It has been just about two months since we first got wind that Zero Motorcycles was bringing a new model to market.
Dubbed the Zero SR/F, we could make a joke about how adding an “F” to the name stands for “Finally” as Zero made a protracted teaser campaign for the new motorcycle, but you could make a similar remark on the progress the bike makes for Zero’s fleet.
As our Bothan spies predicted, cornering ABS is standard on the bike at its two trim levels, and power comes in at a reasonable 110hp and a bone-crushing 140 lbs•ft of torque, thanks to the new Z-Force 75-10 motor. With a 12.6 kWh (nominal) battery pack, the Zero SR/F is rated for 109 miles of mixed riding use (161 miles city, 82 miles highway at 70 mph).
The real beauty of the Zero SR/F though, and we are not talking the new body styling, is the bike’s fast recharge time. With modular charging units that come in 3kW, 6kW, 9kW, and 12kW capabilities, the onboard Level 2 charger can top off the bike in 90 minutes (95% in an hour) in the 12kW configuration.
Though the styling has improved on the Zero SR/F, the bike still has a visual weight, which is perhaps grounded in reality. The “premium” trim model on the Zero SR/F tips the scales at 498 lbs, while the “standard” trim comes in at 485 lbs. The big difference between the two machines being charging units.
As we saw in the teaser videos, brakes are by J.Juan with fully adjustable suspension by Showa, which includes the renowned Big Piston – Separate Function Forks that we so often gush over.
The frame is a steel trellis design, though lacks the visual appeal found on the examples by Ducati and KTM. A belt drive is still in use here by Zero, though we do see that they have adopted a concentric swingarm pivot design that they are calling a “Power Pivot”. This allows the belt tension to remain the same, throughout the swingarm articulation.
The cornering ABS system comes from Bosch, while the connected dash – with its “Cypher III” operating system – has been developed with Starcom Systems and allows the bike to ping your phone via Bluetooth and cellular signals.
Of course, all of this comes at a price. The Zero SR/F starts at a hefty $18,995 MSRP, while the “premium” trim level starts at $20,995 MSRP. If you want the quicker recharge time (and of course you do), the SR/F can top out at $23,295 MSRP.
That means there is going to be a considerable amount of sticker shock that comes with the new Zero SR/F, and it puts the electric sport bike in a category of machines that come with, well…more.
For instance, it is a tough pill to swallow when a $20,000+ bike is equipped with the notoriously bad J.Juan brake setup. While we quite like the Showa suspension in its function, most bikes in this price range are sporting the gold bits from Öhlins, since they apparently connote a certain level of premium-ness.
Looks are always subjective, but for all the superlatives we heard before this bike’s release, we were expecting something more visually appealing from Zero Motorcycles…especially after the Huge Design custom we saw at the One Moto Show.
A quick huddle with several industry stalwarts sees agreement that the Zero SR/F looks nice, but falls short of creating any sort of real product lust – an X-factor that is a must in the over $20,000 price range.
The biggest disappointment though on the Zero SR/F is the range. With only 12.6 kWh of nominal power onboard (Zero continues to muddy the waters by primarily quoting max battery capacity, which is 14.4 kWh in this case), we were hoping to see more progress from the electric motorcycle brand when it comes to energy density.
With no powerpack option, like we have seen on the Zero SR model, the Zero SR/F is going to chew through its battery pack much quicker than its sibling, thanks to its more powerful motor, heavier weight, and larger tires.
Is this progress? It’s hard to tell.
Of course, the real test is getting on the bike and riding it – a story we plan to bring you, very soon.
Source: Zero Motorcycles