– 2012 Zero X
Where would you go with an exceptionally lightweight, highly maneuverable and powerful dirt bike? One capable of riding legally on-road as well? Now … what if it didn’t make a sound and only cost pennies to operate?
The all-new Zero X now features the same championship winning powertrain as the Zero MX and, combined with its ability to ride on the street, it opens up previously unthinkable trail riding possibilities. With instant torque from a standstill, no shifting, a low seat height and very light weight, the Zero X is a high performance electric motorcycle that pushes technical trail riding to ambitious new levels. Direct drive gearing and weight-optimized components combine to form a stealthy machine that aggressively races up hills, flies over jumps and cuts through streams.
A revolutionary, life of motorcycle Z-Force™ lithium ion power pack and highly efficient motor are optimized to produce instant acceleration at the twist of your wrist. To extend ride times, the aircraft grade aluminum Zero X frame is designed to accommodate quick power pack swaps.
2012 Zero X Key Features
The 2012 Zero X provides 75% more range, leverages Zero Motorcycles’ revolutionary new Z-Force™ battery technology and is more powerful than ever before. Now featuring the same high output motor as the Zero MX, the Zero X is capable of Rapid acceleration to 56 mph on both dirt and pavement. Its impressive performance and fully street legal running gear make the Zero X into Zero’s “do anything” electric dirt bike. In addition to its higher performance, the Zero X now has a more contemporary appearance with new bodywork and stylish graphics.
The Zero X is now exclusively available in a street legal configuration. Ready to ride on anything from trails and tracks to city streets, the Zero X features lights, a sidestand, mirrors, street legal tires and higher gearing that allow riders to sustain greater top speeds. In addition to riding longer distances on a charge, owners will be pleased to know that the Zero X’s Z-Force™ power pack now lasts the life of the motorcycle with the ability to travel upwards of 103,000 miles while still retaining 80% capacity.
2012 Zero X Features and Benefits
Game Changing Z-Force™ Technology: 75% Range / 100,000 Mi on a Power Pack
The 2012 Zero X leverages a completely new battery cell chemistry and configuration. Not only does the Zero X now have 38 miles range, the power pack is designed to last the life of the motorcycle. The result of cutting edge research and development, each cell in the power pack is individually controlled and monitored at all times to ensure maximum health. The stand-alone charger minimizes charge time and can work in parallel with Zero’s quick charge accessories to cut charge times by 50%.Enhanced power pack features include: 75% more range over 2011
– Now capable of going 38 miles according to the EPA UDDS– Cells last 3,000 full charge-discharge cycles before hitting 80% capacity, yielding as much as 103,000 miles on the original power pack– State of the art new power pack configuration and cell chemistry ?68% higher energy density power pack that yields significant range and performance advantages– Elegant new low resistance and highly robust cell interconnect technology
– New battery management system with enhanced 24/7 cell monitoring and a 92% reduction in power consumption– New, higher voltage power system that allows the motor to run cooler and with more RPMs than ever before– Quick-charge option available to cut recharge time by 50%– Power pack can be fully removed from the motorcycle and transported to charge anywhere– Power pack can be used interchangeably with the Zero XU and Zero MX– Full aluminum anodized exterior casing– Highly durable and impact load resistant– Superior internal packaging– External programming and recall capabilities via diagnostics port
Motor: High Torque and Acceleration
Fueled by a Z-Force™ lithium ion power pack and now featuring the same performance motor as the Zero MX, the Zero X delivers incredible torque from zero RPM. This is made possible by the powertrain’s ability to efficiently dump an incredibly high amount of power as soon as you twist the throttle.
