Zero’s Trickster Bike Returns For 2019 With More Power, Storage, And Performance

Zero Motorcycles brushed up its supermoto-tastic FXS model ahead of MY2019 with a new look and improved electronics. That’s right, Zero’s trickster bike reprises its role in the lineup with a youthful exuberance that is impossible to ignore along with more power storage and performance, but don’t look to this machine to be your next commuter, not unless you have a very short commute. That’s OK, ’cause it is good for what it’s good for, so let’s get about the business of dissecting this fun little ride.

  • 2019 Zero FXS
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Top Speed:
    85 mph
  • Price:
    8495
  • Price:

2019 Zero FXS Design

The rider triangle makes for a relaxed upper-body position with enough room to assume a standing position under way for technical stuff, trickery, and general jackassery.

Fans of the brand will recognize the dirt-tastic FX at its core that serves as the platform for the “S” model. The differences, however, are obvious right off the bat as the FXS drops the asymmetrical wire wheels in favor of a pair of cast, 17-inch rims with streetwise rubbers on them, and that makes the front end look a little odd. It maintains its tripletree-mount front fender for the same reason, to limit unsprung weight at the front axle and give the front suspension plenty of room to pump.

A digital display bundles all the instrumentation together in a single housing with a set of standoff turn signals and dual-beam headlights to finish off the forward lighting. A short-rise handlebar pushes the top of the rider’s triangle back toward the seat to provide a relaxed upper-body position with enough room to assume a standing position under way for technical stuff, trickery, and general jackassery.

The profile silhouette looks much like any of a number of current smoker bikes in spite of its electrical nature, no doubt to make it more palatable to riders who are more accustomed to the status quo, but all it takes is a glance at the mostly closed-off “engine area” to see that there is something very different here. Oh, and the fact that the left side is cleaner than usual with a total lack of shift gear, ’cause ya’ know, this machine doesn’t need anything as quaint and old fashioned as all that.

The midsection is dominated by the power storage unit(s) with only a glimpse of the cooling fin-encrusted motor through the low cutout and from the rear. It should come as no surprise that the drivetrain isn’t used as part of the aesthetic, ’cause it has nothing in the way of charm about it, but that’s alright with me; form follows function.

The saddle follows the gentle swale where the fake-tank and subframe meet, and there’s just enough of a shoulder to segregate the pilot and pillion even though it’s more of a suggestion than an actual barrier. I’m sure the factory did that to help the daredevils amongst us perform their feats of skill. The rearward lights and tagholder finish off the gear in the rear, and the latter also serves as a mudguard extension to control the fling with a swingarm-mount hugger as a secondary shield.

2019 Zero FXS Chassis

2019 Zero FXS
- image 819496
Steering geometry gives the FXS a seriously nimble nature.

The bones of the beast reflect its nature, but if I had to label it I’d call it a double-downtube/cradle frame. Rake is set at 24.4 degrees, which is fairly typical for sporty bikes, but the 2.8 inches of trail is incredibly short to give the FXS a seriously nimble nature.

The yoke-style swingarm is of a heavy I-beam construction that relies on a single coil-over shock to take care of business. Showa provides the 40 mm, piggyback shock, and it comes with the trifecta of adjustments and 8.94 inches of travel opposite the 41 mm, inverted forks delivering the same level of adjustability over a 7-inch stroke. If you think those numbers look closer to dirtbike figures than streetbike, you’re right, but I did say it was built for stunts right from the get-go, and here’s the proof.

In spite of its remarkably low curb weight — 251 pounds for the 3.6 kWh model and 293 pounds for the 7.2 kWh unit — Zero threw on a pair of J-Juan anchors to bite dual 320 mm front discs with a 240 mm disc out back and the Bosch Gen 9 anti-lock brake system. Pirelli’s Diablo Rosso II hoops line the cast wheels with a 110/70 and 140/70 on the front and rear, respectively. The wheelbase is fairly compact at 56 inches long, but the seat is kinda tall at 32.9 inches off the ground and that’s the price you pay for that kind of suspension travel and clearance.

