With sales of electric bikes, scooters and motorbikes surging during the pandemic, manufacturers have been keen to push their latest models.
And from California-based EV firm Zero, comes the 2020 SR/S.
Some electric bikes tend to look a little utilitarian, but, in my view, the SR/S really ups the game.
With its full fairing, uncluttered rear end and sleek, aggressive lines, it has the appearance of a no-nonsense sportsbike.
This model is based on Zero’s excellent naked SR/F – but the fairing makes it more aerodynamic, adding 13% to the range, according to Zero.
Surprisingly, despite the sporty looks, the ride position on the SR/S is actually slightly more relaxed.
Climb aboard and you’ll find you’re seated fairly upright thanks to wide, upswept handlebars and lower footpegs.
The seat is broad, comfortable and close enough to the ground to allow you to easily plant both boots on the tarmac.
Hit the start button and, well, nothing much happens – there’s no engine noise of course.
Twist the throttle, however, and things really do happen – and pretty quickly.
Torque is instant, with the maximum of 140ft lb achieved as quickly as at 500rpm and then maintained at that level all the way through to around 4,000rpm, with a top speed of around 125mph.
There are four ride modes – Sport, Street, Rain and Eco.
Each of these alters the power, the traction control and the re-gen braking (which acts like engine braking, but recharges the battery at the same time).
With no gearbox and no clutch, the bike is a doddle to ride around town at low speeds.
Take it out on the open road and the beauty of riding an EV becomes apparent.
Acceleration, at almost any speed, is… well, electric.
No need for any of that mechanical downshifting nonsense when preparing for an overtake, just twist the throttle and, whoosh, take off.
The SR/S weighs in at around 230kg, but it somehow feels lighter and easily manageable.
Fully adjustable Showa forks and rear mono-shock provide a plush but firm-enough ride.
Handling is reliable and confidence inspiring, as is the braking, which is powerful yet sensitive, and with the added reassurance of Bosch cornering ABS.
So, what’s the range?
Well, as with all EVs, it depends very much and how you ride it.
According to Zero, city riding achieves 160 miles and a constant 55mph will deliver 100 miles.
That’s a combined average of about 120 miles.
Motorway riding at 70mph will take you 80 miles.
Those figures are pretty impressive and more than adequate when you consider Zero’s research shows most commutes are around 20 miles and recreational rides around 100.
What about charging, I hear you ask?
The 3kW onboard charger gives a full recharge in four hours and the 6kW Premium version can halve that at a public charger (but not at home where sockets are 3kW max).
However, you’ll hardly ever be recharging from zero.
So, a 95% charge with a fast charger takes and hour and 20 minutes, and just an hour on the Premium version.
Alternatively, you could charge from 30% to 90% in just half an hour.
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In my opinion, all of this is perfectly acceptable and do-able, it just requires a different mindset about what riding a bike means.
Of course, £20k is a lot of money to spend, but there are very few maintenance costs (no spark plus, no filters, no chain, no fluids, apart from brake, no road tax) and the savings on running the bike are considerable.
A full charge on the 14kW battery at home costs less than £2 – so roughly 100 miles for £2. Compare that to the cost of petrol.
If EVs are the future, the Zero SR/S shows the future’s looking pretty darn good.
Engine: Air-cooled AC
Max power: 110bhp
Max torque: 140lb ft
Colours: Blue; grey
Price: £19,590; £21,590 Premium