Zero’s SR/S doubles as an EV sport motorcycle and sport-tourer
The 2020 SR / S from Zero can be your EV sports bike or sports tourer. The fully electric motorcycle launched earlier this year offers performance features of both classes - with a unique list of advantages and disadvantages compared to gas-powered counterparts.
The SR / S also complements the business mission of its manufacturer Zero. The California-based EV company raised $ 137 million to break into the mass market for electric motorcycles, according to Crunchbase.
SR / F to SR / S.
TechCrunch took Zero's new SR / S home for an extended test. That follows a good saddle time last year in the predecessor of the motorcycle, the 2019 SR / F Naked Bike. At first glance, it looks like Zero simply slapped a fairing on the SR / F to create the SR / S, but there's more to it than that.
The two motorcycles are identical in many ways. They share the same lattice frame, wheels / tires, drive train, battery, motor, charging and operating system. In addition to the fairing, there are some small changes that resulted in a significantly better driving experience. I will get to it.
First, on the popular specs like the SR / F, the SR / S has roughly the same top speed of 124 mph, the same torque of 140 ft-lbs, and a charge time of 60 minutes to 95% with the six kilowatt premium charger option (an upgrade of $ 2,000).
Both Zeros are IoT motorcycles. You can manage overall performance - including engine power and driving characteristics - via digital driving modes and a mobile app. Each EV also features Bosch's Stability Control System, which includes cornering ABS and traction control.
The main differences between the SR / S and the SR / F are the addition of full fairing, a more relaxed (upright) riding position (through a lower footrest and higher pole positioning), and a 13% improvement in highway range. of improved aerodynamics (after zero). The Scotts Valley company has also adjusted the SR / S's chassis presets to match the fairing and changed driving position, a company spokesman told TechCrunch. The fairing puts around 20 pounds more weight on the SR / S than the 485 pounds SR / F.
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The basic version of the SR / S is priced at $ 19,995 - one line above the SR / F's $ 19,495 - and a premium SR / S (with a higher load capacity) costs $ 21,995.
Living with the SR / S.
While I liked the general appearance and performance of the Zeros SR / F, I found the SR / S to be an even better electric motorcycle - at least for my preferences. The SR / S's improved riding position increases the leverage and maneuverability of the motorcycle, resulting in more comfortable long journeys and better handling on winding roads.
Similar to the SR / F and characteristic of high-performance e-motorcycles, the SR / S from Zero Mongo brings torque and lightning acceleration without noise or fumes. With fewer mechanically moving parts than a gas bike - and without a clutch or gearshift - the power transmission of the e-moto is stronger and more constant than with combustion engines. You just turn and go.
It is also possible to adapt to the regenerative properties of the motorcycle to change the way you approach winding rides. The rain braking not only supplies the battery with power again, but you can also specify how much the SR / S motor slows down when the throttle valve is closed. It takes some finesse, but the net result is the ability to turn corners more smoothly than a gas motorcycle - with little to no mechanical brakes - simply by rolling and accelerating.
Photo credit: Jake Bright
In range, it's likely possible to hit Zero's advertised top speed of 161 miles on the SR / S by keeping it in Eco mode - with lowest power and highest regenerative braking - and staying to stop and ride around town . That would be pretty boring though and I haven't tested it. Over the course of several months, I was able to achieve an average range of 100 miles with the SR / S using a combination of driving modes - Eco for running errands and Sports for accelerating on country roads. The charging times with a 6 kW charger of level 2 were about one hour to one hour and twenty minutes, depending on the state of charge.
There were a few negative aspects to SR / S-specific grips and likes. Similar to the SR / F, I found the braking force of the motorcycle's four-piston double calipers strong at the front, but the J.Juan rear brake soft. Zero could have offered some other color schemes as well, going beyond gray or dark blue, to better highlight the smooth lines of the bike. One of the company's leading distributors, Hollywood Electrics, seems to agree and is now offering custom versions of the SR / S in bright white or red.
My biggest likes for the SR / S were the improved performance, versatility and driving experience that Zero was able to deliver with the fairing, peg / bar mods and chassis setup. I've ridden all kinds of motorcycles in and around New York and Connecticut: from commuting and blasting to taking freeway trips. The SR / S takes the benefits of driving electric motorcycles to a new level. The fairing eliminates a lot of wind resistance. On the freeway, the SR / S drives effortlessly in the range of 80 to 90 mph - with no engine noise - and gives the feeling of surfing quietly in the air rather than making your way through the air.
The bike has the power and performance of a weekend sports bike and a comfortable riding position to add some back pockets and act as an EV sports tourer. However, with the benefits of the electric motorcycle, you still have to accept some compromises and inconveniences, namely in terms of range and charging. Most gas sport and sport touring motorcycles will cover more than 200 miles on one tank and refill in minutes. With the SR / S, you'd have to accept about half that range, search for charging points, and if you find one, spend about an hour finding something to do. So yes, electric motorcycles have some superior performance characteristics, but they still compromise on internal combustion two-wheelers.
A boost for Zero
The latest entries from Zero - the SR / F and the SR / S - come at a time when startups are pushing the motorcycle industry towards electric.
In 2020, Harley-Davidson became the first of the major gas manufacturers to offer a street-legal electric motorcycle for sale in the U.S., the $ 29,000 LiveWire. Italy's Energica has expanded the distribution of its high-performance electric motors in the USA. Canadian startup Damon Motors unveiled its $ 24,000 (200 mph) hypersport this year, which features proprietary safety and ergonomics technology for adjustable driving positions and blind spot detection.
Photo credit: Jake Bright
It's not obvious that there is enough demand to buy up all of these new models, especially given the global recession sparked by COVID-19. Whatever the competition between e-motorcycle sellers, Zero has gained an advantage with the SR / S. By upgrading an existing platform, the California-based company was able to enter two new classes with one model to bring an electric sports bike and an electric sports tourer to the masses.
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