Zero Motorcycles has just unveiled its latest electric motorcycle, the Zero DSR/X. The new electric adventure bike builds upon the same platform used in the SR/F and SR/S, but with some major updates designed to make this the company’s most capable electric motorcycle yet.
The announcement comes as part of the release of Zero’s 2023 model year lineup, where the headliner is certainly the company’s newest bike.
The DSR/X takes the same basic platform from the SR/F and SR/S, stretches and reinforces it, then increases the battery capacity and motor torque among a number of other small tweaks.
The result is a highly effective dual purpose adventure bike that handles off-roading just as well as it carves through canyon roads.
And I should know, as I spent last weekend doing exactly that as one of the first-ever test riders of the new Zero DSR/X. There’s more to come in the next day or two on that experience, including a full video experience from my first ride on the new bike.
The major specs on the DSR/X will sound largely similar to Zero’s other flagship bikes, but with some key differences.
For example, the bike’s ZF75-10 motor was modified with an extra turn of its copper windings, adding around 20% more torque to land at 166 lb.-ft. That required a slight top end power cut, reducing the max speed from 124 mph (200 km/h) to around 112 mph (180 km/h).
I’ll be honest: I couldn’t have told you the difference. It’s not every day that you hit triple digits, and its even rarer that you’d get up past 112 mph anyway.
That torque is key though, as the bike is designed to traverse through tough terrain where low-end torque makes a major difference.
In order to avoid moving to chain drive, Zero increased the Gates belt width from 20mm to 25mm and used a higher strength core, resulting in a belt drive that was over twice as strong as on the SR/F and SR/S. The drive also makes use of Gates’ Mudport technology, which helps clear debris from the belt pulley and is critical for off-road riding.
The Zero DSR/X runs Zero’s Cypher III+ operating system and is the first electric motorcycle to make use of Bosch’s full suite of advanced Motorcycle Stability Controls (MCS) with off-road capabilities.
The MCS helps make that power controllable and keep both wheels on the asphalt or dirt. It also integrates with Bosch’s combined braking system, which applies proper rear braking strength when the rider relies too heavily on front braking.
Zero has increased the number of ride modes on the bike with a new canyon mode and also added new off-road variants for each mode that let you get a little freer with your riding, such as breaking the rear wheel loose a bit or conversely locking it up briefly to slide around turns.
As a commuter rider that enjoys the occasional twisties when on vacation, I don’t find myself on dirt very often. I certainly wasn’t pushing the bike to its limits, but I still managed to slip and slide a bit in the dirt, with Bosch’s MCS saving my butt each time.
The Z-Force 17.3 kWh battery offers a city range of 180 miles (290 km) and a highway range of 85 miles (137 km).
Unlike NEDC or WMTC range standards, there’s no standard for measuring off-road range for the type of riding you’d typically do on an adventure bike like this. But as Zero’s CTO Abe Askenazi explained at the company’s launch presentation, Zero’s professional riders heavily tested the bike on various trails and found that typical real-world off-road ranges were between 155 to 200 miles (249 to 322 km) depending on how aggressively you ride.
The reason that off-road ranges fall in the same ballpark as city ranges is that adventure riding is generally done at speeds of around 15-25 mph, depending on the difficulty of the trail.
In my test riding, I used around 1/3 of the battery’s charge while covering nearly 60 miles (96 km) on a ride that was around half off-road trails and half highway riding at around 50-ish mph (80-ish km /h). That equates to roughly a 180-mile (290 km) extrapolated range for the ride.
Other adventure-specific updates include increased ground clearance gained from relocating the controller from underneath the battery to inside the bike’s tail. There’s also adjustable Showa suspension including 8 inches of travel in the inverted front fork. That long travel suspension was surprisingly plush too. I couldn’t believe the size of the rocks I was hitting without it transferring into my wrists. Occasionally I found myself aiming for bigger and bigger rocks, just to feel something. Anything smaller than a softball basically had me sailing over unnoticed.
Across three different storage compartments are 28 liters (7.4 gallons) of onboard storage. It mostly comes from the enlarged glovebox in the faux “tank,” but there’s another storage compartment in the right front faring as well as under the seat. Riders can of course add Zero’s hard cases for even more onboard storage.
Anyone familiar with the saddles on the Zero SR/F and SR/S will also notice that the Zero DSR/X has a refined saddle, which Askenazi described as designed to make riders feel like they’re sitting “in and not on” the bike. The bike’s ergonomics give a much more upright and comfortable riding posture.
Charging is accomplished by a 6.6 kW onboard Level 2 AC charger that can refill the battery from 0-80% in just two hours. Upgrading to the higher power charger option will cut that charge time in half to just one hour on a Level 2 charger.
Another interesting feature found on the bike is Park Mode, which offers both forward and reverse control that is speed and torque limited. When wiggling around the 544-pound (247 kg) bike on even a slight grade, a reverse mode is a godsend.
A new hill hold feature keeps the bike in its position when stopping on a hill, letting riders take their hand or foot off the brake without rolling.
Unlike many electric motorcycle unveilings that come a year or more before the bike eventually becomes available for purchase, the Zero DSR/X will already be in many dealerships by tomorrow.
Available in Pearl White and Sage Green colorways, the bike is priced at US $24,495. That brings it in slightly above the $23,995 Zero SR/S and $23,795 Zero SR/F.
I’m excited to share my own test-riding video in the next couple of days. Until then, let’s hear what you think of Zero’s newest model in the comments section below!
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