ZERO motorcycles was founded by Neal Saiki, who holds a masters degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, and who formerly worked as a project manager at NASA developing high altitude research vehicles. Prior to that while in college, he set a World Aviation Record by creating the first successful human-powered helicopter. Saiki spent years designing award-winning, world-class mountain bikes for Santa Cruz Mountain Cycle.
Powered by the most advanced powertrain in the industry, the Zero DS is a fully electric motorcycle that can handle any surface you throw at it. Overcoming obstacles and maintaining control is effortless due to its fully adjustable suspension and rugged wheel set. Under technical riding conditions, Zero’s optimized direct drive system delivers astonishing responsiveness with the twist of your wrist. As with Zero’s entire model line, the 2012 Zero DS costs only cents to recharge and, with its maintenance-free powertrain, it is one of the most economical motorcycles to own and operate.
Other Zero models benefit from upgrades, too. The short-range, 221-pound XU I rode in March gets its performance bumped up–it can now hit 65 mph and go 42 miles on the UDDS cycle or 28 miles at a steady 55 mph. The dirt lineup includes the 213-pound X trailbike (which is equipped for highway use) and the high-jumping, 200-pound MX motocrosser. All three models (XU, X and MX) get a 3 kWh battery which is good for an hour or two of trail riding, or in the case of the street-legal X, 38 miles of pavement use on the UDDS cycle.
2012 Zero DS ZF9 Specifications
• ENGINE TYPE: Electric
• BATTERY: Lithium-ion
• CAPACITY: 9.0 kWh
• TRANSMISSION: Clutchless 1-speed
• SUSPENSION TRAVEL. f/r: 9.4″/7.7″
• SEAT HEIGHT: 35.3 inches
• WEIGHT: 341 pounds
• PRICE: $13,995