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Author Topic: 2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine  (Read 2757 times)

Richard230

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2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine
« on: April 29, 2013, 04:51:59 AM »

The May issue of City Bike hit the stands today and the 2013 11.4 kWh Zero S is featured on the front cover.  The rider on the cover is shown performing a burn-out and holding the bike's charging cord with his left hand while doing so. Kind of cute, as is the yellow Zero S.  The caption on the cover says "The electric bike gets real" and there is a three-page review of the model in the center of the magazine.  The review was written by the magazine's editor, Gabe Ets-Hokin, and it is quite positive.  Gabe describes how the Zero technology has advanced since 2009 and he goes on to describe the bike's features.  Gabe says that the bike can carry around a 140-pound rider at a steady 70 miles per hour for a distance of 70 miles.  He also says that the indicated top speed is 95 mph, which is an actual 91 mph, according to his iPhone's GPS.

Things that still need work are the rear brakes, which continue to be weak and the Fast Ace suspension remains under-damped and reacts harshly to small road imperfections .

The article says that Scot Harden, Zero's "VP for PR", when asked about the lack of ABS, says that the cost for ABS tooling is in excess of $600,000 and that is why it is not on the current models.  However, they will be required by government regulations to have ABS on their bikes by 2016 - so the company is working on it.  Mr. Harden says not to expect the type of improvements that you have seen to the Zero range in the past.  The bike's basic platform will be pretty much stable and only relatively minor improvements will be made to the range during the next few model years.
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Richard's motorcycle collection:  2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

Richard230

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Re: 2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2013, 07:38:47 AM »

I just realized that the exact same article was published by Motorcycle-usa.com about three weeks ago:

http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/796/15887/Motorcycle-Article/2013-Zero-S-Motorcycle-Review.aspx

It is interesting that the article by the magazine's editor came out online before it was published in his own magazine.   ???
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Richard's motorcycle collection:  2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

NoiseBoy

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Re: 2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 12:28:46 AM »

The British press have started printing reviews so I had a look at 'Fast Bikes' and 'BIKE' today.  I would describe them as biased reviews with their main point being that 0-60mph took 5.7 seconds which is "too slow".  They did say that it was closing the gap to ICE bikes and that 40-80mph acceleration was good.  The brakes were poor and suspension harsh.  They concluded that although it has come on leaps and bounds electric bikes are still for wealthy early adopters and not a sensible choice.  They totally missed the point effectively and the positive comments they made were quickly balanced with a negative although Fast Bikes did say that they wish everyone would try one, which has to be praise.

Bare in mind that the majority of British bike mags are funded by 1 or 2 manufacturers through advertising.  BIKE will only give their highest accolades to Triumph and Fast Bikes to Suzuki.  Hence the large adverts of each respectively on the rear cover.  They are obsessed with speed despite the majority of riders wobbling around every corner (Im endlessly stuck behind sports bikes over here on my '12 S. Im told that Motorcycle Sport & Leisure were at the press day so I look forward to reading that review as they tend to be much more in depth and analytical.
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Richard230

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Re: 2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2013, 04:13:38 AM »

I'll bet the press said the same thing about motorcycles in 1908.  I just finished reading a book about Triumph's history and those first 20 years of motorcycle manufacturing were pretty much horror stories for motorcycle owners.  "LPA " was tossed around a lot.  LPA stood for "light pedal assistance" and the book said that more than one motorcycle rider died of a heart attack trying to climb a hill by pedaling when the motor wasn't powerful enough to get the job done by itself.  No wonder women never rode motorcycles in the early days.  You had to be very strong and in really good shape to get anywhere, love being oily, dirty and greasy, as well as being able to rebuild a motorcycle engine every few thousand miles in order to keep it running.

Electric motorcycle technology is still in its infancy and the motorcycle press needs to keep that in mind when throwing darts.  Lots of improvements are still needed, but the potential of the technology is endless.   ;D
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Richard's motorcycle collection:  2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

NoiseBoy

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Re: 2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2013, 04:20:02 AM »

I think that is taking the analogy a bit far Richard.  the 2013 Zero's are already faster and more reliable than your average vintage 2 stroke (RD350 etc.).  The practicality of an electric bike for trips under 100 miles has already exceeded that of ICE bikes in my opinion.
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Richard230

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Re: 2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2013, 06:35:05 AM »

I think that is taking the analogy a bit far Richard.  the 2013 Zero's are already faster and more reliable than your average vintage 2 stroke (RD350 etc.).  The practicality of an electric bike for trips under 100 miles has already exceeded that of ICE bikes in my opinion.

