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Author Topic: Book Review of Zero Below Zero  (Read 1048 times)

Richard230

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Book Review of Zero Below Zero
« on: November 01, 2016, 03:55:38 AM »

I just finished reading the book Zero Below Zero, written and published by Aero Design & Manufacturing Co., Inc., (Aerostich), which tested the 2016 Zero FX (loaned to them by Zero) as a commuter vehicle during the winter months last year in Duluth, Minnesota. The 135 page illustrated book contains a compilation of winter commuting logs by six of their motorcycle-riding staff, most of which were posted on the Internet earlier this year.

The Zero FX came though with flying colors, even though it was left out in the weather overnight, where temperatures ranged from slightly above freezing, down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.  The bike spent much of its time covered with snow and ice. It was plugged in all of the time it was not running.  The only major modification was to wrap the two battery modules in an electric blanket to keep them warm enough to charge and to allow immediate riding off upon unplugging the on-board charger.  Frankly, reading about the weather that the riders and the Zero experienced made me cold just thinking about it.  I am sure that I could never have ridden a motorcycle in those conditions.

I really expected something to fail on the Zero, since it was subject to such severe weather and road conditions, as the roads were covered with salted snow and ice most of the time and it was subject to such cold temperatures. But by the spring thaw, the FX had come through with flying colors and nothing had broken or corroded much. The bike never failed to run and get its riders to their home, work, or other destinations. Trips varied between 3 and 15 miles long. The various comments by each rider describing their rides, weather, challenges commuting by motorcycle in harsh winter weather and their description of the clothing needed to keep warm was both interesting and informative.  I really doubt an internal combustion motorcycle would have been nearly as easy to ride or maintain.  Just warming up a gas-powered motorcycle to the point where it would run well would likely have taken as long as most of the Zero's trips to its destinations.  The only continuous complaint about riding the Zero was that the bike's suspension was very harsh because of the cold affecting the suspension oil when the temperature dropped below freezing.

The Zero's story wrap-up is summarized in a paragraph by Andy Goldfine, Aerostich's design manager, contained in his wrap-up chapter at the end of the book:

The motorcycle not only survived intact, it is 5 for 5. All who took turns riding it now want one.  Not a single functional or mechanical problem.  It sat outdoors overnight all winter, in temps as low as minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and each morning it came right back asking for more.  Even those anticipated corrosion-ugliness-damage situations were minimal....it's actually developed kind of a nice hard-ridden patina.

 
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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.

laramie LC4

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Re: Book Review of Zero Below Zero
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2016, 04:34:43 AM »

here is a link to buy the book for anyone interested. only place i found it was on the aerostich web site. Zero Below Zero

thanks,

laramie  ;)
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Richard230

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Re: Book Review of Zero Below Zero
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2016, 06:32:38 AM »

I picked up my copy at the Zero factory 10th anniversary party.   :)
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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.

MostlyBonkers

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Re: Book Review of Zero Below Zero
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2016, 07:27:20 AM »

Nice to see another potential objection to getting an EV quashed. I'm surprised they're charging money for the book though, since it's clearly a joint marketing venture between Zero and Aerostitch. 

Perhaps marketing it as a book and putting a price on it will mean more folks read it? Or am I being unfair? It's a bit of pin money for the authors at least. Small compensation for riding a motorcycle in conditions that most people wouldn't ever consider riding in. Apart from the danger, there's too much faffing around with cold weather gear and electric blankets!

That reminds me, I've been commuting into London by bike for about four years now and still haven't got round to buying waterproofs!

Thanks for your review Richard.
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Shadow

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Re: Book Review of Zero Below Zero
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2016, 07:59:24 AM »

...I'm surprised they're charging money for the book...

Indeed quite a few copies were given away at the Zero Motorcycles 10th Anniversary event.

Sadly I missed out on getting a copy there. For about the cost of a catalog, I bet that covers publishing costs and not much more.
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quixotic

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Re: Book Review of Zero Below Zero
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2016, 08:35:09 AM »

They must use a LOT of salt out there.  Here in Alberta, I'd never venture out unless the roads were perfectly clear.  It just takes one small patch of ice to ruin your day.  (If my garage was a bit bigger, I'd probably have a Ural with a side-car stashed away).
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laramie LC4

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Re: Book Review of Zero Below Zero
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2016, 06:36:56 PM »

that was my thought as well and one of the main reasons i bought the book. i want to know how the heck they were riding in snow and ice. being a wyoming native i have attempted many times to ride in the winter. not bad if streets are clear, but any ice, snow, anything, and it becomes a whole different game. i cannot imagine trying to do it everyday unless you had studded tires or something similar.

laters,

laramie  ;)
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Richard230

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Re: Book Review of Zero Below Zero
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2016, 08:45:02 PM »

