From a distance, the Zero stand at the world's premier motorcycle show might not seem much different from last year, but there have actually been a lot of changes. The biggest news revolves around an added variant and officially discontinued models. Gone is the lower-cost, lower-power XU. Likewise, the MX off-road bike that gave the company its start is MIA – although truth be told, we are only aware of a couple 2013 examples that actually made it out into the wild. We should also mention that the retained FX model is really a street-legal version of that same machine, albeit with a smaller (yet torquier) motor.
On the positive side, the addition of a Zero S performance variant is likely to wipe away any tears shed for the subtracted models. The SR comes in any color you want as long as it's red (the only model in this hue) and is quicker to 60 miles per hour than a Tesla Model S Performance. A lot quicker, in fact, doing the deed in a scant 3.3 seconds. That puts it right in the mix with any number of traditional sport bikes. It can also continue accelerating up to 102 mph, whereas the S tops out at 95 mph.
The SR owes its increased abilities to to a more powerful controller and a tricked-out motor boasting magnets with better heat tolerance. The modifications make for an output of 67 horsepower and an impressive 106 pound-feet of torque. The bike also gets all the 2014 upgrades of its progenitor (more on that below). It's only available with the ZF 11.4-kWh battery and wears a $16,995 price tag.
Now, about that Power Pack. This range-boosting option is a 2.8 kWh battery that slides into the front storage space and can give the 11.4 kWh version of the Zero S (or SR) a sweet 106 miles of range at a steady 55 miles per hour, 88 at 70 mph, or as much as 171 miles putzing around the city. It could also allow buyers to start off with the $12,995 ZF 8.5 kWh S or DS (dual sport) and upgrade to 11.4 kWh some time after the initial purchase.
While the new SR and range extender are hogging the center stage, the company's other offering have not been forgotten. The entire range sees a boatload of refinements that address just about every area in which it might have been previously criticized. We've already mentioned the cheaper price tag for the S and DS, but it's nice to keep that in mind as we go over the improvements.
Let's start with the suspension. When the first bikes start rolling out of the Santa Cruz factory in January, they'll all be sporting new, larger 43-millimeter front shocks held in place by a tougher triple clamp. In addition, the rear shock on the S and DS has had its "internal setting reworked" and should now offer more flexibility. Across the line, the pivot area of the swingarm has also been massaged and is now home to better bearings that should help with handling. Other improvements to torsional rigidity are said to come from a stronger head tube and accompanying bearings. The modifications made to the S and DS to accomodate the Power Pack option also helps stiffen those frames.
The brake components Zero has used in the past have always received the harshest judgement, and while last year saw significant improvement, the 2014 machines all get a new rear brake caliper and larger rotors both front and back. The wider 140 hind hoop on this year's Zero S should also offer better traction while stopping and turning.
The view from the seat of the 2014 lineup is also now improved by the addition of a new LCD blue-backlit dash in place of the previous instrument cluster. The high contrast screen lets you quickly see all your pertinent riding info, though if you still want to mount your smart phone to the bars to supplement this with the readout from the Zero app, you can do that. If you look closely, the reconfigured right-hand switchgear includes a button that allows you to switch between sport, eco and your own custom setting while on the fly. In the past, this had to be done whilst pulled over and stopped.
Besides all this, the entire range has also seen a few esthetic adjustments, the most striking of which has to be the awesome-looking projector headlights with an integrated flyscreen on the FX (it also gets a new seat, making its stablemates a bit jealous). The S and DS also have had their plastics altered slightly to improve fitment, though they still retain their basic look.
While we wait to see how all of this translates into the actual riding experience, we have a host of videos for you to browse below, along with the official press release. Each model gets its own set of clips, though we've only attached the ones with natural sound. You can search out the "enhanced" versions, if you like, on Zero's YouTube channel.
up to 276 Kilometers Range and a Model with 144 Nm Torque
– Stylishly Refined Electric Motorcycle Lineup to Arrive in European Dealerships in March 2014 –
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (Nov. 5, 2013) – Zero Motorcycles, the global leader in the electric motorcycle industry, today announced its 2014 model line which features a new Z-Force® Power Tank accessory that allows riders to travel up to 276 kilometers in the city or 141 kilometers on the highway. Providing customers with the unique ability to increase energy storage capacity during or after purchase, the Power Tank can be added to any 2014 Zero S or Zero DS model. The company also announced a new "R" configuration of their award winning Zero S model that offers riders 56% higher torque and 24% more power. Available in a new deep red color, the Zero SR offers riders 144 Nm of torque through a wide power band and does 0-100 km/h in 3,3 seconds using Zero's highly efficient direct drive system. The Zero SR, as well as the entire lineup, includes improved suspension, well-integrated new design elements and a sleek new dash.
"For 2014 we focused on evolving the features that customers appreciate most while also providing more value. The results include impressive options for increased range and improved performance at more competitive price points than ever before," said Richard Walker, CEO of Zero Motorcycles. "Additionally we are excited to announce five year standard power pack warranties for every new model that cover up to 160.000 kilometers. As always, we invite consumers to discover the thrill of riding a Zero by contacting an authorized dealer to sign up for a test ride or to place an order. The new lineup arrives at European dealers in March."
A signal that the technology has matured, the new electric motorcycle line represents an evolution of an already cutting edge product line and uses the same core Z-Force® technology as last year's models. The new features of the 2014 model line largely revolve around refining general motorcycle componentry and design. The suspension of every model has been upgraded with more robust 43mm front forks and a completely reworked rear shock. The front forks of each motorcycle are now connected with wider triple clamps that are seamlessly integrated into the bodywork and front headlights. Facing the rider, an entirely new dash with a high contrast and cool- blue backlit LCD screen lists out useful riding information and motorcycle statistics. The display also indicates to the rider whether they are in the "eco," "sport," or the new "custom" riding mode. Using new right hand switch gear, riders can toggle between the different performance profiles. They can also set the custom performance profile using the Zero Motorcycles app, which now supports English, German, French, Spanish and Dutch.