My point is that electric propulsion technology still has a long way to go. I was attempting to equate electric motorcycles to IC motorcycles of 100 years ago to show how considerable advancements to IC technology were made over the years and that we should expect similar progress in the future.
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Richard's motorcycle collection:  2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

Richard230

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Re: 2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2013, 08:54:45 PM »

Not to belabor the point, but here is a photo of a motorcycle built before 1910.  Note the single-speed direct belt drive (the lever operates the "clutch") and axillary power unit (pedals).  Now think of any modern motorcycle and compare the two and how they have advanced during the past century.
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Richard's motorcycle collection:  2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

frodus

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Re: 2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2013, 09:30:58 PM »

And they went from a single speed belt, to a multi-speed gearbox with belt (like Harley and Buell) or Chain (most manufacturers)..... lol

protomech

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Re: 2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2013, 09:47:39 PM »

There's certainly significant potential for advancement, but in many ways the current state of EV design is far far beyond early motor vehicles. Design and tooling techniques are much more sophisticated than at the start of the 20th century.

I like the analogy to the early days of gasoline filling stations .. our current state of EV charging infrastructure is very primitive.

From wikipedia:

Quote
The increase in automobile ownership after Henry Ford started to sell automobiles that the middle class could afford resulted in a greater demand for filling stations. The world's first purpose built gas station was constructed in St. Louis, Missouri in 1905 at 420 S. Theresa Avenue. The second gas station was constructed in 1907 by Standard Oil of California (now Chevron) in Seattle, Washington at what is now Pier 32. Reighard's gas station in Altoona, Pennsylvania claims that it dates from 1909 and is the oldest existing gas station in the United States. Early on, they were known to motorists as "filling stations". The first "drive-in" filling station, Gulf Refining Company, opened to the motoring public in Pittsburgh in 1913.[12] Prior to this, automobile drivers pulled into almost any general or hardware store, or even blacksmith shops in order to fill up their tanks.
Blacksmith shops.. reminds me of Terry pulling in to the welding shop to charge.
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NoiseBoy

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Re: 2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2013, 11:31:04 PM »

In comparison to EM's ICE bikes have evolved embarassingly slowly.  The fundamentals of the typical 4 stroke 4 cylinder sportsbike haven't changed in 30 years.  Overhead Cam designs have been around since the first world war.  Improvements since then have been very marginal and development is slowing even more now.  Viva la revolution!
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Marshm

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Re: 2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2013, 03:18:56 AM »

I think Richard had a good point that Electric is new in this application, and thus has a learning curve.  Sure the motorcycle frame and geometry can be copied over from the experience of many years of gas bikes, but the electric aspect is the unknown. 

I find it odd that the magazines like the acceleration from 40-80mph and not 0-40.  So they really have the controller limit the motor at lower speeds?  So tuning is still a learning curve because that doesn't sound too fun for the offraod rider who commonly travels below 20 mph for most of the ride. 

Plus the electrc motorcycle industry feels like it is new because all the common brands we are used to do not make an electric bike to compete with Zero.  So the few small players in this market give it a super newbie feel.  These companies do not have the years of motorcycle experience.  I had thought KTM could really come out with something great because they had the frame and suspension experience, but I have not heard much of anything about their electric motorcycle. 
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Richard230

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Re: 2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2013, 03:27:33 AM »

I think it is kind of odd that the motorcycle press complains all the time about abrupt on/off IC motorcycle fuel injection throttle response, which is especially noticeable at slow speeds.  Yet they say nothing about the very smooth throttle response of electric motorcycles (at least the ones that I am familiar with).  I can understand the attraction of a fast takeoff from a stop, but frankly, it is not really something that you need all that often on the street.  Usually there is a vehicle in front of you that limits your take off speed anyway.  I rode all day today in slow-mo Eco mode (which is really slow from a stop on the 2012 Zero models) and still found it adequate for street riding. I had no problem keeping  up with the cars and trucks around me when leaving a traffic signal stop.
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Richard's motorcycle collection:  2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

protomech

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Re: 2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2013, 04:23:22 AM »

I think Richard had a good point that Electric is new in this application, and thus has a learning curve.  Sure the motorcycle frame and geometry can be copied over from the experience of many years of gas bikes, but the electric aspect is the unknown.

True. There are also a lot of quality issues that Zero is still grappling with; I believe these will decrease with time as the company matures and refines its testing and quality design.

Zero reportedly sold around 1000 2012 bikes. If they have an average of 2500 miles apiece (for every Terry there's a dozen people that ride the bikes once or twice a month), then that's 2.5 million electric miles. Some issues will certainly crop up in time .. but I think Zero will mature in both design for reliability and testing to catch initial problems.

Ex: we haven't heard about any leaking fork seals for the 2013 bikes.
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ColoPaul

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Re: 2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2013, 08:25:34 AM »

Zero reportedly sold around 1000 2012 bikes.

Where are you getting this information?
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protomech

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Re: 2013 Zero S review by City Bike magazine
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2013, 10:32:32 AM »

http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/firstrides/122_1301_2013_zero_s_first_ride/viewall.html

Quote
Such dramatic improvement over a short period of time has been rewarded in the marketplace: Zero has sold roughly 3200 electric motorcycles since 2009—and that’s just the start. Last year, the company boosted production to 1000 bikes annually and expects to double that volume in 2013.

Perhaps "boosted production to 1000 bikes annually" is not the same as "sold".
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