Zero DS Test 12.5: little by little

Zero DS Test 12.5: little by little

Zero Motorcycles has reached a new milestone in 2015. Its range launched in 2013 finally receives the quality components that failed him: suspensions, tires and ABS braking. That deserved a test well, namely the new Zero DS. At Zero, it's a little Policy permanent evolution, typical of startups who occupy the segment of the electric motorcycle. The current range was launched in 2013, bringing good progress in terms of autonomy, but also performance, and especially driving pleasure. 

End of 2014, the brand unveiled at Intermot commendable developments: adjustable Showa suspension, braking (Spanish) J.Juan, ABS Bosch, Pirelli tires. For the first time in the history of the Californian start-up, these components were developed in collaboration with these suppliers (except tires). This quality is minimal given the very high price of these electric bikes. On the sidelines, other elements were renewed: rims, hollow wheel axles, redesigned saddle, mirrors, handles.

Autonomy also rose, albeit more slightly. 10% increased, the proposed battery capacities and range: 9.4 kWh (€ 13,990), 12.5 kWh (€ 15,990) and up to 15.3 kWh with Power Tank option ( € 2,400 and 20 kg heavier). In the combined cycle, a Zero S "12.5 + Power Tank" claims up to 298 km in the city and 50 km / h and 164 km at 90 km / h and 132 km to 110 km / h. This is a little less on a Zero DS, including aerodynamics is less favorable. Our test model, a DS 12.5, is announced for 224 km, 135 km and 108 km. Finally, they are always accessible to A2 license, power continues to withholding approval not exceeding 20 kW.

Zero DS Test 12.5: little by little

In real conditions, we traveled 139 km mainly in Eco mode, which some thirty kilometers in photo shoot and video (repeated stops and starts). Subsequently, we made predominantly of the expressway between 90 and 110 km / h cruising. This without abusing times, and anticipating some braking to harness the energy recovery. He left us 10% load and trip computer still showed 20 km of autonomy. This corresponds approximately to announced autonomy in use combined city / highway.

In Sport mode, we hardly less, or 130 km. The times being more consistent, it turns out that was drained under the handle to raise. By speeding wisely, not to exceed 50 km / h and using as much as possible of the engine brake, the 224 km claimed in town seem realistic. The full recharge takes about 8.6 hours a sector, less if you opt for one or two external chargers (expensive). Hold for CHAdeMO fast terminal is no longer available, only the adapter "automobile" SAE J 1772 still is.

Zero DS Test 12.5: little by little

Docile but punchy
No brutality at startup, electronic delivers the torque gradually. The force said it simply to get out of the flow. Past 30-40 km / h, the controller gives free rein to electrons. In Sport mode, an ample thrust propels the crew masterfully while the figures run frantically to the LCD meter. Depending on the setting, the next red light happens very quickly, cornering or jump in figure as a result of generous torque (92 Nm). The engine whistling sound is more strident, and covers the quaver of the belt. Yes, electricity is not absolute silence, but a kind of astronautics modulation. Be careful though, it is not enough for pedestrians and motorists spot you in the background noise of a big city.

In Eco mode, it is less spectacular than 250-300 of the same ilk: the power is reduced to 60%. There remains however enough to move efficiently on the boulevards as on expressway. The maximum speed also goes to 155 km / h to 120 km / h, the engine brake is a little far, an effect of energy recovery during deceleration. The Custom mode does not grow a beard ... It allows, through a smartphone application, adjust at will power and energy recovery, among other functions and information on the motorcycle.

Zero DS Test 12.5: little by little

In town
Common with the Zero S and SR, frame and this impression of riding a "small" bike. Figuratively, because the saddle perched 843 mm leaves us a tip foot to the floor (1.76 m pilot size). View the compactness of the set, you'd swear settle on a 250-300. The weight concentrated at the center of the motorcycle (battery) yet evokes a large displacement. Once past this contradictory sensation, the Zero DS is proving very well balanced and agile. However, it happens too fast in the direction of thrust, and the considerable turning circle requires a little advance. As with any self-respecting trail, city driving is fun, and it does not concern the height of sidewalks or paved areas. However, after a day on the handlebars, we wonder how well the saddle, still hard, may be new. Fortunately, the shock is more conciliatory, despite some firmness on large cuts (in factory setting).

On the road
The DS is quite different from the fierce S. Its geometry is more stability-oriented (caster angle, hunting and generous wheelbase, front wheel 19), perfect even at high speed. The response of the front end is "softer", registering more gradual bend, the behavior is more natural amount. It does not lack agility thanks to the large handlebars, from where one dominates a front perfectly rigorous. The bike stands obediently, and Showa suspensions serve very well this rigid frame to perfection. Once assimilated the response of the throttle, the bike is very pleasant on small road. Of course, trail tires induce characteristic vagueness of its kind, and no incentive to take too steep angle. Under the effect of torque, the back can still initiate a stall, but nothing to do with Kenda mounted on previous models! This new mounts fits well with ABS, discreet in his reactions and intrusive. I must say that the front brake J.Juan is not a powerhouse, even if you only good in common use. However the feeling greatly increased, and biting is more docile than before.

Zero DS Test 12.5: little by little

On earth?
And what about outside bitumen? The Zero is not a real enduro, if that sticks by its rims, and its transmission through toothed belt that does not like pebbles and dust. More troublesome, the electronic torque management is not very suitable for drift to earth. Open fully: firstly, the rear tire maintains its grip and patina of a sudden as a result of the couple's arrival in mid regime. This is obvious in Eco mode, a little less in Sport mode. There was always the "response time" on re-acceleration, and no clutch to help. Finally, the handlebars are too low while standing on the footpegs. In short, a trail for peaceful walks in the paths, not for sporting adventure. ABS is switched off on the DS, however, unlike the S and SR.

Expected, this development significantly improves the dynamic performance of Zero, and the perception that people have of electric motorcycle. Because everything is not a matter of life: taking care of their driveability, the Zero approach more than ever the quality standard we are used to in the thermal world. With advances in batteries promised for the next few years, the concept is all the more desirable ...
Discreet ABS
Autonomy city
Hard stool
Charging time
Feeling rear brake
Turning circle
Equipment: 9/10
8 / 10Vitesse max:
Acceleration 0-100 m:
Turning diameter:
Cons. average:
Autonomy: 158 km / h
5200 mm
140 km
Final Rating: 8.3 / 10
All image and info by;

I'm racing against me. As long as I come across the finish, I'll be okay. Ruben Studdard

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