2018 Zero DSR First Ride Review

2018 Zero DSR

Editor Score: 86.0%

Engine 18.75/20
Suspension/Handling 13.5/15
Transmission/Clutch 10.0/10
Brakes 7.75/10
Instruments/Controls 3.75/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 8.5/10
Appearance/Quality 7.75/10
Desirability 8.25/10
Value 7.75/10
Overall Score 86/100

Riding the Zero DSR quickly turned me into a child. Laughing hysterically as I sneaked through traffic and by unsuspecting pedestrians, getting a kick out of the shocked faces on these innocent bystanders was one of the first reasons I enjoyed the Zero DSR, the second involved the R part of its model designation. I came for the ninja-like stealth, but stayed for the claimed 116 lb-ft of torque. Any time there was dirt in sight, a patch of gravel, an unbordered planter in a parking lot, I would bee-line for it, lighting up that rear tire quicker than the aforementioned innocent bystander could shield themselves from the dust. I’d like to say I’m sorry to the man in that car at the Rose Bowl parking lot who endured a large cloud of dust blowing into his open car windows.

2016 Zero DSR First Ride Review

Yeah, I didn’t do anything to elevate the public’s view of motorcycling that day, but I did realize I needed to get the DSR off of the pavement and away from the throngs of pedestrians that so densely populate the LA basin. Somewhere where I could no longer be a threat to clean car interiors and honest Starbucks-going civilians. Why? Because the performance of the 2018 Zero DSR is the little red electric motorcycle on my shoulder telling me to go for it, to do it, and the little responsible white one is nowhere to be found.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

The Future of Motorcycling gets… Future-er

2018 Zero DSR

The 2018 Zero DSR retails for $16,495, and with the accessory Charge Tank fitted to the model we tested, you’re looking at $18,790. Before any federal or state rebates and incentives.

The 2018 Zero DSR has a higher output 775-amp motor controller (compared to the non-R model’s 550-amp controller), paired with an upgraded Z-Force motor with higher temperature magnets (again, compared to the non-R model without the high-temp magnets) which, if you hadn’t already put it together, is fast. Real fast. The claim is 70 hp which is respectable, but the 116 lb-ft of torque is the ringer. While somewhat soft on the initial twist even in Sport mode – programmed this way to prevent loopage – once you get into the meat and potatoes of the throttle and the torque starts building, it does so quick and unapologetically, as if saying, you asked for this, now hold on.

With Sport mode giving you everything the motor has to offer, you can also tone down the performance and boost your mileage by using Eco mode, limiting top speed to 70 mph and reducing torque. Of course, if you find those two modes too far apart and are looking for your own goldilocks setting, there’s an app for that! The third and final mode is the Custom setting which allows you to set your own preferences of max torque, top speed, max regen, and max regen brake via the Zero Motorcycles app on your smartphone. Once connected to the motorcycle, the bike collects the data and changes the Custom mode to the parameters you’ve set. If you switch off the motorcycle and turn it back on and your phone doesn’t connect, the motorcycle will retain the last settings it had for the Custom mode.

2018 Zero DSR

Zero expects the battery to last for the life of the motorcycle, claiming the ZF14.4 in our test mule can travel over 200,000 miles with the batteries retaining 80% of their original maximum capacity. Zero’s 5-year, unlimited mile warranty is also a nice touch.

The DSR only comes with one battery option, which is the 102 V, 14.4kWh (12.6kWh nominal), ZF14.4. You do have the option of adding the accessory Power Tank for a paltry $2,895 to increase capacity by 3.6 kWh. The ZF14.4’s range is claimed at 163 city miles and 78 highway miles (if you maintain a constant 70 mph). Though recently, after leaving the house with a full charge, a 16-mile round trip that included almost entirely freeway miles, saw an 82% battery level upon my return home. That mileage equates to over 80 miles of range at speeds well above 70 mph, assuming the gauge works consistently. As usual, your mileage may vary.

2018 Zero DSR

The small rubber dust cover hide the DSR’s charge port away from the elements.

When it comes time to charge up, the Zero includes a charging cable tucked away into a nice round hole in the swingarm, allowing for easy charging from your typical U.S. 120 V outlets. Charge time from a household outlet is rated at 9.3 hours for a 0-95% charge and 9.8 hours for 0-100%.

2018 Zero DSR

Level up to Level 2 charging capability for an extra $2,295.

