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Author Topic: Considering a Zero SR for commuting  (Read 2500 times)

guppie70

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Considering a Zero SR for commuting
« on: July 26, 2016, 06:58:25 PM »

Hi,

This is my first post on this forum that seems to be the largest Zero forum on the internet. I am considering a Zero SR as my daily commuter and hope you guys can give me some advise if the Zero SR 2016 is mature enough to consider...

Some background info:
I am a pretty experienced rider (28 years of active driving) who has always used the motorcycle for commuting. We own a car, but it’s used mainly by my girlfriend and for vacation trips.
Have owned quite some motorcycles (among which a bandit 600, CBR 600/900) and am currently riding a BMW K1300s. I like fast machines, but am mainly using them for commuting.
My girlfriend owns a Harley 883 iron, and she get’s the HOG magazine. There was an interesting article about the Harley LiveWire electric motorcycle and a contest to win a demo ride. Harley invited me for the demo ride (first time I won a prize :-) ) and was blown away by the ride. So smooth, hardly any noise and a lot of usable torque. And the machine looked really nice. If this would have been a production bike, I would have seriously considered it. So I started to see if other’s were also producing electric motorcycles and I found Zero.

Tomorrow I will have a demo ride - then I know how it feels and how it compares to my heavy K1300.

My questions:
Range
Most of my commuting trips are about 20km. One or two times a week I need to make a highway trip of about 140km. When I am in the office I can charge the bike for about 6-8 hours on a normal 220V outlet.
Can a Zero SR 2016 make such a “long” trip? Should I consider the additional batteries?

Fairing
I would really like some sort of fairing for the longer trips.
Is there some real fairing that you can put on a Zero SR? If not: are there any windscreens that you guys recommend?

Cases
Currently I am using a 46 liter Givi topcase. Something like this one: https://www.louis.eu/artikel/givi-topcase-e460n-monokey/10027370?list=205643867&filter_article_number=10027370
Can you fit this on the Zero?
Would that influence the range (too much)? (I noticed that on the BMW, adding the case leads to minor instability - suggesting that there is quite some drag caused by the case)

Any help is appreciated!
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quixotic

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Re: Considering a Zero SR for commuting
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2016, 07:30:22 PM »

I found out the hard way that range on the highway can be seriously compromised if you're initially headed into the wind, and then when the time comes to head back, the wind shifts. 

I put a fairing on mine (http://electricmotorcycleforum.com/boards/index.php?topic=5838.msg43255#msg43255), but it's a fair amount of work.  (I need to update the photos).
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2013 Zero S. Isle of Man Classic TT is on the bucket list.

guppie70

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Re: Considering a Zero SR for commuting
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2016, 08:15:32 PM »

@quixotic:
Wow! That fairing looks great! It reminds me a bit of this cafe-racer modification of a XR1200 that I have always really liked:
http://www.maxpowermotorcycles.com.au/harley-davidson-xr1200-cafe-racer/
It must look smashing! Is it finished now? Would really like to see the end result :-)

What is the typical range that you get on the highway?
Does the fairing help?
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tico

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Re: Considering a Zero SR for commuting
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2016, 09:26:21 PM »

The Zero seems like it's most ideal for a commuter bike, above all else.

That being said, if reliability is a concern, and/or if you can't borrow another motorcycle or car to get to work if the Zero dies on you, then it might make since to include an older beater like a ratty old Ninja 250 or CB250 in your budget in case your Zero ends up in the shop for a month or two.

Other than that, enjoy the bike! There's no other bike that I've ridden that comes close to the smoothness and ease of riding the Zero.
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guppie70

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Re: Considering a Zero SR for commuting
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2016, 10:20:44 PM »

That being said, if reliability is a concern, and/or if you can't borrow another motorcycle or car to get to work if the Zero dies on you, then it might make since to include an older beater like a ratty old Ninja 250 or CB250 in your budget in case your Zero ends up in the shop for a month or two.

Why are you explicitly mentioning this? Is the Zero not very reliable? Or do you have experience with (very) long waiting times in case parts need to be ordered?
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BrianTRice

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Re: Considering a Zero SR for commuting
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2016, 10:55:59 PM »

The Zero SR will definitely handle 140km (87mi) in one charge. A 13kWh 2016 should be able to handle 100 highway miles (160km) easily, although variables like headwinds and high speeds without a fairing or windscreen will eat at that. The stock charger will recharge from completely empty in about 9 hours like the specs claim.

