2013 EICMA: 2014 Zero SR — Finally, A Fast, High-Spec Motorcycle

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2014 Zero SR

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Can this new 2014 Zero SR banish memories of bicycle brakes and no-name tires? Now with serious acceleration, real motorcycle components and a genuinely useful range, this new Zero SR promises to be a good motorcycle, not just an electric one.

Accelerating to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds and topping out at 102 mph, this new 67 bhp Zero should be able to keep ahead of both city and highway traffic. As stock ($16,995) Zero claims the 11.4 kWh SR has a 93 mile range in combined city and highway riding. Adding the optional “Power Tank” takes capacity up to 14.2 kWh, which boosts that combined range to 116 miles. Stick to city speeds and the Power Tank-equipped SR can reach 171 miles.

Zero SR
2014 Zero SR electric motorcycle

In other good news, real motorcycle forks, 43mm in diameter, are fitted for the first time. They’re adjustable for compression and rebound damping. The remote reservoir shocks are fully adjustable, but there’s no word on who makes either component.

Looking closely at the tires, we do see an actual brand name on them. Unfortunately, that appears to be “IRC” and the model looks like “Road Winner.” If so, then these are the same non-radial, bias ply items fitted to the $3,999 Suzuki GW250. Still, that’s an actual motorcycle!

 Zero SR
2014 Zero SR

Unlike arch-rival Brammo and its $16,995 Marzocchi/Sachs/Brembo-equipped and radial tire-fitted Empulse, the SR does without a gearbox, shedding weight and boosting efficiency.

Using a standard 110v home outlet, recharging the stock SR will take eight hours, while the Power Tank takes that up to 10 hours total. Those numbers can drop as low as 1.5 hours if you can find a CHAdeMO quick charge station.

 Zero SR
2014 Zero SR

“You will also notice a much more refined look and feel to the entire Zero product range as we’ve spent a great deal of time sweating the details,” states Zero Marketing VP Scott Harden. “This is evident as soon as you climb on board as our new cockpit layout and instrumentation package offers increased utility, a sleeker look and more aerodynamic integration with the headlight.”

More 2013 EICMA News >>

Related Links:
A Faster Electric From Italy: World Exclusive Energica Ego Review
A Faster Electric From America: World Exclusive Mission RS Review
Higher Spec, Same Price: World Exclusive Brammo Empulse Review

  • panthalassa

    “save up to x %!”
    “get rebates up to $ x!”
    “enjoy up to x mpg!”
    “and travel up to 171 miles on a charge!”
    when i’m king, i’m thinking that i’ll decree all manufacturers and advertisers recalibrate their optimism and replace “up to” with “not less than …”

    • http://protomech.wordpress.com/ protomech

      BMW S1000RR: “not less than 10 mpg” // at 180 mph
      Honda CBR300R: “at least 0 mph top speed” // when turned off
      Suzuki DRZ400: “can safely ford at least 0 inches of standing water” // with crocodiles

      Okay.

      • Zanpa

        That’s nonsense. Crocodiles wouldn’t stop a DRZ.

        • http://protomech.wordpress.com/ protomech

          Giant mutant crocodiles?

          • grindz145

            With lazer eyes.

  • Rameses the 2nd

    It looks a little like Yamaha FZ-09. In reality, you are not going to get more than 110-120 miles per charge.

    • grindz145

      Indeed. And where can you really get in 110 miles? PShhh. LONG LIVE THE GAS MOTORCYCLE!

  • Alpha_Geek_Mk2

    So the power tank adds 23 miles to the range. Can I attach seven of them?

    • grindz145

      I can just put real gasoline in to my tank! and I can go forever!

      All I have to do is change the oil once and a while, adjust the valves, sync the throttle bodies, replace the air filter, fuel filter, replace the coolant, put up with the noise ,vibration, and pathetic torque curve, bake in traffic and rebuild the engine once and a while.

      • Alpha_Geek_Mk2

        Call me old fashioned, but I’d much prefer “putting up” with all of that if it means that I can get 100% of the way to my destination. Maintaining a bike is a big part of building a relationship with it. Electric bikes are a very cool concept but I’m not convinced they have the same “soul”.

        • grindz145

          I hear you man same here. I gave up on all digital music years ago. I’ve been listening to only vinyl since 2008. I only ride motorcycles full or warmth and saturation.

