Electric propulsion is intoxicating. There's no vibration and hardly any noise once underway, but a steady, predictable stream of thrust. It's just so easy to flit into a gap in traffic...
An angry young man in a BMW 7-series sedan who didn't like my sliding up to the white line in rush-hour traffic tried to beat me to the next light. Because the Zero's so quiet, I could hear his Bavarian V-8 inhale great gulps of air...as it slid behind the Zero.
It takes about 25 lb.-ft. of torque to push me and the bike along at 80 mph. Far less than 10 to maintain pace in urban settings.
Love the iPhone app. After trying a few different settings applied to the Eco mode, I quickly settled on everything turned up to 11. With max basic and brake-initiated regeneration, the Zero S stops like a big thumper, plenty of engine braking. Just enough, not too much. And you can add a lot of useful range by maximizing regen. Once I figured this out, I never again used the Sport mode.
With some practice, I got to where I could anticipate red lights and use the regen to do almost all the stopping, applying a tiny bit of brake at the very end. For now, it's a fun game. Who knows if I'd grow tired of it after a while.
The small forward trunk where the fuel tank should be is a great idea. Finish the job, Zero, and make it a waterproof, lockable compartment.
Suspension compliance remains the last frontier of refinement for Zero. What's there is taut but seems unsophisticated. My feeling is that commuter riders (read: commuters also considering cushy scooters) will want a plusher ride.
High fives on the new brakes. The Nissin calipers are a massive improvement over the previous bike's wooden binders.
The mirrors are crazy wide. In the normal position, they tape out at 40.2 inches end to end. Turned "upside down," they still stick out 36 in. The bar is only 29 in. wide, for cryin' out loud! I understand and admire the desire to have good rearward vision, but these mirrors put a serious crimp in the Zero's lane-splitting abilities. (Residents of states other than California may now ignore the preceding paragraph.)
Actually, there's one more frontier for Zero, and that's continuing this aggressive development track while finding ways to reduce the price. At $16K with the largest battery pack, the Zero S seems very expensive for a commuter machine. Even when you take into account various tax incentives for electric vehicles, very low life cycle costs, almost zero maintenance, and low cost-per-mile of energy, it's hard to move the conversation beyond MSRP. That will, I'm sure, begin to change over time, but the takeaway for me is how far this motorcycle has come in very little time. I don't expect electric bikes to completely replace internal-combustion machines soon, but the case for one on specific missions gets easier and easier to make.