MCN FLEET: Zero DSR has a lot to offer
I've had the odd go on an electric bike, but actually owning one, running one day in and day out is a whole different ball game.
First of all there's the lack of a clutch, of gears, of engine noise. That takes a bit of getting used to, but it's surprising how quickly one can un-learn 35 years of ingrained habits.
And once you stop reaching out for stuff that's not there, you really start to notice what's good about the Zero DSR. The drive is instant and the lack of noise and distractions allows you to really concentrate on just riding the thing. And it rides well.
At 190kg it's not heavy - certainly not for an electric motorcycle - and it handles well. The supermoto-style riding position is comfortable and gives a commanding view of the road ahead.
The blocky Pirelli MT 60 tyres grip better than you'd expect, certainly in the dry and because there are no vibes, the mirrors are the best I've ever used.
The biggest challenge is not about looking behind, though, it's about planning ahead. In Sport mode, you're lucky to get much more than 60-70 miles before an eight-hour recharge is required. Sensible riding in ECO mode can see 100 miles covered before the battery hits a big fat zero per cent.
A fast charge tank reduces charge time to three hours, but they cost an extra £2300. For the commute to work, it's perfect. For anything over 100 miles, it's an issue.
The Zero has a lot to offer and answers a lot of tough questions normally thrown at electric bikes. It's not that heavy, it costs an (almost) sensible £14,690 (after the £1500 government grant has been taken off) and a 100-mile range is not that far off its petrol counterparts. But... and it's a big but; It takes eight hours to charge. Even with the fast charge tank, it's three hours and not many of my mates would wait around while I charge up for the next leg of a fairly short (say 150-mile) journey.
If your riding consists of sub-100-mile hops where you can charge up inbetween times, this is a great machine. It goes well, handles well and offers something very different. Oh, and it helps save the planet!