– 33% more overall power with a top speed of 56mph– Increased torque and broader power Band for much stronger acceleration– Sustains higher power output for longer durations– New motor integrated Z-Force Air Induction System: ?Allows for increased motor performance during aggressive riding– Enables more energy output for longer durations
– Powerful, low weight and compact motor– Performance settings for more and less aggressive riding (Level I and II)
Frame and Body: New Bodywork and Light Aircraft Grade Aluminum
The Electric Elephant in The Room: Range and Charging
Topsy-turvy as it is to begin with stodgy mileage matters, chatter regarding range and charging enter the electric vehicle conversation at about the same speed as politics during holiday dinners. Add in the off-the-grid nature of ADV riding, and, naturally, there will be questions.
Zero claims its latest 17.3 kWh battery is good for 180 city miles, 85 highway miles at a sustained 70 mph, and the combined range is 115 miles. Adding the optional Power Tank (2895) bumps the maximum battery capacity to 20.9 kWh and boosts range by 20 percent. Applying that 20 percent does increase distance, but it comes at a premium price and adds weight up high where the unit occupies the 7.4-gallon frunk’s space.
The Silicon Valley brand says that pure off-road ranges can grow to a whopping 200 miles or 13 hours when babied and, 155 miles or 5 hours of ADV-saddle time while running at a realistic clip. According to Zero, lower average speeds managed on the trail net the largest increase. There is a hitch to this plan, unfortunately, as trailheads usually don’t have EV charging stations, so you’ll need to factor in the ride there.
Vying for importance in this chat is charging time, and, on that note, Zero states that plugging the 2023 DSR/X’s onboard 6.6 kWh charger into a standard socket will take drained batteries to 95 percent in 10 hours. A Level 2 charger significantly reduces the waiting game to two hours. You can double your charging abilities by installing the accessory Rapid Charger module (2300), which shortens recharge times to an hour. The latter scenario isn’t bad if you’re replenishing yourself as well. Word to the wise: The Power Tank and Rapid Charger can’t be used simultaneously, so you have to choose between extended range and faster charging—you can’t have both.
Manufacturer mileage claims need to be taken with not a grain, but a healthy pinch of salt, whether we’re talking EVs or internal combustion engines (ICE). When our varied 55 mile testing route concluded, a highway sprint, winding mountain pass, and groomed fire road expended roughly 60 percent of my battery life—there is a direct correlation between the degrees a throttle is turned and the amount of fun on a motorcycle.
Well-behaved colleagues didn’t suck up nearly the same amount of juice from the DSR/X’s battery, as numerous variables impacted range. After repeated photo passes, a spirited pace with compatriots, weight differences, and plenty of sliding around on the trail, I’d made a sizable dent in my charge—proof that adventure occurred.
Those with an aptitude for patience and restraint might be able to hit the claimed mileage figures, but I’d say it’s more realistic for riders to enjoy their motorcycle’s performance instead of ration it. Plan accordingly.
EV Going ADV
What Zero has done here is no small feat, creating a true-blue ADV-touring unit with fixings that strike a balance between road and trail riding, where commendable ground clearance and suspension travel kick the party off. In the ADV segment, wheel size often dictates use, and the DSR/X’s 19-incher dangling from the front end says off-road capable, whereas a dirt-focused 21-inch hoop would have compromised its road abilities.
Of course, it all starts with the updated ZF 75-10X motor that’s gained another turn on its copper winding, pumping out a respectable 100 horsepower at 3650 rpm and a spit-take-worthy 166 ft-lbs of torque for the 2023 Zero DSR/X.
With torque numbers that elicit nervous laughter, Zero has done an incredible job in ensuring that the DSR/X shoves you forward via a chuckle-inducing amount of authority and not the brutal force of a dictator. Mild-mannered and wild-eyed define the spectrum, yet the sheer linearity makes it all manageable while reaching its 112-mph top speed in a flash. Additional ground clearance is gained by relocating the motor’s controller from the underbelly to the tail.
There’s no gearbox, either, and direct drive solves many issues for riders on- and off-road—don’t come to rest on any hills, as there’s no parking brake or transmission lock to hold it in place. With no clutch to finesse over technical spots, gear selection when entering corners, or stalling to worry about, twisting the grip and scooting along flattens the learning curve. The ultra-low center of gravity factors here, and the DSR/X’s 544-pound curb weight is only perceived when lifting off the sidestand or after a tip-over. On that note, we have a Parking Mode with a low-speed reverse function.
