How Fast Are Zero Motorcycles?

Since electric vehicles have taken hold of the automotive industry, performance has been a significant part of the discussion, and for good reason. Electric motors and high-output batteries make delivering powerful acceleration and top-speed performance easy. One of the biggest hurdles for electrification in the U.S. has been breaking into the motorcycle industry in a significant way. 

While Harley-Davidson has shown some impressive electric motorcycles with its troubled Livewire division, Zero Motorcycles put down a lot of the groundwork for the success of high-performance electric motorcycles by delivering some of the first sporty electric motorcycles with good range and fast charging tech. The Zero SR platform is the company's flagship road offering, featuring the naked SR/F street fighter and the fairing-clad SR/S sport bike. 

Both the SR/F and SR/S deliver the same 110 hp and 140 ft-lbs of torque from their Z-Force 75-10 permanent magnet AC motors, with the only difference between the two models being the increased aerodynamics of the SR/S. 

The Zero SR/S and SR/F blast past 100 mph

According to Zero, the SR/F and SR/S both reach speeds of up to 124 mph and while this isn't particularly impressive in the motorcycle world, it's still plenty enough to get yourself in trouble. Where the SR/S and SR/F platforms come to life — as with most electric motorcycles — is in acceleration. It should also be noted that Zero acknowledges the flaws in electric vehicle technology by listing both the peak and sustained top speed. Unsurprisingly, the sustained top speed of the Zero SR/F and SR/S is 110 mph — 14 mph less than the peak speed. Running constantly at full speed will also significantly diminish your range. Going from 55 mph highway riding to 70 mph decreases range from 144 miles to 93 miles. 

While Zero doesn't publish any acceleration numbers for the SR/S or SR/F, tests by SpitfirePT YouTube show the SR/F zipping to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in around 3.7 seconds. 

More interestingly, the tests also show that the different riding modes — Eco and Rain mode — rein in the power output significantly, stretching the same run out to over six seconds. This makes sense, as all that instant torque that makes electric motors so fun to use becomes your worst enemy when traction is scarce. 

Zero's slowest motorcycle is a dirt machine that reaches 85 mph

The Zero SR/F and SR/S street bikes are made to go fast, but the rest of the company's lineup is a mix of practicality and diversity, featuring several dual-sport bikes, a commuter, and a supermoto. Zero's slowest electric motorcycle is the Zero FX, a lightweight, dirt-ready dual-sport with a top speed of just 85 mph. 

Sharing the same platform is the Zero FXE supermoto, which is the FX with different wheels and the same top speed. The larger DS dual-sport and its street-oriented platform partner, the S, fare better, topping out at 98 mph, while the upgraded DSR reaches 102 mph. The SR street bike steps things up marginally, going as fast as 104 mph, while the DSR/X adventure bike almost competes with the SR/S and SR/F, reaching as much as 112 mph.

When it comes to electric motorcycles, it generally comes down to a trade-off between a more powerful motor for higher speed or increased range. As soon as you add more battery capacity to increase the range on an electric motorcycle, the weight increases significantly. This is perfectly demonstrated by the comparison between the 46-hp, 289-lb Zero FX with only 91 miles of range, and the 110-hp, 500-lb Zero SR/F with 187 miles of city range.