Front suspension: Showa 41 mm inverted cartridge forks, with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension: Showa 40 mm piston, piggy-back reservoir shock with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Front suspension travel: 7.00 in (178 mm)
Rear suspension travel: 8.94 in (227 mm)
Rake: 24.4°
Trail: 2.8 in (71 mm)
Front brakes: Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan asymmetric dual piston floating caliper, 320 x 5 mm disc
Rear brakes: Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan single piston floating caliper, 240 x 4.5 mm disc
Front tire: Pirelli Diablo Rosso II 110/70-17
Rear tire: Pirelli Diablo Rosso II 140/70-17
Front wheel: 3.00 x 17
Rear wheel: 3.50 x 17

2019 Zero FXS Drivetrain

2019 Zero FXS
- image 819502
With very short range, the FXS ZF3.6 is no good as a commuter, and I'd point out that Zero has a reputation for being a bit optimistic with its figures, so there's that too.

Here in the drive system is where we see the difference between the FXS brethren. The FXS ZF3.6 is set up so you can hot-swap batteries to prolong your trick-riding fun. Good thing too, since the smaller unit only delivers 50 miles in the city and 20 on the highway. See? I told you this bike is no good as a commuter unless you have a very short ride, and I’d point out that Zero has a reputation for being a bit optimistic with its figures, so there’s that too.

The ZF7.2 claims double that range, and as you’d expect, charge times are affected by storage capacity with a 5.1 hour charge time from zero to 100-percent on the smaller power pack, and 9.7 hours for the same charge on the larger one. You can sharply reduce those charge times with accessory charger units that can cut the recharge period down to 1.6 hours and 1.8 hours, respectively. Best of all, you don’t need any kind of fancy-schmancy charging station or even a particularly large outlet; the charger will run off a regular 110-Volt service, though if you use the multiple chargers you’ll have to put each one on a separate circuit.

Unlike the S-series and DS-series machines, the FXS won’t mount the accessory charge tank or power tank, so you’re relatively limited in that respect. Unlike some electrics out there, Zeros run with a straight-up direct drive with no manual clutch or heavy gearbox in the drivetrain, just the radial-flux electric motor and a belt-and-pulley final drive.

A 550 amp controller meters the flow to the motor, and it has a regenerative-braking feature that puts some juice back whenever you roll off and “engine brake” to scrub speed. The power packs are of the lithium-ion persuasion, and they come with a five-year warranty so you can count on several thousand cycles before you need to replace it/them.

What does all this get you? Well, no matter which one you pick, you’ll get 78 pounds o’ grunt all there as soon as you twist the grip with no need to spool up to develop the full torque. Horsepower varies depending on which power module you pick; 27 ponies from the 3.6 and 46 from the 7.2, but top speed is a constant across the board at 85 mph. New for this year is a long-term storage feature that helps maintain your battery over long layups such as the winter break.

Model: FXS ZF3.6 Modular FXS ZF7.2
Motor: Z-Force® 75-5 passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux, interior permanent magnet, brushless motor Z-Force® 75-5 passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux, interior permanent magnet, brushless motor
Controller: High efficiency, 550 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration High efficiency, 550 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration
Peak torque: 78 lb-ft (106 Nm) 78 lb-ft (106 Nm)
Peak power: 27 hp (20 kW) @ 4,300 rpm 46 hp (34 kW) @ 4,300 rpm
Power pack: Z-Force® Li-Ion intelligent modular Z-Force® Li-Ion intelligent integrated
Max capacity: 3.6 kWh 7.2 kWh
Nominal capacity: 3.2 kWh 6.3 kWh
Charger: 650 W, integrated 650 W, integrated
Charge time (standard): 5.1 hours (100% charged) / 4.6 hours (95% charged) 9.7 hours (100% charged) / 9.2 hours (95% charged)
With one accessory charger: 2.3 hours (100% charged) / 1.8 hours (95% charged) 4.1 hours (100% charged) / 3.6 hours (95% charged)
With max accessory chargers: 1.6 hours (100% charged) / 1.1 hours (95% charged) 1.8 hours (100% charged) / 1.3 hours (95% charged)
Input: Standard 110 V or 220 V Standard 110 V or 220 V
Transmission: Clutchless direct drive Clutchless direct drive
Final drive: 90T / 18T, Poly Chain® HTD® Carbon™ belt 90T / 18T, Poly Chain® HTD® Carbon™ belt

