It’s about four years since we last featured an electric motorcycle on EXIF. The excitement has dissipated, and sales are steady rather than spectacular.
To put things into perspective, Harley sells as many bikes in two days as Zero sells in a whole year. Tesla may have electrified the car market, but electric bikes are lagging behind.
If you’re going to buy an electric bike, you should probably get a Zero SR—the fastest model in the Californian company’s range. It costs $14,395, which is about the same as a Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider or a Triumph Speed Triple R.
The price might be steep, but the Zero’s performance is breathtaking: Your right hand controls 106 ft-lb of instantaneous torque, which is more than an EBR 1190RX or Suzuki Hayabusa.
The looks, however, are less exciting. Which is where Ram Ram Januar of White Collar Bike comes in: The Indonesian builder has given the Zero SR a classic racer vibe to suit its performance.
“Basically, I threw out everything but the battery and chassis,” he tells us, “and then made the bodywork in carbon fiber.” He’s even made the rims himself, using 7075-T7 billet aluminum.
The Zero’s suspension is pretty good, but there’s always room for improvement. So Ram has installed the forks and brake calipers from a Yamaha YZF-R1, designing custom triple trees to make them fit the Zero frame.
The Zero SR has no clutch or transmission: It’s direct drive to the back wheel. So that means there is no clutch lever.
Most Indonesian riders are used to bikes with left and right brake levers, so Ram has taken advantage of the missing clutch and added a little local flavor. He’s ditched the rear brake pedal and installed a left-hand brake lever on the bars.
He’s also added sound —but for the benefit of onlookers, not the rider. “The original Zero has no sound, and for me that’s very dangerous when riding the bike,” he says.
With just a simple button, you can now choose between ‘silent mode’ or ‘sound mode.’ The sound comes from the electric motor itself: Ram has enhanced the sound with a microphone attached to the motor, an amplifier, and a 7.5-inch speaker inside the ‘gas tank.’
If the fairing isn’t to your taste, you can undo four bolts and take it off. Then remove the 5-inch LED headlight, fit a supplied 7.5-inch headlight, and you have a retro/naked version.
It’s a remarkably professional build, and to our eyes, an improvement on the stock Zero SR styling. Amazingly, Ram Ram Januar is not a full-time bike builder: he runs a design company, and White Collar Bikes is a part-time hobby.
His approach is ingenious. And for the first time, enough to make us give an electric bike a second glance.
Does it do it for you too?