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Thread: MCN tests the 2016 Zero FXS ZF6.5

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    MCN tests the 2016 Zero FXS ZF6.5

    Motorcycle Consumer News is a U.S. subscription-only monthly publication whose claim to fame is that it contains no advertising and is solely supported by subscriber payments.* It is similar in concept to Consumer Reports, but only covers motorcycles and related products and subjects.

    The September issue of Motorcycle Consumer News contains a fully-instrumented test of the two-battery pack FXS.* The test provides the following hard data: Measured top speed 83 mph; 1/4 mile in 14.90 sec @ 83 mph; 0-60 mph = 5.5 seconds; braking from 60 mph with the ABS on required 141 feet to come to a stop; the speedometer read 65 mph at an actual 64 mph; measured weight was 295 pounds.* Power generated was 44 hp and torque reached 70 lb-ft.* I have attached a photo of their dyno chart (which is something that you don't see very often in a magazine review of an electric motorcycle).

    What they liked: Great torque and smooth power delivery; Simple and efficient; Dead silent.
    What they didn't like: Range anxiety; Charge time; Overheating can shut off throttle.

    The review was generally positive, but the reviewer had an issue with a complete throttle shutdown when the motor overheated during quarter-mile testing. He reproduced the shutdown on two other FXS models. Also, the editor received a ticket for using an exterior 120V outlet for "EV charging" at his office building. (Apparently that is not permitted at the building where he works and the security staff unplugged his charger after it only charged 4%.)* He managed to make it home with the display reading 0% and that was the last time he tried commuting on the FXS. Range is listed as 30 to 70 miles, depending on how fast the bike travels.

    In general the editor liked the FXS, but felt it had a number of limitations for many types of riding. One limitation was overheating of the IPM motor when the bike was being hammered at the drag strip.

    After mentioning the thermal cutback when under full throttle at top speed the editor goes on to say: "The real problem was under heavy stress, after repeated quarter-mile attempts, the overheat condition shut the throttle down completely - the speedometer read 0 and the bike would continue decelerating. After coming to a stop, the throttle would not re-engage (with) the fist twist, but releasing it and twisting it again would bring the bike back to life.* I was able to reproduce this on two different bikes.* I feared an overheat could shut the throttle off at freeway speed, causing the bike to slow, without the benefit of a brake light.* This could lead to a dangerous situation for the rider.* Thankfully, I didn't experience it outside of abusive testing. Zero recommends a maximum sustained speed of 75 mph and I would encourage riders to consider their usage before choosing a limit."* (I assume he was referring to selecting top speed in the custom mode.)

    This a new editor of the magazine and I believe this may be the first time he has ever ridden an electric motorcycle before. The previous editor had performed several Zero and Brammo evaluations over the past four or five years and no doubt had more experience with evaluating electric vehicles - including allowing them to cool down a bit between quarter-mile runs.*
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    Richard - Current bikes: 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield 500, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.


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