          • Alpha_Geek_Mk2

            I lol’d.

  • Phil Mills

    Man. Why do these have to cost $17,000?
    I’d LOVE something like this as a town runabout (save the FJR for “real” rides) – 93 miles of range would take care of me for a week (give or take), but there’s no way I’m ever going to see break-even on a $17,000 second bike.

    • Kr Tong

      I can see 17k being a workable figure for someone who values their time. No more gas station stops. No more hours of maintenance. Im in the middle of a week-long engine rebuild after losing second gear and boy I wish I had one of these around for the meantime.

    • Dirtymopwater

      It’s the batteries. If we go off of the fact that it costs $2K to upgrade from the Zero S ZF8.5 to the ZF11.4 (numbers indicate battery capacity in kWh), we get a price per kWh of $690. That means the Zero SR (only available in 11.4 kWh configuration) is sitting on nearly $7.9K in batteries. Although still pricey, it should be noted that the Zero S ZF8.5 (the one with the 93 mile range) starts at “only” $13K.

    • Doug S

      I’m getting tired of posting the same thing over and over, and you guys are probably getting tired of hearing me too, so I’ll just say…..run the numbers. It won’t take as long as you think to pay for itself. I’m commuting on my SR for way less than 5 cents per mile….you can’t do that on ANY ICE machine.

      • Phil Mills

        I’ve read your other replies on this months-old thread. I restate my initial points:
        * This is a $17,000 motorcycle
        * This motorcycle has a max range of 93 miles

        The second point absolutely relegates this to “second bike” duties. The range isn’t there for a nice weekend morning ride, let alone a weekend tour. Heck, it’s doesn’t have the legs for my lunch-hour de-stress ride (30 freeway miles to the state line and back) if I still have to worry about getting to/from work on the same “tank”.

        The first point remains: $17,000 is a shit-load of money to spend on a second “toy” bike if it’s not going to be able to replace my daily-driver FJR. A couple grand on Craigslist for a 70MPG Ninja 250 makes a LOT more sense for my commuter bike.

        • Doug S

          Sorry, but it seems to me some of you people are working AWFULLY hard to point out what the Zero WON’T do rather than consider what it WILL do. No, it doesn’t work if you just want to take off up the coast (in my case) for a nice long ride. No, if you ride it to work you probably won’t have range to put in fun miles on your lunch hour. No, it also won’t be able to haul plywood home from the hardware store. All of those things I’m perfectly willing to admit to.

          If you want to think of the Zero strictly as a “second bike”, that’s your prerogative. I think of mine as a commuter vehicle that blows ANY other (even a used 250) out of the water in terms of operating/commuting costs (and if you’ll run the numbers you’ll have to concede that point), and yet also offers the kind of performance that makes most motorcyclists smile (and a quick test ride will have you conceding that point). It’s most definitely NOT a “do-everything” vehicle, but no vehicle is. Don’t focus on what it CAN’T do; decide whether what it CAN do is useful and satisfying to you.

          And if you’re wondering why I’m responding to this “months-old” thread, it’s because only now have I had mine long enough to give actual user feedback. This thread started long before the bike became available, after all.

  • Mykola

    I *really* want to justify going electric. The virtually-zero operating costs thing is awesome, the near silence is very welcome (I’ve demo’d one a few years back), range anxiety is a non-issue for me, but that 10k difference over an FZ-09 or similar? Ouch. that’s a serious commitment to make up the cost.

    • Justin McClintock

      Truth be told, given the price difference between an FZ-09 and this, it’s a gap you’ll likely NEVER make up.

      • Doug S

        Run the numbers, Justin. Compared to driving my car, my SR is going to pay for itself in about three years’ worth of gas bills. Compared to a small ICE bike, maybe more like 8 years…but I definitely plan on having my SR that long. AND I’ll eat more than a few Ferraris and Hayabusas for lunch along the way.

    • susannaschick

      I don’t think about the sticker price, I look at my monthly bill. It’s $411. My 09 R1 was $329, both for 3 years. So that’s $90 more in payments, but $200 less in gas. And I have MORE fun launching the Zero FX off every green light than I ever could on the R1.

