Here are my thoughts on the ZeroS electric motorcycle.
As you may know, I was offered a guest ride by the TTXGP promotional staff, to ride one of the ZeroS, electric commuter bikes out of California.
They are small, supermoto/dirt style commuter bikes capable of up to 88 mph, with a range of about 80 miles.
For the Portland round of the TTXGP, there would be 4 riders in the production class. Myself, Chris Page of OMRRA, Troy Siahaan of Motorcycle.com, and one of the ZeroS guys. (Sorry, I spaced the name!)
Saturday is terribly wet, and we miss all the practice sessions. We all agree, practicing on an electric bike in the rain is "No Bueno".
We wait til the afternoon, and mount up for the qualifier event. This event will dictate starting positions for Sundays main race.
My first impression on the ZeroS as we mount up, is that it feels like a dirt bike. Its silent. Power is instant, yet smooth. Like an RC car.
As we head out onto the track, I quickly realize that I will have to change my riding style. There is no ground clearance. Pegs are low, and drag too quickly. We take it easy on cold Pirellis....which later we determined wasnt needed.
We click off a few laps before putting our heads down and pushing the bikes for all they are worth.
Its eerie, riding w/o earplugs, hearing the wind noise whistle by...but no motor sounds. Knee Pucks are loud dragging on the asphalt when there is no other noise. Chris and I are able to yell taunts at each other in Turn 3 and Turn 4.
During the session, my bike has some mechanical issues. Apparently a constant full throttle overheats the battery and degrades the performance. Initially I saw 88 mph, then as the laps increased, it dropped to 66, 65, and then 54. It was dying. I tried to pamper it, but by then the others were gone.
Note on the little bike-a-roos...You MUST draft. drafting bikes are able to attain higher speeds in a group than alone. I was the lone gazelle....i got left for the lions.
Still, I was able to click off the second fastest lap of the group. a 1.40.xx Chris beat me by 2 hundreths, and the factory guys were a second slower. Track knowledge is Power.
Skipped the practice Sunday, and raced my ZX10.
Hopped on the ZeroS again for the main TTXGP event, gridded in second place. Were were behind the Brammp bike..the MotoCysz bike having had issues the day before.
On the start we all blasted off like broken toys...sloooow.
The first several laps were just the four of us jockeying for position...I think each one of us led part of a lap. Its not best to be the lead bike! At one time we went three wide through Turn 4.
As I set up to take Chris on the outside of Turn 4, Troy took Chris on the inside of Turn 4. As I decided to make the pass, I thought.."Id never attempt this on a liter bike at double the speed!" But on the ZeroS, it was confident and easy. Nudging him, as I went by we were both laughing.
Again, I had some power issues and began to lag back...just couldnt keep the motor from overheating. I had to shit it off and restart. I took last, but again set the second fastest lap, a 1.37.xx
The suspension was soft, but stable..the bike could be thrown and tossed around, absolutely manhandled. There were no gyroscopic forces to contend with. Turn, toss, lean, scrape, whatever. Changing lines was easy, and I felt that if the tires ever let go, it would be easy to catch it and briing it right back. Plenty of leverage with the handlebars.
Brakes, a single piston, single rotor front, was more than enough to slow the bike down.
For me, I would want a sportier chassis, longer duration and more speed. Other than that, the bike worked pretty well. I think a cooling system may be warranted as well....I know the Cysz bike runs one.
A very different riding experience, i think i learned some things about riding, corner speed, and body positioning. That I could challenge Chris, give some hope that I can challenge him on a 250 someday. (Since I cant convince him to ride a 1000) LOL
It was fun, Id do it again....and any factory ride is a GOOD ride.