We rode an electric motorcycle that could change the way you think about sport bikes


    zero motorcyclesDavid Choi/Business Insider

    There’s a variety of reasons why someone would prefer to ride a motorcycle — even with its inherent risks and inconveniences — over a traditional car.

    However, much like the transportation industry, the term “traditional” has been redefined to include modes of transportation that don’t completely rely on an internal combustion engine — you don’t need to look long to spot a hybrid or electric car on the road today.

    Now Zero Motorcycles, an American manufacturer that produces electric motorcycles, is putting a new battery powered ride on the road with its 2017 Zero SR.

    Nestled in the mountaintops of Scotts Valley, California, is a company that’s trying to revolutionize the motorcycling industry by building sport bikes that run on lithium-ion batteries. The company says the Zero SR can deliver TK miles of range, while producing 70 horsepower and 116 foot-pounds of torque at the drop of a hat.

    No, that’s not an exaggeration or a ringing endorsement of the SR. It’s a fact. Unlike traditional motorcycle engines that require time and a suitable transmission to ride the revs in order to achieve peak torque, there’s no powerband on an electric motor, so you’ll have access to 100% of its power with a simple twist of the throttle.

    Now, I wouldn’t blame purists who stopped reading after seeing “battery-powered” and “motorcycle” in the same sentence — I had my doubts, too. Taking the SR out for a spin myself helped answer some of my questions, while also raising some new ones.

    Here’s our impression of the 2017 Zero SR:

    At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be anything special about the SR — it more or less looks like your standard bike …

    David Choi/Business Insider

    … That is until you realize the clutch lever is missing. With no clutch and no gearbox, there’s no shifting involved.

    David Choi/Business Insider

    Hazard lights for safety and etched logos on the grips are also a nice touch.

    Here’s the belt drive system. Relatively quiet compared to its metallic predecessor, Zero claims that the SR has 116 foot-pounds of torque, more than any 1,000cc sport bike on the market.

    David Choi/Business Insider

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider



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