Watt a positive electric motorcycle with a shocking amount of amp-le torque. Motovlogger, o75 takes one for a ride…
Has the time arrived for electric bikes? Yes…and no. Charging times and distance are certainly issues, but they are continually improving. Thanks to On The Wheel in Southwick, Sussex, for kindly lending me a Zero DSR for a quick first-impression review.
With the DSR, I feel Californian–based Zero have tried to tick all the boxes to get a very well-rounded bike that will appeal to a broad spectrum of motorcyclists. To be fair, many boxes have been ticked. Aesthetically, for a 14.4V battery-fitted bike, it’s great to look at. The black and gold effect is a great colour choice.
As we sit on the bike, the posture is perfect for my size, being a 16-stone 5ft 11-inch lump that I am with a 33-inch inside leg. The seating is comfortable. Turning it on, we hear nothing. Absolutely nothing. It is recommended to keep the kill switch off if sitting on the bike for any length of time as to pull back on the throttle will mean denting the car in front, damaging the bike and leaving you wondering what just happened.
Taking the gearless bike out on the open road in Eco mode is just a breeze…and that is literally all I can hear; as well as the subtle electric-train-like whine from the compact brushless motor. Around town, it’s so easy to manoeuvre in between stationary vehicles as you creep up in stealth mode. Beware of pedestrians as they are certainly not going to hear you coming.
Out on the open A-roads, I pop the bike into Sports mode and pull back the…. “WOAAAAAAAAAH! What the heck just happened?” The surge of torque is incredible and quicker than a Suzuki GSX-R 1000. Shame it doesn’t have the same top-end speed which terminates at around 95mph (no, I didn’t do this speed, officer!). With Pirelli MT-60 boots on, it grips better than I had expected. With heightened-senses, I am grinning from ear to ear.
As we hit the dual carriageway, Eco mode isn’t such a great idea as its top speed is 70mph (I’d like to see another 5mph here). Being limited, you’re going to struggle to overtake vehicles. Switching to Sports mode (which could take time to kick-in) will give you the additional speed to overtake but will drain the battery faster.
All-in-all, a full charge will give you around 120 miles in Eco and 80 miles in Sport, but it does make this bike a very viable option for commuting. A 30-mile round trip could give you three day’s use before it needs charging overnight. Each charge, well that’ll put about £2 onto your electric bill (Isn’t that just 33p each way?).
Service costs? Well, none really. No oil changes, no filters, no mechanical parts to replace. All that needs replacing are the tyres, brakes, brake fluid and maybe a bulb or two. The carbon belt needs changing every 20,000 miles. The 5-year warranty battery should last for 25,000 cycles — equivalent to 250,000 miles. Who’s going to do that kind of mileage in a bike’s lifetime?
Even if you are not thinking electric, do take one for a test ride. It’s an immense amount of fun.