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Author Topic: ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?  (Read 1918 times)

PaulAtkinson

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ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?
« on: May 01, 2013, 12:41:57 AM »


I have had my motorcycle license for just over eight years. I learned to ride in San Francisco on a 2005 BMW F 650 CS (belt-drive single cylinder city bike). I sold it after about four years (when my daughter arrived).

I changed jobs, and have been commuting on our 2005 Vespa ET4 over the past couple years -- only two miles each way here in the city.

I stopped into a local dealer to "browse" and ended up test-riding a "new" 2010 Brammo Enertia. I loved the fit and finish, but the fan noise, ergonomics, and turning radius were enough to make me say no, even at $4,400 with 6 month warranty.

Then, I tested the 2013 ZERO S a couple weeks ago, and I fell in love. I simply can't justify that expense for my intended purpose.

So, I tried the 2013 XU last Saturday. This bike looks "cobbled together" -- and not in a good way, IMO. Once on the bike, I liked the geometry, the ergonomics, handling, and power. If it looked better, I would have bought it on the spot.

Is there anyone here who would (or did) buy the XU with reservations about it's appearance? Or, am I an idiot for even caring?

Thanks!
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Marshm

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Re: ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2013, 03:00:53 AM »

Bike appearance does have value for me as well.  I think it does for many people since there are quit a few people that modify their bikes with graphics, tires and wheels, and a whole bunch of other parts and pieces that are pretty much just for looks.  I agree the XU does not look all that great.  The naked bike look has been a tough one for me to really think looks great, rather than just ordinary.  However, if the bike really fit you well and you liked the ride, it might still be worth it.  I have a bike now that looks kind of lame, but I like the function so I am ok with that purchase.
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protomech

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Re: ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2013, 03:59:01 AM »

I have to say that I wasn't, and still am not, crazy about the 2012 Zero S look and feel. Many parts are high quality: the frame, the battery box, the electronics, the wheels, pegs, etc. The plastics are not very nice (at least they're cheap to replace), the seat is only okay, the instrument gauge offers little useful information (and leads me to explain every few weeks that the bike really can't go 160 MPH).

I do love the way it rides. And I love the ease of operation wrt charging it. It's enough for me to overlook the low quality bits, and the 2013s are better in this respect anyhow. But I don't think it's unreasonable to expect higher quality.

You might take a look at the Enertia Plus. Its motor is slightly heavier and has better cooling performance, so it has mostly eliminated the fan activation while riding. The turning radius is a huge improvement as well. Ergonomics are mostly unchanged.

You might also take a look at used 2012 Zero S bikes. They'll be quite a bit heavier and slower than the 2013 XU, but you may prefer the looks.

If those two are out, you might give the XU some time and then give it another look. I don't know how much time you had on it with the dealer; if it's reasonable to do so and they're desperate to sell the bikes, ask to take it home for the day and see how you like it when you're riding it and not looking at it. And I expect the 2013 S bikes will drop in price as well once the 2014 models are announced.

P.S. I really dislike the way the SV650 looks. Never ridden one. It's on the top of my "to look at" list for a potential future addition .. but I have a hard time getting over the looks too. They may well grow on me.
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PaulAtkinson

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Re: ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2013, 11:10:24 AM »

Thanks for the insights. I had a long talk with my CFO tonight, and we agreed that even the ZERO S doesn't achieve my target for a bike with ABS. So, I am going to sit this out until the Fall, once the dust has settled around our daughter starting elementary school in our neighborhood and our taking stock of our transportation mode options and plans -- we have two cars, four bikes, and a scooter. Another motorized anything right now is simply not ideal.

I will stay tuned here and keep my eye on how things shape up for 2014 and beyond!

Cheers!
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benswing

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Re: ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2013, 06:56:34 PM »

I recently read that Zero will be tooling up for ABS in 2016.  It's very expensive which is why they haven't gone that route yet.
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PaulAtkinson

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Re: ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2013, 09:03:17 AM »

I recently read that Zero will be tooling up for ABS in 2016.  It's very expensive which is why they haven't gone that route yet.

