Gert-Jan Rongen from Electric Motorbikes was so kind to lend me his personal Zero SR/S for a week. I already had the chance to ride the Zero SR/F (the naked bike version) at the 100 km Mergelland route in rainy conditions. So, I was very curious to ride this Zero in better and dryer circumstances.
A very important item for me were the ergonomics on this motorbike: I understand this is a personal issue but due to a knee surgery, I can’t hold my leg for a long time in an angular riding position (as on a supersport motorbike). That was a problem on the SR/F (my bended knee got too much pressure). I was happily surprised that this was not the case with the SR/S. The grips on the handlebar are higher and wider, and the pegs are lower positioned. This gave me a more relaxed riding position. Due to this upright sitting position, the SR/S presents itself more as a sport touring motorcycle and not as a superbike.
Both models SR/S and SR/F are the latest generation motorbikes from Californian based Zero Motorcycles. With their new Z-Force 75-10 engines and the ZF14.4 lithium-ion batteries, Zero puts itself one step higher on the technology scale of electric motorcycles. Our model was the Premium version (6 kW) equipped with a Super Charger (+ 6kW). I had two cables in the mounted top case which gave me the chance to charge at home (solar panels !) and on the road (when needed) with my Chargemap account.
With a key (yes, a traditional key), you can activate the motorbike. Instantly, your dashboard screen illuminates with some nice graphics. It takes little time to get used to the round infographics and specifications: SoC (State of Charge), Accu, Motor, Range and your driven kilometers. Each mode has its own colours. You can choose Eco, Street, Sport and Rain. Some features and specific specifications can be adjusted via the MODE button or Zero App if needed (percentage regeneration brake for instance).
I started my first ride to the center of Antwerp … always exciting when you test a new motorbike that you’ve never ridden with. It’s a good, realistic exercise to discover what commuters face every day: chaotic traffic, slow riding, start & stop, unexpected events … Of course with no clutch and gears, riding is very easy and you can focus on the road. You don’t even have to use your brakes with the regenerating braking system. You ride and brake with one twist of your right hand in ECO modus. The motorcycle has a limited top speed and power in ECO but maximum regenerative braking. Slow riding in the city is not a problem with its weight of 229 kg.
When you fold the side stand, a green circle lights up and off you go. No noise, just a little zzzzzoooommmm … :)) In a few seconds I experienced the power and the torque of the SR/S (190 Nm and 110 hp). After a little city exploration and a coffee, it was time to hit the road in “Street” modus: this kind of instant power was sensational and was a new riding thrill. And actually quite fun too. Changing the modus from “street” to “sport” was not so spectacular. I was expecting too much … but it’s not a racer of course.
Everything remains highly controllable thanks to Zero Motorcycles technology: Cypher III control system acts as the central hub and integrates all systems on the SR/S for a safe riding experience. From Bosch’s MSC to the next-generation app and dashboard, everything is seamlessly connected for simple and intuitive operation. Due to this Cypher III control system, the SR/S is a very ‘smart’ motorcycle. Connectivity gives the rider the ability to monitor the motorcycle in four main areas: motorcycle status & alerts, charging, ride data sharing, system upgrades and updates.
The SR/S holds its line in a corner and if you make a mistake in your ideal line, you can still use the J.Jaun brakes to correct and continue your way. I mostly used the front brake in combination with the regenerative braking system. The rear brake was difficult to reach and my right foot had to come off the pedal to press the brake lever deeper, it didn’t grab right away.
Curvy roads are no problem but you can feel the weight when you steer the bike from one side to the other. As said before, it’s not a superbike. And for a sport-tourer, the SR/S provides a lot of silent, riding pleasure in a controllable way with no surprises.
This Zero has a 14.4 kWh battery, this allows – when I avoid the highway – a functional distance of 160-170 km. With the 12 kW charger, the battery can be charged from empty to full in over 1 hour. For 20-80% capacity, it takes 20-30 minutes. You can read more about charging on the road at THE PACK’s 2000 km road trip with the Zero SR/S.
The ‘SR/S GT Pack’ offers riders increased parking stability with a centre stand and more storage room with a top quality three-box SHAD top box and pannier system. The GT Pack will be included on all unregistered SR/S models (Standard and Premium) purchased between now and December 31st. The initiative is exclusive to the European market.