This year, Zero Motorcycles showed that it isn’t resting on its laurels with the addition of two new models, both of which are submodels of existing bikes. Today, I would like to focus on the FX line, and its new-for-2016 member, the FXS Supermoto.

While the base model FX Stealthfighter did get a new powerpack and better ergonomics in the rider triangle, the real story is with the FXS and its attempt to bring supermoto-style street, dirt and flat-track performance to the electric bike sector. I’ve never made a secret of my love for this company and its products, or how much I support green transportation, so I’m stoked about Zero expanding its footprint. Join me while I look at these two multi-surface funbikes.

Continue reading for my review of the Zero FX and FXS.

  • 2016 Zero FX / FXS
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    electric

Design

2016 Zero FX / FXS
- image 660172

It’s safe to say the FX line follows a rather dirtbike-ish overall layout, and the minimal fuel-tank bump keeps the top lines nice and flat for a nearly straight back. The Stealthfighter maintains many features that make it suitable for on-road use, with a bias toward off-road capabilities for something of an electric adventure bike built to undertake all manner of off-road shenanigannery.

While the Supermoto runs on the same basic core as far as the drivetrain and frame are concerned, the suspension, brakes and tires shows a street-wise bent, and it comes set up for urban antics with the typical supermoto dirt-road capabilities. Both models run a tripletree-mounted front fender, and a very slim subframe assembly that visually concentrates the bulk of the bike in the center, leaving them with the impression of great agility.

The factory calls these rides “a personal amusement-park ride,” and I can see the potential for them to be just that, you just have to decide which playground you will favor.

Chassis

2016 Zero FX / FXS
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Curb weight varies between models, but you are looking at something between 250 to 300 pounds, all told. In order to make a bike that light, you have to start out with weight-savings as a primary consideration, and Zero built a frame for the FX series that weighs only 20 pounds, not a bad start.

Steering-head geometry reflects the unique nature of each model. The Stealthfighter runs 25.4 degrees of rake with 4.1 inches of trail for nimble, but not squirrely, off-road handling, while the Supermoto has a steeper, 24.4-degree rake and short, 2.8-inch trail for impossibly quick flicks, tricks and reversals.

Both models run a 40 mm, Showa, piggy-back monoshock with adjustable compression/rebound damping, adjustable spring preload and 8.94 inches of travel. Showa floats the front as well on 41 mm inverted front forks that come with the same adjustments as the rear, but the travel varies between models. The more-offroadtastic Stealthfighter runs with 8.6 inches of travel for truly rugged, off-road adventures, while the Supermoto has a slightly more modest 7 inches of travel for asphalt-based shenanigans.

Tire choice reflects the intended use of each bike as well. The FX rolls on Pirelli Scorpion hoops that compromise between street and dirt handling, while the FXS gets the road racing Diablo Rosso II tire, also from Pirelli.

Brake components also see some slight variations. Both bikes run with a dual-piston, J-Juan caliper up front and a single-pot J-Juan in the rear, all under the management of the Bosch Gen 9 ABS system. The FX uses 240 mm discs front and rear, while the FXS embraces a bit more front-end stopping power with a 320 mm disc up front and a 240 mm disc in the rear. Yeah, Zero wants to make sure you have enough braking and control of the front end for some spectacular endos.

Drivetrain

2016 Zero FX / FXS
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The 2016 model year saw the introduction of the Z-Force electric motor and modular power pack, features that made it onto both models. This new motor cools faster, so it can produce higher top speeds, and the power pack boasts a 14-percent increase in capacity over the previous generation. In short, you can go farther and faster this year.

Regardless of power pack size, the motor cranks out 70 pound-feet of torque for a pretty good grunt-per-pound ratio. Horsepower varies according to which power pack option you choose. The ZF3.3 power pack delivers 27 ponies, while the ZF6.5 power pack ramps that up to 44 ponies.

Unlike the other Zero models, the FX and FXS doesn’t come with the PowerTank or Charge Tank accessories, so you won’t get the same range and flexibility you get with the rest of the range. You do still have the option of reducing recharge times with multiple Accessory Chargers, so at least you can count on faster recharge times anywhere that you can plug in.

