With Improved Range and Faster Recharge

Range and performance are hot-button topics in the electric bike sector, to be sure, but so is variety, and Zero Motorcycles looks to address that last point with its newly improved, enduro-tastic FX model. Zero combines its powerful drive system with a terrain-loving chassis that lets you take your EV adventures just about anywhere you want. This is no soccer-mom’s SUV either. It brings genuine capability to the table with enough torque to gobble up hills for breakfast, be they paved or not. If that sounds like a lot, I assure you the FX can back up all my talk, so let’s dig into the details on this exciting genre-expanding ride to see what the future looks like, because this is it.

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

2019 Zero FX Design

Overall shape and layout is still very much in line with current market norms for the enduro class.

Though you can peg the FX as something other than another internal-combustion-powered enduro at a glance,the overall shape and layout is still very much in line with current market norms for the enduro class. It starts with a set of laced wheels that are sure to endear themselves to those who prefer to ride on the brown rather than the black. The tires reflect the dual-surface capability of the FX with a street-knobby design that’ll provide decent grip on civilized surfaces as well as on soft terrain, so you can be equally confident on both.

Inverted front forks suggest great strength and capability, and a tripletree-mount mudguard provides the forward fling control and it leaves room for the 8-plus inch range of motion that’ll soak up some pretty severe abuse before it finds the edge of the envelope.

Dual round headlights light the way with a brow-like flyscreen and instrument cluster to finish the front end. Standoff turn signals complete the forward lights, and while that does take care of business, I can’t help but think it would look better if the winkers were integrated with the mirrors. Just sayin’ guys.

A faux fuel tank creates that familiar hump in the flyline, but of course, it’s a lie for your eyes since there is no actual fuel aboard. The shallow-scoop seat just barely qualifies as not a bench since it has a bit of rise toward the back and a shoulder betwixt pilot and pillion.

A compact taillight and mudguard finishes off the gear in the rear, and it uses the license plate as an extension to help control the rearward fling. Having said that, I wouldn’t want to follow one of the closely in any kind of flingable environment (water, mud, road grime) ’cause any and all six-o’clock bandits are going to wind up taking it in the teeth.

I really gotta’ give the factory credit for the classic dirtbike profile that more or less blends in with the crowd, until you look closely at the “engine compartment” and discover that this machine is radically different to anything that has come before. Yeah, the power pack and other drivetrain essentials give it away, but you had to know that at some point, function had to supersede form, and this is where it happens. Does it look bad? Nah, just different, and with the EV bike sector growing by leaps and bounds, I expect it won’t be long before this look is mainstream, maybe even a new norm.

2019 Zero FX Chassis

2019 Zero Motorcycles FX
- image 812101
It'll absorb some pretty rough terrain and jump the steepest tracks in town if you have the stones for it.

A perimeter-style frame leaves room for the power pack(s) and the electric drive motor to help keep the center-of-gravity low. The steering head establishes a 25.4-degree rake angle with 4.1 inches of trail to put this chassis toward the maneuverable end of the spectrum without tippling into squirrely territory, and the 56.6-inch wheelbase keeps the overall footprint fairly compact.

Showa products buoy this bike. Up front there’s a pair of beefy, 41 mm, inverted front forks that — bless their hearts — come with the full trinity of adjustments so you can dial ’em in just where you like. Out back, a 40 mm piggyback-shock provides the same level of adjustability. Travel figures measure in with 8.6 inches of travel at the front axle and 8.94 inches in the rear to fall just shy of full-on dirtbike numbers. It will, nonetheless, absorb some pretty rough terrain and jump the steepest tracks in town if you have the stones for it. (I don’t; I’m acrophobic.)

Laced rims mount Pirelli Scorpion MT 90 A/T hoops with a 90/90-21 up front followed by a 120/80-18 for an asymmetrical layout that boosts its off-road handling and performance. These tires are proper, all-terrain “street knobbies,” and, like all dual-surface tires, represent a trade off between street and trail. Let’s face it, street and trail considerations are mutually exclusive, generally speaking, so it is what it is. If you want something more appropriate to the urban jungles, I’d direct your attention to the streetwise FXS model instead.

J-Juan anchors squeeze 240 mm discs front and rear, and the FX comes with the Bosch Gen 9 ABS that’s switchable so you can break the tires loose at will if you have the skillset for it.

