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Thread: 2012 ZF9 Zero S review

              
   
   
  1. #1
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    2012 ZF9 Zero S review

    Yesterday I picked up a new 2012 ZF9 Zero S to add to my collection. Yes, I know it is heresy here to pay someone else to make an electric motorcycle and then just ride it, instead of building one yourself, but frankly, I don't have the skills or knowledge necessary to roll my own - and I do like to ride. Anyway, attached are photos of my new bike. I have tried to show specific details that might prove interesting to someone.

    So far I am satisfied with the Zero S. I have had it up to an indicated 85 mph without really trying, but I think the speedometer is at least 10% optimistic, though. The bike's power gauge contains 11 bars when the batteries are fully charged and a ride today resulted in using 4 bars riding 30 miles, roughly 10 miles at freeway speeds, 10 miles at expressway speeds and another 10 miles in the 30 mph range. So a practical maximum range would seem to be about 80 miles in suburban riding. That was in "Sport" mode. Eco mode should give a slightly longer range and if I try the 40 mile trip to Alice's Restaurant some day I might just make it home if I use Eco mode and ride slowly (my trip includes about 3000 feet in elevation of climbing).

    I added the Zero S to my multi-bike insurance policy today and was hit with a bill of $29 for the entire year. This is from Progressive Insurance and I have only 250K/500K liability insurance, being "self-insured" for collision, comprehensive and uninsured motorist coverage.

    The bike is currently charging at a rate of 7.5 amps as measured by a Kill A Watt meter. A full discharge is going to take a fair number of hours to recharge. Last night I used two bars to come home from the motorcycle shop and the bike took 2.45 kWh to finish charging and balancing. Any other questions?
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    Here are more photos, since I am limited to five per post.
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    Moderator ZoomSmith's Avatar
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    Awesome Richard. Congratulations.

    I would be interested in your impressions of the belt drive.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZoomSmith View Post
    Awesome Richard. Congratulations.

    I would be interested in your impressions of the belt drive.
    I like the belt drive so far. It is very quiet and has no lurching when accelerating or decelerating. There is a special gauge that is necessary to check the belt tension and I ordered one. The belt tension is adjusted by moving the motor mount, not the rear wheel.

    Right now I am pondering if I should take the Zero up to Alice's Restaurant, an 80-mile round trip, up and down some big hills on a cold and windy (but clear) morning. If my backbone stiffens up some more, the bike will be in their parking lot between 8:30 and 11:00 am, if not, I will be riding my FZ1.

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    Richard , congratulations on your newest acquisition. I previously had an account on this forum - got deleted when the forum crashed. Since then, I have been regularly following(reading) the discussion here, I just did not rejoin until today. Thanks for the detailed post and pictures. I have read with great interest your concerns about the seat height of of the ZF9. I have a 30' inseam (I am 5ft 5'). Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe you had stated elsewhere that you are of similar height. So, can you please tell me what if anything you have done to adjust/change the the seat height ? Is the riding position comfortable ? Are there still some things that you would add to the "wish they fixed it" list ? Frankly, this(seat height/rider comfort) is one of the major items I would like clarified before I can consider purchasing this bike. I would truly appreciate your insight. Again, congratulations.
    Last edited by elmotofan; 05 February 2012 at 1436.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by elmotofan View Post
    Richard , congratulations on your newest acquisition. I previously had an account on this forum - got deleted when the forum crashed. Since then, I have been regularly following(reading) the discussion here, I just did not rejoin until today. Thanks for the detailed post and pictures. I have read with great interest your concerns about the seat height of of the ZF9. I have a 30' inseam (I am 5ft 5'). Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe you had stated elsewhere that you are of similar height. So, can you please tell me what if anything you have done to adjust/change the the seat height ? Is the riding position comfortable ? Are there still some things that you would add to the "wish they fixed it" list ? Frankly, this(seat height/rider comfort) is one of the major items I would like clarified before I can consider purchasing this bike. I would truly appreciate your insight. Again, congratulations.
    Thanks for the kind regards, elmotofan.

