California based Zero Motorcycles has launched America’s first street legal motorcycle to be powered entirely by electricity, the Zero S. The company claims it will begin shipping the new machine to pre-order customers within a month. The Zero S looks similar to any ordinary off-road motorcycle, but instead of a conventional internal combustion engine the machine is powered by the company’s own Z-Force branded power pack and a high-tech electric motor.
Founder of Zero Motorcycles, Neal Saiki said: “Our goal from the beginning was to engineer a high performance electric urban street motorcycle that would change the face of the industry. The Zero S is a revolutionary motorcycle that is designed to tackle any city street, hill or obstacle. The innovation behind the Zero S is what separates it from the competition. The Zero S is a high performance motorcycle that also happens to be fully electric and green. The fact that it’s electric means not having to get gas and reduced maintenance.”
The manufacturers claim maximum power output of 31bhp, and a top speed of 60mph, as well as a maximum range of 60mph between charges, so it’s really only useful for running around town or some off-road fun. A full recharge takes four hours from a standard 110/220v power outlet. With a dry weight of just 225 lbs, the bike should offer plenty of off-the-line acceleration.
In keeping with the manufacturer’s green ethos, most of the Zero S is fully recyclable and the lithium ion battery is entirely non-toxic. The bike is available to order now for $9,950 in the US and it seems likely that it will be exported to Europe in the future.
UK bikers can now get their hands on free crash protectors when they take out a motorcycle insurance policy with leading broker, Carole Nash. The crash protectors (also called crash bungs, or mushrooms) bolt onto the side of the motorcycle frame and can help to reduce serious damage when the bike is dropped onto its side.
Head of marketing at Carole Nash, Rebecca Donohue, said: “In these tough economic times we’ve been looking even harder for ways we can help bikers reduce their costs. We came up with this deal with R&G because it’s a real win-win. Bikers get high quality crash protectors absolutely free which can not only minimise the cost of any accident claim but even prevent the need to claim. That then protects no claims discounts which can be as high as 65 percent. Minimising the cost of claims also minimises future premiums.”
Bikers who buy a fully comprehensive bike insurance policy with Carole Nash will receive free crash protectors, which retail for anywhere between £50 and £176 in from motorcycle accessory suppliers. Made from snap-resistant, high tensile steel bolts, and featuring bobbins with compression sleeves, the R&G crash protectors can significantly reduce the cost of repairing the bikes frame and bodywork.
According to a report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, motorcycle thefts in the US fell to 60,763 in 2008, a drop of 2.3 percent over the previous year and 4.8 percent on 2006. The report also highlighted the fact that motorcycle theft is a seasonal crime, with the most thefts taking place in July and August, compared to December, January and February having the lowest number.
California, Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Indiana had the most thefts of the entire nation, with those states suffering almost 40 percent of all thefts. Over 680 different motorcycle makes were listed in the report, but over 80 percent of the total thefts were accounted for by the most well known motorcycle manufacturers: Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Harley Davidson.
Sadly, recoveries of stolen motorcycles are also falling, although if you live in California, Florida, Texas, North Carolina or Maryland, you’ll be glad to know that those states enjoy the highest rate of recovery.
You can get hold of a full copy of the report from www.nicb.org.