A top case is a great idea, and will not affect your range very much at all (no one has been able to measure a difference). Presumably the air as it goes around you just re-attaches around the smooth edges of a Givi top case, so there's only a tiny penalty at best. You won't notice - I use a Givi Maxia E55. The OEM side case option impacts range very slightly but only about 5% or so. Boxier side cases would make more of a difference.

Zero's touring windscreen is the best OEM option for drag/range and only mounts to the handlebars so is easy to deal with. It should give you about a 10% range increase and you shouldn't have to tuck much to get behind it.

I've gone further and installed a very large Parabellum windscreen which seems to offer 15% range increase at least: http://electricmotorcycleforum.com/boards/index.php?topic=5525

That said, I am looking forward to a prebuilt or DIY fairing like quixotic's.

I would say the reliability factor is just about the turnaround time dealing with a Zero problem, which can be highly dependent on your dealer or location in the world. I keep my very reliable V-Strom as backup, but I prefer the Zero whenever I can.
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quixotic

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Re: Considering a Zero SR for commuting
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2016, 12:30:38 AM »

@quixotic:
Wow! That fairing looks great! It reminds me a bit of this cafe-racer modification of a XR1200 that I have always really liked:
http://www.maxpowermotorcycles.com.au/harley-davidson-xr1200-cafe-racer/
It must look smashing! Is it finished now? Would really like to see the end result :-)

What is the typical range that you get on the highway?
Does the fairing help?

I generally just do short commutes, so I don't have a good handle on my range.  The fairing might help marginally, but I mainly got it for the aesthetics, and to reduce buffeting on my short highway stints.  It certainly helps for that.

I'll try and post a photo or two tonight on the "fairing fitment" thread.
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quixotic

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Re: Considering a Zero SR for commuting
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2016, 12:40:02 AM »

That being said, if reliability is a concern, and/or if you can't borrow another motorcycle or car to get to work if the Zero dies on you, then it might make since to include an older beater like a ratty old Ninja 250 or CB250 in your budget in case your Zero ends up in the shop for a month or two.

Why are you explicitly mentioning this? Is the Zero not very reliable? Or do you have experience with (very) long waiting times in case parts need to be ordered?

I've had my 2013 for a few months now, and absolutely no problems with reliability.  I love that thing!  Much better than any internal combustion vehicle I've ever had...except for touring.

There are at least a couple of threads on this site relating to reliability, so if you're nervous, you might want the check them out.  One thread specifically asks for anecdotal evidence from folks (like me) who have had very reliable machines.
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Doug S

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Re: Considering a Zero SR for commuting
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2016, 12:48:08 AM »

I'd say, keep two things in mind. First, nobody squawks when their bike doesn't break down, so there's a pretty significant confirmation bias. You only hear about the problem children. Problems are almost always reported, but the lack of any problems is rarely, if ever, reported.

Second, it may seem new and unfamiliar, but it's really just like any other vehicle. If it breaks down, you get it to the shop, get it repaired, you're back on the road. I suspect that for several years, Zero had more reliability problems than most motorcycle makes, and repairs may have taken longer, strictly because they're a new manufacturer and they are using a different drivetrain technology than the others use. But most of us with 2013/2014 bikes have found them quite reliable, and my understanding is the newer bikes are even better.

I think just about every single person on this forum would tell you not to let the fear of the unknown keep you from the wonderful experience these machines provide. They are WORTH it.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2016, 06:08:25 AM by Doug S »
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buutvrij for life

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Re: Considering a Zero SR for commuting
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2016, 01:04:21 AM »

I would say in general, the 2013+ models are reliable, witch is important to me. I've had my '15 DS for 1,5 year and had one charger failure, a wel known issue for a batch or two of the 2015 models.
My dealer (europe) fixed it in 1 day. Other than that, no problems.