Unlike many ADV machines, the DSR/X isn’t a sky-high behemoth. The EV motor packaging allows the rider to sit in the chassis and enjoy an accommodating 32.6-inch saddle height, with a comfortable reach to the riser handlebars. The seating position is neutral, and wind protection is aplenty, thanks to a handy adjustable windscreen. When standing, one can grip the narrow seat section with their knees and romp around while in control—though as much real estate for your knees to clamp onto—the scalloped chassis design does have its downsides.
The wider 25mm Gates Carbon Drive Moto X9 belt is 2.6 times stronger than what’s found on other models and may seem ill-fitting off-road, but Zero says that they’ve worked tirelessly to ensure durability. Engineers went as far as designing a sprocket with openings between the teeth to shed any dirt, mud, or debris caught up in the final drive. A hardcore ADV audience will still go with the accessory chain and sprocket kit for 385, but it’s noisier and requires greater upkeep.
Doubling down on those positive attributes is the spot-on calibration of the 2023 Zero DSR/X’s five ride modes: Rain, Eco, Standard, Sport, and Canyon, adjusted through the striking full-color TFT display. While most of the modes can be taken at face value, Canyon offers all the athleticism of Sport at the wrist and 80 percent regenerative braking. The latter provides a similar feel to conventional engine braking and battery regeneration in the process—I gained a couple of precious percentage points on a sustained downhill descent. We also have an Off-Road setting that can be combined with any riding mode, offering up ABS and TC limits fit for the trail. Mind you, the IMU is deactivated, and ABS is disabled in the rear for proper slides.
Bosch’s MCS suite is in play, featuring cornering ABS with linked braking, lean-angle-sensitive traction control, and hill hold control. This is when things get interesting—electric motors react exponentially faster than ICE powerplants. Adjusting voltage happens more quickly than cutting fuel to a cylinder, changing ignition timing, and so on. Engineers have much more control over intervention, and that’s handy because electric motors also produce torque almost instantaneously.
Give the throttle a nice whack, and TC will intervene, restricting power to the rear wheel that might feel premature for experienced riders, on or off-road. Remember, electric motors spin up differently, so perhaps that TC isn’t as conservative as we might believe. However, if you’re smooth with your inputs, you can catapult from apex to apex in the streets and step out the rear quite a bit in the dirt.
Brembo-owned J.Juan stoppers help haul the 544-pound EV ADV to a stop, and doing so with commendable feel. Linked braking is always fascinating when hammering the lever into a corner, as applying the rear brake while weight is transferred forward results in a bit of movement out back.
The steel-trellis frame on the 2023 Zero DSR/X draws design inspiration from its SR/F and SR/S cousins (both of which gained the 17.3 kWh battery for 2023), rolling on wide ADV geometry to give it a sure-footed feel in any environment. A long wheelbase keeps things composed when tracking through street curves or bounding down a fire road. That does subdue its cornering abilities a hair, making for a leisurely initial tip-in. Importantly, it stays put.
Comparing EV and ICE motorcycles isn’t apples to apples; it’s more apples to exotic imported mangos. Established gasoline-powered ADV motorcycles can routinely knock down 200 miles on a single tank. Today’s battery technology can’t match those figures—everything from use to range to price needs context. Electric motorcycles are subject to an “early adopters” tax, hence fancy Brembo-branded components or semi-active suspension aren’t in the mix at the DSR/X’s 24,495 MSRP. They need to be looked at differently.
Zero is working to prove the viability of EV ADV and partnered with Backcountry Discovery Routes (BDR), a leader in off-highway route planning, to include EV-charging stations on its maps across the United States. Relevant information such as available chargers, connection types, prices, and more are included.
