Details: 2009 Zero S electric supermoto

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We’re really impressed with the attention Zero has shown to manufacturing and process on the new S. While many have wrongly criticized the Zero X for its use of seemingly under-built BMX componentry, the 2009 Zero S electric supermoto is a study of strength through deception and reduction. According to Neal Saiki, the giant twin-spar aluminum chassis with Fox rear shock only weighs 28 lbs. Moving beyond the incredible lightness, the beautifully crafted wields are all the more impressive when considering the hollow chassis’ walls
are a mere 80 thousandths of an inch.>

The giant hollow tubes used in both the chassis and the swingarm are visually powerful not to mention incredibly stiff, helping give the Zero a strong connection with American metal working. Other notable elements are the front brake disc with heat-wicking nodes and the upside down forks with lighter aluminum sliders instead of convention steel. Then there’s the thick-gauge polypropylene non-toxic body plastics, malleable yet dense enough for withstanding multiple hits.

Naturally, the partially exposed modular battery that can be upgraded as technology advances is great as well, but the giant logos lean a bit heavy on the tech nerd side. However, since Zero prefers natural, industrial finishes on all their surfaces, we’re thinking those stickers come off pretty easily without damage.

  • David S

    Grant, is there anyplace to see the bike up close in NYC?

  • Grant Ray

    Sorry, David. It’s already back on the west coast.

  • hoyt

    I like the new technology, but it is going to take awhile to get used to not having the audible sound (not for safety) but for enjoyment. Moreover, it is going to take longer to get used to the lack of mechanical bits on display. Admiring the heart of a cafe bike in its nakedness is part of the ownership experience.
    Body panels concealing a battery box and an electric motor won’t do it. Yes, that is vain, but an undeniable part of the deal, especially after a great ride.

    Are we entering an era that not only is progressive from many perspectives, but also bland? This could be analogous to the automotive move to better aerodynamics in the early 80′s. The external aesthetics of the common automobile haven’t been quite the same since.

    Perhaps aesthetic beauty for electric bikes will not come from what is present, but with what is missing?

    And, maybe algae fuel will be available until I check out.

  • jt

    Is it actually faster than my Duke? Don’t pull any punches, really, is it fast? –JT

    • Wes Siler

      Up to 60mph, it probably is. I’ll wait till I ride it in the dry, when I can get all that torque down, before saying so definitively though.

    • aoelus

      I assume you mean a 690, same as mine. Peak torque is 67 Nm@5500rpm and 65 hp. moving 330 lbs.
      The Zero is SUPPOSED to generate 84.6 Nm and 31 hp
      moving 220 lbs. which works out to 1924 rpm for the ‘lectric motor. Make of that what you will.
      The swing arm looks cheesy and homemade to me. the Duke’s a work of art. They should display it at MoMA.

  • iW

    Noise is one thing that keeps cropping up everytime I talk to someone about electric bikes. I haven’t had the opportunity to ride one yet but I’m guessing there must still be tyre noise, wind noise, drivetrain noise etc.

    People seem to be under the impression these things are silent- just how much noise sensation do you get whilst riding?

    • Grant Ray

      You guessed right, iW. The most prominent sound from the bike is the drivetrain, followed by tire noise, both of which are consistently low. That’s it from the bike. Wind noise in your helmet varies with speed. It’s great to not have to worry about earplugs or damaging hearing.

      • hoyt

        “It’s great to not have to worry about earplugs…”

        Earplugs are used to minimize the damage from the low frequency noise from being out in the wind, so an electric bike does not mean the rider should not wear ear plugs

  • Enthusiast

    Loud pipes save lives….. errrwww I mean green?

  • Joon

    Wes/Grant- looking at the images you posted, I don’t see a clutch. I like to be able to modulate my speed with the clutch, plus (on the dirt bike side) wheelies/lofting your front tire is an essential element. Do you guys anticipate a problem by not having a clutch? Is it possible do a controlled wheelie with the Zero?

    • Wes Siler

      There is no clutch, electric motors don’t require one. The conditions were too slippery for me to attempt any hijinks, but Grant was able to wheelie the Zero X dirt bike, since this is faster, it shouldn’t be a problem.

      You just control everything with the throttle. It feels unnatural at first, but it works just fine.

      • modelasian

        Because of “too much” torque off the line, and no clutch, I think adjustable throttle twist/power ratios would make it easier to get used to.

    • Grant Ray

      The thing to remember at lower speeds is that all that torque is always available, so bringing up the front in the dirt is easy. Instead of clutch control, the Zeros are all about throttle control and braking like a 2-stroke. It’s eery at first, especially with the silence, but after that you just treat it like a bike with another kind of power delivery. So the parameters of how to get the best performance out of it need to be adjusted, but not much more than going from 4-strokes to 2-strokes.

  • aoelus

    With 84.6Nm on tap and a 220# bike, this thing is a rocket up to top speed. Not for the inexperienced. I don’t suppose the FIM would certify it for their Supermoto series but assuming speeds over 60 mph weren’t needed, it would be hard to beat.

  • coho

    “Too much torque”…I recognize all those words, but in that order they don’t make any sense.