Electric motorbike review: Zero Motorcycles SR/S

The Zero SR/S sports tourer is more powerful than a Honda Fireblade.

How much does it cost?

Zero Motorcycles SR/S is priced at PS19,590 in the Standard and PS21,590 in the Premium models. This is a lot more than regular sport touring motorcycles like the Ducati Supersport 950 or Honda VFR800F. However, electric motorcycles are competitively priced. For example, the Harley-Davidson Livewire is PS7405 more costly than the range-topping SR/S.

What is it?

Although you might not believe that comparing Zero Motorcycles to Tesla, an electric motorcycle manufacturer, is a creative way to start a review. But, we are here to tell you, they have much in common. Both were established in the mid-2000s and are both based in sunny California. They both consider themselves market leaders in their respective fields.

While electric motorcycles aren’t as popular as electric cars (only 4000 Zero bikes sold worldwide in 2020), we believe the two-wheeled market for EVs will grow quickly. All the major motorcycling brands (BMW Motorbikes, Ducati Honda, Triumph, and so forth) are working hard to create battery-powered bikes.

Zero is now in a unique position. American manufacturer Zero already offers a wide range of electrified two wheelers for buyers, from beginner bikes to dual-sport off-roaders and street bikes that are performance-focused.

We decided to test the SR/S halo model to get to know the brand. We look forward to trying out a variety of entry-level models in future.

Although the SR/S looks like a superbike, with its aerodynamic bodywork and sleek lines, it is actually more of a sport tourer (a GT) thanks to its high bars, low footpegs, strong pillion grab-handles, and additional luggage space. It would have a petrol engine, and not an electric battery or motor, and it would be a Ducati Supersport, Honda VFR800F or Honda Fireblade competitor.

The SR/S has a large 14.4kWh lithium-ion batteries paired with a small electric motor. Acceleration will be discussed later. However, Zero claims that the SR/S will cover approximately 161 miles within the city. A constant cruise of 70mph will give a range of 82 miles. Combining the two will give you a real-world range of 109 miles, roughly equal to the more expensive Livewire.

The Standard model (PS19.590) has a 3kW charger onboard, while the Premium model, (PS21.590), has a 6kW fast-charger. The former takes around four hours to charge to 95% from flat when plugged in to a dedicated single-phase 3kW EV charger. The latter takes only two hours. If you have the ability to plug your bike in both at home and work, this makes commutes possible.

The optional 6kW Power Tank accessory will allow you to travel longer distances while charging up your bike faster. It increases the total charging power to 12kW. If you have a fast charger, this will reduce the charging time of Premium bikes to under an hour.

It’s what?

The SR/S’s massive 140lb ft torque (almost twice that of the Fireblade) would make it seem intimidating to ride. The SR/S is no more scary than a large scooter. It only takes a few turns around the block. It is easy to maneuver low speeds, such as through stationary traffic or making U-turns from a distance.

It is not surprising that a lot of the user-friendliness of this bike comes down to how it was programmed. There are four riding modes: Eco, Street, Sport, and Rain. Each controls a variety of parameters.

Eco is a way to reduce throttle response and limit top speed to 75 mph. It also increases engine braking (or regeneration braking) so that you only need to use the brakes occasionally. Eco is a great choice for city driving and leaves enough power to keep Uber drivers at bay. It’s very nice.

Street and Sport modes reduce engine brake, increase power and remove top speed. Street mode is the best for most UK B-roads. It has enough power to allow you to easily overtake and gives you plenty of torque so that you don’t feel like you need more.

However, I couldn’t resist choosing Sport whenever the chance presented itself. You can twist the accelerator to send you towards the sky on a wave if torque. It’s simply unstoppable, and even on the motorway its roll-on acceleration is mind-blowing.

All that power can sometimes mean that you arrive at corners faster than you expected. This is why I personally would like to see more engine braking. Zero has considered this, however. You can download the Zero Next Gen app to create a custom ride mode that allows you to adjust every parameter individually. For country roads, I prefer full power and maximum engine braking.

The SR/S is heavier than most electric bikes (234kg), but it’s still manageable. You will need to make quick changes of direction, so you may have to work through the bars. But once you get the SR/S into a corner, it feels calm and stable. The Pirelli tyres give you plenty of feedback.

What are gripes? What about gripes? You’ll also flatten your battery quickly if the Sport mode is selected. This could prove problematic if you are looking for a Sunday-morning thrash.

Do I need one?

The SR/S is more expensive than regular petrol bikes and has a range of 80-100 miles. However, you won’t be taking it on European tours. The SR/S is a great commuter bike if you can afford the initial cost.

The SR/S can be ridden around town without a clutch or a gearbox. We also love the convenience of not having to stop at a petrol station. The SR/S offers a compelling proposition when you consider the significantly lower running costs than a regular bike.

It is available from which shop?

Zero Motorcycles SR/S verdict:4.0 stars from 5

Model tested: Zero SR/S Premium

Price: PS21,590 (less PS1500 Government grant)

EngineZ-Force 75-10 AC electricmotor

Batteries14.4kWh lithium-ion

Power110 bhp @ 5000rpm

Torque:140lb feet

Speed record124mph

The range109 miles (50% stop and go, 50% steady-state speed 70mph).

0-62mphna

Kerb weight234kg

Size of the battery:14.4kWh

This article is part of a series that Autocar will publish in the next weeks on e-mobility. It is published under the Move Electric brand, which Haymarket, our owner, created. We will be covering electric cars, motorbikes and scooters as well as exploring topics around electric lifestyles and electricity generation. We will publish reviews, opinions, and features. Please use the comments section to let us know what content you would like to see – or not.

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