They used 125 metal studs in each the bike's knobby tires for traction on ice and snow. Plus, most of the riders seemed to have a fair amount of experience riding in winter weather like that, as you would expect from Duluth residents.  Finally, I think the FX's light weight, no need to feather a clutch (with a frozen cable) and smooth power output (they had the bike in "eco" mode most of the time) really made a difference when riding on ice and snow.  :)
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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.

firepower

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Re: Book Review of Zero Below Zero
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2016, 03:02:24 AM »

I would like to see a kindle / pdf version of the book. international shipping would cost more than the book.

here the link to the blog about Zero Below Zero

http://www.aerostich.com/blog
« Last Edit: November 02, 2016, 03:06:05 AM by firepower »
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Richard230

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Re: Book Review of Zero Below Zero
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2016, 04:08:39 AM »

According to the text in the book, the book contains most of the Aerostitch blogs that were posted by the riders as they rode the FX during last winter.  Some additional comments were added by Andy Goldfine, but I think the blogs cover about 80% of the text and photos in the book.  And it is free, without any need for postage.   :)
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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.

Doug S

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Re: Book Review of Zero Below Zero
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2016, 08:19:58 PM »

I forget...did they have some sort of a "battery cozy" to keep the battery warm? I kind of hope they didn't, to help dispel the myth that "EVs don't do well when their batteries are cold".

Of course it's true that batteries don't perform as well when they get cold...in particular, their internal resistance goes up. So then, when the EV starts drawing current, the battery heats itself up! I'm sure it would lose SOME capacity in the process, but I'd bet it's a lot less than the naysayers would have you believe. I know a lot of the anecdotal evidence is based on the Leaf, but that's just a poorly designed battery pack.

I have a friend who grew up in Chicago, and he tells me than when the weather was really cold, you'd go out to start your car and the battery didn't have a chance of cranking the engine, even if you had a block heater on the engine. The thing to do was to turn on the headlights for a few minutes...the current draw, with the high internal resistance of the battery, would warm up the battery and it could then start the car.
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Richard230

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Re: Book Review of Zero Below Zero
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2016, 08:27:48 PM »

I forget...did they have some sort of a "battery cozy" to keep the battery warm? I kind of hope they didn't, to help dispel the myth that "EVs don't do well when their batteries are cold".

Of course it's true that batteries don't perform as well when they get cold...in particular, their internal resistance goes up. So then, when the EV starts drawing current, the battery heats itself up! I'm sure it would lose SOME capacity in the process, but I'd bet it's a lot less than the naysayers would have you believe. I know a lot of the anecdotal evidence is based on the Leaf, but that's just a poorly designed battery pack.

I have a friend who grew up in Chicago, and he tells me than when the weather was really cold, you'd go out to start your car and the battery didn't have a chance of cranking the engine, even if you had a block heater on the engine. The thing to do was to turn on the headlights for a few minutes...the current draw, with the high internal resistance of the battery, would warm up the battery and it could then start the car.

They used some sort of electric heating wrap around the batteries to let them charge in temperatures that were well below freezing at night - as cold as 20 below zero at times.  Without keeping the batteries warm they would have never been able to charge at those temperature, as the FX was never brought inside during the entire winter.
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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.

AsherEscher

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Re: Book Review of Zero Below Zero
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2016, 05:05:53 AM »

Richard, do you recall - Did the book go into any more detail about the battery warmer than the blog did? I'm thinking about building a thing.


(Otherwise... maybe bringing the batteries inside for a few hours would warm them up enough that they could charge outside for a while. Does anyone know if the relevant temperature sensor is on the onboard charger or in the battery module itself?)

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Richard230

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Re: Book Review of Zero Below Zero
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2016, 05:46:46 AM »

Richard, do you recall - Did the book go into any more detail about the battery warmer than the blog did? I'm thinking about building a thing.


(Otherwise... maybe bringing the batteries inside for a few hours would warm them up enough that they could charge outside for a while. Does anyone know if the relevant temperature sensor is on the onboard charger or in the battery module itself?)

No.  All the book mentioned was that Aerostich fashioned an electric blanket of some sort to wrap around the batteries.  They didn't say how that was done, although I suspect they likely used some sort of blanket that they had lying around.  However, being where they are located, I imagine that they have a number of electric heaters to choose from as they are probably used to keep auto batteries warm.
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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.

AsherEscher

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Re: Book Review of Zero Below Zero
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2016, 07:26:25 AM »


Cool, thanks.


Hey, if anyone finds a plastic cap that press-fits pretty well onto the ignition area of an FXS, I'd be super-interested in that, too. I couldn't get the key in at all, this morning.


(It was probably 25F when I microwaved one of those flannel bags of feed corn. A few minutes with that loosened it up enough to get the key in, which let me get it off the street into the back yard, etc.)
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