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Friday, June 9, 2023

2018 Zero SR – A Commuter’s Dream Bike

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“I don’t reckon you’ll make it to Newport and back on that thing,” my neighbor told me upon seeing the 2018 Zero SR sitting in my back garden.

2018 Zero SR

I live in Cardiff, Wales, which shares a border with Newport. From my little corner of the city to Newport’s city center it’s just 18 miles, well within the claimed range of Zero’s torque-monster naked, but such are people’s opinions of electric motorcycles that no one believes it.

Being driven by an electric motor means the Zero SR is simply twist and go. Combined with the lack of engine noise, the absence of gears will initially confuse some long-time riders, but I was able to get the hang of things within about 200 feet. I’ll admit that even after two weeks with the SR, though, there were still certain situations in which my hand was searching for a clutch lever that wasn’t there.Size wise, the SR is similar to the sort of mid-capacity bike that rivals it in horsepower, bikes like the Honda CB650F or SuzukiSV650.

Conducive to commuting is the presence of a tank storage space that can hold a few useful items, but it is not large enough to hold a full-face helmet. Additionally, the storage space is secured by a very flimsy lock, which means nothing valuable should be inside when you walk away from the bike. I’d like to see Zero adding a rugged lid, a la the Honda NC750X, but perhaps the company sets things up this way to serve as incentive to pony up the extra $2,295 for an accessory Charge Tank. It’s a useful addition.

Newport and Back

Zero claims the SR is capable of 193 km of mixed-use riding (city and highway) on a single charge. That’s 119 miles, so when my neighbor laid down his Newport challenge I decided to take things even further, setting a course for the Severn Bridge which stretches across the vast River Severn to connect South Wales with England.

The Best Things

Riding the SR is a whole hell of a lot of fun. That torque is addictive, but also there’s the simple joy of being on a bike that’s so much less hectic than its internal-combustion-powered brethren. This was something I learned when riding a Zero DSR a few years back: an electric motorcycle captures the pure spirit of motorcycling.

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