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My Zero FX

 
Jack.Cool Jack.Cool
New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 12/13
Posted: 12/09/13
04:25 PM

First day - Hooray, today my Zero FX arrived after a loooong wait. Not for the bike itself but for the batteries...and those are an indispensable part of an e-bike you know  Laugh

The weather was 'perfect'. Rain, evening rush, so I had a good chance to show off between all these bored office workers in the traffic jam between Amsterdam and my home town. The ride is about 25kms so perfectly doable on a charge.

Oh boy this goes smooth. Only the sound of wind, immediate torque all the way and the feeling of riding into the future. A smile from ear to ear almost cracked my jaw. Yihaa! Alas the dark already kicked in so I promised myself a treat in the field first thing next morning. Stay tuned!  

 
Jack.Cool Jack.Cool
New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 12/13
Posted: 12/10/13
04:57 PM

Day 2: Today I went out for a first ride in the field and dirt. Ready to attack the tracks were I rode my KTM 400 EXC for the last ten years. Thrilled? Yes. Nervous? Ditto. What if I had made an utterly wrong investment? What if it would let me down after a mile? What if .....

Well, nothing short of that. It was awesome from the first to the last minute (and yes there were enough minutes ;-). The smooth acceleration would make rocket scientists jealous. The FX turns out the ultimate toy for (certain) boys. Feels at home on grass, in sand, mud, hills, well all terrain in fact. The springs will need some adjustment though and an experienced Enduro rider will demand heavier stuff I suppose. So, is it different from the KTM? Yes. The FX is lighter to handle (a bit) but that also makes it feel more fragile. Time will tell if it holds in the long term. I fear the belt will fail in heavy mud or when jumping which I still like to do.

Another tip: do not use those luggage bags in the field. They are too big and soft for that. I could do with a sturdier and smaller bag though. But all in all, it is so much more fun to move that fast through the fields without any noise. Hello little rabbit, no nothing wrong with your ears ;-) and the cherry on the pie is that all by-passers will stare at you like if you were Oprah Winfrey in a shopping mall: it's black and they know something special is happening under their nose. Can't wait to make a ride in town one of the next days!  

 
Jack.Cool Jack.Cool
New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 12/13
Posted: 12/12/13
02:20 PM

Ok, today is going to be the acid test. It's cold outside but clear and sunny. Perfect for a trial in the field. Lots of people walking their dogs and making a stroll. And yes, I enjoy making their necks twist time and again. I did install my Samsung Smartphone on the steering wheel so I have perfect visibility about speed, torque, battery usage and motor temperature. Although I must say it feels quirky to have €500 phone in the open on your bike - I suppose the California based engineers from Zero never were exposed to north European weather conditions ...

I am driving to this area where they are preparing to develop residential housing and offices. Perfect for 'local enduro': Sand, mud, trails from trucks and the like. First 30 minutes went like a charm. Smooth turning and twisting, no loss of power. Springs are a bit bumpy so I promise myself to read the manuals on adjusting the springs. Or perhaps the tires. They might have been set for 'road' whereas for off-road they could do with half a bar (PSI) less. To be checked.

While reminiscing about this I decide to take a final lap since the battery gets to its last bar leaving me enough power to just get home. Halfway there are a couple trails from side roads and I decide to just cross them like I used to do on my KTM. Pulling the steering wheel, accelerating whenever you have some traction. First bump ok. Rear wheel spins a bit. Second bump I close the gas the moment a feel leaving the ground. Alas, wheel spins again. Perhaps the engineers need to add a lever to allow for 'harsh cut-off' whenever being air bound. Ok, third bump. Gentle approach, going up, down and....click. Absolute silence. Stand still. Gas does not respond. No need to look down. This is the end of the belt. It simply broke. Bummer...I push the bike to a cycle track and start walking home. Ironically this track is part of a project called the Electric freeway. Every hundred meters the signs face me and remind me of how nice electric driving can (should) be.

After I while I decide to call my dealer in order to arrange a pick-up in the next days so they can repair the bike. And add a real chain. Obviously I will apply for warranty - an enduro machine should be fit for fieldwork and I did even do half the things my KTM was capable of. Luckily the dealer knew where I was stranded and arranged for an immediate pickup in the field. So within 30 minutes the bike was on its way to the garage and I went home to shower. Disappointed? Yes and no. Technology can fail and it feels good to be working with front-running technology. Hopefully Zero will appreciate my feedback and make sure I can hit the road, sorry the dirt, soon again! So, no roadbook for tomorrow I am afraid but will let you know about my chain experiences as soon as the bike is repaired. "I will be back" Mr. Schwarzenegger from California used to say. Isn't it funny that he originates from Austria - home country of KTM ;-)

Jack  

 
Jack.Cool Jack.Cool
New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 12/13
Posted: 12/29/13
12:31 PM

Ok, here I am again. Took a while due to other commitments. Actually I got my e-bike back the other week - with a chain instead of the belt. This was not obvious. Well, they did have the chain-set in stock. However, it turned out you also need a chain guiding thingy that connects to your swingarm (rear fork). Alas, my swingarm was not prepared for that. Fortunately the importer, also based in Holland, suggested to swap the fork of their demo bike so we could proceed. So it happened and within a few days the bike was ready. Kudo's for Zero support!

Meanwhile I also had deflated my tires and adjusted the springs for softer terrain. Ready to rock so to say. And boy this made a difference. For more than an hour I tested the mud, sand, jumps and everything. Damping was better, rebound as well and even the little jumps caused no issue. And I did not get tired. Probably the Zero FX resembles more of a 250CC instead of the 450CC I had before. So altogether a bit more playful but fun nevertheless. Traction was not ideal yet but that's because of the all-road FIM approved Michelin T63's. Great tire but for mud/sand a bit to slippery still. So my next set will be the good old 'sand eaters'. The overall torque is phenomenal. Power from 0-100...provided you have the right profile on your shoes of course!

So I was happy when riding back. Typically I use the road-side to extend my fun a bit. Until I got pulled over by a car. An anonymous policeman it turned out. Pointing out that abusing the road side is an offense. Since he was off duty I would not get fined but next time...The fact that I had zero emissions and no noise could not impress him. Neither that the tractors and trucks doing forestry works are leaving tracks and holes that exceed mines by a factor 10. The law is the law Sir and my thoughts already went into a direction like 'Columbus also did not get only credits for being a pioneer' ;-)

Anyhow, this is it for now. Back on track and ready to enjoy noiseless emission free electric motorcycling. Next weeks I will take a winter break but if you feel like joining me in spring , let me know!



Sjaak.