2020 Zero Motorcycles SR/F Review MC Commute

A real world commuting style review of Zero’s all-electric SR/F motorcycle.

Urban motorcyclists looking for a fast and efficient motorcycle that’s well suited to quick trips around town should take a ride on Zero Motorcycles’ all-electric SR/F ($21,495, as tested). The SR/F combines big-bike-type styling and performance with usable range and charging for those looking to rid themselves of the gasoline pump.

Zero Motorcycles makes a solid case for gasoline-free powered street bikes with its fantastic SR/F. It’s a worthy option for those that commute in a short mileage radius.
Zero Motorcycles makes a solid case for gasoline-free powered street bikes with its fantastic SR/F. It’s a worthy option for those that commute in a short mileage radius.Zero Motorcycles

The SR/F is the northern California-based company’s top-of-the-line electric motorcycle. It’s styled as a naked bike that compares loosely to liter-sized gasoline-powered streetfighters. Powered by a huge, and aesthetically pleasing 14.4kW battery and compact ZF75-10 motor, Zero claims its powertrain is capable of producing a whopping 140 pound-feet torque. That’s more than either Honda’s six-cylinder Gold Wing or BMW’s mighty K 1600 GTL. And it does it nearly without silence.

A TFT color display keeps tabs on the SR/F’s vitals. A multi-function switch on the handlebar allows the rider to adjust its various settings. If Zero added touchscreen functionality it would be nearly perfect.
A TFT color display keeps tabs on the SR/F’s vitals. A multi-function switch on the handlebar allows the rider to adjust its various settings. If Zero added touchscreen functionality it would be nearly perfect.Zero Motorcycles

Sure, the lack of engine and exhaust sound feels strange at first, as compared to a traditional internal combustion engine, open-minded riders will acclimate to the whine of the drivetrain and bite of the brakes when squeezed.

Zero’s SR/F motorcycle is propelled by this compact electric motor capable of a claimed 140 pound-feet of torque. That’s more torque than a six-cylinder powered Honda Gold Wing.
Zero’s SR/F motorcycle is propelled by this compact electric motor capable of a claimed 140 pound-feet of torque. That’s more torque than a six-cylinder powered Honda Gold Wing.Adam Waheed

Simplicity is the name of the game with the SR/F. There are no gears to shift, no clutch lever to squeeze, instead the Zero offers a scooter-like gas-and-go riding experience. Multiple power mode settings makes it easy to get up to speed on the Zero, and the throttle response is nearly perfectly calibrated. Bosch-sourced traction control and ABS come standard, both of which can be manually disabled, if desired.

Real motorcycle brakes, real motorcycle suspension. Zero’s SR/F wears heavy-duty brake and suspension hardware that performs as good, if not better, than some gasoline-powered street bikes that wear these components.
Real motorcycle brakes, real motorcycle suspension. Zero’s SR/F wears heavy-duty brake and suspension hardware that performs as good, if not better, than some gasoline-powered street bikes that wear these components.Adam Waheed

Range is dependent on the selected power mode and how much throttle the rider applies, and of course the terrain (riding uphill sucks more juice than coasting down an incline). During our 13-mile stoplight-to-stoplight city commute, in Sport mode, the SR/F consumed 17 percent capacity. This meant we had plenty of juice to run a few errands before returning home at the end of the day.

LED head and tail lamps help you standout on the road. But for its $21,495 asking price, the turn signals should be LEDs as well.
LED head and tail lamps help you standout on the road. But for its $21,495 asking price, the turn signals should be LEDs as well.Adam Waheed

As opposed to the standard 3kW charger, the premium model we rode is equipped with a 6kW charger, allowing the SR/F to charge from a depleted battery state to 95 percent charge in four hours when plugged into a Level 2 charging station. It takes eight hours of charging time when a traditional three-pronged 110-volt household power source is used. A colorful TFT-style instrument display keeps tabs on the motorcycle’s vitals including battery life and range with a multifunctional handlebar-mounted switch allowing for adjustment.

The Zero SR/F has a lockable storage box where the fuel tank is located on a gas-powered bike. Below is the Level 2 (J1772) charging port. The premium model we tested, can be charged to 95 percent in four hours.
The Zero SR/F has a lockable storage box where the fuel tank is located on a gas-powered bike. Below is the Level 2 (J1772) charging port. The premium model we tested, can be charged to 95 percent in four hours.Adam Waheed

The SR/F rolls on a set of 17-inch cast alloy wheels shod in Pirelli’s grippy Diablo Rosso III tires. For the first-time ever, Zero employs real motorcycle suspension components highlighted by Showa’s BP-style (big-piston) fork and a gas-charged direct-mount shock absorber. Although a bit heavy-feeling this ebike glides over rough pavement and delivers pleasing ride quality. Heavy-duty triple Spanish-sourced J.Juan disc brakes keep speed in check and provide ample stopping power for the nearly 500-pound Zero.

Zero Motorcycles SR/F rides so well, it will make you think twice about the future of electric motorcycles.
Zero Motorcycles SR/F rides so well, it will make you think twice about the future of electric motorcycles.Zero Motorcycles

Those seeking a fun and functional urban motorcycle with most of the good (thrilling acceleration, great build quality, and ease of use) and nearly none of the bad (i.e., gasoline fill-ups, oil changes, and other forms of routine maintenance aside from wear-and-tear items) will love the SR/F. For quick sprints around town Zero’s latest motorcycle will make you think twice about the future of all-electric bikes.