Zero riders reveal their secrets and we do Spain by Africa Twin
Zero owners know better than most just how usable electric bikes are in the UK
As a cub reporter (a long time ago), I was once sent to a tractor-pulling contest. I didn’t know that much about tractor pulling. So, I asked people who did.
That’s been the same with electric motorcycles. In a bid to learn as much as possible as fast as possible, I asked people who already own one how this emerging technology fits into their riding lives.
They’re the biggest experts the UK has on what it’s really like to ride an electric motorcycle...
Q ‘Is buying one all about trying to save the planet? John Chivers
“It’s all about the tech for me,” says John A Chivers, 47, who was the first person to complete Land’s End to John o’groats on an electric bike (also a Zero DSR). “I just don’t think we should be burning oil in this day and age. Having said that, I’ve got a Honda CB1000 which I normally use for any journeys over 100 miles.”
‘How easy is it to find Q somewhere to charge it?’ Justin Andrews
“A lot of supermarkets have chargers now,” A says Justin Andrews, 43, who is already on his fourth electric bike. “You just have to plan things a bit more. There are various apps to find charges but the best is ‘Zap Map’ (www.zap-map. com). It shows where the chargers are, what type of chargers are there and even if they are in use or not.”
Q ‘How does an electric bike compare to a petrol bike? Stephen Farrell
“I have loads of different bikes (11 in all) A including a 690 KTM Duke, a Bimota and Ducatis but the Zero is my go-to daily ride,” says Stephen Farrell. “It’s easy to ride, easy to maintain and so easy to clean. I don’t miss the noise, or the clutch or having to change gears. It handles well, too, because there is no gyroscopic effect from the engine fighting you all the time.”
‘How much do you Q save on fuel?’ Rob Isharewood
“I’m saving £300 a month on petrol by using A the DSR,” reveals Rob Isharewood, who passed his bike test purely so that he could ride an electric bike. “I have an 80-mile commute to work, so I worked out what would be the most economic way to complete this journey and decided it was an electric bike. I do 10k miles a year.”
Q What mods are worth making to an electric bike?
“I added a rack and topbox. Mainly to put the A fast charger in when I did my LEJOG trip but it’s been really handy anyway,” says John Chivers. At the other end of the scale Stephen Farrell says: “I put a bell on mine to alert people and sheep if I’m coming as it’s so bloody quiet!”
Q How do other bikers view you when you turn up on it?
“The reaction has changed in the last few A years” says Andrews. It’s gone from amusement to genuine interest.” Farrell has seen a similar growth in acceptance: “People think I’m weird, so I let them have a go on my bike. They always come back with a massive smile.”