Although they have been in the field for several years, electric motorcycles are still not a major player if any in the two-wheeler market.
While the electric revolution is a fait accompli in the automotive world, on two wheels it is still far from being a serious mass in the market.
Matters like range, derived from batteries that weigh a lot, from price, that in motorcycles is a critical component and the issue of fuel economy, which is also in less critical motorcycles are there.
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Electric touring: Zero SR / S in Israel
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This is the future, and it is electrifying (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
One of several companies active in this arena is American Zero, which was one of the first to set foot in the door and is constantly expanding its product line.
By and large, it currently ranges from the lightweight and short-range FX to the SRS with the full-firing that is based on the SRF manufacturer's Nike Muscle motorcycle. We are here with the senior version of the manufacturer's dual-use DSR mid-range model. Each has several different variations on the same basis.
The so different "format" of an electric motorcycle makes its examination in the usual 48-hour time frames one that does not really go down to the nuances of living together with this tool. So this time, we are attached to the DSR for about a month of a kind of "extended test" where we will use it as our daily tool in routine and less routine. The report on its use is divided into three separate reports. The initial review of the impression from it, a usage report that will include a dive into numbers and costs and finally a summary. And there is a fourth report,But let's leave it as a surprise for now.
All the way from California.
On the right, the loading opening.
All around, very impressive construction quality (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
At first glance it's another motorcycle, two wheels, a headlight, a handlebar, you know - the usual stuff. Only at a second glance do we see that something in it is strange - the first is the opposite attitude. Because we are used to seeing a motorcycle as such in which most of the space in the center is occupied by an engine and above it a smaller fuel tank. Here the ratio is reversed - there is a lot of "fuel tank" here that is the battery and somewhere in the back - engine. The "fuel tank" takes the place of a medium-sized storage compartment, just for a chain and a disc lock, for example. Then you already see the other things, or rather, you do not see the other things - exhaust, gearbox, gearshift and clutch lever for starters - none of them are here.
Even when you step on it, in the first moment everything is where you think. The throttle, the front brake, the various controls, but then it gets weird - no lever on the other side - no clutch, no gear foot - because there are no gears.
The "fuel tank" is large and the engine is almost invisible - unlike any other motorcycle (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
The riding position is high, very similar to that of other dushas and adventures and it joins a generous ventral space backed by a metal-looking ventral shield for sturdy appearance and touch. Off-road and high wing tires complete the look. In an electric motorcycle, aesthetics are nice, but not necessary.In our case the reflector both adds to the performance and also helps to deal with wind resistance while riding.Zero's accessories catalog allows the DSR to be tiredly equipped from cloth bags to kit carriers and protectors as if it were a cross-country motorcycle. There are also more dedicated and unique accessories like a quick charger that shortens the charging time by half (we’ll get to that in the second review), an enlarged battery (for that too).
Remember the matter of aesthetics and what is necessary, it also holds for the controls and dashboard.
The controls are the basis required for motorcycle operation and the dashboard displays the data in a very simple alphanumeric display.
You can find very detailed display options in the tool's dedicated app, so the phone can be used as a dashboard.
But the unequivocal recommendation is not to do it, not because of the app or the display, but because while riding - the phone is always on you!
The last thing you want is to slide into a dark ditch at night and with a broken leg and two cracked ribs to look at a phone drop with the motorcycle 20 feet away from you.
The fuel tank is replaced by a medium and useful storage compartment (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
Inside its chassis beams, the Zero DSR rice has a 14.4 kWh battery and a 42hp electric motor but wait, that's not the important number - torque is what's interesting here and the DSR has 14.8 of it.
And I will explain it this way - do you know the Yamaha R1?
Yamaha's super sports motorcycle?
So this guy has 11.5 kg. But wait, that's not all, because to get to this torque the R1 needs to turn its engine to 11,500 rpm in the DSR you need about a quarter of the throttle in sport mode to get the all of this.
Because one of the characteristics of an electric motor is that it gives everything immediately.
And again a little explanation about getting it all at once - a 5kg weight does not sound like something particularly heavy - but when it suddenly falls on the little finger - oh - it's very heavy. One if you will.
The dashboard is simple and informative (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
Zero DSR has three riding modes, eco, sport and custom. I found the eco mode useful in two places, the first is inside the city, where it allows relatively moderate accelerations and puts the maximum engine braking to charge the battery, the maximum speed in this mode is limited to 113 km / h. Naturally this is the situation where you can make the most of The riding range of the motorcycle.The second place is in trail riding, there on a poor grip, the last thing you want is violent force
blows.The sport mode is suitable for riding out of town, or if next to you at a traffic light stands some smart and no matter if it is on T-Max Or Jixer 1000, the asphalt is dry and gripping and you are ready for what will happen now - because when you squeeze the throttle in this position you snatch a piece of a bomb of stunning power. The two - do not make eye contact out of shame or stare at this tool without shame.
The third situation is the one where I spent most of the first 500 or so first miles with him.
