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
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£50|
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.
- Latest: Zero SR/F Quickstrike bodykit
- Related: Electric motorbikes coming soon
- Related: Best electric motorbikes
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
More from MCN:
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.
We don't currently have any Zero SR/F owners' reviews on the site. If you've already bought one, why not leave the first review?
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||£50|
|Used price||£14,000 - £15,500|
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)
3 owners have reviewed their ZERO SR F (2019 - on) 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|
I added Rizoma aluminum Italian mirrors, brake reservoir, mini LED turn indicators and now the bike feels more luxurious and fine. The bike comes with cheap plastic tank. I couldn’t upgrade that, but all else is solid.These changes give the bike a better look and feel for daily city use. These are the drawbacks up against the Livewire. But 500 pounds lighter and $10,000 lighter with a Ducati look.
Cushy ride if wanted for city or can adjust to more sporty settings for high performance. Brakes already discussed.
Simply love the unlimited power on demand with almost no sound. It’s a new age.
No problems. TFT display could have a better look. Rear brake underpowered and weak. Must stand on rear brake for it to have any effect. Front brakes great.
A major benefit of an electric vehicle.
Cheap plastic in many areas not related to ride or performance. I discarded what I could and upgraded. Underbelly solid as a rock.
Buying experience: Bought from dealer around $500 under MSRP
Annual servicing cost: £50
Ive a collection of bikes from GSXR1000K5 through Cagiva Raptor 1000 to classic Honda CB750 K0 but I keep coming back to riding the SRF. I spanner my own bikes and rebuild classics, with the Zero just keep it fed with tyres. 90% of my riding is under 80 miles so with everything cranked up 100% and A/B roads the Zero range is 85 miles but smiles per miles 100%. The whole plot is on stiff springs (makes sense at 226Kg) but 5,000 miles later and its all bedded perfect
Stiff suspension when new. I ride classics as well as GSXR so brakes seem fine to me. Generally never touch them as regen on 100%. Back brake is useless probably deliberate as regen so good.
This is what a drive train always should have been, same as the Tesla, drive one and everything else seems like a steam engine.
A tiny broken lug from the aluminium clamp plates meant the rear wheel on the non drive side potentially was never assembled correctly and could drift back under regen, result broken belt under 2,000 miles. Headlamp leaked in water, tank top lid ill fitting, front brake light switch faulty in the rain (all replaced under warranty). Over all quality good (better than DSR I had).
I hate paying this much or any bike but on balance its brilliant, I tend to be out at 4.30 am in summer, quite roads and best part of the day so the neighbours like it.
Headlamp would be great apart from black lime across spread on beam. Having the mode selection button slide side to side just above the indicators a bit daft but everything else is good, the display is excellent as is the lockable trunk/boot/froot in tank.
Buying experience: From Dealer pain free
the best is respond and balance, even is around 500 LB, easy to deal in low speed. I couldn't find the battery average yet, you are right once you switch to sport mode the battery range drop fast. Depends, I coming from a Zero S, it was awesome motorcycle for commute, I got a very good deal for mine, also Zero was offered an extra $1,500 for switch petrol to electric and they extended to electric by electric trade too. I will get 10% government tax return, so I paid U$17,500 plus trade value. I do if you have the money, I am boring person, no smoke or drink, so...
Yes, it. Is always my first option wherever I go. I was making no more than 50 miles ride a day this first week, I am not sure if I can go over 75/100 mile at each ride. The foot peg are in very aggressive position (I am 61 years old). I will cruise once before winter came, I will prepare all my stops, I am thinking 300 miles each way, I will update after the facts.
It is a blast, 40 years ago I used to race a YZ500 (1978 model), in sport mode no traction control I got same feeling. Here in Connecticut 65 MPH is the limit so I am not using over 85/90 and I have no intention to bringing to a track, to old to deal with tires changes so 124MPH it is plenty for me.
So far 500 miles all good, just a week old. I am going to service next week, will see.
I paid around $250.00 for the Zero S, I am not expecting more. I have two petrol bikes, one is a 1980 CB 750, if the carburetor needs work will be over $700.00, the other one is a 2017 SCR 950 Yamaha, with oil and inspection $400.00/500.00 The SR/F doesn't cost much to run. My charging cable and adapters where free, so I am charging in my garage and two Stage 2 station close home for free.
the fact you can connect with your phone and customize. I don't know, it is a naked model so I wasn't expecting so much but the cruise control is helping some times to use my right hand. I moved my Zero shield from my S and helps to deflect the wind. My tires are Brazilian made, we will see durability, grip is very good, not rain ride yet. If I am lucky I will have one more month before winterized.
Buying experience: dealer. $21,450 ($1,500 Zero promotion, $6,000 trade) February 2021 I will use 10% tax break.