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martes, septiembre 19, 2023
HomeMotorcyclesOne tank of gas through the 2023 Zero DSR/X

One tank of gas through the 2023 Zero DSR/X

High price, limited range, and the other common complaints that hang around electric motorcycles like an electron cloud don’t bother me that much. What usually gets me is the lack of functionality and refinement. All the fettling and sophistication goes into the battery, and then there’s none left over for the rest of the bike. 

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Editor’s note: At Common Tread, our «One tank of gas…» articles are typically second opinions by a different tester of a motorcycle we’ve written about previously. (See Tucker Neary’s review of the DSR/X from last year.) Maybe for electric motorcycles we need to add a «One battery of electrons…» title?

The low-buck components, awkward interfaces, and unnatural throttle response that have plagued many electric bikes are likely the result of budgetary constraints in the face of expensive battery packs, but they’re also the result of a lack of experience. After all, most electric motorcycle companies are startups that have no background in powersports, and it shows.

Zero was certainly in that boat back in the day, but after 17 years in business it’s a veteran manufacturer, and the DSR/X is a legitimate motorcycle. Zack had the bike in the office for a Daily Rider evaluation, and I decided to jump on it for a few “tankfulls” since I hadn’t spun around on a non-ICE bike since riding the LiveWire One a year ago.  

Zero DSR/X side compartment open.
Zero may be leading the electric industry in terms of fit and finish, but the DSR/X isn’t perfect. This compartment in the bike’s jowls feels like an unfinished project since it requires a T25 to open, doesn’t have a hinge (so the lid falls off when you remove the bolts), and isn’t sealed in any meaningful way. Photo by Ari Henning.

As with all machines of this ilk, the DSR/X is heavy (543 pounds on our scales), expensive ($24,500), has limited range (about 80 miles the way I rode it), and takes a long time to charge (10 hours on a 110V circuit, or about three hours on a Level 2 charger), but this new Zero has enough performance and perks to make me pick it over the Suzuki GSX-S8 or Kawasaki Z650RS we had available in the shop. I’m not quite a full-on electric convert yet, but I fell in love with the Zero’s instant and abundant power, convenient frunk storage, and the serenity of its silent, ultra-smooth movement.

Dimensionally and ergonomically, the DSR/X is similar to many other full-size ADV/sport-tourers, albeit with a seat that’s a little too scooped for my preference and a handlebar that’s wider than it needs to be. Mass production with established suppliers means the Zero is pretty well equipped and assembled. Adjustable Showa suspension offers taut calibration, while the J.Juan brake package provides one-finger stopping. Bosch-supported ABS and TC help manage traction, and there’s a broad TFT screen in the tidy dash to convey battery charge, estimated range, ride mode, and more.

Zero DSR/X at Trader Joe's.
Frunk (front trunk) open, and ready to receive fresh groceries for dinner. As an urban bop-about, the DSR/X is excellent. Then again, so is my Zuma scooter, and that wasn’t $25,000. Photo by Ari Henning.

My favorite aspect of the Zero is the drivetrain. I love shifting and clutch finesse as much as anyone, but a direct electric powertrain provides a higher level of control and connectedness. There is no waiting for cylinder filling or combustion, no lash from a clutch or gearbox, no elasticity in a chain or cush drive to numb the connection between the throttle and the rear contact patch. It’s an amazingly intuitive machine to ride, and with perfectly linear power and no gears to shift, there’s never an interruption in torque to upset chassis balance, so the DSR/X always feels stable and composed. 

Zero DSR/X at at Level 2 public charging station.
Need to top up while shopping? The SAE J1772 port in front of the “tank” allows you to charge the DSR/X at public charging stations. This is a good strategy for gaining range during your day, but I found overnight charging at home to be the most practical approach. Photo by Ari Henning.

It’s also properly fast, in a sneaky, silent sort of way that made my urban commute extra fun. You can fire away from a stop light and skim the front tire across the pavement without anyone suspecting a thing. The acceleration is exciting, and the silence is novel. Riding the Zero is an excellent reminder that we wear earplugs to protect our hearing from wind noise, not exhaust noise.

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With earlier models from Zero and other manufacturers, you got a decent mode of transportation with a pile of caveats and drawbacks. All the normal issues still exist with the DSR/X, but they’re counterbalanced and underscored by a functional, uniquely exciting, and exceptionally refined motorcycle.

2023 Zero DSR/X

Price (MSRP)



Z-Force permanent-magnet AC motor


final drive

Direct drive, belt 

Claimed horsepower


Claimed torque

166 foot-pounds



Front suspension

Showa 47 mm fork adjustable for spring preload,

compression, and rebound damping; 7.5 inches of travel

Rear suspension

Showa shock adjustable for spring preload, compression, and rebound damping; 7.5 inches of travel

Front brake

Dual J.Juan four-piston calipers, 320 mm discs with ABS

Rear brake

J.Juan single-piston caliper, 265 mm disc with ABS


60.0 inches

Seat height

32.6 inches

Claimed range

180 miles city, 107 miles highway (55 mph), 85 miles highway (70 mph)

Claimed battery capacity

15.2 kWh nominal, 17.3 kWh maximum

Claimed charge time

10 hours at Level 1 (household 110V); two hours at Level 2 (to 95%)


Pirelli Scorpion Trail II 120/70R19 front, 170/60R17 rear

Claimed weight

544 pounds



More info

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