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