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Old 02-14-2013, 11:47 PM   #1
The BeastMaster
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Test ride on an electric MC.

Yep I test rode one of the ZERO electric motorcycles yesterday.

Why? Cause I'm getting tired of paying the high price of gas and if I were to ride it daily back and forth to work. It would just about pay for itself in the gas savings. Especially as the gas gets higher, and I can charge this while I'm at work.
Also the '12 models are being sold at a really good discount. As much as 4k if you call around some out of state dealers. And the federal gov. Just signed a law allowing for a 10% tax credit for buying electric MC's.

Anyway just thought I'd share my thoughts about the ride. I rode a '12 Zero Model S. It has a maximum speed of 88mph and a maximum range (city) of around 114 miles.
First the path that I took. I left the Triumph/BMW/Zero dealer on College/Airport. Decided to get use to it before getting on the freeway. So I first went south on Highway 3 for a couple of miles. Then I turn and went over to Gulf Freeway, Hopped on 45 and went north up to Broadway then made a u turn and went to Cycle Gear. Left there and went south to Scaresdale Where I made another U turn and took it back to the dealer. I put about 22 miles on it. Then I got on the DS(dual sport) model and went around a couple of blocks to check out the difference in the gearing.

First of all the over all feel of the bike is that of a dirt bike. The size, weight, body position, height. All remind me of a 125 or 250.

The brakes were very good, the power on take off was kind of anemic, but once it go to 15 or so it actually had pretty decent pickup. Even at 70 it would pickup speed fairly quick. It felt very stable at high speed. and I did run it wide open a couple of times.

Some of the negatives I noticed were:
The mirrors suck and are even harder to see around my elbows than when I'm on my CBR. They really need to stick out farther. And the rear brake pedal needs to be bigger. The pedal part( of the rear brake lever) isn't big enough and only sticks out an inch or so. Also the one I rode had the Zero saddle bags attached and they were kind of cheesy. They really needed support to keep them from sagging into the rear wheel over the long term.

Anyway I think I'm gonna what until they get the '13 models out and take another test ride. They are supposed to be more powerful and have a longer range. Although they did jack the price up a couple of thousand.

I'm gonna try to take my gopro back and mount it to the handlebars so I can get a shot at the speedometer while riding. Since it's really hard to feel the acceleration since it doesn't make any noise.
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Old 02-15-2013, 08:15 AM   #2
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BM,

Thanks for an interesting report. Electric bikes make a lot of sense, and as the market and technology and price points mature: they will gain fans. Do remember that most electricity comes from burning fossil fuels though. How does the gearing work, is it just a linear rheostat, or are there gears and a clutch?
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Old 02-15-2013, 08:20 AM   #3
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I wonder if an electric bike can save on maintenance as well? Think of never having to do oil changes, valve timing, etc.
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Old 02-15-2013, 08:34 AM   #4
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Old 02-15-2013, 08:41 AM   #5
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Here's an article that does a cost comparison... actually comes out pretty similar to what I figured. ~5 years of full commuting a decent distance (20miles each way)... to make up the $5k difference between it and a comparable gas bike.

ZeroS vs klx250
http://www.gizmag.com/zero-s-electri...ad-test/18226/
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chevy42083 View Post
Here's an article that does a cost comparison... actually comes out pretty similar to what I figured. ~5 years of full commuting a decent distance (20miles each way)... to make up the $5k difference between it and a comparable gas bike.

ZeroS vs klx250
http://www.gizmag.com/zero-s-electri...ad-test/18226/
That's an excellent cost analysis. Same goes for diesel, hybrid and electric cars. You will have to drive a lot of miles over a relatively short number of years just to break even. Then you still have to drive even more miles to accrue substantial savings to justify the performance compromises.
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:42 AM   #7
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:51 AM   #8
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Yeah, range would be good for daily stuff. But what about when you have that extra errand to run? To make it close to hitting your payoff, you've gotta ride it to the limit of distance, 5 days a week, for 5 to 6 years.
Then, if you are a motorcycle guy... you probably ride on the weekend. Which means you'd need a 2nd bike for that. Then the electric becomes an ADDITIONAL bike, not a replacement bike. Unless you are like me, and want 2 bikes anyways (commuter and fun bike).

