Electric Bike Performs, Lacks Motorcycle Sound, Speed

While nice for urban jaunts, range and speed are limiting
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2009 8:55 AM CDT
The 2009 Zero X Electric Motorcycles from Santa Cruz-based Zero Motorcycles.   (Zero Motorcycles)
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(Newser) – The Zero S electric motorcycle is everything an electric car should be—quiet, emission-free, affordable—but the formula doesn’t necessarily translate well to bikes, Jonathan Welsh writes in the Wall Street Journal. The performance mimics a typical 500cc gas-powered bike, with peppy acceleration, and a city-worthy 60mph top speed, but its 60-mile range and four-hour charge time is limiting. Perhaps worst: It lacks that motorcycle sound.

The Zero S makes almost no sound, a problem for those who enjoy the head-turning growl of a motorcycle approaching. And the 60-mph limit, while fine for urban riding, could be dangerous in fast-moving highway traffic. The Zero S is a unique addition to a rider’s collection, but for an all-around bike that goes for distance and speed, look elsewhere, Welsh concludes.