Of course, why spend all that time waiting when you have the option of purchasing the accessory Charge Tank? For $2,295 this upgrade will allow you to use Level 2 (220 V) charging stations while you’re out and about or if you own an electric automobile and have had the system installed. Zero claims the charge is up to 6x faster with the Charge Tank allowing for a full charge in 2.5 hours and a 0-95% charge in 2 hours. It should be noted however, you will have to choose whether you want faster charge capability or more range since you can’t outfit both the Charge Tank and Power Tank to the same motorcycle. Of the two, we’d choose the Charge Tank option. Mainly because the Power Tank adds a nearly 50-lb battery far away from the bike’s center of mass, and also because the Charge Tank is more useful in everyday situations.

A Zero for any (mostly smooth) road

2018 Zero DSR

Riding the Zero is a different experience for sure, but it’s not so different from a typical ICE bike. It doesn’t take long before you’ve forgotten all about the lack of shifting and clutching, though I still find myself reaching for ghost levers now and then. The DSR offers a neutral riding position and a 31.8-inch tall wide seat that is all day (or 70-163 miles) comfortable. Since this is the “dual-sport” model, you get large footpegs that look like they should be on my adventure bike. While the footpegs offer ample grip and surface size, the DSR doesn’t have much ground clearance and could benefit from bar risers if you plan on standing for any amount of time. Keep the off-roading limited to smooth fire roads and you’re in for a treat as the Pirelli MT 60s offer pretty good grip in dusty, gravelly conditions and the torque will have you breaking the rear end loose and looking like Jared Mees around every corner.

2018 Zero DSR

Here we have an upskirt shot of the Zero DSR’s 40mm Showa piggy-back shock and Z-Force® 75-7R passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux, interior permanent hi-temp magnet, brushless motor.

The Zero DSR offers 7-inches of travel from its fully adjustable Showa suspension both front and rear, though with roughly 8-inches of ground clearance, you’ll want to select the curbs you jump off of carefully. Speaking of jumping, I was also told there is a specific technique to jumping the DSR because you can easily break the Poly Chain HTD Carbon belt that drives the rear wheel. As if you needed another reason to stay tame during your off-pavement excursions, those gorgeous 19-inch front/17-inch rear gold- anodized cast wheels probably won’t be up to the kind of hits high-speed off-road riding dishes out. We’ve been unable to weigh the 2018 model, but it should fall in somewhere around the 452-pound mark of the similarly equipped 2016 model we weighed a few years ago.

2016 Zero DSR 10th-Anniversary Edition Review

Braking components are provided by the Spanish company J.Juan. J.Juan components have been used and tested in Moto2, however, these units don’t quite perform to that caliber. On the front, the DSR uses a single 320mm disc with a dual-piston floating caliper with Bosch Gen 9 ABS tech. Despite having a steel-braided line, brake feel at the lever was fairly squishy, but still got the bike slowed after a firm squeeze. A single 240mm rotor is used on the rear with a single-piston floating caliper. Though they didn’t feel overly strong on the street, the Spanish braking bits were just fine off-road once we disabled the ABS.

2018 Zero DSR

Loud pipes save lives! While the verdict may be out on that one, I did notice while lane-splitting, the last second swerving away from me happened less frequently than when I would come up beside cars on an ICE bike.

On canyon roads, I was told the Pirelli MT 60s provided a surprising amount of grip for sport riding. Of course any tire you put on this torque-beast likely won’t last long whether you’re carving your favorite canyon roads or blasting down the trails, 116 lb-ft of oomph is serious business. But hey! Maybe you’re not as ham-fisted as some of us and you’ll be just fine.

Living With A Zero SR

As tested, our 2018 Zero DSR rings up for $18,790 which includes the $2,295 accessory Charge Tank. That’s a pretty penny, but considering the time and money you save on gas and maintenance, maybe it’s worth it? Many states offer incentive programs to help lessen the financial blow and the U.S. also has a federal tax credit up to $2,500, though 2018 models are not yet eligible. It took me two days with the DSR to start having visions of ownership. Get out and ride one and let us know what you think.


2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR
2018 Zero DSR

The post 2018 Zero DSR First Ride Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

Yoshimura Introduces Alpha Slip-on for 2018 Kawasaki H2 SX

Even a simple Yoshimura Alpha slip-on makes the supercharged Kawasaki H2 SX sound mean!

Begin press release:

The beautiful Supercharged 2018 Kawasaki H2 SX is one of the most desirable Sport-touring bikes on the market today. In our quest to perfect power delivery and make the bike look and sound better we dove in to enhance this powerful touring machine.

