Zero Motorcycles


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.

When it comes to attractive motorbikes, we have devoted some critical pixels towards the folks at Zero Motorcycles. Let’s be frank, the design side of the equation hasn’t historically been the brand’s strong suit. The company is making progress, however.

Now, when it comes to custom motorcycles, there has been a quiet resistance to using electric models as starting points for creation, though occasionally we see an electron-powered machine at a bike show that captures our attention.

Today though, we see the happy merger of those two thoughts, with this Zero FX custom supermoto by Huge Design, which debuted this weekend at the The One Motorcycle Show in Portland, Oregon, and was easily our favorite bike at the show. 

It would be nice if the Zero SR/F would just debut already, as this drawn out teaser campaign is getting a bit tired, and the electric motorcycle company runs the risk of putting-off would-be buyers before the bike even debuts.

That said, Zero Motorcycles has another teaser for us.

This time around, we get some tech specs…sorta. The teaser video shows the Zero SR/F in a 14.4 kWh battery pack configuration, and it shows a motor labelled “Z-Force 75-10” on its side.

At the beginning of this month, Zero Motorcycles put the industry on notice, announcing its new Zero SR/F electric street bike.

Details were light at the time, with the California motorcycle brand saying only that the new model was based on a new platform from Zero.

It didn’t take long for our Bothan spies to leak us details on the Zero SR/F though, and what we were told was very impressive. Nearly 20 kWh of battery pack, a 120hp motor, and high-tech goodies like cornering ABS, a TFT dash, and quality components.

From some more biased sources, we have heard that the Zero SR/F makes some strong strides in the design department as well, and today we get some confirmation of that news, as Zero Motorcycles has released a new teaser image.

We still have over a month before Zero Motorcycles is going to take the wraps off its latest motorcycle, but the teaser is out, and our Bothan spy insiders have been hard at work uncovering more information about the machine.

As such, we have a bevy of details that have leaked out from the Californian electric motorcycle company, and so far, we like what we hear.

This because if our sources are correct, the Zero SR/F is set to be quite the looker, and it will have the technical specifications to back it up.

The Episode 5 of the Brap Talk podcast is out for your aural pleasure (though a little late because we have both been battling head colds). Our delay was fortuitous, however, as it allows us to discuss the recent news from Harley-Davidson.

Bar & Shield brand surprised us on Monday by announcing pricing and some performance specs on the Livewire electric cruiser.

Harley-Davidson also gave us a glimpse at two upcoming of its EV concepts, which show a utilitarian scooter and moped-like off-roader.

Before we get into a talk about Harley-Davidson’s electric future though, we discuss another American brand that’s teasing an electric model: Zero Motorcycles.

Zero Motorcycles has begun teasing its newest electric motorcycle model, the Zero SR/F. The company’s teaser on YouTube doesn’t reveal too much, though it does offer the date 2/25/19 for another announcement.

In the teaser’s video description, we get a little bit more from Zero, with it saying the following: “more than a new model, SR/F is an entirely new platform. The SR/F provides an effortlessly powerful experience in the naked street bike category.”

It’s that time of the year again, where Christmas comes early to the motorcycle industry, and we get to see all the new motorcycles that will be coming for the next model year, and beyond.

For the 2019 model year, we expect to see new models debuting at the INTERMOT, AIMExpo, and EICMA trade shows, which are in Cologne, Las Vegas, and Milan.

With things kicking off in Germany next week, we thought we would put together a guide for all the new motorcycles that we expect to see in the coming weeks. There are a bevy of new models that we know will be released at these three trade shows, and there are more than a few rumors of new bikes as well, which may surprise us.

Without wasting anymore time, let’s get down to it. We have broken down the new models and rumors by each manufacturer. Enjoy!

I first rode a Zero back in 2009. It was a horrible machine. It was so bad, I don't even dare call it a motorcycle - the execution on that goal was just too far off the mark to warrant calling that creation a motorcycle.

For an example of this, I remember going for a ride on an early Zero S and the on/off switch was marked in sharpie, right on the frame.

The brakes were like wooden blocks attached to the wheels, which didn't matter much because the tires were cheap rubber from China that were absolutely useless (and terrifying) in the rain.

It wouldn't take long to learn that Zero's focus on lightweight components was a bad decision as well, as we would see frames on the dirt bike models collapsing when taken over any sort of jump.

The bikes from Zero were so bad, the product reviews on them could serve as a litmus test of who in the media was bought and paid for, and who was actually speaking truth to power.

These machines were objectively awful, and anyone telling you otherwise was getting paid - straight up.

I could probably go on and on about the quality issues of these early machines, but it would rob us time from discussing the constant management issues that Zero has faced in the past decade, its failed dealership and servicing model, not to mention just the general branding issue of calling your product a "Zero".

To their credit though, the folks at Zero have improved their product with each successive iteration. The management team finally seems to be stable; Zero now uses a traditional dealership model, and isn't wasting time sending technicians all over the country in a van; and well...the branding is still tough, but there is a new corporate logo.

Most importantly though, Zero's motorcycles are actually now motorcycles. The quality of these machines has improved dramatically, and generally the bikes are fun to ride.

So what is keeping me from putting a Zero in my garage, and using that massive electric torque to put a grin on my face? The answer is right there above these words, in the lead photo of this story.

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Today is the day. Today is the day that the European Union begins taxing the importation of motorcycles from the United States into Europe.

A retaliation to the Trump administration’s tariffs on aluminum and steel, the EU will now impose a 25% tariff increase on all motorcycles, 500cc and up, coming from the United States.

This means that the new tariff provisions will affect both Harley-Davidson and Indian, but will not affect Zero Motorcycles, as electric motorcycles are not included in the trade war provisions.