2019 Zero FXS Pricing

2019 Zero FXS
- image 819504
MSRP is $8.5k for the ZF3.6 but that's just the beginning. Start tacking on quick chargers and power modules and the price rises very quickly.

The base FXS ZF3.6 rolls for $8,495 while the 7.2 rolls for $10,495. Extra power modules run $2,895 apiece. The quick chargers are $600 each, and it looks like you can use two of them at once to really slash your charge times.

Model: FXS ZF3.6 Modular FXS ZF7.2
Standard motorcycle warranty: 2 years 2 years
Power pack warranty: 5 years/unlimited miles 5 years/unlimited miles
Color: Rhino Gray Rhino Gray
Pricing: $8,495 $10,495

2019 Zero FXS Competitors

2018 KTM Freeride E-XC
- image 819463
2019 Zero FXS
- image 812121
One of the factory's strengths is the fact that since EV is all it does, it has been able to push into unexplored territory.

The electric bike sector is booming, no doubt about it, but EV dirtbikes modified with street tires and set up for stunt riding are still a rare thing. Energica has nothing even close, neither does KTM though the Freeride E-XC could arguably be set up as a supermoto of sorts. Harley’s pricey LiveWire likewise has no dog in this particular fight, neither does the Empulse (from whichever shelf it sits upon at the moment). So, for right now, it seems Zero has a monopoly on this subgenre, and that’s one of the factory’s strengths, the fact that since EV is all it does, it has been able to push into unexplored territory.

He Said

“Ya know, I rag on the trick riders a bit, callin’ it jackassery and what not, but I actually do have quite a bit of respect for them, though I wonder how many times they busted their ass trying to learn new maneuvers. That said, the FXS looks to be singularly suited for that kind of fun, mainly due to its low power storage and mileage capacity, and the hot-swappable batteries seem well suited to displays/events held in a constrained area. Gotta’ give Zero credit; it was brave of them to branch out into such a niche sub-market.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “With the low range, hitting the interstate is really not realistic. If you live in the city, though, and have short commutes, this bike would be good for filtering traffic and the low maintenance makes it almost carefree ownership. Of course, this bike comes into its own if you do stunt-type riding. It’s so nimble and ridiculously lightweight. The FXS is a fun bike, definitely, but only if you won’t be too far from an electric outlet.”