      It just feels so ridiculous and douchey to give a liter bike enough gas to make a proper launch at a green light. In silence, with no clutch, it’s pure bliss. Especially when wearing pink, with blond pigtails sticking out of a helmet that reads “OMG SHOES!”. I just love doing that so much, I don’t mind that I need to keep the R1 festering in the garage for those rare rides that are too far for the FX. And I never have to stop for gas in the morning, which was always a problem with the R1, I hated stopping for gas. At 20mpg, I had to do that a LOT.

      • Khali

        Picture!

        • susannaschick

          gladly! here’s one a friend snapped as I was passing by, then tagged me on IG… http://instagram.com/p/aAaPgeoWGm/

          • Khali

            haha, nice! No pigtails but the high heels make up for it!
            Like we say in Spain: “Antes muerta que sencilla”

            • susannaschick

              absolutely!!! Bones heal. As long as I have a good helmet and abrasion-resistant gear, the rest is cake. yeah, pigtails take time. Finally did them for the first time at a Yamaha track day at Laguna. I’m sure it was 90% of the reason that dope tried to pull a Rossi/Marquez vs Lorenzo/Rossi pass in the corkscrew. In the B group. Pigtails are dangerous.

              • Doug S

                Susannas, I’m so jealous of you having the opportunity to run your bike at ‘Guna. I would SO love to run my SR there! To feel 106 ft-lbs launching 407 pounds of motorcycle out of the corkscrew….maybe when I die and go to heaven God will let me do that.

                • susannaschick

                  totally! Refuel is only $50, so it’s worth it to ship your bike from wherever just to do it. Go to speedventures.com to see when it is & sign up. I think it’s usually in June. I’m hoping to be on an SR this year…

                • Doug S

                  I’ll have to consider doing that, but I got a phone call from Zero a couple weeks back. It seems that somebody was racing his SR in Australia and had a meltdown. They wanted me to know that they may need to upgrade the firmware on my bike to keep it a little bit farther from dangerous temperature territory. The SR’s motor is designed to handle more heat than the S, but it doesn’t seem like they have all the bugs worked out yet.

                  Racing is a pretty risky business, no matter what, and I’m just not sure I’m willing to risk my baby just yet. I am looking forward to getting at least ten years’ life out of it. And at 51 yo, I may be past the age where I’d really enjoy risking life and limb for that adrenaline rush anyhow. What little adrenaline rush I need at this age is pretty well satisfied by showing random people what 0-60 in 3.3 seconds looks like.

  • Mykola

    I *really* want to justify going electric. The virtually-zero operating costs thing is awesome, the near silence is very welcome (I’ve demo’d one a few years back), range anxiety is a non-issue for me, but that 10k difference over an FZ-09 or similar? Ouch. that’s a serious commitment to make up the cost.

  • Sid Widmer

    Now….if they can only make them sound less like golf carts.

  • Sid Widmer

    Now….if they can only make them sound less like golf carts.

  • smokin88lx

    I could totally use one of these everyday but for 17k it’s going to take me 8-10 years to see any savings opposed to buying one of the Honda 500s. By then I’d want a new bike.

    • http://protomech.wordpress.com/ protomech

      Base 2014 Zero S starts at $13k ($11.7k with a soon-to-expire federal rebate). The SR is probably closer in speed to a 600.

      • Justin McClintock

        That 102 mph top speed would suggest otherwise.

        • http://protomech.wordpress.com/ protomech

          Sorry, should have qualified “street speed”. I assume someone interested in the Honda 500s is primarily interested in street riding, and closest bike Zero sells to a 500 is the S, not the SR.

          • grindz145

            I’m looking forward to gearing it down, dropping the top speed and getting an extra 10-20% acceleration. I rarely ever go about 75-80 on a commute.

            • Doug S

              Not really….the Hayabusa has 100 ft-lbs of torque, the SR has 106, and it weighs a good 150 pounds less. I’ve been riding mine (one of 12 in North America so far) for a couple of months now, and believe me, the stock gearing gives PLENTY of torque. I can shame any bike or any car this side of a Bugatti Veyron up to at least 70-80 mph.

              And then, I can recharge overnight and drive to work the next day for less than 5 cents/mile. There is simply NO other machine that can do that.

