The promise of spring fills your heart with expectation. After all, the entire riding season stretches ahead of you, off into the distance, and far beyond what you can see from your limited vantage point at the very beginning. What kinds of adventures await you? Even if you have the logistics of riding plans already taking up space in your calendar, they’re merely outlines—the real proof, of course, will be in the riding itself.
To start May 2023 off right, I picked up a 2022 Zero SR/F in Premium trim for a long-term review. There’s nothing quite like the excitement of a new bike to shake any remaining winter torpor out of your system, no matter whether it’s a review bike or not. I showed up with all my gear, including my thinnest gloves because I find it helpful when learning how a new bike behaves.
Our friendly Zero rep walked me through some of the basic things I needed to know. The Premium specification, for example, comes with heated grips—which worked very nicely for that particularly chilly, overcast day. It also comes with Parking Mode—a low-speed forward and reverse setting that is only accessible when the key is turned to the on position, but the kill switch is turned off.
That’s right—it has Reverse. It’s super smooth and easy to use, and not at all jerky. For a rider with a short inseam like me (27 inches, to be precise), it’s a legitimate game-changer, especially when paired with the Zero low seat accessory that was also provided for my use on this SR/F.
That goes double if you have to back up any slight inclines, such as driveways. While the SR/F handles its curb weight of about 500 pounds or so incredibly well, especially at low speeds—this just helps to further knock down any perceived barriers to the practicality of riding one for everyday purposes.
The SR/F has multiple preset ride modes, and you can set up a custom ride mode according to your personal preferences as well. I plan to try them all, but I’m starting out in Eco mode as I get familiar with the SR/F and riding in different situations. That means the brake regen starts as soon as I let off the throttle, which I’m so far kind of liking. The braking power is seemingly enough to gradually bring the bike to a halt for a full stop in traffic without hitting either the front or rear brake—although, of course, you do want to signal to traffic around you that you’re braking.
So far, I’ve also been playing around with the Zero Motorcycles NextGen phone app (available for Android and iOS) and checking out its functionality/connectivity with the bike. The app lets you do things like monitor the state of charge if you step away from the bike while it’s charging, see and adjust your selected ride mode, capture and analyze a ride, manage scheduled charging times (useful if you want to charge when electricity rates are lower in your area), manage a charge target, purchase bike upgrades via the Cypher Store, and more. It’s also useful for managing firmware updates for the bike, when they become available over the air.
Gallery: Life With A 2022 Zero SR/F: The Beginning
Don’t like the information that’s displayed on the gauges? No worries, you can adjust both the information displayed and where it’s displayed by quadrant. Gauges can also be adjusted using the Mode switch on the bike itself, without need for the app—but it’s a bit easier to do in the app.
The Bluetooth connectivity isn’t always super strong, and at first, I thought it was just me. However, judging by other user reviews in the Google Play store, other users also seem to have issues with their Bluetooth connectivity. When it works, it’s quite useful.
In any case, the bike was at about 93 percent of full charge when I picked it up. Over the course of the past week, I rode it down to about 35 percent, then started charging it from a standard home outlet up to 100 percent. This bike also has the Extended Range option, which means it can be charged to 110 percent once in a while, although it’s not something you should do all the time for best battery pack health.
My current plan (ha) is to see what my real-world range is like on a full charge in each of the modes, and to also experiment with the Extended Range mode at some point down the line. The Zero SR/F manual cautions that if you’re charging at home, “the mobile charging adapter should only be used with an electrical outlet that supports heavy duty service and a 12-amp continuous load.”
Additionally, you shouldn’t use an extension cord, and no other devices should be using that circuit while you’re charging the bike. (In other words, don’t be like me and accidentally trip a breaker—which was totally my fault, not Zero’s.)
All of this, of course, makes sense—you don’t plug other stuff in on the same circuit as your refrigerator, do you? Granted, those are 20-amp circuits, but the general idea holds. Honor the rules of the thing and you’ll be just fine. No tripped breakers, no spoiled food, and a fully charged bike, ready to go when you are.
I’ll be checking in with periodic reports about my experiences with the bike while I have it, visiting public charging stations, and putting miles on to find out what this bike is all about. What do you want to know about the 2022 Zero SR/F Premium?