A lingering question is whether there’s enough juice to hit the trail and return to home base all in one outing. As with anything in life, it’s subjective. Your route, proximity to charging opportunities, and riding style determine that reality. If the infrastructure is there, you’re willing to spare the recharge time during your ride, and the price tag doesn’t faze your wallet, it’s an unequivocal yes. If not, you’ll have to wait for battery technology to extend the range, and that day will come.
The NorCal brand is the first to plant its EV flag in the ADV segment, and that deserves a nod, spurring its main rivals LiveWire and Energica to take the plunge. While infrastructure and battery tech have some catching up to do, we also need to acknowledge that great strides have come from our friends in Scotts Valley, and, if nothing else, the DSR/X is a well-sorted ADV-touring motorcycle.
Photography by Jenny Linquist (Action), Mike Biggins (Action), and Aaron Brimhall (Studio)
- Helmet: Arai XD4
- Jacket: Alpinestars Boulder Gore-Tex
- Gloves: Alpinestars Belize V2 Drystar
- Pants: Alpinestars Raider V2 Drystar
- Boots: Alpinestars Corozal
After working for a major suspension company, I always gravitate to the quality and adjustability of a new bike’s forks and shocks. Working closely with Showa, Zero specs the Japanese manufacturer’s 47mm Separate Function cartridge forks with adjustable spring preload, compression, and rebound damping in tandem with Showa’s 46mm piston, piggy-back reservoir shock with adjustable tool-less spring preload, compression, and rebound damping to keep the DSR/X comfortable and in control.
Thankfully, rear shock preload settings are hand-adjustable to dial in a smooth ride with light or heavy loads. Zero claims its DSR/X to be the first electric motorcycle with Bosch’s Off-Road Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC) which adds further safety, control, and confidence for riders of all experience levels on/off-road in variable traction conditions.
The DSR/X is Zero’s first bike featuring a linked braking system. Controlled by the integrated Bosch Advanced Stability Control System, it activates instantly upon sensing a loss of traction or any slippage. The system immediately applies the right amount of braking to the front and rear brakes simultaneously, providing added control when climbing or descending steep, loose terrain.
Vehicle Hold braking is engaged on the DSR/X when you come to a stop on a steep slope by clamping the brake lever all the way down and releasing it. Serving as a temporary parking brake, it frees the rider to make any adjustments needed on a steep pitch. When the throttle is engaged braking automatically deactivates allowing for a smooth start on a steep incline. Additionally, Bosch Vehicle Hold Braking is auto-canceling and will release brake pressure after one minute has passed.
Zero DSR/X Ride Modes
A full suite of pre-programmed ride modes including Sport, Street, Eco, Rain, and Canyon mode are selectable on the fly through Zero’s dash interface and customizable through the next-generation app available for Apple iOS and Android. Along with these included modes, the ability to create custom modes allows for virtually infinite ride profile options to cater to individual riding styles or conditions.
With the all-new off-road capabilities you can also add off-road traction to any one of the pre-programmed modes, which achieve a new level of control in low or variable traction conditions of any kind regardless of the ride mode. Each mode has a different performance profile in key areas such as top speed, torque, braking, and neutral battery regeneration, as well as traction controls and even color and graphic changes. Zero encourages creative experimentation to get the most out of the DSR/X.
Once I became more familiar with the bike’s features, it was time to ride. Ergonomically, my 6’1″ frame felt mostly comfortable with the 32.6-inch seat height, which could be remedied with an accessory upgrade to 34.1 inches if needed. My lower back and shoulders immediately appreciated the upright riding position with high ground clearance. Other reviews spoke of instant and smooth acceleration powered by Zero’s newest direct drive motor, the Z-Force 75-10X, producing 166 ft-lb of torque, the highest output of power ever from a Zero and more than enough to propel the fully loaded DSR/X and rider over any terrain.
