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PHOTO CAPTION: Zero Motorcycle S Model

Things I Learned Riding An Electric Motorcycle

Basem Wasef shares his experiences with the Zero Z electric motorcycle.

Published: 07-Jul-2011

Press launches are controlled environments where pre-determined road routes are followed, and journalists are able to experience a motorcycle through the course of several hours— and, if we’re lucky, several days of riding.
So when I tested the Zero S at the bike’s official launch and wrote up my review, I knew that quick rides through the backroads of Santa Cruz, California weren’t the typical circumstances under which most owners would experience the motorcycle.

Fast forward a couple months, and I was fortunate enough to borrow a Zero back home. What is it like to ride an electric motorcycle day-to-day? Here are a few things I learned from the experience.

The debate about the safety of loud pipes rages on. But after a week on the Zero, I can confidently say that a complete lack of engine noise requires a specific type of awareness.
Whereas gas-powered motorcycles make their presence known by the hum of their engines, electric bikes glide along in acoustic anonymity. You’d be surprised how many random critters fearlessly try to cross your path when you’re riding an electric bike—squirrels, for instance, seem especially oblivious to battery-powered two-wheeled travelers. Likewise, cars don’t seem quite as aware of your presence when you’re whooshing by silently, especially when you’re in their blind spots or simply out of sight.

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