It’s safe to call these bikes big-boy toys since the range is rather limited at something between 90 miles in the city (probably about the same off-road), and 17 miles at 70 mph on the highway, depending on which power pack option you choose. Not exactly the stuff commuter bikes or tourers are made of. Top speeds are in the low- to mid-eighties, with top sustained speeds around 70 mph and 0-60 times between 3.8 and 4.3 seconds, all depending on the power options and model selection. These kinds of numbers show where these bikes shine — in their potential for raw shenanigannery on a variety of surfaces. Like I said, big-boy toys, all the way.

Both models come with a 650 Watt, on-board charger that will bring the ZF3.3 power pack to 100-percent charge in 4.7 hours, and the ZF6.5 to 100 percent in 8.9 hours at any standard 110 or 220 volt source. That decreases dramatically with the use of the Accessory Chargers, and you can get down to 1.5 hours for a full recharge with two extra chargers, the max number you can use.

Kinetic energy from the motor flows through a clutchless, direct-drive system and a Poly Chain, belt final drive for effortless riding. Regenerative braking simulates the feel you get from engine braking, providing the rider with a fairly natural downshift feeling that puts a little bit back in the batteries as well.

Price

2016 Zero FX / FXS
- image 660174

Both the FX Stealthfighter and FXS Supermoto roll for $8,495 with the base, ZF3.3 power pack. The ZF6.5, with its greater capacity, will run another $2,495, and the Quick-charge accessory will set you back $600 apiece. If you aren’t careful during checkout, this can quickly turn into a 13-thousand dollar bike.

Competitor

2016 Zero FX / FXS
- image 660167
2015 Ducati Scrambler Urban Enduro
- image 660221

While I am sure that Zero would prefer to be compared against another electric bike, the truth is that the electric off-road field is really too narrow for a comprehensive head-to-head. Instead, I decided to demonstrate the viability of electrics by comparing them against a gas-powered model with similar capabilities, the Urban Enduro from Ducati.

Right off, the Duc is sort of a supermoto with scrambler roots, and it looks the part. Most comparable visually to the FXS, the Urban Enduro carries a flat top line with a 31-inch seat, nearly the same as the Zeros. The Duc runs Pirelli street tires, much like the FXS, so you can expect it to be geared more for urban shenanigans.

Obviously, the Duc runs a dino-juice engine, but again, the numbers seem to average out somewhat. The 803 cc Duc mill cranks out 75 horsepower at 8,250 rpm with 50 pound-feet of torque at 5,750 rpm. Zero falls a little flat on ponies with only 27 out of the 3.3 kWh power pack and 44 from the 6.5 kWh pack, but makes up for it with the 70 pound-feet of grunt. Best of all, that torque is available as soon as you roll on, no need to spool the mill up to wring it out. It is available right now.

Duc also runs with 41 mm front shocks and an adjustable, rear monoshock, but the 5.9-inch wheel travel falls a little short of the 7 to nearly nine-inch travel across the FX range. Probably enough for trick or thrill riding in the city, but you had better be careful off-road, that skid plate will only protect so much.

The Urban Enduro comes in a little proud with a $10,495 MSRP, but you get everything you need for that price. While the Zeros have a cheaper base price at only $8,495, you will have to skin that wallet for another 4k or so if you want to unlock the full potential. Just keep that in mind if price is an issue for you.

End of the day, I’d say the electric bikes acquitted themselves admirably against the dino-ride, with the obvious caveat about range and refueling/recharging times. Or, you can just wait a few years for a few more leaps in battery technology. The line between gas and electric capabilities will become blurred, I expect.

He Said

“To paraphrase Lincoln: guys into these kinds of bikes will find these to be just the kind of bikes they are into. The lack of range is a deal breaker for me, and if I had my ’druthers, I would go with the police bike version of the DSR, with its side bags and trunk. That said, I can see the FX line as a good toy, and the Stealthfighter in particular is singularly suited for striking out on deadly quiet hunting excursions. Or, general testosterone-fueled jackassery, whichever you prefer.”

She Said

My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "I have to agree with my husband. I’m not feeling the limited range of the base ZF3.3 versions especially on the highway. Around town is better, but I’d definitely have to go for the upgraded power pack and even then, faster charging times would be beneficial."

