Zero SR/F review (2019-on)
- Electric naked motorbike that really works
- Realistic 75 miles of range
- High level of standard kit
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Zero SR/F is a huge leap forwards in speed, sophistication and recharge time over the firm’s previous generation of bikes. The result is easily the best road-going electric bike yet, offering truly comparable power, weight, handling and excitement to a regular roadster. But despite closing the gap on petrol bikes, for now the catches remain the same three issues: range; recharge time; and price.
- Related: Custom Zero SR/F by Untitled Motorcycles
- Related: Electric motorbikes coming soon
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So if you’re waiting for an electric bike which can do everything a petrol bike can, we’re not there yet. But the Zero SR/F marks another significant milestone on the way, continuing to push back battery-powered boundaries. Electric bikes are still coming, and they’re continuing to improve at a faster rate than petrol power.
The new SR/F is the most advanced Zero electric bike
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Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
With its Showa suspension, Pirelli tyres, new trellis frame and reasonable 226kg weight, the Zero SR/F handles as well most mid-sized roadsters.
But get too greedy with that addictive thrust and you’ll be looking for somewhere to recharge in as little as 50 miles. Ride it more modestly, on a mix of town and country roads, and it’ll manage around 75 miles. Stick inside the city limits and it lasts over 100 miles – but that does kinda defeat the point of having the SR/F’s performance.
Recharging time depends on how you plug it in. Use a regular three-pin plug and it takes four hours for a 95% charge. But find a three-phase power source, like some public charging stations, and this ‘Premium’ version’s more powerful onboard charger can cut that to just two hours.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The air-cooled AC motor, the biggest and most powerful Zero have used in a production bike, drives the rear wheel directly through a belt. The biggest improvement over previous Zero bikes is the larger, more powerful electric motor – rated at 110bhp and a whopping 140ftlb of torque. However, those impressive figures don’t translate directly into real-life speed as there’s no gearbox. The direct-drive, twist-and-go set-up means low-speed acceleration is muted, while top speed is capped at around 120mph – but in between, from 40mph-80mph, it’s extremely impressive.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The Zero SR/F seems well built and robust. There’s also a five-year warranty on the ‘power pack’ which should give some comfort.
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Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Standard version is £18,045; this Premium model (with a fly screen, heated grips and the powerful charger) is £20,045. Both are eligible for a £1500 government grant, taking that down to £16,545 and £18,545. However, the three-pin charging cable is considered a £445 extra, bringing the price back up to £16,990 or £18,990 (although it’s worth asking to get the cable thrown in for free). That’s a huge investment, but offset slightly over time by the rock-bottom running costs. A full charge is around £1.50 to £2.00, giving the equivalent cost-per-mile of a 300mpg petrol bike. Servicing is cheap too, as there are no fluids or filters to replace and no valve clearances to check.
Electric bikes with this level of performance tend to be about this price, such as the Harley-Davidson Livewire, although there are some cheaper electric scooters, such as the Super Soco TC Max (£4000), although that would struggle to top 50mph.
Instead of a petrol tank, there’s a lockable storage cubby hole – typically where you carry the charging cable – with a pair of built-in USB ports. A decent TFT display offers plenty of information, though your eyes stay glued to the ‘remaining range’ most of the time. The readout changes colour as you swap riding modes, too. There’s also traction control. The premium model also comes with a fly screen, heated grips and the powerful charger.
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.
|Engine type||High efficiency and power dense, 900 Amp, 3-phase AC controller with regenerative deceleration|
|Frame type||Steel trellis with concentric swingarm|
|Front suspension||Showa 43mm upside down forks. Preload, compression and rebound adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Showa 40mm piggy-back reservoir shock. Preload, compression and rebound adjustable|
|Front brake||Four piston calipers, 320mm discs|
|Rear brake||Single piston floating caliper, 240mm disc|
|Front tyre size||120/70x17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55x17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||-|
|Annual service cost||-|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||110 bhp|
|Max torque||140 ft-lb|
|Top speed||124 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||82 miles|
Model history & versions
2010: The Zero S is unveiled, soon followed by a DS (Dual Sport).
2014: Zero SR arrives with more power
2016: Zero DSR and FXS models introduced
The SR/F is an all-new bike, but is based on the firm’s DSR model.
Owners' reviews for the ZERO SR F (2019 - on)
No owners have yet reviewed the ZERO SR F (2019 - on).