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: 8.60 in (218 mm)
Rear suspension travel: 8.94 in (227 mm)
Rake: 25.4°
Trail: 4.1 in (104 mm)
Front brakes: Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan dual piston floating caliper, 240 x 4.5 mm disc
Rear brakes: Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan single piston floating caliper, 240 x 4.5 mm disc
Front tire: Pirelli Scorpion MT 90 A/T 90/90-21
Rear tire: Pirelli Scorpion MT 90 A/T 120/80-18
Front wheel: 1.85 x 21
Rear wheel: 2.50 x 18

2019 Zero FX Drivetrain

2019 Zero Motorcycles FX
- image 812109
Hit the accessories catalog for max charging times under two hours; that's pretty doggone fast.

As ever with EV machines, the real magic lives in the drivetrain, and the FX is no exception. You can choose between two different configurations that are upgraded for this year: the modular ZF3.6 or the ZF7.2 variant. What’s the difference? Well, it comes down to the power supply since both models use the same Z-Force 75-5 radial-flux motor and direct drive for clutchless/shiftless operation. Both run with a 550 amp controller and regenerative deceleration (engine braking) that puts some power back into the lithium-ion battery when you roll off the throttle and the backtorque fills in.

As for the storage, the names say it all; choose between a 3.6 kWh power pack, or the 7.2 kWh battery. Both deliver a whopping 78 pound-feet of torque that is all there as soon as you crack the throttle for utterly “stall-less” operation. The difference lies in the horsepower; you can count on 27 ponies from the smaller pack, and 46 horsepower from the larger and a top speed of 85 mph. As for the modular bit, it allows you to add a second pack to the 3.6 model to match the power and range of the 7.2, and since that second pack isn’t integral, you can hot-swap it to prolong your riding fun.

What kind of range are we looking at? Well, you get as much as 46 miles in the city or 19 miles at interstate speeds from the 3.6 while the 7.2 clocks in with 91 miles city or 39 miles at 70 mph. Naturally the terrain, pilot/passenger weight and riding style will affect that, but that’s the max you can expect.

A 650 Watt on-board charger will fill up the small pack in 5.1 hours and the large one in 9.7 hours, and as with Zero’s other models, you can hit up the accessory chargers to get max charge in 1.6 hours or 1.8 hours, respectively. That’s pretty doggone fast folks, and an improvement over the previous gen.

It’s just this kind of performance and recharge times that will push EV bikes and get them the mainstream acceptance that this sector still fights for. Oh, and it’ll charge up using 110 V or 220 V, so you have the convenience of not needing a special charging station, or any kind of special power source to take care of business.

As for recharge costs, if we look the average power costs across the nation, it works out to $0.40 to recharge the 3.6 kWh pack, and $0.81 to charge the big-un. Yeah, that works out to less that a penny a mile if you’re responsible with that right wrist, so although it’s not really a green machine — it’s a displaced-footprint one — it brings an economy to the table that the smoker bikes just cannot match, and never will.

Model: ZERO FX ZF3.6 Modular ZERO FX 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
Peak torque: 78 ft-lb (106 Nm) 78 ft-lb (106 Nm)
Peak power: 27 hp (20 kW) @ 4,300 rpm 46 hp (34 kW) @ 4,300 rpm
Controller: High efficiency, 550 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration High efficiency, 550 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration
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
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 FX Pricing

2019 Zero Motorcycles FX
- image 812116
Priced affordably, but also consider the convenience of plugging in before bed and getting up with a full “tank,” regardless of how much cash/credit you have on hand.

Prices are comparable to gas-powered machines with an $8,495 MSRP on the FX ZF3.6, and a $10,495 tag on the FX ZF7.2. That’s not the whole picture though; you have to consider the savings on engine maintenance and fluctuating fuel prices with consideration to the convenience of plugging in before bed and getting up with a full “tank,” regardless of how much cash/credit you have on hand. Trust me, that has a value all its own.

Warranty:
└Standard motorcycle warranty: 2 years 2 years
└Power pack warranty: 5 years/unlimited miles 5 years/unlimited miles
Price: 8,495 $10,495

2019 Zero FX Competitors

2019 Zero Motorcycles FX
- image 812115
2017 KTM Freeride E-XC
- image 780470
KTM wins the recharge race, but falls behind in the amount of power and torque on tap.

While the off-road EV sector is still rather thin, I didn’t have to look far ’cause good-old KTM was my Huckleberry with its enduro-style Freeride E-XC. Like the FX, the “E-XC” was on the receiving end of a significant boost to performance this year.

KTM shows off its dirt-bike chops with a very typical design that’ll blend in with a group of smokers much better than Zero’s product. The build is typical with wire wheels, a high-mount front fender and a bench seat that allows for weight shifts fore-and-aft. A pair of 43 mm, inverted WP Xplor forks float the front end with adjustable compression- and rebound-damping features to fall a bit short of the FX’s tweaks.

