I live in the sticks around Bath and regularly go to a gym. It’s about a nine mile round trip. Bath is a hateful city to drive around, so I tend to use a motorcycle (comfortable 15 minutes to the gym vs variable up to 30 in a car). I’ve been increasingly irritated by the fact it costs considerably more to run my bikes (BMW R1100RT or R1200RT) than it does my (partner’s) electric car and have been thinking about an electric bike for some years.
My journey to town includes about a mile on an A road (50mph) and then another mile in a 40mph zone followed by two and a bit miles in the city’s 20mph limits. Whilst the A road’s limit is 50 it’s often driven at 60+ so there was no way I’d consider anything that does less than (say) 60mph.
I reviewed what there was on the market and apart from some exotica there were a whole bunch of cheap, low power Chinese devices and an American company called ‘Zero’ that’s been in the market for ten or so years. I couldn’t see myself happy with one of the cheap-Chinese bikes (concerns about quality of braking components, wheel bearings etc) so looked at the Zero range.
They have a smallish, enduro styled bike (the FXS) that has a 7.2kWh battery which I settled on, top speed around 85mph and range varies depending on speed (as per any electric vehicle) but between 50-75 miles seems likely.
It accelerates fast, very fast in fact, and is light (130kg which is about 100kg less than my touring bike- BMW R1200RT). It’s very light and responsive to ride, feeling like the dirt bikes I used to ride back when I didn’t worry so much about what happened when I fell off (I’ve broken both legs twice, a shoulder blade, a wrist and an arm plus numerous ribs and some fingers over the last 45 years or so…)
It’s an additional bike rather than a replacement but I expect it to be the ‘daily use’ bike. I’d like to justify it as a CAPEX to save OPEX exercise but I’d probably be lying… I still suspect it will save me close to a grand a year in petrol though; assuming no unexpected repair costs.
Almost silent in operation, slight whirr from the drive belt (another first for me, used to either chain or shaft drive). It sounds, sad to admit, rather like an old milk float…
Thanks for posting that, I’d not heard of electric motorcycles.
I was looking at some electric cycles the other night, potentially for travelling to work.
If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle presumably you’d need appropriate training registered by the DVLA, as well as road tax and insurance.
How easy are such things to secure from theft when parking?
With the accidents you’ve listed a milk float would be safer.
It’s about 130kg in weight so it’s about as easily stolen as a normal (albeit small) motorcycle which are often just lifted into vans. Like a bike you can always chain them up but today’s battery angle grinders can cut through a lot of security in very little time! I always try to park in public places and rely on thieves not wanting to be observed in their work as the main protection.
It needs a full motorcycle license (although there is a version with a restricted power output that can be ridden on a learners license) and then of course you’ve got insurance to pay for (in my case about £75 for the year TPF&T). Like other EVs the bike’s road tax is ‘free’ until 2025 when I think it will be around £40 a year (my larger touring bikes are about £110 a year).
Many of those were off-road injuries.
The on road ones were all done in my 20s and 30s when I was a little less measured… I’ve not had a (bike) accident on the road for almost 25 years; must admit I’m not keen to have any more!
Be cheaper to build your own gym!
I have a Zero dealer here and have been watching the electric bike space. The range is pretty good now but I’m waiting for it to get better at the current price points. Having an electric car for local miles makes a lot of sense. Tesla’s having issues out here with the extreme heat. The cars don’t perform well over 110F. Not quite ready to jump in that market yet so we’ll stick with our traditional ICE and hybrid vehicles for now.
did you look BMW CE0 and 02 ? Nice electric driven stuff at BMW prices of course.
Also worth looking at the Harley Davidson Livewire.
Tasty looking piece of kit
I looked at them and swiftly discounted them as being ‘scooters’ which I’ve a bias against having always ridden motorcycles. I guess the difference is mostly mental and possibly a little narrow minded on my part. I suspect there are differences with the gyroscopic effect based on wheel size but the differences are probably minor and easily coped with.
I accept it’s probably where I end up when my legs/hips don’t allow me to swing a leg over a motorcycle or take its weight but until that day… I’ll be sticking with motorcycles whatever the engine configuration!
I’ve been running electric cars (or at least my partner has, I’ve still got an old Subaru Forester) for about six years and the bike was for me the next logical step. Frankly I wouldn’t go back to an ICE vehicle for the main run-around but the vast majority of our journeys are sub-50 miles each way, often less. There’s always the Subaru for any longer journey.
I had bikes up until my early thirties, each one bigger and faster than that previous. As I remember they all suffered from the same problem in that they all had only two speeds, stopped or stupidly fast. Fortunately I realised the inevitable outcome which, as luck would have it, stayed just over the horizon long enough for me to know it was literally a life or death decision. I had a very, very near miss and I’ve never been on one since.
I do miss it though. Nice Goldwing on a summer’s day. Nowhere to get to and all day to do it.
Yeah, I live in the US SW so we have a need to travel much longer distances. There’s a place for electric vehicles in our use but they can’t be relied on solely at this point and we’re quite a ways out from that day.
I love the looks of Maeving - made in UK but I think top speed below what you’re looking for.
I have been running a Silence S01 for more than two years now. Its range is about 50 miles, more if you use the slower modes. In fastest mode it will do 62 mph and there is a newer model which is slightly faster. It has the scooter advantage of very good underseat storage and the battery can be removed for charging indoors if preferred. Takes just over 600 watts of normal three pin mains and charges in 7 hours maximum.
It is a Spanish company but I expect some of the components will be sourced from China. The same machine can be bought through SEAT showrooms under a slightly different name. The UK importers are based near Solihull.
I just sold my Kawasaki ZX9R as I’m 67 now and wasn’t getting out on it enough. It was great fun though and I do miss it. I had it for 15 years and only came off it once.
But of course in my early days, like yourself, it would happen more often. My buddy from Manchester always said, if you’ve never come off your motorbike, you’re not riding it right. Probably some truth to that …
I bought a new ZX9R in 1999.
Great bike, light and fast. I think the only faster bike I ever owned was the Suzuki GSXR-1000 that replaced it.
I still regret selling both of them (over 20 years ago now…)
Very nice! Mine was a 1998, which was the year that they did the major redesign on it. They changed a few things in 1999, but they got most of it right in 98. And yes, excellent bike, very enjoyable ride. Dry weight was just under 400 lbs. Very stable and comfortable enough to ride for long hauls.
I just sold mine last year to my son-in-law, and like you I miss it. Mine was Kawasaki green, which I believe made me quite visible to other drivers as I never had an issue with being cut off or invisible. However, that may also be due to how I ride. I always try to make myself as visible as possible.
Anyway, happy riding and rubber side down.
I also used have similar beasts.ine were the ZX10 and the GSXR1100 Katana.
Loved them both.
The katana got me banned back in the day for mega speeds
Great story, if you take a look at the Isle of Man TT races they started electric racing in 2010 only one lap though (1lap is 37 miles) I think they stopped the event in 2018/19 because of lack of development and interest in the event
Anyway the last race race was 121 mph for the lap and took 18 mins with Michael Ritter taking the win
So watch your speed in those 40’s and 50 zones lol