      • smokin88lx

        The SR only goes 5mph faster (85mph) than the S for sustained top speed according to their website which is far from what a 600 can do. The base S for 13k only does 55 miles opposed to 88 at a continuous 70 mph, basically not enough range I’m comfortable with. The Zero S 11.4 with a power pack meets my criteria other than price. I’d also be willing to pay more than what a 500 goes for given what you save on gas and maintenance, 5-6k more I’d seriously consider it but not 11k more. http://www.zeromotorcycles.com/zero-s/specs.php

  • smokin88lx

    I could totally use one of these everyday but for 17k it’s going to take me 8-10 years to see any savings opposed to buying one of the Honda 500s. By then I’d want a new bike.

  • John Tiedjens

    In homes or in vehicles why is alternative power made so cost prohibitive? If this was a standard bike it should cost no more than about 7K out the door. Its a shame…. I’d love to have my whole home on solar and wind but the numbers to do that make it an almost longer pay off than my mortgage. Boo!

    • runnermatt

      I think the price on solar and wind power has come down a lot in the past several years, but I’ll be honest I’ve never actually looked at the prices. If one were to go that route they could save a great deal of money if they skipped the batteries (for when it isn’t sunny or windy) and kept their house hooked up the grid. The power company supplies power when it isn’t sunny or windy and when it is and you aren’t using the power the power company buys it from you are a rate that is less than they charge you.

      That said, I don’t particularly care for solar cells due to the high cost and the fact that they only last about 25 years (if they don’t get damaged by a hail storm, etc. first). Wind power and solar thermal are the way to go in my opinion.

  • Jay

    I’m very encouraged that the range keeps getting better, and the components keep getting better. I want to be on board with this but right now, too expensive. EVs are going to be big, glad a few companies are leading the way. It begs the question, where are all the major manufacturers with their electric bikes?

    • grindz145

      There have been some rumblings of a BMW electric scooter for next year. I’m surprised to see nothing at EICMA so far though…

  • Dirtymopwater

    Very interesting to look at the fact that as soon as you put the 2.8kWh, 45lb “Power Tank” in it, 0-60 time goes down to 3.6s. It does make you wonder with the time would be if they offered a lower capacity ZF8.5 version like they do with the Zero S… total weight would be about 375lb, which should translate into roughly 3.1s unless traction limited…

    • grindz145

      That really drove it home for it me too. 45 lbs makes a profound difference in acceleration.

    • Richard Dort

      I don’t think they could put that powerful a motor/controller combo in a bike with the smaller pack and be considered a responsible company. You would wear the pack out prematurely. Of course that only means everything else on the bike would have a prayer of maybe lasting as long as the pack would then. Also, the Zeros motors and controllers heat build up are what limits their performance on the track, or really long and hard use on the street. I also suspect the pack would also heat up quicker causing the controller to dial power back earlier than most people would find acceptable.

      Hmm, add 45lbs and lose .2 seconds 0-6 when I’m going to smoke everything on the street off the light any way, but gain a whole lot of range. Yeah, I can deal with that.

  • karlInSanDiego

    Looks like a good improvement. I was really disappointed to see Cycle World’s recent article with observed mileages for Brammo and last year’s Zero S. (45 & 62 miles respectively, Average). Maybe that PowerUp tank is just what the doctor ordered.

  • John

    Getting better, but there’s no way it’s worth the price. Just like the first many years of flat panel TVs, which were lower quality and more expensive than tubes.

  • JT

    If I could get a motorcycle that runs on steam, I’d buy one tomorrow.

  • Richard Gozinya

    Still looks cheap. And perhaps I’m mistaken, but that headlight looks just like the one on the Brammo Empulse. Time for Zero to hire a real designer.

  • Reid

    One day, a decade or 15 years from now, electric motorcycles (or as they should properly be called, given the extant nomenclature, “motorcycles,” as opposed to ICE machines which will be by then be called “enginecycles”) will have equivalent performance – if not better performance – than the meanest, lightest, gnarliest bike with an ICE in every given category AND they will have equal or better total range AND they will carry a performance tier-appropriate price-tags. For now…every e-bike misses the mark in some way, even that Mission behemoth that supposedly rewrites all the rules.

