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Roberts

Electric Sportbikes

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I have been a little shy about bringing this up, but after careful consideration I opted for the 2020 Zero SR/F over the BMW S1000RR.

It's a little bit of a shocker, I know, and I am worried about being kicked out of the club, but for the area I live and ride in, that's what I chose.  The dollars were nearly identical, so not a consideration.

Ok, that's over.  Now the questions begin.  First off, is anyone else running this bike?  I have not had it to the track yet, but I will in the spring.  In the meantime it's all roads, and let me tell you that there are a few issues.

First issue...no clutch, no gears, no engine sound.  That means no natural indicator of approximate speed, which means you have to guess your speed by the landscape flying by, or sneak a peek at the large digital speedo.  Most every time I look, I am waaay faster than I thought and usually too fast for conditions.  It is VERY easy to get in trouble.

Second issue, strangely enough, is the missing clutch.  You can't just disengage the rear when you get in a tight spot.  I have spun the rear when the tires were not hot enough. losing the rear, only to have the tires heat up and lock up, propelling me in direction and speed that was not in my best interest.  No clutch, and chopping the throttle does you no good in sport mode.  Years of off-road experience helped with that little off-road excursion, and it ended well, but the issue remains.

Third issue:  This machine drives like a Volvo off idle.  Smooth and safe and unassuming, and then it's a hot rod, and then it's a superbike, and then it's a speed management issue, and all with just a twist of the wrist.  That sounds terrific, and it is, but the natural result is that you can poop around town all safe and sound, and then get out on the country roads and get smoothly and quietly too fast for conditions before you realize it.

These are my issues, and I am working them out.  How about you?  Any 'ah-ha' moments to share?  Do you find yourself over-driving your site distance?  Do you switch modes to regulate your performance?  Do tell.

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If you bring this to the school, please come and say hello...need to get more info on this.

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I will be on your bikes again this year, but i will pack the Zero down with me. You need to get a leg over one of these.

they are not coming, they are here, and they will only get better with each advance in the technology.

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Congrats on your new bike!

Can you disengage regen so that the bike is free-rolling when you close the throttle? I know electric cars can be det up for no, some and full regen, and the affect on engine braking is massive. 

Also,, as it is likely RBW, you can probably reprogram the throttle for a more linear operation. 

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You can adjust the regen in a few ways, and the effect can go from nominal to pretty forceful engine braking.  The issue here is that you can't adjust it on the fly, so what you set is what you get.  I have mine set at zero regen when in sport (max everything) mode.  Like any bike, once you work your way up to max horsepower, max torque, max speed, you never really want to dial it back.  I only change it down for rain at this point.  The throttle is very smooth and linear.  If anything, that's the most dangerous attribute.  It's so smooth that you really have to pay attention to your velocity.  There is nothing to shock you back into reality if you let your attention drift.

I sure would like to hear someone else's opinion on this.  CSS needs to commandeer a test bike.  I can't imagine that Zero would pass up the chance to let the CSS team take one for a track day test.

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Having no clutch should not be too much of a problem if the throttle hardware is smooth enough from zero power up, as well as the rider's twisting input.

For a tradicional combustion engine, both the delivered power and the engine braking effect come from pneumatic compression in the cylinders, which works as a shock absorber in certain way: there is a time/magnitude lapse between control input and max power and almost none for max engine-braking (as internal pressure of gases inside the cylinders grows or gets reduced with time after throttle input).

To complicate things more, there is a minimum number of turns (rpm's) that an engine can achieve before stalling and turning-off; hence the need of the mechanical clutch, which also works as a magnifier of the finesse of the throttle application (opening and closing).

An electric motor does not suffer any of those problems, it works based on rotating magnetic fields that are pretty solid (minimum or zero field-rotor slip), eliminating the shock absorber effect between control input and rear wheel reaction.  It can also be slowed down to 1 rpm and still delivers immense amounts of torque.

Not having had your practical experience, I assume that an electric motorcycle could use more finesse on the brakes and the throttle inputs, even a simultaneous combination of both in some slow maneuvers.

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