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Zero Dressed Up as a 9

So far, Zero electric bikes have failed to light many fires when it comes to avant garde style. Possibly, that’s all about to change. Here’s why.

Because we’re talking motorcycles, we feel comfortable paraphrasing the great Canadian band Trooper when it comes to the Zero SR/F. Finally a Zero offering that makes one think, you’ve come a long way baby! 

Zero Motorcycles has been around a long time—since 2006. Compared to other e-bike builders, the Santa Cruz, California-based company is the grand daddy of the bunch. With the futuristic vision that electric motorcycles might one day be part of the motorcycle mainstream, Zero was a bit before its time and in so being didn’t have anything against which to set a bar. 

Engineering an electric motorcycle that worked was key; looks seemed secondary to the effort. In reference to those early offerings, if we can paraphrase Trooper again, it was far more like the boys on the bright white Zero. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but unless you are overly fond of your washing machine or refrigerator, white, utilitarian motorcycles weren’t going to light the world on fire. 

Motorcycling in Canada is a passion sport. A motorcycle stylistically in the same realm as a Pontiac Aztek or a Beaumark, just didn’t work. And they were expensive. To expand its sales base, Zero strongly pursued the security and police side of the market for their electric bikes because in those segments, looks don’t count for much. It was their silent, low emissions stealth that drew the clientele.

But, and here is the big but, that is all about to change with the concept Zero SR/F. To be fair Zero has been working diligently toward building a beautiful bike. With redesigns and improvements the line has steadily improved the looks and performance of the Zero machines from street bikes to dualsports but the SR/F seems to mark the arrival of a new design philosophy—a motorcycle rather than an electric motorcycle.  

The factory reports the new Zero SR/F’s maximum range is 320 kilometres, that it has a top speed of 200 kmh, a 61-km per hour charging time that can be increased to 246 km per hour charging time and no routine drivetrain maintenance. The SR/F also features ABS, traction and torque control and variable riding modes. 

The price tag for the SR/F is $24,890 but Zero provides a graph featuring a cost comparison between gas- and electric-powered bikes and although there are no increments on the graph, supposedly the line crossed to the electric’s favour after some period of time. 

The offerings are going to start coming hard and fast in the electric bike segment. With a machine that looks as good as the SR/F, and with its long history and engineering and technical knowledge Zero should be able to face the current with confidence.

• Canadian Biker Issue #343


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