  • Generic42

    Much like HDs e-bikes like this aren’t purchased based on the practical considerations, it’s an emotional purchase. “I want to ride, I want to support future technologies and I want to support the environment” not “This bike makes the most financial sense”

  • susannaschick

    exciting! With the same initials as some of my favorite racers, I look forward to riding the SR even more than the S…

  • Khali

    I still see electric bikes only as commuter and everyday bikes. When they have, lets say 300miles range i will start thinking about them as proper motorcycles. With this in mind, I see some design flaws:

    - Modularity: It should be designed AND SOLD as modular. For example you buy X frame with Y engine, and then choose how many batteries you want to put into it for your daily needs. Then if/when you want more KW/h, you buy another battery block and add it. Or in 5 years when there is that new battery with 50% more juice, you can upgrade. Being able to buy the amount of batteries that you need would cut down purchasing costs a lot.

    - Practicality: Since I first saw it on the Aprilia Mana (I know there were others before), I thought that having a helmet storage was plain genius and every bike should have it. Doing it in conventional motorcycles is a bit difficult, but in electric ones? Most wont have batteries up to such hich places, it would affect the center of gravity too much. So they instead have a big plastic tank-like thing. Put a trunk in it!!!!

    And if they added some kind of small lugagge carrier, it would be perfect. Just a small one where you can bolt a monokey plate and attach a top box. Because this electric brands are still too small to catch manufacturers attention to make fittings for them.

    I do really want electric bikes to be buyable and usable, they just need a little extra effort and flexibility to reach there.

  • Adam

    I hear Zero is having trouble supplying dealers with bikes to keep pace with demand…hopefully the new one is easier to manufacture!

    Ill look seriously at an electric bike when you can get:
    -Over 100 mile range at freeway speeds
    -Passing power on the freeway
    -80% charge in under 4 hours
    -Out the door under $10,000 after rebates

    I think they are 3-5 years out from that…

  • Doug S

    My SR was delivered a couple of months ago, so I thought I’d offer some first-hand perspective. First, it’s simply impossible to beat as a commuter machine. It’s rated at 236 MPGe on the freeway, 462 in the city, and those aren’t made-up numbers. I’ve run the numbers on my own bike (I’m an EE so crunching numbers comes easy to me), and I’ve exceeded both of those numbers in the real world. Without the power tank, this bike will deliver 70+ miles on the freeway, and 130+ around town, if you show just a modest amount of discipline with your right hand. Speed absolutely kills range on/in an EV, so if you insist on driving 75 mph on the freeway, you’re not going to get the same range….you must be aware of that fact or any EV is going to disappoint you. My daily commute consists of 45 miles of almost all freeway driving, and I almost always have 30% charge remaining when I get home, limiting my maximum speed to 70 mph. Re-charging overnight costs around a buck, compared to the ~$25 I’d spend on gas and maintenance driving my car to work instead.

    So the practical side of the bike works out beautifully. But it has a tremendously exciting side too, and here it is: The Suzuki Hayabusa weighs ~550 pounds, and puts out 100 ft-lbs of torque. The Zero SR weighs 407, and puts out 106. Yes, until you start approaching triple-digit speeds, this machine is a Hayabusa killer….and that’s without even considering the absolutely perfect throttle response. I realize most modern bikes are injected and have terrific throttle response, but an electric motor’s throttle response is literally perfect, and can only be approached, never exceeded.

    How many other vehicles can cost you less than 5 cents per mile to drive, and deliver performance that can shame any vehicle this side of a Bugatti Veyron up to 70-80 mph? None. Period, end of sentence. You can say the range is inadequate, or the cost is too high (though my bike is going to pay for itself in fuel savings alone in about three years), or whatever. But for the mission profile this machine is designed to meet, there’s nothing on any number of wheels that even comes close.

  • Doug S

    You’re wrong on just about every count. The Zero SR (about which I speak from experience, being one of 12 owners in North America) does 0-60 in 3.3 seconds; no production motorcycle comes close. That makes sense considering that a Hayabusa weighs about 550 pounds and puts out 100 ft-lbs of torque, where the SR weighs 407 and puts out 106. So no, acceleration is NOT “comparable”.

    My bike costs me about a buck to drive to work every day (45 miles of almost all freeway driving), compared to the ~$25 it costs me to drive my car, or perhaps ~$10 to drive another bike (like your FZ). So to make up the $8k purchase price difference will take me around 800 days — fewer than four years. You might want to run some numbers before running your mouth about NEVER making up the difference.

