Zero DS Electric Dual-Sport First Look

July 29, 2009
JC Hilderbrand
JC Hilderbrand
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Hilde is holding down the fort at MotoUSA's Southern Oregon HQ. With world-class dirt bike and ATV trails just minutes away, the hardest part is getting him to focus on the keyboard. Two wheels or four, it doesn't matter to our Off-Road Editor so long as it goes like hell in the dirt.

Zero Motorcycles has released the Zero DS, a new dual-sport electric motorcycle. The street-legal Zero DS is a spinoff of the street-only predecessor, the Zero S, but combines the off-road capability of Zero’s first electric creation – the Zero X motocrosser.

Zero DS Electric Dual-Sport Motorcycle
The Zero DS is on/off-road legal and uses the same electric motorcycle technolgy as the rest of the Zero product line.

“The Zero DS is designed for those who want the freedom to ride wherever they want,” said CEO Gene Banman in a press release. “Take a new route into the office. Bypass the ordinary. Blast down a gravel road or a dusty trail. When you’re ready, silently pass from the sublime to the civilized as you arrive at your destination.”

The DS looks to be very similar to the S model with the exception of knobbier tires, a 17-inch front wheel, updated suspension and a new headlight. DS models use a round lamp versus the projector beam style on the street-only cycle. Zero’s Z-Force power pack doles out the juice from the lithium-ion battery. Charge time is said to be less than four hours with the onboard charging system and using standard 110 or 220-volt outlets. Weighing a claimed 270 pounds, the DS has a range of around 50 miles and a top speed of 55 mph with the single-speed, clutchless gearbox.

Suspension settings are said to be custom to the DS model and the inverted fork offers an additional two inches of travel (10 total). The rear shock provides nine inches of movement to absorb on/off-road punishment. The wheelbase is slightly longer than the street model at 56.75 inches but seat height is the same. Zero slows things down with a dual-piston caliper up front and single piston in the rear, both grabbing wave rotors.

Zero DS Electric Dual-Sport MotorcycleZero DS Electric Dual-Sport MotorcycleZero DS Electric Dual-Sport Motorcycle
The DS blends dirt and street performance with updated components mated to the existing Zero S design.

The bike retails for $9950 with a standard $500 shipping charge anywhere in the Lower 48. Don’t forget that this electric bike is eligible for a federal tax credit and sales tax deduction. For more information on the Zero DS, visit the Zero Motorcycles website.

Zero DS Specs:
Top Speed: 55mph
Motor Type: Type Brushed permanent magnet electric, patent-pending lithium ion array
Capacity: 4 kWh (58volts @ 70Ah)
Range: Up to 50 miles
Recharge Time: Less than 4 hours
Input: Standard 110V or 220V
Transmission: Clutchless one speed
Drive System: 17T / 61T, 420 Chain
Front Suspension: Travel 10 inches
Rear Suspension: Travel 9 inches
Front Brakes: 2 Pot Hydraulic, Stainless Rotor, Hand Actuated
Rear Brakes: 1 Pot Hydraulic, Stainless Rotor, Foot Actuated
Front Tire: 3.25-17
Rear Tire: 110/90-16
Front Wheel: 17 x 2.15
Rear Wheel: 16 x 3.0
Wheelbase: 56.75 inches
Seat Height: 35.5 inches
Head Angle: 26 degrees from vertical with 10 inch fork
Trail: 3.26 inches
Frame Weight: 29 pounds
Power Pack Weight: 80 pounds
Total Weight: 270 pounds
Typical cost to recharge: Less than $.01 per mile or kilometer
MSRP: $9950

Check out the video clip below courtesy of Zero Motorcycles.