2015 Zero S vs. Yamaha FZ-07 | DOIN' TIME

By The Numbers: Comparing the Zero S to an internal combustion engine (ICE) bike.

WRIST: Ari Henning
MSRP (2015): $17,840 (as tested)
MILES: 1,500
MPG: Not a concern!
MODS: None

One of my earliest impressions of the Zero S pertained to its acceleration. I noted that thrust off the line was pretty soft but that once underway it seemed to scoot along quite quickly. It's actually tricky to gauge how fast you're traveling on the Zero because there's no engine revving out beneath you, no rising exhaust note, and no shifting of gears. It's a serene experience.

Back to the off-the-line acceleration, though. I was curious to know how the Zero stacked up against an "average" motorcycle so I mounted our Vbox Sport GPS data logger to the Zero S and then a Yamaha FZ-07 and performed some basic performance tests. I measured 0-30 and 0-60 mph times to see how quickly each bike gets up to speed as well as 60-80 mph times while accelerating hard through the gears and also while rolling the throttle on in top gear, the latter test to get a feel for passing performance while cruising on the highway.

E-bikes are fast! Zero offers a faster bike in the SR model, but nothing street legal compares to the outright performance offered by the Killacycle e-dragbike. This beast goes from 0-100 mph in under a second and covers the ¼-mile in 7.84 seconds at 168 mph!

I cruised around on the Yamaha first, accelerating from stops quickly but responsibly. No clutch drops from redline or wheelying, just a fairly quick start like you'd do if you wanted to scoot ahead of traffic from a light that had just turned green. Here's how the FZ-07 did.

0-30 mph: 2.2 seconds
0-60 mph: 4.6 seconds
60-80 mph (through the gears): 2.4 seconds
60-80 mph (sixth gear): 4.7 seconds

Then I rode the Zero on the same route. The bike offers three power modes and I put it in Sport for the briskest performance. Since the Zero is a single-speed twist-and-go bike like a scooter there isn’t much variation in how you launch it—you just roll the throttle to the stop. Here’s how the Zero S did.

0-30 mph: 3.1 seconds
0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds
60-80 mph: 3.2 seconds

The numbers make it clear: The FZ-07 is quite a bit faster than the Zero, and I wasn't even wringing its neck. The FZ-07 benefits from less weight (400 pounds for the Yamaha versus 452 pounds for the Zero) a gearbox, and more horsepower (a measured 66 hp versus a claimed 54 hp for the Zero), but the Zero has more torque (a claimed 68 pound-feet versus 45.5.). One of the benefits of electric motors is that they offer peak power from the word go, so you'd expect the Zero to fire off the line. It's evident however that the bike's computer doles out power gradually. I suspect that is to preserve the batteries but also to protect the rider—lose rear-wheel traction on an e-bike and it'll spin up instantly since there's so little mass to accelerate. Don't ask me how I know!