Cycling through the modes is easy, accomplished on the fly with a simple toggle button on the left handlebar control. A slight easing off the throttle allows modes to change while moving. Eco mode tops off at 75 mph, which isn’t enough speed to stay ahead of general traffic on my local interstate system. Eco mode also offers the best regenerative braking to balance range lost due to acceleration, incline and headwinds.
But what about range? How far will the DSR/X go?
Zero says it put over 100,000 engineering hours into developing the DSR/X, and the dedication to craftsmanship shows: the on-road range of the DSR/X is 180 city miles, and the bike is capable of speeds up to 112 mph on the highway.
The average recreational motorcycle ride on road, in the United States, is less than 80 miles, Paschel points out. And anybody that rides or sees these bikes knows that a relatively small portion are taken on-road and off-road. And of them, it’s a really small number, three to five percent of those bikes, that are out there actually get taken on these long point-to-point rides.
All of which is to say that although range will be of concern for the small percentage of riders that want to hop on a bike with no plan and ride to, say, the tip of the Baja Peninsula on a whim, most riders won’t get close to running out of range on the DSR/X.
What does the DSR/X cost?
Innovation doesn’t come cheap. Out the gate, you’ll be shelling out 24,495 for Zero’s new bike. Although you’ll be saving money at the pump (since you won’t be using one anymore) there are other costs to consider. Similar to their four-wheeled counterparts, electric motorcycles generally come with a higher sticker price.
For comparison, Harley Davidson’s groundbreaking, internal combustion Pan America 1250 has a base price of 17,319, a cool 7,176 less than the DSR/X. Perhaps the most well-known and respected bike in the adventure space, the BMW R 1250 GS, has a base price of 17,995.
In other words, electric bikes may save you money down the line, but you’ll pay for that tech up front.
What’s the DSR/X actually like to ride?
It’s not often that high weight and nimbleness are found in the same package, but the DSR/X defies expectations around size and capability. Thanks to the bulk of the weight being located in the battery (and not in the traditional gas tank) the center of gravity on the DSR/X is much lower than a traditional gas-powered bike, which lends stability to the ride.
I tested the DSR/X on the winding back roads of Scotts Valley, where Zero has its headquarters. We rode both paved and un-paved roads, and I felt that the DSR/X truly shined where the pavement ends and gravel begins. The bike’s ride modes are finely tuned with notable differences between each: I found the Standard Mode to be the most pleasant for our riding conditions, with less engine braking, and more power, than Eco, which is the default mode on the DSR/X.
A Worthy ADV Adversary
All riders know that motorcycling is a transformative experience—it’s like detox for our brain. But riding in the wilderness, away from traffic and alone in nature, brings out a self-reliant pioneer spirit no highway can provide. Riding an electric bike on the trails, however, is another matter altogether: a purifying sensation that makes motorcycling, and off-road riding in particular, even more immediate and palpable.
On an electric bike, the only sounds are that of the natural world around you and your tires spinning on dirt (or sand, or mud, or. ) and the breeze rushing past your helmet. Even while tearing up well-trod fire trails you can still hear the call of birds in the trees and the rush of water from an adjacent stream. Rather than your exhaust peal sending animals scurrying before you get anywhere near them, the silence of your electric ADV motorcycle lets you ride right by wildlife without disturbing it (too much). We also appreciate the environmental aspects of zero noise or emissions pollution.
Another point worth making: Shifting while standing can be tricky for even the most skilled rider. If the key to riding on dirt is standing on the foot pegs to lower your center of gravity, then this Zero would make a good starter ADV bike for an experienced street rider with limited off-road experience. I’ve ridden most everything on pavement, but to be able to stand up, twist the throttle, and tear up the trails without having to use my fingers and toes on the controls made the dirt riding experience far easier than it’s ever been.
Powered by a new motor that cranks out a trail-shredding 166 lb-ft of torque, the new DSR/X makes full use of Zero’s industry-leading tech—plus an integral partnership with Bosch—to create a full-size ADV bike whose profile stands shoulder-to-shoulder with dual-sport competition such as the Harley-Davidson Pan America, BMW’s GSs, and the Ducati Multistrada.
