Learner le­gal 125 boasts more torque than Yamaha’s YZF-R1!

De­spite pack­ing 80ftlb the law says elec­tric Zero DS 11kW is a 125!


Zero’s learner-le­gal DS is the most pow­er­ful L-plate ma­chine MCN have ever tested, with ac­cel­er­a­tion far in ex­cess of any of its petrol al­ter­na­tives.

Just launched in the UK, the DS is of­fi­cially re­stricted to 15bhp. That makes it le­gal to ride on a pro­vi­sional A1-li­cence to any­one over the age of 17-years-old who has passed their CBT and matches a 125cc petrol-pow­ered bike. But the Zero also boasts a peak power fig­ure of 58bhp and peak torque of 80ftlb. So how does that tally? Bike per­for­mance fig­ures are mea­sured on con­tin­u­ous power out­puts and where a petrol en­gine will make its peak power un­til all its fuel runs out, an elec­tric bike’s power will drop as the bat­tery’s charge is used up, bring­ing down the ma­chine’s av­er­age ‘con­tin­u­ous power’ fig­ure. It’s bizarre, but means that for some of the time at least, the Zero de­liv­ers SV650-like per­for­mance for peo­ple who are still learn­ers. The DS 11kW has been up­dated for 2018 with the in­tro­duc­tion of Zero’s 14.4kW bat­tery, up from the 13kW item in the 2017 model. This new lithium-ion bat­tery sees the range ex­tended by 10% to a claimed 162 miles of city rid­ing and an EU-stan­dard­ised range over all uses of 119 miles. Although elec­tron­i­cally neutered to a top speed of 86mph, the DS feels any­thing but a learner-le­gal bike thanks to its huge torque. It is only marginally slower than the firm’s full-power ma­chines and re­quires a de­cent de­gree of care when ac­cel­er­at­ing hard in ‘sport’ mode, es­pe­cially in the wet or on cold tyres, as while the bike has ABS, it doesn’t have trac­tion con­trol. On a bike with 1000cc in­line four en­gine lev­els of torque that doesn’t re­quire much twowheeled ex­pe­ri­ence to be legally al­lowed to ride, that could prove to be quite an omis­sion.

But Zero are tar­get­ing the DS 11kW at peo­ple who are al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced with elec­tric ve­hi­cles and may be look­ing to com­mute on a bike, rather than the tra­di­tional learner A1-li­cence mar­ket.

The DS’s £12,190 price (in­clud­ing the govern­ment’s OLEV grant) splits down to a PCP deal of £224.36 over 37 months af­ter a £2000 de­posit with a £4017.25 fi­nal pay­ment. Then plug in and ride.

Neat dig­i­tal dash shows speed, re­main­ing charge and more It’s a fun ride – but trac­tion con­trol would help new bik­ers

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