Hell For Leather vs. Zero vs. Fox News

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Fox_Zero_Wes.jpgEarlier today I appeared on Fox Car Report Live with Zero Motorcycles CEO Gene Banman to discuss, in a fair and balanced way, the 2010 Zero DS, the company’s new dual sport electric motorcycle. We hit the usual points – range, top speed, etc — but also touched on technology the company hopes to develop in the future. How’s a bike with an 80-mile range, 80 MPH top speed and removable battery pack sound? >

Click forward to the 18-minute mark for the motorcycle talk.

Fox Car Report

  • VetteWrecker

    Honestly, I won’t be buying a bike with a 80 mile range and/or 80 mph top speed. That said, I will own a electric bike someday; I understand this is a iterative process.

  • TACO

    Hey Wes, you must get this all the time, but you look a lot like that dude who knocked up that one Kardashian sister. Anyways I love this site. Keep up the good work.

  • Viceroy_Fizzlebottom

    I think strictly as city bikes these electrics could work very well. I think it’ll still be sometime before your average rider is going to even begin to consider these as a replacement for their ICE counterparts.

  • http://Http://plugbike.com/ Skadamo

    80-80 will work for the dirt.

  • nataku83

    “How’s a bike with an 80-mile range, 80 MPH top speed and removable battery pack sound?”

    …Expensive? Seems like it would fulfill my commuter needs quite well, but would probably be so much more than a gas equivalent that it still wouldn’t be worth it.

  • CafeRacer1200

    If some think that people won’t buy a bike with only an 80 mile range, they’ve forgotten the original Honda Superhawk. The range was pretty close to that. My fuel in frame Buell is typically only 120 miles. If some think that people won’t buy a bike with an 80 mph top speed, they forget that lots of people buy or bought 250 Rebels, 250 Nighthawks and GZ250 Suzukis.

  • spectator

    ok, well it might be nice if it’s an 80 mile range @ 80 miles per-hour, but given the way these numbers have been quoted, it doesn’t seem likely that’s the case.

    @CafeRacer I agree that there is a market for bikes that top out at relatively low speeds, and with the way electrics deliver power, they will be criticized less than small displacement engines are because you can still get a wallop of “passing power” below the max speed.

    The problem still remains, however, that you have to wait 4 hours after traveling 80 miles to travel 80 more miles.

    I don’t know about the rest of you but if I’m taking a saturday/sunday drive on any of my bikes, it’s going to be at least 100 miles.

    80 miles sounds adequate for some dirt riding, but terrible for any road riding outside a dense city. Why cant we just have some small-displacement CDI diesel bikes??

    • CafeRacer1200

      You are correct. My Superhawk analogy was not great. I knew that about 5 minutes after posting. Of course, I didn’t take the quick and easy refill into account. Still, I think that densely populated cities (which typically have higher gas prices) are the primary focus….for now. Eighty miles is more than adequate for commuting and errand running. An overnight recharge works perfectly in that scenario.

  • Tony

    I think there is definitely a good market for the Zero. I would not want to give up my Ducati or the S1000RR but I could go for this for normal everyday commuting commuting to work. Most of it is on city streets at 30 – 45 mph and this bike would be pretty cool. Only problem I see is finding a place at work in the parking garage to plug the bike in. The removable battery pack would help that.

  • mattro

    my employer actually already has conduit buried to a few clusters of parking spots for plug-in electrics — for which, of course, they do not charge access.

    i like the thought of the man paying for the juice for my motorcycle.

  • http://ridethetorquecurve.blogspot.com hoyt

    How much recyclable content is in the Zero bike compared to Brammo?

  • gregorbean

    Wes, you’re awesome in those UPS commercials! ;^)

  • gregorbean

    A couple of funny spoofs from SNL on that guy:

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/113219/saturday-night-live-ups-1

    and the better of the two:

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/113218/saturday-night-live-ups-2

    But back to the topic at hand, I will seriously be considering one of these bikes when I have a farm down the road (metaphor for time, not distance). These bikes are perfect for commuting in the city, riding off road, or tooling around one’s country home. It will take a few years to see who else does this really well, ie. Brammo, or even one of the big dogs?? What ever happened to this?:

    http://jalopnik.com/5124385/honda-plans-to-build-all+electric-motorcycle-by-2010

  • NoRubber

    Please mom, can I have one?

    Something like this would be perfect for the 5-minutes-late race up to work, every morning. Plus, you dont need to wait for the engine to heat.

    Love your site (and your tie?)

  • gregorbean

    But back to the topic at hand, I will seriously be considering one of these bikes when I have a farm down the road (metaphor for time, not distance). These bikes are perfect for commuting in the city, riding off road, or tooling around one’s country home. It will take a few years to see who else does this really well, ie. Brammo, or even one of the big dogs?? What ever happened to this?:

    http://jalopnik.com/5124385/honda-plans-to-build-all+electric-motorcycle-by-2010

  • Willing to keep an open mind

    Agreed; the range is more than enough for trail riding and motocross. That’s where these things will first gain acceptance. Gene said they placed in 3rd overall in a moto against 250 4 stroke motocrossers (i.e. “lites class”) – that is impressive. In fact that is a milestone. The big 4 should be very concerned by that. Here’s why: Motocross bikes have gotten completely out of hand with their maintenance requirements, demanding top end rebuilds in less than 30 hours costing more than a $1000 to replace those fancy titanium valves. Gene said “Maintenance is like a bicycle, air the tires, oil the chain and go riding”- that is Nirvana.