At the curb, anyway. But can the DSR/X hang with those stalwarts on the spec sheet, let alone on the roads and trails? Stylistically, the Zero’s fairing and exposed trellis frame certainly bring the Multi to mind, if not the Pan Am. From the saddle, the bike’s power and performance are definitely comparable. As long as the battery can keep up with the range of those fuel tanks, the DSR/X will be a worthy adversary in ability and versatility.
But will that battery continue to deliver long after the pavement runs out? We’re always leery of manufacturer claims, so let’s dig deeper. The bike’s ZF75-10 motor was modified with an extra spin of its copper windings, adding about 20% more torque over that of the SR/F and S while reducing its top speed from 124 mph to around 112 mph. According to the bike’s spec sheet, the Z-Force 17.3-kWh battery pack offers a 180-mile range in the city and 85 miles at highway speeds, for a median range of around 115 miles.
Electric motorcycles use far more battery power with a wide-open throttle on the street than easing across the dirt.
Unfortunately, there’s no accepted standard for measuring off-road range. No slouch in the saddle himself, Zero Chief Technical Officer Abe Askenazi told me that trail riding actually uses less battery power than highway riding because the typical ADV rider rarely has the throttle open even halfway. Despite the increased torque required in ADV riding, a gentler throttle means less battery power used, translating to a longer mileage range.
Pointing to internal research that shows the average ADV rider stays around 15-25 mph on trails, Askenazi said the company’s own testing at those speeds showed the DSR/X should provide a trail range of about 150-175 miles, offering anywhere from 10-15 hours of riding time—depending, of course, on how fast and how aggressively one rides.
Despite Zero’s confidence, however, we’re not positive we’d take that chance out in the wild. Backcountry Discovery Routes (BDR), the nation’s leading ADV advocacy group that’s mapped out trails for motorcyclists all over the US, allows users to select a Charging Station map layer to locate Level 2 EV chargers all along its routes. Indeed, a quick zoom into the BDR map shows EV chargers scattered all over its Colorado route, from New Mexico to Wyoming.
A BDR rep told us this initiative of mapping off-road EV charging stations is a FOCUS for the non-profit group in the immediate future, and it’s currently working with several electric vehicle manufacturers (including Zero Motorcycles) to update all its maps with this Charging Station layer.
Runnin’ With the Devil
The Zero Motorcycles DSR/X runs the company’s proprietary Cypher III operating system, and functions such as charging status and tip-over events can be monitored via the app. It also makes full use of Bosch’s advanced Motorcycle Stability Controls (MSC) for better braking and stability. The MSC integrates with the bike’s linked braking system, which distributes stopping power to both wheels if a rider relies too heavily on either brake. If you think that’s important on the street, it’s critical on the trails. MSC also provides the DSR/X super-handy Hold function that keeps both wheels locked for three minutes, or until it detects any input on the hand or foot controls. Like a temporary parking brake, it’s especially handy at hilly stoplights.
Even handier is the bike’s Park mode, which provides torque- and speed-controlled forward and reverse gears to make putting the sidestand down on a 544-pound bike a breeze no matter where you are. We’ve used this function while moving big touring bikes around garages and parking lots, but to use it on a dirt incline, with loose gravel and stones under our boots, was a revelation.
Zero has increased the number of ride modes to five on the DSR/X by offering a new Canyon mode. It also added an Off-Road setting, controlling both traction control and ABS, that’s useable for each mode. Easily switchable via the left handgrip, these settings allow you to dial in your ride whether you’re on pavement or not, and to break the rear wheel loose and slide around turns on dirt. Ride-by-wire, indeed.
