Brought to you by:

2009 Zero X | Electric Design Award

Giant Green Leap in Motorcycling

Emissions from internal combustion motors-both sound and chemical-have been the bane of off-road motorcycles for decades. In the minds of many, quiet and clean electricity is the propulsion of the future for dirt bikes.

Zero Motorcycles’ 2009 Zero X is a great leap forward in the electric dirt bike field. Still more mountain bike than motorcycle, the latest Zero X offers beefed up suspension (albeit still bicycle-sourced) and larger, wider tires. The tires are nonstandard sizes for dirt bikes-a 24-inch front and 17-inch rear-but still a signifi cant improvement over past editions.

Boasting 50 ft/lbs of torque and 23 hp, the 151 pound Zero X has startling initial acceleration. Although it claims a top speed of 60 mph-that is quite fast for a machine with relatively short suspension travel, a short wheelbase and steep forks.

It is in tight quarters that the Zero X excels. The featherweight bike has quick steering and superb manners at ultra-low speeds. In corners, it can be thrown around easier than any full-size adult dirt bike. The throttle allows power to be delivered smoothly, so the narrow 3.50 rear Cheng Shin can fi nd traction in most terrain.

Certainly, the Zero X is an enjoyable, unique ride, though it requires that everyone in a group be similarly mounted. Mountain bikers will resent your electric power, and it is not quite ready to coexist with modern gasoline-powered enduro bikes, as the battery lacks range and quick recharging. Regardless, the Zero X is a welcoming preview of the future of off-roading.

Read: More About Electric Motorcycles



Tags from the story
Written By
More from UMC Staff

Team Sheriff motorcycle racing program

Started in 1994 in Los Angeles, Team Sheriff Racing educates the public—especially...
Read More