The 2020 Zero SR/S is the California based electric motorcycle manufacturers first foray into the world of fully-faired motorcycles, marking a significant leap forward in terms of design aesthetics. Based on the naked SR/F, the SR/S is mechanically identical to its naked counterpart in terms of the motor, batteries, chassis, and dash.
Outside of improving the brand’s status in terms of visual offerings, the full fairing claims to have efficiency benefits through enhanced aerodynamics. Also, the ergonomics have been relaxed to make the SR/S even more streetable.
After spending time with the new SR/S quietly cruising about the Southern California streets, we’re here to hit you with the Fast Facts.
1. You’ll have two choices of the Zero SR/S: Standard and Premium. Mechanically and visually, the two machines are indistinguishable, as they also feature the same color options. The standard model is $19,995, and is equipped with a 3 kW Level 2 charger, plus a standard 120-volt wall charger. The Premium model that we tested gets heated grips (with fancy silver bar ends) and the coveted 6 kW charger for $21,995. The 6 kW charger cuts down fast charge times considerably, but has no impact on wall-charging times.
2. The new Z-Force 75-10 motor is the most potent electric powerplant Zero has engineered to date. Equipped with a 900 amp, three-phase motor controller, Zero claims that their latest and greatest electric motor produces a more than modest 110 horsepower at 5000 rpm, along with a dyno-chart stomping 140 ft-lbs of torque. Once you’ve flipped the power switch on, all that torque is available at your beck and call, delivered in a perfectly tractable manner. It is delightfully easy to exploit when charging out of corners, and exploit you shall. Whack the throttle open wide, and you’ll be met with a futuristic whine while being propelled at a more than eye-widening rate. Yet, when things need to come back to reality, the SR/S is happy to mosey along the city streets at a casual pace, with equally positive results.
3. No clutch, no gearbox, no problem—the Zero SR/S features a direct drive. Just twist the grip and go. It’s as easy as that.
4. Five ride modes allow you to tailor the Zero SR/S to your liking. Owners choose four preset riding modes—Sport, Street, Rain, and Eco. Each mode adjusts the throttle map, traction control settings, and amount drag torque (engine braking). Also, a custom mode with up to 10 profiles is available, allowing owners to adjust even more performance parameters. Sport offers the most aggressive throttle response, but never becomes choppy and is coupled with the laxest electronic intrusion. Street backs it off marginally while cranking up the drag torque. Rain relaxes the throttle significantly and bumps up safety aids to their maximums. Eco has a throttle response mirroring Rain and increases drag torque, encouraging battery regen. Importantly, you can independently adjust TC regardless of what riding mode you’ve selected.
5. The 2020 Zero SR/S features a full suite of user-friendly rider aids. Off the showroom floor, the Zero SR/S boasts a Bosch IMU, imbuing it with cornering ABS and lean-angle-detection traction control. There are no ABS modes other than on or off, while traction control has three levels—Sport, Street, Rain, or it can be disabled. Unless in wet weather, the Sport traction control setting is what I always utilized. Sport TC doesn’t interfere with the ride when in the twisty bits, and I only used Rain as a comfortable safety net in damp conditions.
6. The SR/S is stable as can be in the twisty bits. The steel trellis frame peeking out from those attractive fairings keeps everything in shape—all 516 pounds of it, to be exact. Initial tip-in, especially at slower speeds, does require a bit more effort and direction than you may be accustomed to. However, once you’ve got this EV steed on the edge of the tire, trust that it won’t falter a bit, which is a curse and a blessing thanks to its portlier weight. With a 57-inch wheelbase and 24.5 degrees of rake, the SR/S handles more in line with Sport Touring machines that report longer geometry. It is planted and confidence-inspiring on high-speed sweeping backcountry roads, while tight, technical turns require more input.
7. Zero’s Power Pivot coaxial swingarm pivot is one of the more unique designs currently available on the market. The swingarm pivots on the electric motor’s shaft drive, which does two specific things—maintains a constant rate of tension on the belt drive and, as a side effect, ensures greater longevity of the Poly Chain HTD Carbon belt final drive.
8. Fully adjustable Showa suspension is more than suited for the SR/S’s needs. The SR/S has a 43mm Showa Big Piston Separate Function fork and a direct-mount Showa piggyback-reservoir shock. Both offer a decent range of adjustment, with damping rates that help keep the machine in line, while simultaneously masking most pavement impurities. Still, the ride isn’t vague, and one of the standout attributes of the SR/S is how communicative its chassis is to the rider.
9. Spanish J.Juan calipers provide the stopping power. Dual radially mounted four-piston calipers clamp on 320mm discs in the front, while a floating single-piston caliper seizes upon the rear disc. There’s more than enough front wheel stopping power, and the right amount of feel at the J.Juan radial master cylinder, though it does have free play in the first part of the lever stroke, which takes some getting used to. The rear brake is a bit stiff and could use a bit more bite.
10. Zero claims the fairing increases efficiency and highway range by 13 percent above the SR/F due to improved aerodynamics. That is nothing to sneeze at. However, it isn’t something we can independently test without the naked SR/F on hand. What we can report is that the fairing protects the rider from wind to a significant degree. For improved slipstream qualities, the mirrors are mounted just behind the nose, as opposed to the handlebar, which has the positive effect of decluttering your views ahead. The construction of all the bodywork on the SR/S is remarkable and, while it’s a familiar turn of phrase, pictures do not do it justice. What is particularly disappointing is the use of cheap, unattractive fasteners, as it detracts from the impressive build quality of the plastic itself.
