The new SR/F is the most advanced Zero electric bike yet. With machines set to hit dealers in May, MCN grabbed the opportunity to ride a pre-production version of the £17,990 Standard model (or £16,490 with the £1500 government plug-in vehicle grant).
Boasting 110bhp and 140ftlb of torque (48.5ftlb more than a Ducati Panigale V4S...), the bike is powered by an all-new ZF75-10 motor with a ZF14.4 lithium-ion battery. Shod with grippy Pirelli Diablo Rosso IIIs and suspended by fully-adjustable Showa hardware front and rear, the SR/F is a cut above the existing models in Zero’s range.
The riding position is reminiscent of a conventional middleweight naked, with your legs wrapped around a fat, tank-shaped storage area. A seat height of 787mm keeps it comfortable over long distance.
One of two versions available, the more expensive £19,990 Premium model benefits from a faster 6kW charger over the conventional 3kW system, meaning half the charging time. You also get heated grips, a fly screen and aluminium bar ends as standard.
The SR/F uses Zero’s latest Cypher III operating system, featuring Bosch cornering ABS, traction control, and drag torque control from the motor. A specially-designed app allows the rider to customise their rider mode preferences, which consist of Sport, Eco, Street and Rain, as well as ten programmable options.
Sport is the most engaging, but requires a steady hand to prevent the battery draining rapidly. This proved to be problematic for the prototype on our 84-mile test, with the battery dropping from 90% to 25% after 50 miles of A-roads in Eco mode and the occasional twisty lane in Sport.
The Zero SR/F is a serious step in the right direction from the Californian electric motorcycle company; offering European roadster looks alongside quality components to create a luxury package that really works on the road.
Unfortunately, this brilliance is limited by the battery, which begins to rapidly deplete as soon as you start to wind on the throttle enthusiastically. This is a shame because winding on is the best part of the bike, with the huge dollops of torque providing an addictive rush that makes overtaking a cinch.
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