The 2013 ZERO DS ZF 11.4 Electric Motorcycle Review
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Electric Motorcycles Africa (Pty) Ltd is the official Distributor for Zero Motorcycles in South Africa.
All models available for demo in South Africa from December 2013
|The difference between the earlier models and the current models is like comparing a horse drawn carriage and a Bugatti Veyron.
The technology has advanced so fast and so has the patented ZERO drive chain system, the batteries, the styling & pretty much everything from the ground up.
No Doubt - the 2013 range of Electric motorcycles are going to
BLOW YOUR MIND !!!
Santa Cruz, California June 2013.
As the mental image of an electric bike comes to mind, probably the last thing you would think of is a fast powerful race bike.
I personally have been talking about electric bikes for over 2 years and the reaction is always the same..... "Its a toy"
Just imagine sitting at a traffic light, totally silent, ZERO vibration, ZERO noise, ZERO emissions.. the light turns green and you twist the throttle....and
BAM !!! the bike leaps forward and surges up and over 150km/h in less than 6 seconds - you're holding on with wide eyes and smiling inside your helmet !
Its easy to dismiss electric propulsion as not being in direct competition to (IC) Internal Combustion motorcycles.
But those days are long over.
The 2013 ZERO DS ZF11.4 will out accelerate and out perform many (IC) bikes in the 125cc, 250cc, 400cc and even some 660cc engine capacity bikes.
The power delivery is smooth and instant, the lack of a gearbox is definitely a bonus, but its like getting used to driving an automatic. I kept reaching for the clutch lever and my left foot often twitched upwards in expectation of the gear lever... but after 30 minutes you kinda get used to it.
With no gyroscopic effects from spinning crankshafts, flywheels and piston action - the 2013 ZERO DS enters and exits corners like nothing you have experienced. Clutch-less and gearbox-less riding has never been so easy. its a complete new riding concept. And after the first ride..... you will most likely not want to ride conventional bikes again... unless you're a die hard petrol head.
On the Gravel Road:
As the the Model number (DS) Dualsport Implies, this bike has been designed for dual-purpose usage. And like many of its petrol counterparts, we took it for an aggressive spin along some dirt roads and threw it around a bit... maybe a lot !
The 2013 ZERO DS ZF 11.4 weighs in at 179kg - so its immediately in the lightweight class of DS bikes. Again without the forces associated with (IC) engines and the immense torque spinning the rear... it was awesome fun and very easy to get drifting around corners.... a little scary at times because its difficult to anticipate just when the power curve is going to kick in.
At very low speeds like 30 - 50km/h the bikes behaves very docile and its really fantastic for slow technical riding - like rocks, sand and river-crossings. (it is waterproof to a point and total motor submersions is possible, just not advisable in case you splash up over the controller unit under your seat).
So in many respects its just like a regular DS bike - just don't drown it !!!
Rain, Mud, water, rocks, sand and anything you can throw at it......the bike will be fine.
The belt drive Off-Road:
(Chain & Sprockets or Belt Drive is available on order)
We are only used to seeing belt drives on Harley's and various Road bikes - but the 2013 ZERO DS belt drive system is quite capable of handling dust, mud, stones and just about any real life riding situation. Like anything its must not be abused and caked in clay up to the axles.
Poly Chain® GT® Carbon™ belt has a 2 year warrantee against normal wear and tear - but again, abuse will not be covered. If you are a hard core off road rider, its probably better to order the bikes with conventional chains and sprockets.
~Bluetooth enabled connectivity for both iPhone and Android mobile devices.
~ Adjustable motorcycle performance to enable sportier or more economical riding.
~ Customizable display reports precise state of charge and real-time power usage while riding.
2013 ZERO DS (Dual Sport) ZF 11.4 -
|Z-Force™ 75-7 passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux permanent magnet, brushless motor
|68 ft-lb (92 Nm)
|54 hp (40 kW) @ 4,300 RPM
Z-Force™ Li-Ion intelligent
kWh (ZAR 13.45 per full charge)
|Charge time (standard)
|7.9 hours (Flat to 100% charged)
|Charge time (Quick Charger)
|4.6 hours (Flat to 100% charged)
|Charge time CHAdeMO
|1.5 hours (Flat to 100% charged)
Standard 110V or 220V
|High efficiency, 420 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with re-generative deceleration
|Top Speed (Max)
|Top Speed (Sustained)
|Range in City
|Range in on freeway
|122km @ average of 88km/h
|Clutchless direct drive
|132T / 28T, Poly Chain® GT® Carbon™ belt
|178mm travel - inverted, forks with adjustable compression and rebound damping
|195mm Travel - Piggy-back reservoir shock with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
|Nissin 2 piston hydraulic, 313x4 mm floating disc
|Nissin 1 piston hydraulic, 221x4.5 mm disc
Wheel / Tyre
|2.15 inch x19 inch / 100/90-19
Wheel / Tyre
|3 inchx17 inch / 130/80-17
|Equivalent fuel economy (city)
|0.55 L/100 km
|Equivalent fuel economy (highway)
|1.15 L/100 km
|Average Running cost per month
|ZAR200.00 - (ZAR 13.45 per full charge)
|2014 Retail Price (MSRP)
|ZAR167 500.00 (ZF 11.4 Spec)
is the single biggest question in the EV market..
