simply buy a new battery module and upgrade the motorcycle's range.

With the FX, the Frame and motor will last a very long time and hopefully as battery chemistry and technology allows more KW of stored energy in less space and weight there will be an upgrade path.

The battery packs:







The bike can be ridden with 1 or 2 battery packs. Full power is available with one battery pack, only the range is reduced, along with the weight.
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:03 PM   #10
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Thanks. It appears to be a great ride. I will follow you and your bike as posts appear. I think I'm too old and broke to go down that path
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:24 PM   #11
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The Zero FX Motor and Final Drive

The motor is awesome. A real engineering feat and very impressive that Zero could pull this off given that they are a small company.

The motor is a ZForce 75-5 passively air cooled, very efficient, radial flux permanent magnet, brushless AC motor that was engineered in house by Zero just for use in Electric motorcycles, rather than being adapted from some other application.

Zero makes two motors, that are based on the same design. The FX motor was originally used in the FX and XU models in 2013 and the larger motor is just a little wider and is used in the S and DS models. It has more power to push the larger weight of those bikes but the design is basically the same. I like that it is air cooled, completely sealed, and Zero maintenance.

The motor is controlled by a Sevcon 3 phase, 420 Amp motor controller with regenerative braking.

The motor sits low in the bike for good mass centralization. There is no clutch or transmission. A toothed belt final drive provides clean, quiet, lash free power between the motor and the rear wheel. Since the motor output shaft is on the same axis as the swing arm pivot the belt has the exact same tension at any point of suspension compression. Clever.

On my 2012 belt tension was adjusted by sliding the motor and the rear axle was fixed. On the FX the motor is fixed and the rear axle slides to adjust belt tension.

For those FX owners that want to ride a lot of mud there is a chain final drive that bolts right up. I intend to keep the belt as I have ridden toothed belts on a lot of dirt and gravel roads and I like the clean, quiet, lash free nature of belt drive. The Zero belt is thin so it makes a small target and it proved up to the task on my DS. A replacement belt is only about $65 so I will have one hanging in the garage in spring.

Some pics :







More details on the motor design can be found here: http://www.zeromotorcycles.com/technology/

I like how the Zero design uses air cooling and direct drive for the ultimate in simplicity and reliability.
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wind_Rider View Post

The bike can be ridden with 1 or 2 battery packs. Full power is available with one battery pack, only the range is reduced, along with the weight.
On the Zeroe web site it looks like they say it has 27hp with 1 and 44hp with 2 batteries though both have 70 ft/lbs? That didn't make sense to me...
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:30 PM   #13
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Brakes

Zero Motorcycles have Nissin brakes and braided steel lines. Nice feedback and feel, plenty of stopping power.

The rear brake seems a little strong to me and I keep locking it up in the dirt. I will have to re calibrate to it.

Overall, good brakes on both ends.

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Old 11-17-2013, 07:40 PM   #14
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Misc Pics

The display is all digital and simple. Energy is displayed as a bar graph.



The charger heat sink gets some, uh, dirt cooling:



Large front headlight and BatMan shield:



Front fender provides a cool view for standup riding:



Long, lean, and tall. I suggested to Zero that they make a cargo rack.







I like the looks of the bike. It reminds me of BatMan's dirt bike. It just needs some weapons on board.

For 2014 Zero restyled the FX and made it better looking with smoother lines and dual headlights. The motor and battery are the same.
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:52 PM   #15
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There is an App for that...

Since 2013 all Zero Motorcycles support BlueTooth to a SmartPhone (Apple or Android) and a Zero App.

The App provides some nice riding information and allows the owner to add a phone to the bike and get another display. The riding screen looks like this:



The bike has two modes of operation: ECO and Sport. The Sport mode motor parameters are fixed and ECO mode can be customized with the App shown below:



The owner can also see interesting Battery information and ownership summary information that compares the cost of ownership/mile of the Zero vs an ICE bike. For the cost/ mile comparison the owner can customize the cost of electricity, gas, and MPG of the comparison ICE bike.









When the kickstand goes up the App automatically switches to ride mode and displays the first screen. When the kickstand goes down the other screens are available.

It is a nice App and gives some really nice extra information to the owner and the tuning of the motor and regen are nice as well.
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