    I do have a 30" inseam and I can place the soles of both boots solidly on the ground. My bike has the stock height seat. The seat is more comfortable than I expected. It is better than the stock seat on my BMW F650GS, for example and it is perfectly satisfactory for riding to the limits of the battery pack. Of course, Zero offers a Corbin "low" seat for $$$, but my dealer offers to cut down the stock seat and give it a bit of a dish under your butt. That is a good solution and well worth the money if you need a lower seat height, but right now the stock seat seems fine to me. I might add that the DS seat height was noticeably taller and it was all I could to to get the balls of my feet on the floor when I sat on the demonstrator. The "S" is a big improvement over the DS in that respect.

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    This morning I stiffened my spine, swallowed my range anxiety, and rode up to Alice's Restaurant on my Zero. I put the bike in Eco mode and rode slowly where I could. I only rode about 2 miles on the freeway at 60 mph and the rest of the time I was on secondary roads at 35-40 (indicated), passing the occasional bicycle rider. I rode down the Peninsula to get there, which meant that I froze my butt off on Canada Road, between Hwy 92 and Woodside Road. It must have been close to freezing along that stretch. Fortunately, it started to warm up to the high 40's by the time I reached the top of the hill (1500 feet above sea level) via Highway 84 (Woodside Road). I only used 4 bars of the 11 on the energy gauge going the 36 miles to Alice's.

    While I was there, I asked the owner if I could recharge from the outlet behind the gas station and he said it would be OK. I recharged for 2.5 hours and bumped the gauge up to 10 bars. Photos attached of the bike charging behind their "no parking" sign.

    On the way home, I rode up Skyline at 45 mph and used up two bars by the time I reached Skaggs Point (about 2500 feet elevation). The rest of the way was downhill to Highway One and back home. That was a shorter route and I used a total of 4 bars riding the 31 miles back home at an average of about 45 mph. If I had to, I could have ridden the entire 67 mile round trip and still had a little juice left. I estimate that the entire trip used 10 bars, meaning that 70 miles would probably be about the limit. Of course, it all depends on how smooth you can be with the throttle - you mileage will differ for sure. The 3-bar top off at Alice's gave me a lot more confidence on the ride home.

    The last photo shows where I plugged in at the outlet on the back of the gas station's wall in the distance.
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  8. #8
    Old EV Racer EVcycle's Avatar
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    Thanks for the updates and photos.

    If you ever get down to the warmth of the Southeast, you can charge on our solar setup anytime.

    EV Ed
    Never let being a responsible adult get in the way of passion and curiosity.
    Motenergy.com
    Ev album 2456, 2458, 2457, 2681, 3456, 3630, 5511, 5512

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    Richard,

    If you can do 70 miles in 30s-40s, I think you will be able to do 80 or more in the heat of summer. Thanks for the review. I hope they show up at a shop in Virginia this summer. I would love to take a test ride.

  10. #10
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    Here are some charging comments: Yesterday I arrived home from my ride having used approximately half of the battery pack capacity according to the "fuel" gauge. That should be about 4 kWh, assuming that the pack has a usable capacity of 7.2 kWh (80% of 9kWh). The on-board 110V charger (charging at a maximum input of 950 watts according to my Kill A Watt), took almost exactly 6 hours to complete bulk charging. That would seem to indicate that a full charge would require 12 hours, instead of the 9 hours claimed in Zero's specifications. That might mean that the battery pack has a slightly greater capacity than rated, or that the charger efficiency is lower than expected, or the "fuel" gauge is not quite accurate, or.....? Balancing/trickle charging sucked up another 0.12 kWh during the next 12 hours after bulk charging was completed.

    Warren, the heat of summer along the California coast is usually cooler than the cold of winter. You know what Mark Twain said about a summer in San Francisco. LOL

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