2019 Zero FXS Specifications

Model: FXS ZF3.6 Modular FXS ZF7.2
Range:
City: 50 miles (80 km) 100 miles (161 km)
Highway, 55 mph (89 km/h): 30 miles (48 km) 60 miles (97 km)
└Combined: 37 miles (60 km) 75 miles (121 km)
Highway, 70 mph (113 km/h): 20 miles (32 km) 40 miles (64 km)
└Combined: 29 miles (47 km) 57 miles (92 km)
Motor:
Motor: Z-Force® 75-5 passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux, interior permanent magnet, brushless motor Z-Force® 75-5 passively air-cooled, high efficiency, radial flux, interior permanent magnet, brushless motor
Controller: High efficiency, 550 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration High efficiency, 550 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration
Peak torque: 78 lb-ft (106 Nm) 78 lb-ft (106 Nm)
Peak power: 27 hp (20 kW) @ 4,300 rpm 46 hp (34 kW) @ 4,300 rpm
Power System:
Power pack: Z-Force® Li-Ion intelligent modular Z-Force® Li-Ion intelligent integrated
Max capacity: 3.6 kWh 7.2 kWh
Nominal capacity: 3.2 kWh 6.3 kWh
Charger type: 650 W, integrated 650 W, integrated
Charge time (standard): 5.1 hours (100% charged) / 4.6 hours (95% charged) 9.7 hours (100% charged) / 9.2 hours (95% charged)
└With one accessory charger: 2.3 hours (100% charged) / 1.8 hours (95% charged) 4.1 hours (100% charged) / 3.6 hours (95% charged)
└With max accessory chargers: 1.6 hours (100% charged) / 1.1 hours (95% charged) 1.8 hours (100% charged) / 1.3 hours (95% charged)
Input: Standard 110 V or 220 V Standard 110 V or 220 V
Drivetrain:
Transmission: Clutchless direct drive Clutchless direct drive
Final drive: 90T / 18T, Poly Chain® HTD® Carbon™ belt 90T / 18T, Poly Chain® HTD® Carbon™ belt
Chassis:
Front suspension: 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
Rear suspension: 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
Front suspension travel: 7.00 in (178 mm) 7.00 in (178 mm)
Rear suspension travel: 8.94 in (227 mm) 8.94 in (227 mm)
Rake: 24.4° 24.4°
Trail: 2.8 in (71 mm) 2.8 in (71 mm)
Front brakes: Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan asymmetric dual piston floating caliper, 320 x 5 mm disc Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan asymmetric dual piston floating caliper, 320 x 5 mm disc
Rear brakes: 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
Front tire: Pirelli Diablo Rosso II 110/70-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II 110/70-17
Rear tire: Pirelli Diablo Rosso II 140/70-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II 140/70-17
Front wheel: 3.00 x 17 3.00 x 17
Rear wheel: 3.50 x 17 3.50 x 17
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 56.0 in (1,422 mm) 56.0 in (1,422 mm)
Seat height : 32.9 in (836 mm) 32.9 in (836 mm)
Curb weight: 251 lb (114 kg) 293 lb (133 kg)
Carrying capacity: 379 lb (172 kg) 337 lb (153 kg)
Top speed (max): 85 mph (137 km/h) 85 mph (137 km/h)
Top speed (sustained): 75 mph (121 km/h) 75 mph (121 km/h)
Equivalent fuel economy (city): 533 MPGe (0.44 l/100 km) 533 MPGe (0.44 l/100 km)
Equivalent fuel economy (highway): 213 MPGe (1.10 l/100 km) 213 MPGe (1.10 l/100 km)
Typical cost to recharge: $0.40 $0.81
Details:
Standard motorcycle warranty: 2 years 2 years
Power pack warranty: 5 years/unlimited miles 5 years/unlimited miles
Color: Rhino Gray Rhino Gray
Pricing: $8,495 $10,495

Further Reading

KTM Freeride E-XC

2018 KTM Freeride E-XC
- image 819448

See our review of the KTM Freeride E-XC.

Zero FX

2019 Zero Motorcycles FX
- image 812116

See our review of the Zero FX.

Zero S/SR

2019 Zero Motorcycles S / SR
- image 805805

See our review of the Zero S/SR.

Zero DS/DSR

2019 Zero Motorcycles DS / DSR
- image 809189

See our review of the Zero DS/DSR.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire

2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire
- image 804460

See our look at the Harley-Davidson LiveWire.

Victory Empulse TT

2016 Victory Empulse TT
- image 780467

See our review of the Victory Empulse TT.

Zero Motorcycles

ALLYN IMAGES - DO NOT DELETE
- image 805821

Read more Zero news.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: zeromotorcycles.com, harley-davidson.com, victorymotorcycles.com, ktm.com (photographer credit: F. Montero)

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