Before trying to get anywhere near that top speed, though, I needed to acclimate to the e-motorcycle experience. In town, I selected the Eco drive mode at first, which limits torque output to only 16%, while upping regeneration and adjusting throttle modulation to maximize range. Rest assured that even in Eco, the SR/S delivers plenty of grunt for stop-and-go traffic, but I quickly toggled over to Standard looking for a bit more get-up. Here, the motor can churn out 72% of max torque and regen now hovers at closer to 50%. Switching between the different drive modes on the bike requires only the use of a single button just above the turn signal.
The fact that a relative newcomer to motorcycles like myself can just hop on and ride makes Zero’s bikes quite unique, in my limited experience, and not just because I could play with the drive modes easily. The standard 31-inch standover seat height (higher and lower seats are options) makes for something of an upright riding position for a fairinged sport bike. With no clutch to feather and no left-foot gearshifting, the SR/S only takes a moment of adjustment to create a sense of confidence—though I regularly went to pull in the non-existent left-hand clutch lever almost every time I climbed on.
Given the instantaneously available electric torque, which could easily overwhelm tire traction, Zero employs Bosch Motorcycle Stability Control to keep things somewhat more tame than the power stats suggest. Of course, fiddling with the various drive modes can turn most of the nannies off so, much like many of the e-bikes I’ve ridden, the SR/S demands all the protective gear of an ICE motorcycle.
2023 Zero SR/S First Ride: Electric Commuter Motorcycle Packs Just Enough Fun