11. Comfortable ergonomics are part and parcel for the SR/S. One of the main changes between the SR/S and SR/F, outside of the fairing, is in terms of revised ergonomics. The handlebar is an inch taller, 0.6 inches wider, and the footpegs have been lowered to create a more casual rider triangle. The wide handlebar provides plenty of leverage, while keeping you in a position that doesn’t encumber your wrists. There’s plenty of legroom in the 31-inch saddle and, with the narrow chassis, it’s quite easy to get your boots on the ground. The seat is plush, comfortable, and wrapped with an attractive textured material. Unfortunately, in another fit-and-finish oversight, the area where the seat meets the tank isn’t flush, and staples are easily visible. Those details are inexcusable on any motorcycle, and especially so on one that’s $21k.
12. Charging is a bit easier these days thanks to integrated Level 2 capabilities. Those familiar with EVs will know that having Level 2 charging ports isn’t everything. The standard SR/S features a 3 kW Level 2 charger for the 14.4 kWh lithium-ion battery from 0- to-95 percent in four hours. Our SR/S Premium is equipped with an additional 3 kW charger, raising its capacity to 6 kW, giving you a 95 percent charge in two-and-a-half hours at a Level 2 charging station.
13. Provided with either SR/S versions is a 110 V charger. That will take eight hours to get from a drained battery to a 95 percent charge, with the advantage that you can do it anywhere there’s an outlet.
14. With the optional Power Tank, you’ll increase your charging capacity to 12 kW and be able to top it up in a little over a half-hour. However, you’d need the 6 kW Rapid Charge option and a Level 3 charging station to achieve that.
15. Range depends on how you ride it. Zero’s claimed range figures would require the utmost restraint to achieve—city mileage is cited at 161 miles, highway at a steady 70 mph is 82 miles, and combined environments gets you a claimed 109 mpg. If you wring the SR/S’s neck like it were a rubber chicken, you’ll see decreased range, just as you would on any other motorcycle. On one spirited ride, I was able to put the battery into the mid-teens when I parked in the garage after 55 miles. When riding like an average person, the combined highway mileage claim seems feasible. Attempts to achieve the maximum mileage failed, as the allure of Sport mode and massive acceleration is too much.
16. An easy to read TFT display rounds out the niceties. Whether you’re in direct sunlight or riding after dark, the TFT display looks the business and displays all information effectively. Diving into the menu isn’t as intuitive as I’d like due to the single button actuation on your left thumb, but it can be learned quickly enough. With the Zero Motorcycles Next Gen app, you’ll also be able to pair your mobile device via Bluetooth to your machine, track your ride, customize settings, and monitor battery life, among many, many other things.
17. Zero has stepped up its game on virtually all fronts with the SR/S. To think that a small company based out of Scotts Valley, Calif., built this bike is quite impressive, especially when we consider their past offerings, which lacked the visual allure many other manufacturers offer in abundance. The SR/S and SR/F both a signal and major step in the right direction. It accelerates like the dickens, loves a good curvy road, and will stop in a hurry—not to mention that this EV machine is equipped with a nod-worthy amount of rider aids. While pricey, an EV motorcycle makes more than a compelling argument as a commuter, too. There are some improvements to be made in terms of finishing touches, but when it comes down to riding the 2020 Zero SR/S Premium, it’s an absolute joy.
Photography by Don Williams
- Helmet: Arai Corsair-X
- Jacket: Spidi Super-R
- Gloves: Racer High Speed
- Jeans: Spidi J-Tracker
- Boots: TCX Roadster 2
2020 Zero SR/S Premium Specs
- Motor: Z-Force 75-10 interior permanent magnet AC motor
- Controller: 900 amp, 3-phase w/ regenerative deceleration
- Peak power: 110 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
- Peak torque: 140 ft-lbs
- Top speed: 124 mph
- Top sustained speed: 110 mph
- Cooling: Air
- Transmission: Clutchless direct drive
- Final drive: Poly Chain HTD Carbon belt
- Battery: Li-Ion
- Maximum capacity: 14.4 kWh
- Nominal capacity: 12.6 kWh
- Charger: 6.0 kW
- Charge time to 95 percent: 8.0 hours (120 V plug-in, standard); 2.0 hours (6 kW Level 2 charger, standard); 1.0 hours (6 kW Rapid Charge, $2300 option)
- City: 161 miles
- Highway @ 55 mph: 99 miles
- Highway @ 70 mph: 82 miles
- Equivalent fuel economy: 430 MPGe, city; 219 MPGe highway
- Frame: Steel trellis
- Front suspension: Fully adjustable inverted 43mm Showa Big Piston Separate Function fork; 4.7 inches
- Rear suspension: Linkage-free fully adjustable Showa piggyback-reservoir shock; 5.5 inches
- Front wheel: 17 x 3.50
- Rear wheel: 17 x 5.50
- Tires: Pirelli Diablo Rosso III
- Front tire: 120/70 x 17
- Rear tire: 180/55 x 17
- Front brake: 320mm disc w/ radially mounted J-Juan 4-piston calipers
- Rear brake: 240mm disc w/ floating J-Juan single-piston caliper
- ABS: Bosch Advanced MSC standard
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 57.1 inches
- Rake: 24.5 degrees
- Trail: 3.7 inches
- Seat height: 31.0 inches (optional 30.3-inch and 31.9-inch seats)
- Curb weight: 516 pounds
- Blue; gray
2020 Zero SR/S Premium Price:
- $21,995 MSRP