I read that somewhere, too. I am surprised that they can't just "fit" it to the bikes, but then I know nothing about engineering a motorbike!
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WindRider

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Re: ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2013, 08:02:45 PM »

I think the big issue is the cost.   In another couple of years the cost will go down.   Right now adding another $600 - $800 to a Zero price tag is tough to do as the price is already high.
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Richard230

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Re: ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2013, 08:20:28 PM »

The 2013 Zero article in the May issue of City Bike quoted Scot Harden, Zero's PR VP, as saying that it was going to cost Zero in excess of $600,000 to tool up for ABS when it becomes mandatory in the EU in 2016. So cost is the reason that it is not being currently offered on Zero motorcycles. The bikes are already pretty expensive and I doubt the market would appreciate a price increase of another $1000 (which is what BMW charged when they were offering ABS as an option) over the current price of Zero's motorcycles.
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trikester

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Re: ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2013, 09:50:52 PM »

I sure hope they don't put ABS on the FX dirt bike. >:( There are many times that I don't want any action on the front brake (down hill soft sand for instance, where the front tire has to roll as freely as possible, while braking the rear). :o However, I will say that many times the regen is all I need in those situations.

Trikester
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BrianTRice

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Re: ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2013, 01:40:52 AM »

I sure hope they don't put ABS on the FX dirt bike. >:( There are many times that I don't want any action on the front brake (down hill soft sand for instance, where the front tire has to roll as freely as possible, while braking the rear). :o However, I will say that many times the regen is all I need in those situations.

I haven't ridden much hilly gravel yet on the 2013 DS (other than the alley leading to my garage), but the rear braking via regen does seem to be sufficient and easy to work with. Tapping the front brake for more regen also seems to do the right thing, but it's easier to just use the actual rear brake pedal.
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WindRider

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Re: ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2013, 01:48:48 AM »

I have ridden a fair amount of dirt in the hills now on my DS and I like the regen for downhill braking and find the Hayes brakes to work pretty good now that they are broke in.   The DS is pretty easy to handle in steep dirt road situations.
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nicktulloh

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Re: ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2013, 02:29:09 AM »

I recently read that Zero will be tooling up for ABS in 2016.  It's very expensive which is why they haven't gone that route yet.

I guessed that they hadn't gone that route because it's totally unnecessary. I couldn't be less interested in ABS.
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WindRider

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Re: ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2013, 02:37:55 AM »

I have been riding motorcycles for a long time with no need for ABS... I would prefer to keep the ABS off of motorcycles and the price lower but I think that ABS is already rolling towards us all in an effort to protect us from the dangers of the world and slick surfaces under our tires.
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PaulAtkinson

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Re: ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2013, 03:55:06 AM »

I have been riding motorcycles for a long time with no need for ABS... I would prefer to keep the ABS off of motorcycles and the price lower but I think that ABS is already rolling towards us all in an effort to protect us from the dangers of the world and slick surfaces under our tires.

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protomech

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Re: ZERO XU : design as deal-breaker?
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2013, 05:07:38 AM »

MCN testing a 2009 CBR1000RR with C-ABS vs no ABS.

Testing done from 80 mph indicated (70 mph GPS) on a damp track.



John - MCN reader?, K1200 rider
92m no ABS (pulled clutch in), 75m C-ABS

Reece - national superstock racer
59m no ABS, 42m C-ABS

Bruce - MCN's performance tester, does all of their braking tests.
66m no ABS, 61m C-ABS

Note that Bruce locked the rear wheel (but did not lose control) on the no-ABS bike. This is a guy that tests bikes for a living.

Also John pulled the clutch in by mistake on the no-ABS run.

That's 2 for 3 control failures on experienced riders that knew in advance they were going to brake hard from high speed. Outside the improvement in braking distances, removing the need to modulate front/rear braking pressures in a panic situation allows you to focus on controlling the bike.

If you ever have to panic stop, ABS will help you.

If you ever have to panic stop in the damp, ABS may well save your life.

Not to say that riding without ABS is a death wish. Riding smart, extending braking distances, and being hyper-aware of conditions will help keep you safe. Perhaps more so than riding obliviously with ABS.
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