2014 Zero Motorcycles First Look Review
In a very short time, Zero Motorcycles has come a long way. When we first tested a Zero S—the company’s “streetfighter” model, which was sold alongside the DS (dual-sport), XU (“urban crosser”) and X/MX (off-road) models—in 2011, it made a claimed 25 horsepower and claimed range on a full charge was 58 miles. With a variety of testers and in varying conditions, the most we could coax out of our Zero S test bike was 33 miles. That’s a pretty short leash.
We recently tested a 2013 Zero S, and the differences in power and range were dramatic. With the larger 11.4 kWh power pack (8.5 kWh is standard), claimed range had increased to 137 miles in the city, 85 miles highway (at 55 mph) or 100 miles combined, and it made a claimed 52 horsepower and 68 lb-ft of torque. Switchable power modes were added for 2013, and on a single charge we went as far as 100 miles in Eco mode and 75 miles in Sport mode. (Read our full report in the January 2014 issue of Rider).
For 2014, Zero has revised its model lineup, introduced the all-new, range-extending accessory Z-Force Power Tank and made improvements to styling, suspension, braking, instrumentation and more. It has also lowered the MSRP of several models. Zero’s 2014 lineup includes three core models: the Zero S street model (as well as a new, higher-output variant, the Zero SR), the dual-sport Zero DS and the lower-power, lower-cost Zero FX (“stealth fighter”). The Zero XU and Zero MX models have been discontinued.
As before, for the Zero S and Zero DS, two Z-Force power packs are available (8.5 kWh and 11.4 kWh); the new Zero SR is available in the 11.4 kWh configuration only. The Zero FX is available with a 2.8 kWh or 5.7 kWh Z-Force power pack. The more kWh (kilowatt-hours), the longer the range and the higher the price. Here’s a breakdown of what’s new on each model.
2014 Zero S
Claimed horsepower, torque and range are unchanged from 2013 (137 miles city/85 miles highway [55 mph]/105 miles combined for the 11.4 kWh Z-Force power pack), but the optional 2.8 kWh Z-Force Power Tank ($2,495, excluding installation) extends claimed range to 171 miles city/106 miles highway (55 mph)/131 miles combined. The Z-Force Power Tank must be installed by an authorized dealer, and it adds 45 pounds to the bike’s 399-pound curb weight (claimed).
Suspension has been upgraded with a larger 43mm fork, integrated triple clamps and new settings for the rear shock, and the rear brake uses a new 1-piston caliper and a larger disc. The frame, swingarm pivot and steering head are all more rigid, ground clearance and lean angle have been increased, and a larger 140mm rear tire has a bigger contact patch than the 110 it replaces.
A new chin fairing is more aerodynamic, cockpit styling has been reworked and instrumentation is all-new. The riding mode switch has been moved from below the instrument panel to the right grip, and, in addition to Eco and Sport modes, a new Custom mode can be configured using the Zero Motorcycles App for smartphones.
MSPR for the 2014 Zero S is $12,995 for the 8.5 kWh power pack and $14,995 for the 11.4 kWh power pack—a price drop of $1,000 for both configurations from 2013. Add $2,495 (plus installation) for the Z-Force Power Tank, and choose from black or yellow.
2014 Zero SR
The motor in the all-new Zero SR uses higher-temperature permanent magnets for more output and it replaces the “high efficiency, 420 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration” on the Zero S with a 660 amp controller. Claimed range is unchanged, but claimed output increases to 67 horsepower (up from 54) and 106 lb-ft of torque (up from 68). Zero says the SR will go from 0-to-60 mph in 4 seconds (down from 4.8) and has a top speed of 102 mph (up from 95).
The Zero SR gets the same changes to the chassis, styling, instrumentation and riding modes as the Zero S, and it is compatible with the accessory 2.8 kWh Z-Force Power Tank. It differentiates itself from the base model with red-only paint, a Zero SR emblem and an elegantly designed heat sink for the larger motor controller. MSRP for the 2014 Zero SR is $16,995 (11.4 kWh Z-Force power pack only).
2013 Zero DS
The Zero DS also gets the same changes to its chassis, styling, instrumentation and riding modes as the Zero S/SR, and it is also compatible with the accessory 2.8 kWh Z-Force Power Tank. Compared to the Zero S/SR, the Zero DS has a 19-inch front wheel (up from 17), which raises seat height to 33.2 inches (from 33.1) and increases claimed curb weight to 404 pounds (from 399)
MSRP for the 2014 Zero DS is $12,995 for the 8.5 kWh power pack and $14,995 for the 11.4 kWh power pack—a price drop of $1,000 for both configurations from 2013. Add $2,495 (plus installation) for the Z-Force Power Tank, and choose from orange or white.
2014 Zero FX
Compared to the Zero S, SR and DS, the Zero FX is lighter and cheaper, but it has less power and torque (44 horsepower and 70 lb-ft) and much shorter range—35 miles city with the 2.8 kWh power pack, and 70 miles city with 5.7 kWh. For 2014, the Zero FX gets a new two-up seat and passenger footpegs, new projector-beam headlights and a flyscreen, upgraded suspension (like the S, SR and DS), better brakes, a more rigid chassis, new instrumentation and a new Custom riding mode (in addition to Sport and Eco).
MSRP for the 2014 Zero FX is $9,495 for the 2.8 kWh power pack and $11,990 for the 5.7 kWh power pack—unchanged from 2013. The FX is not compatible with the accessory Z-Force Power Tank, and it comes in black only.
For more information, visit zeromotorcycles.com.