EICMA: Zero lineup gets a boost

If the USA builds another Great American Sportbike, it will probably be battery-powered.

Typically, electric motorcycle manufacturers don’t make a big splash at EICMA, but we saw interesting news from Zero and Energica at this year’s show.

First, Zero: The US-based manufacturer introduced its 2017 lineup at the Milan show, and there are several interesting changes. Zero has put its Interior Permanent Magnet motor into all its bikes. The proprietary IPM motor is designed to be more stable when the engine heats up, with the magnets integrated into a rotor (which has been redesigned to shed heat better).

Anyone who’s fixed a few vintage Japanese bikes knows that eventually the electrical systems degrade over time, due to the rigours of spirited riding. That’s frustrating on a gas-powered bike, but crippling on an electric bike, so it’s good to see Zero taking steps to ensure engine longevity. Zero has also announced a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty on the 2017 Z-Force battery packs — long-term reliability is the name of the game here, it seems.

Longer battery range is also something Zero owners want, and the Zero S and Zero SR ZF13.0 models are now rated for 160 km of highway riding, and over 300 km of city riding, if the rider installs the additional accessory battery.

The Zero SR, now with mo' powah.
The Zero SR, now with mo’ powah.

The SR and DSR (Zero’s high-performance street models) get a little more pep this year. Zero upgraded their engine controllers to 775 amps; max power gets a modest bump to 70 hp, max torque is a hefty 116 lbs.-ft.  The S (standard street bike), DS (dual sport), and FX (light dual sport) models also get new controllers, rated for 550 amps, so torque and horsepower rise for those models as well.

Most interestingly, Zero brought out a couple of new budget-minded models, the S ZF6.5 and DS ZF6.5. These bikes have smaller battery packs than the existing S and DS models, keeping cost and weight down, while also allowing Zero to include luggage compartments in the bikes, similar to what’s seen on the Honda NC750 line (and the BMW Scarver of yore).

For more details on changes to other bikes in the Zero lineup, plus Canadian pricing, check out the company’s website here. We must admit, it’s a little confusing to talk about these machines unless you’re in the know as to what all the names stand for. But a few minutes on the site should give you a good idea what the company has to offer these days — its products are getting more interesting all the time.


  1. It is interesting to note not a single electric motorcycle made it to Ontario’s Electric Vehicle Incentive program. I’m thinking not to many Zero’s have been sold here…. (Wait isn’t Zero a name of an airplane….?)

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