Our Alpha Street Series slip-on for the H2 SX comes in both carbon and stainless configurations makes the magic happen. Increasing HP and Torque while making this powerful beast more friendly and fun to ride. If saving weight is what you’re into we have that covered too. The carbon version saves over 8 pounds! Of course a complimentary exhaust note that makes everyone green with envy.

Also available is our ever popular Fender Eliminator Kit for the H2 SX. This new kit incorporates our new Shrink Solder Connectors and our new and improved weather tight light housing equipped with a brighter DOT compliant LED light.

Proudly made in the USA!

2018 Kawasaki H2 SX Alpha slip-on and FE kit pricing and info

2018 Kawasaki H2 SX Street Alpha SO SS/CF/CF 
Part # 14210BM220
MSRP: $649.00
2018 Kawasaki H2 SX Street Alpha SO SS/SS/CF 
Part # 14210BM520
MSRP: $549.00
2018 Kawasaki H2 SX Fender Eliminator kit 
Part # 070BG142100
MSRP: $179.00

Stock muffler weight: 13.0 Lbs.
Alpha SS/CF/CF slip-on: 4.8 Lbs.
Alpha SS/SS/CF slip-on: 5.8 lbs. 

Yoshimura Introduces Alpha Slip-on for 2018 Kawasaki H2 SX appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

Federal Legislation Would Require Proper Labeling Of E15 Fuel And Consumer Education Campaign

Proper labeling of E15 fuel is important, as modern motorcycles were not designed to operate on such fuels. 

Begin press release:

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) and U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fl.) have introduced the “Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act of 2018” in the U.S. House (H.R. 5855). The American Motorcyclist Association supports this bill.

The AMA has repeatedly warned of the dangers of E15 (15 percent ethanol by volume) for motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles because none of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles in use in the United States is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency to operate on fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol. Inadvertent use of E15 in vehicles not designed for its use can damage fuel system and engine components and void manufacturer’s warranties.

This bipartisan legislation would require the EPA to revise the labeling requirements for fuel pumps that dispense E15 and conduct a consumer education campaign to inform the public about the risks of improper use of E15 and the vehicles and equipment that are prohibited from using E15. To learn more and send a prewritten message to your representative, click the “take action” button below.

Take Action

Federal Legislation Would Require Proper Labeling Of E15 Fuel And Consumer Education Campaign appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

Dunlop K180 Flat Track Tire Added To U.S. Product Line

The Dunlop K180 flat track tire was once reserved for the few who rode around dirt ovals. Now, thanks to the popularity of street trackers and scramblers in the States, Dunlop is offering the tires to everybody in America.

Begin press release:

With the introduction of various street trackers, scramblers and the growing culture of custom and vintage bikes inspired by American Flat Track racing, the timing is ideal for the introduction of the K180 to the U.S. market.

The K180 was inspired by American Flat Track and offers a classic and aggressive look. The K180 is P speed rated for speeds up to 93 mph and is a great choice for vintage flat track racing, or flat-track riders on off-road 450s who can fit the K180 3.00-21 size to their stock wheel. These will also be popular for riders building custom bikes with a street-legal flat track look.

Available at Dunlop retailers in select sizes, the K180 is also the original equipment tire on the newly popular Suzuki VanVan 200.


Front Load/Speed
3.00-21 TT 51P
Front and Rear Load/Speed
120/90-18 TT 65P
130/80-18 TT 66P
Rear Load/Speed
180/80-14 TT 78P

About Dunlop Motorcycle Tires

Dunlop is the largest supplier and manufacturer of original equipment and replacement motorcycle tires in the U.S.A. For more information, visit DunlopMotorcycleTires.com

Dunlop K180 Flat Track Tire Added To U.S. Product Line appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

MO Tested: SBS SP EVO Sinter Brake Pad Long-Term Review

Sometimes we take for granted the importance of brake pads. As long as we can stop within a respectable time or distance, we’re good, right? Well, yes, but what if there was something better? Something providing more bite and better feel compared to stock pads throughout its lifetime? Enter the SBS SP Evo Sinter brake pads.

While it’s easy to assume upgraded pads are only necessary on high-performance motorcycles, better braking performance is a benefit no matter what you ride. With applications for adventure bikes, sportbikes, and touring bikes, there’s a good chance a set of SP EVO pads will fit your modern day machine.

The SBS SP EVO sinter brake pads, a solid replacement for your OEM pads.

As the name implies, the the EVO Sinter line is a sintered brake pad SBS says is built for the demands of modern braking systems. It’s also built for the rider looking for an alternative to the OEM replacement pad. Before going further, though, now’s a good time for a quick refresher on brake pads and what they’re made of.

