Zero SR Electric Motorcycle Review

In this video, Matt O’Connell reviews the fully-electric Zero SR.

Zero builds electric bikes in Santa Cruz, California and has been doing so since 2007. Over nine years, Zero has pretty much led the way in practical, electric motor-cycling.
Because of that experience, the Zero SR is one of the most advanced electric bikes on the consumer market.

Matt looks at the bike’s performance, practicality, battery life and price to determine his judgement of Zero SR


dwc1964 says:

I live in San Francisco, CA just a few miles/kilometers (and a very fun ride!) from Santa Cruz where these are made, and I’ve been following the development of this brand/marque – along with EVs generally, and motorcycles generally – for years. I ride a BMW RT for out-of-area road trips but for my day-to-day needs I take public transit.

I test-rode an S and a DS last year (when the 2016 model was brand-new) and I have to agree with the conclusion of this video: “close.” Really close.

Range-wise, EVs have for a few years already been quite adequate for 98% of people’s daily needs. Stop-and-go local/commute traffic is where electrics really shine, with their instant torque off the line, regenerative braking to recover energy while slowing/stopping, no idling while stopped, no clutch/gear shift to fiddle with – especially so in hilly San Francisco, where riding uphill behind a row of cars and a stop sign at the top of the hill on a 1200cc tour-cycle is the opposite of fun and gives the clutch a real workout. So if I rode to work every day, I’d be on it now.

I’m holding out for an e-bike that has maybe 1.5x the range of this year’s Zero S, with a full fairing/windscreen (I don’t like riding past about 60kph without a windscreen, and it would also improve aerodynamic efficiency at speed) and capacious bags, and fast charging standard and built-in (rather than having to choose between a tank-bag storage area, extra battery range or fast charging). That’s the kind of bike I could take grocery shopping in town, have a spirited ride on some of my favorite nearby country roads on a weekend day, and maybe even take on an occasional long weekend out-of-town trip. Even if I still had to rent a petrol-burner for my annual Pacific Northwest Motorcycle Trek, it would be worth it.

Anthony Sibary says:

Zero emissions for the bike…but what about the damage done to the environment making the battery? Sorry, but too expensive and impractical. Even if every motorcyclist in the World rode one, until China and India stop burning coal like it’s going out of style, the damage is done folks. Just like Communism and staying friends with your ex…electric vehicles are great in theory, just not in reality!

Benjamin Bidlack says:

Fantastic review, Matt. Really appreciate the way you describe the various features and feel. Thanks very much for posting.

Bernie Mitchell says:

okay so most of our electricity in this country is from coal powered stations it has lead acid batteries and made mostly of plastic plus you can only go 200 to 250kms before recharging doesn’t sound very green to me.

RickO'chet says:

IF they were $12-15,000 I’d go buy one TOMORROW 😀

Daniel Vieau says:

Too many down sides for me to buy. Maybe someday the tech will be where it needs to be.

Shawn Moore says:

It might be more expensive but would you save of servicing over the medium term. A comparison to servicing a standard 600cc chain driven bike would be interesting over say 2 or 3 years. I wonder where break even would be?

Anthony Sibary says:

Really? I’m just commenting on the electric bike concept but obviously you’ve been triggered…I’d suggest you read my comments again but some how I don’t think you’ll feel any better! May God Bless you and have an awesome day…

Gabriel DeVault says:

Excellent, thorough, fair and balanced review.

TheGreatOldOak says:

Does not look good enough to be $26,000. It is not worth $26,000.

Planes and Bikes says:

great video. cool bikes. fwiw Zero now sells their entry level 27hp FX bike with 80-135km range here in Canada for only $11,000 (aussie dollar exchange roughly at par now).

gasdive says:

I think the reason that people look at it and think 12-15000 is that they’re used to judging bikes partly by their size. They look at small bike like a CBR250 and it’s only a few thousand. They look at a Goldwing and it’s 50 000. That makes sense to people. The Zero is physically very small, but it has better smoothness and ride quality than a VFR1200, while at the same time being close to 100 kg lighter. That’s a big mental jump for a lot of people. Then a service every six months on a normal bike, you’re looking at 1000 a year. Yes you can do it yourself, thereby giving up your Saturday morning… That adds up.

In all it’s not the *obvious* choice, but when you think about how much time you save not servicing it, not stopping for fuel and not even warming it up every morning before you set off to work, it’s the right choice for most motorcyclists. For car drivers who also own a motorcycle, then perhaps not.

Jordendog says:

As I posted to other reviews, my son and I took a couple of these for a 30 minute ride around town. Loved the slow speed turning ability and being able to talk to each other at stop signs/lights. Overall a fun bike to ride and the torque is scary. I would like to see reduced prices for the biggest, longest range models. Would I buy one? Yes!

Mark Gailmor says:

Zero has been making motorcycles for ten years so if you buy an SR now you’re not exactly and early adopter. Also, the SR has decent range. Do you really plan on driving your motorcycle more than 160 miles in a day? The average motorcycle rider doesn’t.

TheKnightsShield says:

It always makes me laugh when people complain about the cost of an electric vehicle. People who complain about the initial cost of an electric vehicle forget that the cost of an internal combustion engine vehicle is quite significant over the lifetime of the vehicle, especially when you consider all the things you have to buy for them. With an electric vehicle you buy a lifetime supply of power (batteries) and all you have to do is charge them, which can be done in numerous ways. Battery replacement costs are always changing because they are getting cheaper. Gasoline costs, however, only ever go up then down a little before going back up. On an electric vehicle, batteries are the only thing that really needs to be replaced. All the other components should last the lifetime of the vehicle, unlike combustion powered vehicles that need lots of parts replaced every few years, of which the costs build up over time.

One day, all these reviewers will wake up to the real facts surrounding electric vehicles and stop listening to the media. The true cost of an electric vehicle is not much different to the cost of an internal combustion vehicle. Most, if not all, of the costs of an electric vehicle are included in the initial price of buying them.

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