Zero DSR/X. Image Gallery
Like the rest of its model lineup, but unlike most ICE off-road bikes, the Zero DSR/X utilizes a belt drive rather than a chain. The width of the Gates Carbon Drive belt was increased from 20mm to 25mm and uses a stronger core; it’s twice as strong as the belt found on Zero’s SR/F and SR/S. The drive also uses Gates’s innovative MudPort sprockets, which allow mud, dirt, sand, and even snow to escape the belt and gears rather than muck up the transfer case.
The inverted Showa front fork provides eight inches of travel, while the rear monoshock offers a hand-adjusted preload for customization when you’re carrying luggage or a passenger. Both on the road and on the dirt, the suspension on the DSR/X was smooth and responsive, and braking was exemplary.
Rider position is active and ready but upright and comfortable; moreover, the saddle is plush and the reach to the grips easy. The standard seat height is 32.6 inches, but optional Tall and Short saddles allow for ergonomic customization. The windscreen adjusts easily right from the saddle with two simple crank knobs on either side. Taller and long-range riders may choose to opt for the tall accessory windshield; for me, the standard screen pushed the wind over my 5-foot-11 frame perfectly.
Most of the storage lies in the center console, under the fuel tank. It’s big enough for plenty of stuff—but not your helmet.
Three storage compartments offer a claimed 7.4 gallons of onboard storage, most of it under the “fuel tank”—a deep cubby that’s not quite spacious enough to fit a helmet. There’s another small storage compartment under the seat for important papers and the like, and a slightly larger one behind the right front fairing for toolkits and such; it’s secured with Torx bolts. All are waterproof. Cruise control is standard, as are heated grips and handguards. If you want more, the Zero accessory catalog offers plentiful options for the DSR/X, from luggage and controls to power-ups.
The Zero DSR/X is equipped with what the company claims are the fastest Level 1 and Level 2 charge capabilities in the market, thanks to the onboard 6.6-kW Rapid Charge system. Owners can opt for a Power Tank to increase the battery capacity to nearly 21 kWh, or an additional Rapid Charge Module that will double the charging speed and reduce the minimum charge time to just one hour. Unfortunately, that under-tank storage compartment is the only place on the bike either of these power accessories can go, and you can’t add both in tandem. So choose your fighter: longer ride range or faster charge time.
Ready for ADV Prime Time?
After our daylong ride in and around the roads and fire trails of Park City, I think Zero has a hit on its hands. The DSR/X moved like a gazelle on the twisties and tackled the dirt and moguls with aplomb, the whole time staying quiet, comfortable, and responsive. I mentioned Ducati’s Multistrada earlier, and after spending the day aboard the Zero DSR/X, that comparison seems the most apt. The two bikes are not only similar in size and style, but the ride is comparable, too. Except without all the noise and that annoying shifting. (Relax, Ducatisti—that’s a quip.)
Rolling silently through the wilderness with Coltrane in my helmet speakers was a pleasure cruise, indeed. And when I felt like cutting loose? The DSR/X was right there with me, rarin’ to go.
So is the Zero DSR/X worth the 25k sticker price? If you’re an experienced ADV rider who’s looking for a change of pace or is concerned about the environment, the answer is most definitely yes. It’s as strong and nimble as any of the competition, charging be damned. While the proximity of Level 2 stations and mileage range will certainly add anxiety off-road, the benefits of riding silently in the wild, far from pavement and traffic and among the birds and the trees, should go far to allay those concerns. As you would with any ride, just be prepared before you head out.
Part of Zero’s 2023 model year lineup, the Zero DSR/X is available in Sage Green or White Pearl, and should be on showroom floors by early October.
POWER PACK MAX CAPACITY
TYPICAL COST TO RECHARGE
LEVEL 1 CHARGE TIME, TO 95%
LEVEL 2 CHARGE TIME, TO 95%
6-KW Rapid CHARGE TIME, TO 95%
POWER PACK WARRANTY
Jon Langston is an avid motorcyclist and gear collector whose work has appeared in Men’s Journal, Cycle World, The Drive, Rider, Iron Air, Motorcyclist, and more.