Zero Motorcycles: Testimonials

Publish Date: 
Apr 20, 2009
By Arlo Redwine

ARE YOU FAMILIAR with Zero Motorcycles? If not, click here to check out our profile on the California-based maker of electric motorcycles. We also spoke with two guys who will soon market the company’s dirtbike and supermoto. One independent sales representative — Zero has reps instead of dealers — is in New York City. The other resides in a small town in Idaho. Neither has sold a single bike yet, but they had plenty to say in anticipation.

Green Machines in the Idaho Hills
Brandon Glanville is parts manager at Woodside Motorsports in the small town of Haily, “Idaho’s Hometown in the Mountains.” Two weeks ago he became a Zero rep in partnership with his employer. He has yet to ride Zero’s supermoto — the Zero S, which begins shipping in May — but he has spent some time atop the dirtbike, the Zero X.

“I’m really impressed,” he says. “It actually exceeded my expectations quite handily. They’ve done a very good job with the drive train and how it works. The products that can be based off the fundamentals of what they’ve developed are limitless. We’re at the ground floor of electric motorcycles. They’re not quite competitive with gas vehicles yet, but boy, we’re on our way.”

Glanville says he must sell seven or eight dirtbikes to break even on his off-road investment. Zero Motorcycles allows its reps to stock demo bikes only. The dirtbike and supermoto retail for $7,450 and $9,950, respectively, but dealers are given a discount for demo units.

The rep shows the bike; then, if all goes well, the customer buys directly from the company, which credits the dealer with a commission of 10 percent to 13 percent. Glanville hopes to sell 20 bikes per year. “Even if it’s slow for this first couple of years, it’s definitely the future,” he says optimistically.

What happens when the demo unit becomes obsolete? “I can always sell it for a pretty reasonable price,” he says.

Glanville has already shown the bike to his friends, though he had to wait for the paperwork to be done to demo it. “It’s a massive curiosity at this point,” he says, “so it’s marketing itself to some degree. I ride it down a trail, and not one person goes by without asking about it.”

Woodside Motorsports is near a ski resort, trails and tracks, so there will be plenty of opportunities for Glanville to demo the Zero X in the dirt. He will also let people demo the quiet-running bike in a parking lot. Zero provides training videos on how to do it.

Even though Boise is two hours away, it will be part of Glanville’s area. “So I’ll be going back and forth and getting together with various riding groups,” he says. (Continued)