YouTuber Rich Rebuilds is well known for his unconventional approach to repairing Teslas: do-it-yourself. He's rebuilt several of them and dismantled others for spare parts. Rich knows his way around electric cars (usually—he did set one on fire once, but we won't talk about that). Now Rich is turning his attention from four wheels to two.
It turns out that Rich is also a motorcycle enthusiast, having previously owned a Honda CBR600RR, a CBR1000RR, a Kawasaki KZ650 cafe racer, and a Honda F4i that was sadly stolen. Realizing that he hasn't done something crazy to try to kill himself in a while and that his YouTube channel focuses on electric vehicles, he decided to try an electric motorcycle. Of course, he didn't just go out and buy a new one. Instead, he bought a salvage Zero SR for just $3,200, a fraction of its $16,495 base price.
Good news, everyone! The bike actually starts and moves under its own power, so the guts of the Zero are perfectly intact. Well, almost intact, except for a few severed wires to the throttle control, but those are easy to splice back together. The bad news is that the forks are severely bent. That's kind of a big deal, but not surprising, and forks can be replaced.
Closer inspection revealed the real showstopper, however. The frame is cracked on both sides. Repairing it properly would be a major job, requiring all the guts to be removed, and then a great deal of welding, including extra bracing around the damaged area. Instead, Rich decided to strip the functional electric guts, then figure out how to put them into a different bike instead of repairing the Zero's frame. It makes sense, and it means that Rich will end up with a very unique ride in the end.
Rich has not revealed exactly what the Zero electrics will be going into. He did, however, reassemble all of them after removing them from the bike. After putting the kickstand "up," the electric motor spun right up on command, even though it was nowhere near the original motorcycle. Try that with a gas-powered bike.
Not only is this going to be an interesting build series to follow, but it's also a great demonstration of exactly how a Zero SR is put together and what's involved in accessing and removing all of the components. Despite the technological complexity, the SR is mechanically very simple. It gives me hope that when we're all riding electric bikes in the future we will still be able to work on them ourselves.