As for range; why don't you wait for the 2017 SR? That should go for sale in the next couple of months, with slightly more range.
And i've got to say; i love the bike. Rode it today for 183 km's on a charge with some juice left... The SR would even do a better job
« Last Edit: July 27, 2016, 01:11:22 AM by buutvrij for life »
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pre-owned: Suzuki Intruder, Suzuki GSX-R750, Honda Fireblade '05, Honda Fireblade '09, Honda VFR1200F, Honda Fury 1300 CXA, Govecs Go! 1.2S, Zero DS 12.5, now Honda NC750 X

JaimeC

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Re: Considering a Zero SR for commuting
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2016, 01:45:16 AM »

If you're considering it for commuting, you can save a few thousand dollars by going for the "S" model instead of the SR.  I was also originally planning on the SR, but after talking to my insurance company and looking at the prices I went with the S model with 13 kWh battery.  Not only is it a few thousand dollars cheaper, but it is also significantly cheaper to insure.

All I needed was something capable of easily doing 70 mph (even though our State speed limit is still 55, if you do less than 70 you're likely to get run off the road) and a decent range at that speed.  I could've saved even more money by going for the 9 kWh version, but I'd like to be able to take a lunch time ride, and do a little playing around after work too.

The S is also more than quick enough to beat all but the most exotic sport cars off the line, too.
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Blotman

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Re: Considering a Zero SR for commuting
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2016, 05:27:50 AM »

I was able to test ride the Harley Livewire. The Zero S is comparable, but I definitely wouldn't mind more torque with the SR. My 2013 S has over 24,000 miles (38,600 km) on it, and has never let me down. It's gone through the cold and the rain. Getting 140 km on the highway could be done on the 13 kWh battery. I've made similar trips on the 11.4 kWh pack, but winds and not paying attention to my speed hurt my range. The power tank option would probably spare you from having to worry about that.

The ranges stated on the Zero website has been pretty spot on for me.
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Manzanita

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Re: Considering a Zero SR for commuting
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2016, 06:55:07 AM »

140km on the highway? At 55 mph or 70+ mph? You are right at the edge of the published 55 mph range, and with the range anxiety that you'll feel, you'd probably want to have a power tank. My rule of thumb is I want to plan to get home with 15-20% battery still showing.

I love my Zero and think everyone should buy one. But I don't think the reporting bias explanation for all the problem reported here holds much water, because this forum is a dialog: if for every person that posts a problem, you get ten people responding saying they never have a problem, okay. But that isn't happening here. Are people with no problems that much more shy than the people with problems? Maybe a little less motivated to post a response versus a complaint, but come on... The threads with people asking for feedback of owners without problems is mostly filled with people posting saying they've had problems (but are happy they bought the bike). Count me in that group. I had problems, they were dealt with under warranty at no cost to me, and I am totally satisfied with the bike. It seems that people here are enthusiastic about the bike, and so the problems they have are generally minimized (with some notable exceptions!  ;D ).  So there is bias in both directions, right?

I do think the Zero S has plenty of power for me, but I have had a handful of ~50 HP bikes that always felt fast enough for sane street riding. If you're used to 100+ HP bikes, go with the SR.
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BrianTRice

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Re: Considering a Zero SR for commuting
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2016, 07:20:55 AM »

I love my Zero and think everyone should buy one. But I don't think the reporting bias explanation for all the problem reported here holds much water, because this forum is a dialog: if for every person that posts a problem, you get ten people responding saying they never have a problem, okay. But that isn't happening here. Are people with no problems that much more shy than the people with problems?

You must realize it'd be time consuming, distracting, and frustrating for people to chime in like that. Etiquette demands that we respect the person with an issue by trying to focus on helpful comments.

So, you see where there's one reply maybe about the symptom not being common, but anything after that would be rude; no reason to dogpile on a frustrated owner.
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Shadow

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Re: Considering a Zero SR for commuting
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2016, 07:36:35 AM »

Moving along...

Yes my 2016 DSR with OEM touring screen accessory gets almost exactly (or a little better) than 1mi per percent state-of-charge, flat-out in economy mode. That's 100mi range going 70mph.

It costs about $20k usd with accessories and rebates factored in. About $4k usd of that is for a Diginow Supercharger which is a 1-hour charger accessory, yet to be received or installed. So let's call it a $16k usd bike (pictures attached).

Mine was purchased the middle of May this year and I've put over 3000 miles on it simply commuting and on some interesting adventures. Pictured here is the Givi V47 top case which I just installed today. I'd say the touring screen and top case storage are must-have accessories for commuter purposes.
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