After conducting market research and listening to customers, Zero has chosen to refine the consumer product line to three core models: the Zero S, Zero DS and Zero FX. The intent of this approach is to put more time and effort into perfecting the motorcycle experience that customers value most, while also providing even more value in each model. Riders will see and feel some of the difference this makes immediately with newly designed bodywork elements, neatly integrated componentry, improved braking and better handling on account of increased torsional rigidity in the chassis. As a result of the refined model offerings, the price of the Zero S and Zero DS models have actually come down by €600 - €900 as compared against the 2013 lineup.
"The 2014 model line is engineered around our guiding principle of sophisticated simplicity," said Abe Askenazi, CTO of Zero Motorcycles. "Driven by the powersports industry's most advanced electric powertrain, each model delivers a thrilling experience that distills riding into its most enjoyable elements, while virtually eliminating all routine powertrain maintenance and peripheral distractions. Customers will be thrilled with the performance, quality and refinement that each model has to offer."
There are a number of new design elements on each model that range from large and eye-catching to merely refined and subtle. The Zero S and Zero DS now feature an aerodynamic chin fairing that funnels air into the powertrain to provide additional air-cooling. Projector beam headlights illuminate the road for the Zero FX and are housed in aggressive black bodywork that beautifully ties into Zero's new dash. The Zero FX has passenger accommodation as standard now and features a new more integrated seat that provides a passenger area. Overall, every component is designed with purpose and to create the riding experience of a premium electric motorcycle that is designed to thrill.
About the Z-Force® Powertrain
The industry leading Z-Force® powertrain embodies a philosophy of "sophisticated simplicity" by maximizing the exhilaration of riding and minimizing needless complexity. The Z-Force® motor and overall powertrain is completely air-cooled on account of its highly efficient and innovative design. With instant torque, a nearly silent belt-driven system and no shifting, riders need only focus on enjoying the ride. For the owner, there is no routine powertrain maintenance and the 'fuel' cost is only a cent per kilometer.
About Zero Motorcycles Fleet Products
Zero Motorcycles is releasing three new fleet motorcycles for the 2014 model year. These models are the Zero SP, Zero DSP and a military spec motorcycle. With the ability to ride both on and off road, Zero's fleet program offers unique advantages over internal combustion driven machines. The 100% electric powertrain is nearly silent, exhaust free, produces minimal heat, has instant torque from zero rpm and is highly maneuverable. With a 'fuel' cost of about a cent per kilometer and a maintenance-free powertrain, a Zero offers the ability for governments, agencies and organization to save money while also giving them a tactical advantage. Download the press kit on Zero Motorcycles press page for more information.
Pricing information: Each Zero Motorcycles model is 100% electric and, as a result, may qualify to receive government rebates or credits. Zero sells its motorcycles through authorized dealerships. Each motorcycle comes with a standard two-year warranty. In addition, Zero offers an industry best 5 year / 160.000 km warranty* on the power pack of all 2014 Zero S and Zero DS models and a 5 year / 80.000 km warranty* on the power pack of the Zero FX. Initial deliveries will commence in March for Europe. Authorized dealers will begin accepting orders on November 5th from consumers who would like to secure a 2014 model. The Recommended Retail Price for each model is below.
Land Z-Force® Power Tank FX ZF2.8 FX ZF5.7 DS ZF8.5 DS ZF11.4 S ZF8.5 S ZF11.4 SR ZF11.4
DE € 2.380** € 9.780 € 12.160 € 13.140 € 15.100 € 13.140 € 15.100 € 16.990
AT € 2.400** € 9.870 € 12.270 € 13.250 € 15.230 € 13.250 € 15.230 € 17.140
FR € 2.400** € 9.870 € 12.270 € 13.250 € 15.230 € 13.250 € 15.230 € 17.140
BE € 2.420** € 9.950 € 12.370 € 13.360 € 15.360 € 13.360 € 15.360 € 17.280
NL € 2.420** € 9.950 € 12.370 € 13.360 € 15.360 € 13.360 € 15.360 € 17.280
LUX € 2.300** € 9.460 € 11.760 € 12.700 € 14.600 € 12.700 € 14.600 € 16.420
The Recommended Retail Prices include VAT and transport to dealer. Additional PDI and registration fees may apply, please confirm with a Zero dealer. Date: November 2013
*Warranty covers manufacturer defects in the power pack and degradation beyond expected parameters. Details will be made available online.
**Material cost only, no labour cost.
About Zero Motorcycles
Zero Motorcycles is committed to transforming the motorcycling experience by bringing to market highly innovative electric motorcycles that offer exceptional value and performance. Zero Motorcycles is powered by innovation, driven by passion, guided by integrity, and measured by results. Through extensive research, insight and experience, Zero Motorcycles combines the art and science of motorcycle development to create and manufacture products that excite consumers and inspire brand loyalty. Zero Motorcycles is determined to be the preeminent global electric motorcycle company.
Follow Zero Motorcycles on Twitter @ZeroMC, become a fan of Zero Motorcycles on Facebook and check out what Zero is doing on YouTube at www.youtube.com/zeromotorcycles.
For more information on Zero Motorcycles or to learn more about its complete motorcycle line including the Zero S, Zero DS, Zero SR and Zero FX motorcycles, visit: http://www.zeromotorcycles.com.