    Finally, EVERY machine has constraints and limitations. You can’t carry plywood on either the SR or your FZ. So no, the SR won’t work for some mission profiles, but what it does, it does far better than any other machine. I can shame Ferrari drivers, and riders of ANY other motorcycle, and I get to commute for less than 5 cents per mile. If I can’t drive more than 70 or so freeway miles per day, I can live with that. And I do, extremely happily.

    • Justin McClintock

      Wow….you don’t know much about the motorcycle market or what’s available. My SV1000S will hit 60 in 3.3 seconds and it’s over 10 years old. Most modern literbikes do it in well under 3. An FZ-09 should be VERY comparable to this Zero. Meanwhile, you’re making the argument for the the Zero relative to your car. At $4, you’re going through $25 in gas in 45 miles? So you’re getting around 7 mpg? Wow. What’s your car, a blown Suburban?

      Meanwhile, that SV1000S….I’ve gotten as high as 57 mph when just droning up and down the interstate. Again, I’d expect similar from a FZ-09. That’s less than $4 in gas a day….or 2000 days of commuting to cover the price difference, and that’s ignoring the cost of electricity for the Zero. Add that back in at your claimed $1/day and it’ll take even longer to make up the price + operational cost difference

      And as far as that last point about shaming other motorcycles…again, no, you can’t. Just because you seem to be completely unaware of what other motorcycles are capable of doesn’t make some Zero magically better…because it’s not. You clearly need to educate yourself on the rest of the market before making blanket statements like that.

      • Doug S

        No, I’m not the ignoramus, Justin. Did you not read my comparison between my bike and the Hayabusa? And no, there IS NO STOCK BIKE that can do 0-60 in 3.3 seconds, except in your fantasy world. I prefer to live in the real world. Besides….I have personal knowledge that my bike can eat a Hayabusa’s lunch…a friend of mine has one, and we’ve proven the point. He can’t hang with me from a standstill, and he doesn’t start to pull away from me until 70-80 mph.

        I didn’t say my car requires $25 worth of gas to make my commute. I’m going by the IRS allowable deduction for vehicle mileage, which is currently 56 cents/mile. Those are real numbers based on real performance of real vehicles, and it’s not generous by any means. It includes a pretty significant amount of maintenance that an electric vehicle simply doesn’t require — my bike requires only tire, brake and maybe very occasional drive belt maintenance. You may deny them, but the savings are very, very real. They’re stockpiling in my bank account daily.

        I’m not the one needing to edumicate himself. If you’re anywhere near San Diego, I’ll be more than happy to educate you what a REAL performance machine looks like.

        • Justin McClintock
          • Doug S

            It’s not difficult to put numbers on a piece of paper, or post them online. But how much do they really mean? According to that list, a 2012 ZX-14R has the fourth-highest torque they’ve ever measured, at 112 ft-lbs. According to Kawasaki, that bike has a curb weight of 584 pounds, giving it a torque-to-weight ratio of 0.191 ft-lb/lb. My bike has 106 ft-lbs of torque, and weighs 407 lbs, giving it 0.26 ft-lb/lb. How do you think it’s possible a bike with a 27% lower torque-to-weight ratio is going to out-accelerate the other bike from a standstill? Simple answer: it won’t.

            We can put professional riders that weigh 110 pounds on each bike if we want to. We can have them race on a cold, high-air-density day, on a drag strip that’s been coated with traction compound. Or, we can have amateur riders (like me and my Hayabusa-owning friend) duke it out on random city streets. We can generate a wide range of 0-60 times for both bikes. But in equivalent situations, with equal-weight riders of equal skill, my bike WILL outperform any production ICE bike from a standstill, up through 70-80 mph or so. Period. I believe it (and I’ve experienced it), and you should believe it too. Otherwise, be prepared to get embarrassed at some stoplight, somewhere, someday.

            • Justin McClintock

              I posted facts. You’re now arguing with facts. Clearly you don’t know that much about sportbikes, and you’re also defending your precious bike and any claims you have made about it regardless of what facts have been presented otherwise. I’m done here.

              • Doug S

                I’m not arguing with facts, I posted other facts which refute yours. And you’re right, you’re done here…because you’re wrong.