Oh, and the comparison runs to 65k miles... when the batteries go bad. What then? Cost to replace? How bout running it till the gas engine needs a rebuild? Or at least show trade-in or "rebuild" costs at the end of whatever term they analyze/compare. Ending the comparison right before a major cost is gonna skew the results in their favor.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucydad View Post
BM,

Thanks for an interesting report. Electric bikes make a lot of sense, and as the market and technology and price points mature: they will gain fans. Do remember that most electricity comes from burning fossil fuels though. How does the gearing work, is it just a linear rheostat, or are there gears and a clutch?
The Zero doesn't have gears. The motor is connected straight to the rear wheel via a drive belt. Brammo has one out that does go thru a 6 speed tranny. It has a higher top speed but a lesser range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeksualTorture View Post
I wonder if an electric bike can save on maintenance as well? Think of never having to do oil changes, valve timing, etc.
yes, it doesn't have a chain either it has a drive belt which is also more maint. friendly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Volfy View Post
That's an excellent cost analysis. Same goes for diesel, hybrid and electric cars. You will have to drive a lot of miles over a relatively short number of years just to break even. Then you still have to drive even more miles to accrue substantial savings to justify the performance compromises.
Don't have time to read the article, yet. I'll check it out later, but as far as cost comparison. I'm looking for fuel prices to go up if the economy keeps getting stronger. So that will change the comparison dynamics in my favor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chevy42083 View Post
Yeah, range would be good for daily stuff. But what about when you have that extra errand to run?
Fortunately I've already checked and they said that I could charge it at work. And most of my errands are close to home. To make it close to hitting your payoff, you've gotta ride it to the limit of distance, 5 days a week, for 5 to 6 years.
Then, if you are a motorcycle guy... you probably ride on the weekend. Which means you'd need a 2nd bike for that. Then the electric becomes an ADDITIONAL bike, not a replacement bike. Unless you are like me, and want 2 bikes anyways (commuter and fun bike). Yea I already have 2 and I'm not going to get rid of either of them.Oh, and the comparison runs to 65k miles... when the batteries go bad. What then? This one is all electric (no gas engine to run on)and they claim that the batteries will last the life of the bike. around 300,000 miles.Cost to replace? How bout running it till the gas engine needs a rebuild? Or at least show trade-in or "rebuild" costs at the end of whatever term they analyze/compare. Ending the comparison right before a major cost is gonna skew the results in their favor.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chevy42083 View Post
Here's an article that does a cost comparison... actually comes out pretty similar to what I figured. ~5 years of full commuting a decent distance (20miles each way)... to make up the $5k difference between it and a comparable gas bike.

ZeroS vs klx250
http://www.gizmag.com/zero-s-electri...ad-test/18226/
Ok so I did have time to read the article. It does offer a good comparison, but it is outdated. It compares 2011 models.

The techonology is making BIG upgrades every yr. Even the dif between the '12 and '13 is fairly large.
For example 2013 models have a battery life of around 300k ( the life of the vehicle) not 65k like the article states and they have the larger battery configurations have a range of around 70 miles.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:31 AM   #11
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I like the idea of riding a motorcycle where the only sound you hear is the wind.
That would be cool.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:33 AM   #12
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lol... first comment on the article I linked was "Is it weird that I want one simply because it sounds like the Jetsons"
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:45 AM   #13
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Nice review....as looking at those myself...aslo the Brammo bikes which I dig a bit better. People argue about charging them and where the energy comes from, however for the most part I'd charge at my house which is 40% solar with a grid on the roof.

I'm a bit worried on the street though since they are so quiet. One of these day we'll probably see elec bikes with solar fairings...won't eliminate charging but by the time we can make fairings out of solar panels maybe they will be much more efficient.
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Nice review....as looking at those myself...aslo the Brammo bikes which I dig a bit better. People argue about charging them and where the energy comes from, however for the most part I'd charge at my house which is 40% solar with a grid on the roof.

I'm a bit worried on the street though since they are so quiet. One of these day we'll probably see elec bikes with solar fairings...won't eliminate charging but by the time we can make fairings out of solar panels maybe they will be much more efficient.
Yea the solar tech. is up to the point where all those hybrid cars could have the roof, trunk and hood covered in solar panels. Sonds kind of dumb that they are not.
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:47 PM   #15
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CHARGING AT WORK FTW
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:51 PM   #16
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Some are. I believe Fiskar roofs are solar.
At least they look like it.

I wonder how much a solar panel can charge over an hour. Say, while at lunch.
Nice thing would be running out of power in the middle of no where... just take a nap to "recharge" you and the bike, and then keep going.
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:08 PM   #17
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Glad you got to share your experience on the bike. Always found them interesting, but not because I want to save money. When you add it depreciation and the cost of the bike itself, it would take forever to make a descent return if ever.

I bought my bike because it's fun, not because it saves me a bunch of money on gas.
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:12 PM   #18
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The big question: how much to replace the batteries when the system takes a dump?
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:33 PM   #19
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Does it sound like a table saw or electric drill?
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:55 PM   #20
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While you are still basically using fossil fuel to charge these vehicles keep this in mind. Our power plants are 1000 times more efficient at creating energy than any gas powered vehicle on the road. Charging these batteries is a much better use of the fuel than dumping gas in a standard CE.
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