Brake Pads 101

A discussion about brake pads is worthy of a story all its own, but here’s a broad overview. Simply put, sintered brake pads means fusing metallic particles under high heat to create the pad. Benefits include high initial bite, with more consistent and long-lasting performance when hot or cold. Sounds great, right? Well, the biggest drawback of sintered pads is the wear they put on the discs, as the metal-on-metal contact, under extreme conditions, can wear out the disc, too. Granted, this was typically an issue with older versions of sintered pads, but SBS says newer technology has virtually negated this drawback. Other negatives include increased brake dust, more noise, and typically a higher price tag.

The other common brake pad materials are organic pads. Here, different organic fibers and fillers – like kevlar and/or carbon fiber – are mixed with a resin to produce a brake pad. While not as powerful initially compared to a sintered pad, organic pads can deliver a more progressive feel at the lever. Crucial also is the fact they are much less abrasive to brake rotors. Lastly, they tend to be quieter and less expensive than their sintered counterparts. Obviously, the downside with organic pads is they don’t deliver the same braking power as sintered, and they don’t last as long, either.

A nice middle ground, then, is the semi-sintered pad. A combination of organic and metallic components make up the semi-sintered pad, and while they make a good compromise between sintered and organic pads, brake companies are constantly improving their technology to reduce the effects of sintered pads.

Exhibit A

Which brings us back to the SBS SP EVO. The sintered material itself is directly pressed and then heated with an electrical current, resulting in a homogeneous pad material. From there, the pad material is bonded to the backing plate mechanically, via a matrix of steel hooks that are then molded into the pad material. This creates an extremely strong bond without the use of adhesives, which could degrade over time due to constant exposure to high heat situations.

At the bottom you can see the backing plate with the metal hooks used to achieve the supremely strong mechanical bond between the backing plate and the pad material.

As for the material itself, SBS says the things we should expect from sintered pads – strong initial bite, easy modulation, fade-free performance even under extreme conditions, consistent performance throughout the life of the pad, and, importantly, little wear on the disc.

For this long-term test the motorcycle in question is a 2009 Kawasaki Versys 650 – my personal commuter. Installation-wise, things couldn’t be simpler. Each motorcycle will have minor differences, but in the case of the low-tech, pin-slide calipers on my Versys, installation was a matter of removing two caliper bolts and a retaining pin. From there the old pads rotate up and out, and the new pads pop right in (this is an oversimplification, but not by much).

Brake pads are one of the easiest modifications you can make to your motorcycle. In the case of my Versys, only three tools were used, and the screwdriver could have stayed home.

After some light sanding of the disc to clear off the old pad material, I rode around locally for a few miles (SBS recommends 20, but I didn’t do that), intermittently dragging the brake lever with one finger lightly until there was clear pad engagement to bed the new pads.

To SBS’ credit, the new pads came in very fast. However, having used race-spec sintered pads in the past, I was expecting (and hoping) for ferocious bite from the SP EVO once I really stomped on the binders. I was in for a big surprise when I first attempted a panic stop in anger and my expectation was met with a completely different reality. Initial bite was clearly stronger than the stock pads that came on the Kawasaki, but nowhere near the race level I was expecting. This is what they mean by “OEM replacement.”

The SBS SP EVO pads still have plenty of life left in them after over 10,000 miles.

With my expectations now in line with reality, I’ve been continually impressed with the SP EVO pads. Sure the initial bite isn’t as strong as I’d like, but it’s a clear improvement from stock. I appreciate the better braking feel and stronger power I have versus the stock pads, too, especially during spirited canyon rides – or, more importantly, during the panic stops I’ve had to make from inattentive car drivers cutting me off! More impressive is the fact this performance hasn’t diminished even after the 10,000 miles I’ve put on the Versys since the install. And I’d say I’ve still got another 5,000 miles left on the remaining pad material.

I haven’t put the Versys on a racetrack to test its abilities there, but the SP EVO pads are designed for the street anyway, so a track test wouldn’t be fair. As a street pad, I’m pretty impressed by the SBS SP EVO. If you’re not looking for race-worthy performance (though, for some, these pads could probably pull light track duty), but rather a solid improvement over the pads that came on your bike from the factory, these are worth a look. Nice bite, strong braking power, good feel, with excellent consistency and longevity – these are all things you can expect from the SP EVO. Pricing will vary depending on your model, but should range between $40 – $80 for a set. Contact your local Parts Unlimited dealer for specifics pertaining to your vehicle.

The post MO Tested: SBS SP EVO Sinter Brake Pad Long-Term Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com.