Specifications

Model: Zero FX Zero FXS
Performance:
Motor: Z-Force® 75-5 passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux, permanent magnet, brushless motor Z-Force® 75-5 passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux, interior permanent magnet, brushless motor
Controller: High efficiency, 420 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration High efficiency, 420 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration
Maximum Torque: 70 Pound-Feet 70 Pound-Feet
Maximum Power: ZF3.3 - 27 Horsepower at 3,700 rpm, ZF6.5 - 44 Horsepower at 3,700 rpm ZF3.3 - 27 Horsepower at 3,700 rpm, ZF6.5 - 44 Horsepower at 3,700 rpm
Maximum Top Speed: 85 mph 82 mph
Sustained Top Speed: 70 mph 75 mph
0 to 60 mph: ZF3.3 - 4.3 seconds, ZF6.5 - 4.0 seconds ZF3.3 - 4.1 seconds, ZF6.5 - 3.8 seconds
Drivetrain:
Transmission: Clutchless Direct Drive Clutchless Direct Drive
Final Drive: 132T / 25T, Poly Chain® GT® Carbon™ belt 132T / 25T, Poly Chain® GT® Carbon™ belt
Chassis:
Suspension, Front: Showa 41 mm inverted cartridge forks, with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping Showa 41 mm inverted cartridge forks, with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Suspension, Rear: Showa 40 mm piston, piggy-back reservoir shock with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping Showa 40 mm piston, piggy-back reservoir shock with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Suspension Travel, Front: 8.6 inches 7.0 inches
Suspension Travel, Rear: 8.94 inches 8.94 inches
Brake, Front: Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan dual piston floating caliper, 240 x 4.5 mm disc Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan asymmetric dual piston floating caliper, 320 x 5 mm disc
Brake, Rear: Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan single piston floating caliper, 240 x 4.5 mm disc Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan single piston floating caliper, 240 x 4.5 mm disc
Wheel, Front: 1.85 x 21 3.00 x 17
Wheel Rear: 2.50 x 18 3.50 x 17
Tire, Front: Pirelli Scorpion MT 90 A/T 90/90-21 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II 110/70-17
Tire, Rear: Pirelli Scorpion MT 90 A/T 120/80-18 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II 140/70-17
Power System:
Power Pack: Z-Force® Li-Ion intelligent Z-Force® Li-Ion intelligent
Input: Standard 110 V or 220 V Standard 110 V or 220 V
Charger Type: 650 W, integrated 650 W, integrated
Charge Time, Standard:
100 Percent: ZF3.3 - 4.7 hours , ZF6.5 - 8.9 hours ZF3.3 - 4.7 hours , ZF6.5 - 8.9 hours
95 percent: ZF3.3 - 4.2 hours , ZF6.5 - 8.4 hours ZF3.3 - 4.2 hours , ZF6.5 - 8.4 hours
Range:
City: ZF3.3 - 41 miles , ZF6,5 - 82 miles ZF3.3 - 45 miles. ZF6.5 - 90 miles
Highway at 55 mph: ZF3.3 - 25 miles, ZF6.5 - 50 miles ZF3.3 - 27 miles, ZF6.5 - 54 miles
Highway at 70 mph: ZF3.3 - 17 miles, ZF6.5 - 35 miles ZF3.3 - 18 miles, ZF6.5 - 37 miles
Dimensions:
Wheelbase: 56.6 inches 56 inches
Seat height: 34.7 inches 32.9 inches
Rake: 25.4 degrees 24.4 degrees
Trail: 4.1 inches 2.8 inches
Weight:
Frame : 20 Pounds 20 Pounds
Curb weight: ZF3.3 - 247 Pounds, ZF6.5 - 289 Pounds ZF3.3 - 251 Pounds, ZF6.5 - 293 Pounds
Carrying capacity: ZF3.3 - 383 Pounds, ZF6.5 - 341 Pounds ZF3.3 - 379 Pounds, ZF6.5 - 337 Pounds
Typical Cost to Recharge: ZF3.3 - $0.37, ZF6.5 - $0.73 ZF3.3 - $0.37, ZF6.5 - $0.73
Warranty: Two-year unlimited mileage warranty and Five-year/100,000-mile warranty on the power pack Two-year unlimited mileage warranty and Five-year/100,000-mile warranty on the power pack
Color: Black Black
Price: ZF3.3 - $8,495, ZF6.5 - $10,990 ZF3.3 - $8,495, ZF6.5 - $10,990
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