The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has officially approved the electric Zero XU for use in the organization's rider training courses. The electron-powered XU offers a number of advantages for novice riders, including a low seat height, quiet operation and a direct-drive system that eliminates additional learning barriers like clutch and gearbox operation. The bikes are also extremely lightweight, tipping the scales at a mere 221 pounds with the battery pack in place.

Speaking of batteries, the XU features a swappable pack and a quick charging system to help in endure hours of cone dodging. Then there's the fact that XU is a zero-emission machine. As such, courses could theoretically operate indoors in a large warehouse. Pretty cool.

We're absolutely down with anything that makes it easier for new riders to learn how to get on two wheels, though we worry about riders receiving their certification solely on the XU. After all, one of the big benefits of the MSF system is that it familiarizes new riders with every aspect of a motorcycle, from basic operations like opening the fuel system and starting the bike to safely operating the clutch and transmission in a variety of conditions. While learning on an XU would be an excellent way to solidify basic handling skills, it would seem to do little to prepare a rider for actually throwing a leg over most motorcycles.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      Xedicon
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'll admit I'm not in favor of this move, only because riders are not learning how to control a bike that has a clutch and transmission. The reality is 99.9% of all bikes out there have engines, so passing a rider to safely ride on the streets without this experience seems incomplete at best.
      Jim McDermott
      • 2 Years Ago
      For the MSF course I'm not sure I agree with using these. One of the most basic skills - and the first one taught with the motorcycle started is the friction zone. For a regular motorcycle using your friction zone is absolutely fundamental. Almost anyone can handle a motorcycle above 15mph but at low speeds if you don't know how to use the friction zone, you can get bit.
        Nick Allain
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jim McDermott
        I 100% agree. That was the most crucial bit of my 2 days learning at a MSF course.
      Matt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Stupid idea. The hardest part about learning to ride is throttle and clutch modulation at very low speeds
        kcroc10077
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Matt
        I've got to agree. And for most new riders its the transition from stopped to to moving in first gear. I wouldn't recommend this bike to anyone I know for their MSF training.
      Hodgedog
      • 2 Years Ago
      If I don't plan to own a traditional motorbike why would I need to become familiar with such things as fuel and clutch operation? Sounds like you just want them to know about it...just because that's why. Silly.
        Hazdaz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hodgedog
        Its not silly when the vast, vast, vast majority of bikes out there now - and for the foreseeable future - will remain ICE-based. If you don't want an ICE-bike, then great, but its stupid not to know how they work at this stage in the game since so few EV bikes are really available. Maybe in ~20 years when/if EVs become more commonplace, the ICE part of a course could be phased out, but it just leads to ignorant riders today.
      Nathan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Such a terrible idea. This should get you an EV/Scooter-only endorsement. The whole point of taking the MSF course is to become familiar with "learning barriers like clutch and gearbox operation". Someone going from this to a full-fledged bike is a disaster waiting to happen imo.
        Hazdaz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Nathan
        Not if its being used as an entry into the course... like you start off with one of these bikes to simply get used to riding on 2 wheels, and then progress up to a larger/regular bike.
        Hodgedog
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Nathan
        If that is indeed one of the major tenets of the organization's purpose, they need to join the 21st century. Motorcycles are not just transmission/clutch machines anymore. That's a simple fact. Really what this is about is excluding riders who don't own the traditional view of what a motorcycle should be.
          J W
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Hodgedog
          If you only know how to ride an automatic/ev bike, does this qualify you to ride a traditional gasoline powered one?
          Jim McDermott
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Hodgedog
          When a clutchless electric is the majority of cycles out on the road then your argument is valid. As of right now they are a sliver of the total. As for joining the 21st century, don't knock it unless you try it. I have ridden everything from honda 50's all the way up to the biggest bikes and It would be a change for me to go to an automatic EV. The clutch system is still relevant and warranted in the "21st century".
          IOMTT
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Hodgedog
          Your homework is to find 100 motorcycles out on the road and count which ones have hand operated clutches. Then go to the dealerships and do the same. Get back to us with your results. Also, for an entry level rider, I suspect purchase price could be an obstacle and electric cycles are not inexpensive. Perhaps you will see it would be of great benefit to learn to ride on a hand clutch motorcycle. Then you can go automatic easily.
          jaredmt73
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Hodgedog
          I agree this is a bad idea, unless the endorsement is indeed EV/Scooter only. Motorcycles generally are just tranny/clutch vehicles despite your statement. There are very few bikes where a clutch isn't involved and less where shifting isn't involved. When someone has their MSF cert, it's expected/assumed they have a certain level of competency. This won't be true for almost all bikes for anyone trained on an EV bike. No one get's anywhere near my bike if all they've learned is some little EV machine. Same for scooters. They're just not ready for a big, fully involved machine.
      Stinkyboy
      • 2 Years Ago
      electric m/c? run out of juice and push it to an outlet, wait for hours and your on your way.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Stinkyboy
        [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Bob Johnson
      • 2 Years Ago
      Im in favor of using this for basic skills, because it will be easier for beginners, but probably not the best idea to give them an endorsement without knowing how to use a clutch
      s tom
      • 2 Years Ago
      So can I do the class on my bicycle ? Why not?
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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