Power storage and delivery will likely be the dealmaker here, and KTM boosted performance this year with a 3.9 kWh Li-Ion powerpack that extends riding times to up to 1.5 hours. No, that doesn’t easily compute against Zero’s numbers, but riding time might actually be more telling for the off-road performance than mileage.

You can slam a 100-percent charge into the pack in a mere 80 minutes and a 80-percent charge in 50 minutes. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the motor only puts out 24.5 ponies and 31 pounds o’ grunt, so in a toe-to-toe contest, the FX beats the socks off the E-XC, and I mean badly. Still, the power supply saw a 50-percent increase in capacity, so at least the Austrians are trending in the right direction.

He Said

“I swear I could make one of these plug-in bikes work for me, and I suspect that it’ll work for a number of you as well. Whether you’re commuting or just horsing around, the range and charging times make this upgraded FX a viable option, certainly moreso than when it first hit the market. Oh and at less than a penny a mile, what’s not to love?”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “You twist the throttle and it goes....all the while your left hand is twitching because it wants to perform but there’s nothing for it to do. The bike is relatively light and the low-end torque is right there, on demand, so you know it’s going to be spunky. The charge times on the FX aren’t very impressive especially if you do a lot of highway riding, but this bike really isn’t meant for that. Check out the S or SR for that kind of riding. For hooligan jackassery, though, the FX has it in spades.”

2019 Zero FX Specifications

Model: ZERO FX ZF3.6 Modular ZERO FX ZF7.2
Range:
City: 46 miles (74 km) 91 miles (146 km)
Highway, 55 mph (89 km/h): 28 miles (45 km) 56 miles (90 km)
└Combined: 34 miles (55 km) 69 miles (111 km)
Highway, 70 mph (113 km/h): 19 miles (31 km) 39 miles (63 km)
└Combined: 27 miles (43 km) 54 miles (87 km)
Motor:
Type: 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
Peak torque: 78 ft-lb (106 Nm) 78 ft-lb (106 Nm)
Peak power: 27 hp (20 kW) @ 4,300 rpm 46 hp (34 kW) @ 4,300 rpm
Controller: High efficiency, 550 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration High efficiency, 550 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with regenerative deceleration
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: 8.60 in (218 mm) 8.60 in (218 mm)
Rear suspension travel: 8.94 in (227 mm) 8.94 in (227 mm)
Rake: 25.4° 25.4°
Trail: 4.1 in (104 mm) 4.1 in (104 mm)
Front brakes: Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan dual piston floating caliper, 240 x 4.5 mm disc Bosch Gen 9 ABS, J-Juan dual piston floating caliper, 240 x 4.5 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 Scorpion MT 90 A/T 90/90-21 Pirelli Scorpion MT 90 A/T 90/90-21
Rear tire: Pirelli Scorpion MT 90 A/T 120/80-18 Pirelli Scorpion MT 90 A/T 120/80-18
Front wheel: 1.85 x 21 1.85 x 21
Rear wheel: 2.50 x 18 2.50 x 18
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 56.6 in (1,438 mm) 56.6 in (1,438 mm)
Seat height:34.7 in (881 mm) 34.7 in (881 mm)
Top speed (max): 85 mph (137 km/h) 85 mph (137 km/h)
Top speed (sustained): 70 mph (113 km/h) 70 mph (113 km/h)
Curb weight: 247 lb (112 kg) 289 lb (131 kg)
Carrying capacity: 383 lb (174 kg) 341 lb (155 kg)
Equivalent fuel economy (city): 486 MPGe (0.48 l/100 km) 486 MPGe (0.48 l/100 km)
Equivalent fuel economy (highway): 207 MPGe (1.13 l/100 km) 207 MPGe (1.13 l/100 km)
Typical cost to recharge: $0.40 $0.81
Details:
Warranty:
└Standard motorcycle warranty: 2 years 2 years
└Power pack warranty: 5 years/unlimited miles 5 years/unlimited miles
Price: 8,495 $10,495

Further Reading

KTM Freeride E-XC

2017 KTM Freeride E-XC
- image 726510

See our review of the KTM Freeride E-XC.

Zero FXS

2019 Zero FXS
- image 812119

See our review of the Zero FXS.

Zero S / SR

2019 Zero Motorcycles S / SR
- image 812128

See our review of the Zero S / SR.

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, ktm.com (photographer: R Schedl)

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