Zero Motorcycles upgrades bikes for 2011, adds quick-charge option

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Zero Motorcycles today announced its 2011 lineup of electric motorcycles that it will be displaying at this month's Dealer Expo. The company says it has made sweeping technical improvements as well as added a contemporary look to each of its four models, including a complete overhaul of the Zero S and the Zero DS (see photos of all the models below). Every model is now ”quick-charge”-capable using an optional upgrade that allows the motorcycles to charge nearly twice as fast.

For the first time on an electric motorcycle, according to Zero, riders can now take advantage of J1772 public charging stations by using an optional accessory. This offers riders greater mobility by giving them access to a rapidly growing network of charge stations, the company claims.

Zero says the entire lineup is equipped with upgraded suspension systems, a “more intelligent and rugged” Z-Force powertrain, more precise charge indicators, new higher-performance brakes and “industry-standard component features to provide owners with more aftermarket options.”

Other highlights to the product line include street-legal configurations of the dirtbikes and a new maintenance-free belt drive for the street and dual-sport models.

“During the past year, our engineering and manufacturing teams have benefitted from experienced new leadership, and the results are clear. In close coordination, they have been working overtime to design and build the world’s finest collection of electric motorcycles,” CEO Gene Banman said in a press release. ”Our 2011 model line is composed of exceptionally high-quality electric motorcycles that balance performance, range, weight, affordability and availability. We are excited to announce such major changes across the entire model line and to also be setting new industry standards in the way we report on our motorcycles’ performance specifications.”

Nearly every component of the Zero S and Zero DS has seen major improvements, the Santa Cruz, Calif.-based manufacturer says. Zero has increased the capacity of the power packs by 12.5 percent to improve the motorcycles’ range. Among the other upgrades are more robust wheels, a new HB Performance braking system, tires with better grip, more robust hardware, new aggressive profile foot pegs and an integrated ignition switch and lock. The Zero S has been lowered by 2 inches to improve street handling.

Zero Motorcycles has also made major changes to its off-road line. For the first time, the company will deliver street-legal configurations of both its trail and motocross dirtbikes, Zero X and Zero MX, respectively. “The ability to legally ride the electric off-road motorcycles on the street opens countless new possibilities for enthusiasts as well as a new market for Zero,” the company says. Street-legal versions include additional components such as headlights, taillights, side stands, dashes, sensors and different gearing.

Both the Zero X and Zero MX have stouter wheels, new tires, a more robust HB Performance braking system, new aggressive foot pegs and an integrated ignition switch and lock. Their motors are energized using an aluminum power pack that’s said to be easy to swap in less than 60 seconds. Zero has customized each motorcycles’ suspension internals to give them “a more fluid and compliant motion under rough conditions.” The Zero MX now uses a motor-mounted Z-Force Air Induction System to cool its new and more powerful Agni motor.

The Zero S, Zero DS, Zero X and Zero MX are all available now through Zero Motorcycles’ website and will begin shipping in mid-March. Each of the models carries a two-year limited warranty backed by an international service and support network.

Models and retail pricing:

Zero S
Built from the ground up using Zero Motorcycles' proprietary Z-Force power pack and aircraft-grade alloy frame, the Zero S has a range of 43 miles using the newly adopted Motorcycle Industry Council-prescribed “Driving Range Test Procedure for Electric Motorcycles,” which is based on the EPA’s UDDS testing, and it has a homologated top speed of 67 mph. The Zero S is priced at $9,995. It is eligible for a 10 percent federal tax credit, which effectively reduces the price by $1,000 to a total of $8,995. Some states and provinces offer additional incentives.

Zero DS
The Zero DS has a twin spar frame that is both rigid and lightweight. It has a refined suspension system and a rugged wheel set for off-road and street use. The Zero DS is priced at $10,495. It is eligible for a 10 percent federal tax credit, which effectively reduces the price by $1,040 to a total of $9,455.

Zero MX
Designed for smooth landings, the Zero MX uses a newly developed suspension system to absorb aggressive terrain. The model combines the Z-Force battery technology with a light frame design. The custom suspension system makes the Zero MX highly responsive while maintaining a power-to-weight ratio that Zero claims is industry-leading. Riders can purchase an additional power pack to extend their riding. The 2011 Zero MX features a more powerful Forced Air Induction Agni motor. Pricing starts at $9,495. A Federal tax credit can be applied to the street-legal versions of the off-road models if they are purchased with a second power pack. Some countries or states may offer incentives.

Zero X
The Zero X is made for technical trail riding. Using Zero’s Z-Force technology, the model features custom-valved suspension, direct-drive gearing and weight-optimized components. Customers again have the option to purchase an extra power pack. The Zero X starts at $7,995. A Federal tax credit can be applied to the street-legal versions of the off-road models if they are purchased with a second power pack. Some countries or states may offer incentives.

For more information, visit www.zeromotorcycles.com

Posted by Arlo Redwine