    Gene, why don’t you start renting these bikes so people can try them out?

    As far as street riding goes, maybe these eBikes will never match the performance of supersport bikes. So what? There’s plenty of people who like casual riding, I think these things are perfectly suited for that.

  • Epyx

    $8995 is pretty reasonable! Hopefully the form catches up soon to the function. Not the greatest looking machine and unfortunately it does little to pop the motorcycle boner (as far as looks).

    I love the concept, this is exciting tech, and I look forward to the future developments. I would prefer to see a longer range but the current specs are pretty impressive.

    Speaking of looks, Wes resembles that douche from Creed….no offense Wes. Creed Guy is not a douche based on looks and you are both rather attractive.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I’m not sure how to take that…

  • Oscar

    “How’s a bike with an 80-mile range, 80 MPH top speed and removable battery pack sound?”

    Not good enough. Bump that up to 200 miles with battery packs I can buy at gas stations along the road, and you’re talking.

  • sidehackern8

    Hate to break it to ya, Wes, but that was who I immediately though of too. If it’s any consolation, I’ve been told I look like Steve-o.

  • Core

    I don’t know if anyone else is having this problem… but the video while it will play for me, the only thing I see is that blue motorcycle. That’s all that’s showing up.

    So I had to go find the video on Fox.

    A link in case anyone else is having these problems. The video on there site played fine.

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/4115245/the-buzz-about-electric-motorcycles

  • http://www.RockersCT.com R13

    This technology keeps getting better and cheaper and I look forward to having have a full electric street bike as a supplement to my current motorcycles.

    R*

  • ryan

    Loud pipes save lives,

    As cool as it is, lack of auditory safety measures will see heaps of people killed on these.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Sorry, but loud pipes do not save lives, they just make all of us look bad. The whole point of riding a motorcycle is taking personal responsibility for your own safety.

    • http://www.damiengaudet.com damien

      Loud pipes piss people (that are behind you) off. That is all.

  • Tim Skilton

    Hey Wes!

    You even LOOK like Kevin Ash!

    Good work, fella!

    Up the ebikes!

  • Nick

    “How’s a bike with an 80-mile range, 80 MPH top speed and removable battery pack sound?”

    erm, is the answer ‘silent’?

  • Nick

    seriously though. the only interest i have in electric bikes is the possibility of riding them where you’re not allowed to ride motorcycles with less possibility of being caught.

  • Nick

    for people who ride to get somewhere then there’s something in electric bikes. for someone like me who rides for the love of it, electric bikes take away a big portion of the enjoyment.

  • Nick

    biking is one of those rare sports/hobbies that appeals to all the senses. we’ve already partly killed off the smell side of things by moving out of two stroke racing almot entirely (anyone who used to go to the 500cc GPs will know what I’m talking about). Now we’re going to kill sound as well?

  • Willing to keep an open mind

    Actually Nick you’ll get the smell of ozone from arcing in the electric motors which is very similar to the odor of burning castor bean oil.

    I know what you mean though, I miss two strokes also, especially when I’m doing oil changes and valve adjusts.

    Howling exhausts will be replaced by the sounds of chattering chains and suspensions. Maybe you’ll even be able to hear screeching tires.

    The lack of noise will turn out to be a huge benefit. As the dirt bikers say “less sound equals more ground”. You could do autocross style parking lot races with these things without bothering neighbors.

  • Nick

    I agree with Ryan.

    I’d rather piss of some far left socalist worker party voter with a noisey pipe riding down the street than hit some poor pedestrian who walked out blindly cause she didnt hear me coming. Go ask the drivers who kill cyclists on a weekly basis london. (No noise – No attention)

    I’ve ridden the Quantya off road electric bike, yeah its fun. But its a novelty. If you want to commute cheap. Buy a vespa.

  • Willing to keep an open mind

    Usually I find the socialist types are the ones doing the passive aggressive assertiveness nonsense (blocking traffic etc.).

    Seriously though, isn’t that what the horn is for? BMW R series are quiet bikes and I don’t see them involved in a disproportionate number of accidents.

    Scaring off Deer from running out in front of your bike might be a legitimate argument for loud pipes. But in an urban environment they’re just impolite.

  • cWj

    First they “used to make cars for Mercedes….now they have their own car division”, then “Well, they used to make the F1, which was the fastest road-going car…”.

    What?

  • Tomas

    For everyone arguing for loud pipes, and how people will get killed under a silent motorcycle tyres, I have to say that having been around China this year, most (and I mean MOST) of the motorcycles there were electric (although scooters, I have to admit) ans I survived. At first you were surprised trying to cross a street and seeing one of them silently running into you, but hey guys, you know what? After three days you get used and start looking out for them!!! So, I suppose the conservation instinct of pedestrians more or less work, don’t worry for them!!!!