The Zero FXS electric motorcycle is the most affordable and (in my opinion) the most fun offering in the Zero lineup. And yet many people don’t even know it exists.
So grab yourself a drink and read on while I tell you a thing or two about why the Zero FXS is perhaps the best commuter electric motorcycle on the market right now.
2019 Zero FXS electric supermoto
The 2019 Zero FXS starts at just $8,495. While that might not sound very “low cost” to some, especially compared to a $2,495 urban electric motorcycle, that’s practically pennies in the world of full-size electric motorcycles. Consider that the new Zero SR/F starts at well over twice that, and Harley-Davidson’s upcoming LiveWire is over three times the price of the Zero FXS.
Even the top-end model, which is the one I reviewed and offers double the range of the base model, only costs $10,495. And that’s before a number of state tax incentives that drop the price. Yet despite its low cost, the Zero FXS doesn’t get as much attention compared to its faster and sexier big brothers in the Zero lineup.
So let’s take a meander at the specs on this ultimate commuting machine that stole my heart with the twist of a wrist.
2019 Zero FXS ZF7.2 tech specs
- Motor: 34 kW (46 hp) ZForce 75-5 air-cooled mid-drive motor
- Torque: 106 Nm (78 lb-ft)
- Top speed: 137 km/h (85 mph)
- City Range: 161 km (100 mi)
- Highway Range at 113 km/h (70 mph): 64 km (40 mi)
- Battery: 7.2 kWh
- Fuel Economy (city): 0.44 L/100 km (533 MPGe)
- Fuel Economy (highway): 1.10 L/100 km (213 MPGe)
- Typical Recharge Cost: $0.81
- Charge time: 9 hours with 650W onboard charger, 4 hours with accessory charger, 2 hours with dual accessory chargers
- Weight: 133 kg (293 lb)
- Max load: 153 kg (337 lb)
- Brakes: J-Juan hydraulic floating caliper with Bosch Gen 9 ABS
- Suspension: Adjustable Showa with 178 mm (7 in) front and 227 mm (8.9 in) rear travel
Check out my video review of the 2019 Zero FXS electric supermoto and then read on for the full review below.
Zero FXS… what is it?
The Zero FXS is a supermoto in the truest form. Supermotos are motorcycles that are designed to perform well in just about every category. You wouldn’t take a Harley down a set of stairs. You wouldn’t take a dirt bike touring on the highway. And you wouldn’t take a cruiser bike off dirt jumps. Those are all bikes that are basically meant to perform great in one specific area. But supermotos are designed to be good at just about everything, even if they can’t beat a dedicated bike in specific niches.
And the Zero FXS supermoto truly is great at just about everything. It is highway-capable with a max speed of 137 km/h (85 mph). It is incredibly nimble due to its sub-300 lb weight, and it has the suspension and travel to hit jumps or handle stairs with ease — should that be required of it.
Basically, this all makes it the perfect commuter vehicle in my book. I can hop on the highway, ride into the city, hop a curb like it’s not even there, and still be home for supper — all on a single charge.
That’s what makes the Zero FXS so special, it can do everything.
Well, almost everything. The ‘S’ in FXS is for street, and so this model is optimized for pavement. If you think you’ll spend more time on the dirt, you might want to go for the FX. It’s nearly identical, except that it has some slight modifications including larger wheels and knobby tires. That will help more on the trails, though I did some light off-roading on the FXS and it was more than ready for the task, even in its street clothes.
When the Zero rep dropped off my FXS and gave me the walkthrough, he showed me the three power modes: ECO, CUSTOM, and SPORT. “I always just keep it in ECO,” he said. I nodded politely and thought to myself “Heh, that’s weak sauce but whatever floats his boat.”
As soon as I hopped on and gave the throttle a twist, I realized what he meant. There’s nothing eco about ECO. It gives you about a half-second of easy acceleration to get ready and then it slingshots you into oblivion. Folks, 34 kW (46 hp) might not sound like that much, but when it comes in a bike this lightweight and coupled with this much crazy electric torque, you better be holding on.
So yea, now I ride around in ECO all the time.
Well, almost all the time. Sometimes I flip it into SPORT for the wheelie power. But the bike is so light and powerful that SPORT mode instantly removes gravity from the front wheel and it can be a struggle to keep it down.
It’s fun when you’ve got a secluded straight away and want to mess around.
But for day to day, ECO mode is where it’s at. On ECO mode I’ve never been beaten when the light turns green and it still gets my adrenaline up to about a 7 or 8 out of 10. And that’s about as much of a rush as I want on my morning commute!
