ZERO S (2017 - 2019) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£50|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Zero S ZF6.5 needs traction control, but aside from this in terms of practicality and performance it has everything the urban rider requires and a range of over 50-miles. The major stumbling block, as always with electric vehicles, is price and £9190 is still a very high cost to pay for green transport.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The Zero handles well and as the ZF6.5 is lacking one battery compared to the ZF13 (which shares its chassis) it is a huge 43kg lighter, making it more manoeuvrable. The suspension is fully-adjustable but it does feel a little skittish compared to a traditional motorcycle. The performance is impressive and it will hit 80mph, but the lack of traction control is a worry.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The motor’ performance is impressive, but as electric bikes produce all of their torque almost instantly from any revs, and when you have nearly 80ftlb being transferred through a fairly skinny (and often cold) rear tyre with no form of traction control system, it can be a recipe for disaster. Especially with inexperienced riders at the helm and the slightly detached feeling you have through an electric bike’s throttle.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The Zero comes with a two-year warranty as well as a five-year warranty on the battery, which is claimed to last 291,000km to 80% charge. The bike itself is well built, and it has fully adjustable Showa suspension, but all the cost of the machine is within the battery and not the running gear.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
It is so hard to value an electric bike as £9190 is a lot of money for a bike that only has a range of 52 miles unless you spend another £3000 on a battery booster to increase this to 100 miles and then a further £2600 to go a few more miles with the power tank battery. And the fast charger is another £702! But there is no tax, running costs are minimal and you can always steal work’s electricity, so it is very cheap motoring after the initial outlay.
The Zero has ABS but not traction control, which is an oversight. The suspension is fully adjustable, and there are lockable storage areas in the ‘tank’ space and also next to the battery, and the bike can be liked to Zero’s smartphone app to download data and adjust the power maps. Overall, it is pretty basic, but feels a quality product.
|Engine type||Permanent magnet AC air-cooled|
|Front suspension||41mm Showa inverted forks, fully-adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Showa shock, fully-adjustable.|
|Front brake||1 x 320mm disc, two-piston caliper; ABS|
|Rear brake||240mm disc, one-piston caliper ABS|
|Front tyre size||110/70X17|
|Rear tyre size||140/70x17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||-|
|Annual service cost||£50|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||2 years unlimited, 5 year battery|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||31 bhp|
|Max torque||79.7 ft-lb|
|Top speed||80 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||52 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2012 Zero S ZF9
Zero’s first road bike to reach the UK. Made 29bhp at the back wheel, had a 7.9kWh (nominal) battery, weighed just over 150kg. Top speed of around 85mph, real-world range between 50-60 miles. Crude build quality, poor suspension. But it’s a start.
- 2013 Zero S ZF11.4
Totally redesigned with a new 102-volt powertrain and Zero’s own brushless motor. Battery capacity up to 10kWh (nominal), with power increased to 54bhp and 68lb·ft. Suspension and brakes still from the budget end of the spectrum. Real-world range up to 70-80 miles.
- 2015 Zero S ZF12.5
Battery capacity increased 10% to 11kWh (nominal), adding more range. ABS now standard, while Showa suspension and Pirelli tyres introduced for the first time. Power remains 54bhp, top speed claimed to be 95mph.
- 2016 Zero S ZF13.0
Redesigned internal permanent magnet motor offers more efficiency and improved cooling. Battery capacity up a whisker to 11.4kWh (nominal).
- 2018 Zero S ZF14.4
Zero introduce a version of the S with their largest-capacity battery yet, the ZF14.4 (12.6kWh nominal). Range of around 100 miles in mixed riding, or well over 150 miles at city speeds. Peak power up to 59bhp.
- Read our 2020 Zero S review here.
Owners' reviews for the ZERO S (2017 - 2019)
1 owner has reviewed their ZERO S (2017 - 2019) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£50|
Version: S ZF13
Annual servicing cost: £50
I love the stealthy, silent, silent running and silky smooth power delivery that's, erm, electric. The worst feature is the time taken to recharge with the standard onboard charger, but you know that when you buy it, and there are plenty of options out there to cut it down.
Comfy enough. It's no sports bike but quick off the line. Front brake could be better, but adequate.
Doesn't really have an engine! Torque is amazing.
No problems in 5000 miles of riding. Build quality is ok. Not quite as solid as a BMW or Honda, but nothing's fallen off!
It's expensive to buy but virtually free to run as I usually charge it at work. Only tyres really.