There you can calibrate the motorcycle exactly to the preferences of power, regenerative braking, speed and whatever you want using its dedicated app.
The application allows you to select and control almost any parameter you want (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
In the city, even in eco mode after two to three meters of hesitant exit it erupts forward and also there, the intermediate accelerations are much more than satisfactory.
Out of town until the proximity to 140-150 km / h areas, the intermediate accelerations are fast, brutal, strong and accompanied by uncontrollable bursts of laughter. It is already near its maximum speed, which stands at just over 160 km / h.
However, you have nothing to look for in these areas for too long.
He is not built for it and does not like it.
Mainly because there he kills the battery at a murderous rate.
As much as a power tool likes urban and moderate traffic, above a speed of 120-130 km / h it lowers the percentage of battery per kilometer. However within the city, you can cover considerable distances with minimal offset of the battery due to frequent braking.
In terms of achieving the longest range, he prefers the city and the suburbs to real highways (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
But it's such a different riding experience that just disrupts what you've thought or known about motorcycles.
Like the one you ride at a higher speed than you imagined - mainly because there is not this orchestra of gears and engine and sound, there is only wind and whining noises that do not sound like anything else when the electric motor blows us forward powerfully.
And there was an insight that only struck me when I got back to a regular motorcycle during these days and all I thought about was "why is this thing shaking so much, and what is the story about shifting gears every time and why the hell my hips and crotch should be saved at every more than 30 seconds of traffic light" .
So true, I admit, there is no promille here from the connection to the riding experience of motorcycles as most of us tend to like, but why does that mean it is inappropriate or even great for someone else?
One of the data displays in the "dashboard" that can be projected in the app (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
Like the exterior design, the DSR’s road behavior is more on the functional side than on riding pleasure. With a 19-inch rim at the front it's not exactly a machine that likes quick changes of direction and in my opinion, its chassis is mostly designed to be rigid enough to carry a battery pack that contributes quite a bit to the 190 kg curb weight. It handles it very nicely with its throttle openness and its departure.It may sound strange to you, but the very fact that its weight is relatively low and the lack of rotating parts like a crankshaft or ascending and descending like pistons really allows it to turn as one unit, unaffected by forces in a variety of directions and it matters The feeling of riding it.After a short period of time it is also possible to trust it and then find out that it is stable and even forgiving even for no small riding mistakes.
Its dampers are fully adjustable, and you will need to find the compromise between rigidity and support at this weight and comfort.
I just left them on their middle position, for those who choose to go down to the field with it I would recommend choosing in the first stage in eco mode and soften the business a bit, otherwise the front wheel flickers non-stop on a broken path for example.
Speaking of terrain, in the absence of gears there is nothing to "lock" it from rolling, and if parked on a slope, one should be very picky about where it is placed on the foot so that a small touch or just a sunset of the ground will not cause it to roll off the foot.
Without a gearbox, it may simply fall forward and sideways if you have placed it on a slope in the field (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
And of course the second question after "is it electric?" She "How much does he travel?" Well the manufacturer's data speaks of 262 km in urban riding and 126 km in long-distance riding, in light of the experience of the first few weeks, and we will dive further in the next article, the real combined range is about 160 km on a route that is 3/4 Between a moderate urban of Route 5 and the rest urban.
A full charge from a home outlet will take a little over 9 hours, but that is irrelevant, the rarity of times I have reached an outlet on a completely empty battery.
But beyond that, the fact that it can be charged from any socket and that the cable can be carried anywhere - makes life easier with it.
In general, this matter of getting home and straight pushing it for charging becomes a habit very quickly.
The downside of ZERO is really worth addressing is that there is no locking to the charging socket.
Want to say, you got to the building, plugged it into a socket in the lobby and went home to sleep.
Then came the strange eating of cats from apartment 2C, just because they bothered at a senior level and did not like the cable here, or just an annoying boy who decided to disconnect you - you get up in the morning, go to the motorcycle and find that it is not charged at all and you can get to the train station. Not for the office.
A very different and incredibly cool riding experience (Photo: Keinan Cohen)
Which leads us to the last two questions this time: "How much does it cost" and "Worth it?". So the simple answer to the first question is - 80,000 shekels and on first and second reading it is a lot. In relation to a motorcycle that costs about $ 16,000 in the United States and the taxation in Israel on electric vehicles is 10 percent, there is a not-so-simple amount to crack in a first encounter with it, when for NIS 15,000-10,000 you can find mediocre doshim that are not bad at all. From the all-rounder Suzuki V-Strom to the professional Yamaha Tanera in the field and in the middle the Honda NC750, for example. One of the most useful and brilliant tools I have come across and it really is a motorcycle that as a means of transport captivates you in its operational simplicity, and we have not yet touched on the economic aspect of saving on its maintenance expenses.
And as for the "equal?", There is actually an answer here and it is quite simple. But we will save it for the next round of reporting where we will dive into power consumption, warranty, comparing maintenance prices against parallel gasoline vehicles, insurance, spare parts and more updates on life with it.