The bike itself feels solid, despite its light weight. There’s nothing luxurious here though. The backlit LCD display is a no-thrills type of screen. It gives you all of the info you need and nothing you don’t. No fancy graphics or swipe-through displays here.
The seat is fairly minimalist as well but felt perfectly comfortable to me. My wife didn’t find it quite as comfortable as me, at least on the rear portion. But she’s used to a pampered gel seat and doesn’t spend much time on the back of motorcycles. In my opinion, it is plenty comfortable both for city riding and highway blasting.
There’s also no button overload. Again, the handlebars are an everything-you-need-and-nothing-you-don’t situation. You’ve got buttons for your lights, mode, run/stop, blinkers, horn, and that’s about it. Speaking of the horn, that’s one of the few things I can find to complain about on the Zero FXS. It’s just not as loud or intimidating as I would have liked. It feels more like a scooter horn. And in my opinion, the horn is more important on an electric motorcycle than a gas-powered motorcycle since we can’t announce our presence with a series of small, timed explosions. I just would have liked a more aggressive horn. Something like a “hey, watch out!” instead of the “excuse me, sir” that I got.
If the horn is my biggest complaint though, then you know the bike has done a lot of things right.
I wouldn’t really call the component quality an issue, but you have to know going into this that you’re not getting the highest grade parts. Everything is more than adequate, but it doesn’t compare to more premium electric motorcycle offerings that come with high-end Brembo brakes or top-shelf suspension. Everything on the FXS is well spec’d, it just isn’t premium. But you didn’t expect to get a premium electric motorcycle for just $8-10k, did you?
Zero FXS — the ultimate commuter bike?
Yes. Absolutely yes.
The Zero FXS is the ultimate commuter electric motorcycle. It’s as fast and as quick as it is unassuming. I’m a speed racer on the highway into the city, and then I’m innocently parking at the bicycle rack since most people aren’t expecting a motorcycle to look quite like this. The bike can be an attention-getter when you want to be noticed and an afterthought when you don’t.
Regarding bicycle rack parking, I’m not sure that’s technically 100% kosher, but two months later I’m still parking ticket-free and no one has given me any dirty looks yet. On the contrary, many people come up to me all excited and want to know, “what is that thing?”
I can wiggle the little bike in and out of places I wouldn’t dream of on a larger bike and yet I still have all the road presence demanded and deserved of any other motorcycle.
The one major downside is, of course, going to be the range, depending on your own personal commute. For me, this was a complete non-issue. I could get away with charging it once a week while I was staying in the city. But when I was hopping on the highway I’d usually get a couple of days on a charge. And if I’m riding on the interstate then I’d make sure to charge each night just to be sure I’m starting off fresh with a full battery.
But recharging is so easy, all you need is an outlet. A measly wall outlet, like where you charge your phone or laptop. You don’t have to worry about finding a charging station or buying credits. You just roll up to any wall outlet, like the one in your garage, and plug in the cord. The charging cord is conveniently stored in a hole in the rear swingarm, which I personally always find hilarious. It’s just a structural tube but happens to be the perfect size for a folded up electrical cord, so that’s where Zero sticks it.
Sure charging takes a while. But I just let it charge overnight and it’s ready for me in the morning. And like I said, city riding turns charging into a weekly task, not a daily one.
This is for the ZF7.2 model, by the way. The base model comes with half the battery, at 3.6 kWh. That’s still going to be fine for city commuters, but charging will be more frequent. The 3.6 kWh battery is also modular, meaning you can remove it to carry it inside. You can also buy a second 3.6 kWh module to double your range. But unless you actually plan on removing the battery often, you’d be better advised to just buy the 7.2 kWh option as it is cheaper than buying the one with two removable 3.6 kWh battery modules.
Sure, everyone is drooling over the Zero SR/F, which is a pretty amazing electric motorcycle — don’t get me wrong. But it’s also more bike than many people need.
The Zero FXS gets me onto the interstate, into the city, and onto the trails. It does it with a beautiful, nearly silent electric whine. And I never have to visit a gas station again.
And believe it or not, it’s also the model that many of the top brass at Zero ride on a daily basis. While at the Zero SR/F launch in NYC with Abe Askenazi, CTO of Zero Motorcycles, he told me that many of the head honchos at Zero actually have a Zero FX or FXS as their personal ride. While the others are great bikes, the light weight and zippy performance of the FX line make it a different kind of joy.
In summary, I’d describe the Zero FXS like this: It isn’t the most powerful bike out there. It doesn’t have the longest range. It doesn’t have all of the fanciest features (a USB charger would be nice!). It’s not the greatest at any one thing. But it is very good at everything. And that’s why this supermoto is my favorite electric commuter motorcycle so far.
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