And its exactly like asking the range of a petrol bike...... it all depends on how you ride and many other contributing factors.
"Whats the Range ?"
Well, its just like Petrol consumption on regular motorcycles, as in it depends on how you ride. Riding slow and in ECO mode at 80-100km/h with achieve far greater distances than if you are in Sport mode and blasting along the freeway at 140km/h and faster.
Range is highly dependent on many factors -
Riding style, terrain, head wind, rider weight, Tar or gravel surface, Tyre inflation, city or freeway usage and throttle aggression.
Its high speed freeway usage that really eats up battery range. You absolutely have to get used to a different thinking and riding style. Know your destination and range, plan your route, adding a planned stop and charge for lunch midway your journey is going to extend the range of the bike of course.
Remember, there are far more plug points situated around restaurants, guest-houses, public buildings than there are petrol stations - so carry an extension cord with you and simply ask to plug in....
The 2013 ZERO DS is speced to 203km and more if you take it easy.
If you are going to commute along the freeway exclusively, then the range will be reduced to about 90km @ riding speeds of 112klm/h.
Mostly with weekend and day rides you schedule a lunch stop and this is the opportunity to top up the battery. An hour top up charge will give you an estimated 60km further.
The 2013 ZERO DS has its own built in charger and all you need is a 240V wall socket which you carry with you on the bike.
If you purchase the QUICK CHARGER UNIT with your ZERO DS - you can achieve a full charge in less than 4 hours with 240V. But its heavy and not easy to carry around unless you have a large top-box or panniers.
Charge Stations in South Africa:
The Department of Trade and Industry - recently announced in March 2013 that they will be funding a project to install over 5000 charge stations around Gauteng, Western Cape and KZN over the next 5 years.
Charge stations are not necessary with ZERO Motorcycles, but they can charge your bike super quick (1.5 hours from flat to 100%).
As the network of charge stations grows across SA, it will become much easier to achieve longer touring distances of course with top up points in your journey.
I have ridden and tested many different kinds of motorcycles. I can boldly say that the ZERO DS has to date been the most exhilarating and enthralling experience I have ever had. Purely from the uniqueness and technological aspects of this amazing bike. Once you have ridden an electric motorcycle of this caliber, it will no doubt change your perspective totally. In the future when electric bikes far surpass (IC) motorcycles, and they certainly will - only a small percentage of bikes will remain with the Internal Combustion bikes. But I bet they will envy us non technophobic motorcyclists cruising the countryside with almost ZERO running costs and just as much riding pleasure.
EV bikes are NOT form the future... they are right here, right now. like it or not.
With technology having leaped forward over the last 10 years and globally we find ourselves on the horizon of EV cars and bike making headway across most countries. I truly believe that we will be seeing lots of ZERO and or other brands popping up at traffic lights around South Africa.
Already police forces around the world are switching to electric motorcycles.
ZERO recently announced a fleet of over 100 electric motorcycles (2013 ZERO DS ZF11.4) into the Columbian Police force in Bogata, the Hong Kong police has 70 of them and there are many others following.
Whether or not you like the concept of emission less, noiseless clutch-less, gearbox-less electric motorcycling, I can promise you that if you are an open minded motorcyclist, and you want an experience like no other motorcycle can deliver - you absolutely have to get your bum on the seat of one of ZERO motorcycles range.
It is still early days for EV in South Africa, but with global sales already in the thousands.... the concept, is here to stay.
Maybe you're a total closed minded petrol head - and if thats the case....dont bother even sitting on an electric bike. But the world is about to change, and you're either with it or not.
Police and Security Applications:
~ Traffic Police Patrolling
~ Municipal Patrolling
~ Military Police
~ Security Patrolling and Neighborhood Watch
~ Anti-Poaching units
~ Airport Security
~ Game Farm Patrolling
The 2013 ZERO Electric Family
ZERO S (Street) - ZERO DS (Dualsport) - ZERO XU (Urban Crosser) - ZERO FX (Urban/off-road) - ZERO MX (Motor-X)
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