A Eugene Oregon Man believes that the next step in Motorcycle evolution is electric. Rod Johnson of Eugene, Oregon is putting his money where his mouth is. A long time member of the Oregon motorcycle retail and racing community, Rod is rolling the proverbial dice on electric drive-train technology; ZERO style.
A bit about Rod Johnson
Johnson’s been working in and around Eugene,Oregon's motorcycle scene for several decades. Initially as a top-shop mechanic, then race-tuner, Rod’s sat on the edge of industry non convention, with a style of conviction driven by hands-on know how and a strong belief in fair business practice. He does things lightening-Rod style, his way or the highway.
And yes, when it comes to politics, Rod holds an opinion, yet is very approachable and customer friendly, that’s the charm of the guy, he’s damn likable.
As one walks through Rod’s shop, you will note a bit of Honda history, Triumph evolution, Taiwanese technology and the advancement of the simple scooter to the monsterbike. Fascinating for this old wrench; a walk through the past with an eye towards the future; that’s where ZERO electric Motorcycles enter the picture.
The back story
I met Rod a decade ago, shortly after the transition of long established Cycle Parts of Eugene into the region's premier Triumph Motorcycle retailer. At that time, Rod was sponsoring a Hyosung powered racing team, selling Kymco scooters, while providing top-notch repair services from 2 locations on Ocean Street in Eugene, Oregon; a location just a bit off of the beaten path, yet frequented by riders and long-time acquaintances from across the U.S..
Neat as a pin, one could eat off the floor , the smell of new tire rubber and motor accessories filled the air, Rod’s shop is a hangout place for old and young gearheads alike.
Triumph makes room for a ZERO electric future
Although Rod will arguably always be a Triumph fan, and continues to provide parts and service to his Triumph client base, Cycle Parts no longer carries the mark. But, what one will find here is one of 3 Oregon ZERO motorcycle dealerships, and the only one between Sacramento, California and Portland Oregon.
While Rod and company has rolled the proverbial dice as to ZERO’s long term success in an ever-changing motorcycle market, after ridding ZERO--I, like Rod, believe it to represent the future in 2-wheel transportation and sport vehicles.
Instant-on torque and acceleration, zero hydrocarbon emissions
This week, after writing a drive review on this electric car, I had the opportunity to test ride 2015 ZERO DS and SR. For me, the all-purpose DS was a great fit. Ride comfort was exceptional, handling more than adequate. gone was the knee pain from shifting and braking, as well as the gasoline, exhaust fume smell.
I felt no vibration transmitted through the foot pegs and handlebar grips, the rear view mirrors were crystal clear, with instantaneous response of throttle. I began the morning mounted on a ZERO DS (all sport) MSRP $13,345-$17,840. Note: Price is dictated by motor size, battery capacity and optional tank-battery. Currently ZERO is offering a $1350 price reduction throughout the line.
2nd up was the top of the lineup ZERO SR. Claiming 67 hp and 106 ft-lb torque, I found 100 mph on SR before backing off the throttle, while confirming ZERO’s 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds boast. This seasoned Honda Harley Davidson motorcycle rider was blown away!
But where I was truly blown away was by the jet-turbine-sound of the rare earth motor at take off.In short, ZERO’s done it right. This Scotts Valley, California located manufacturer takes a decade of electric motorcycle concept, development and sales, presenting arguably the most exhilarating 2-wheeled experience to come down the pike in decades.
Presenting exceptional ride-ergonomics, hold onto your a.. acceleration, zero drive component maintenance, and an overnight charge cost of pennies per mile, once one gets beyond the initial sticker shock, calculates the fuel and maintenance $ savings, and settles into a ride experience exclusive to ZERO, the decision to buy becomes one of when can I take delivery on my Zero?
Range between charging depends on your style of riding. however, I substantiated 70 miles +( up to 185 combined with optional tank battery) while pushing ZERO SR to performance extremes. ZERO Guarantees their battery module for 5 years. From where I sit, this bike is mechanically bulletproof, I want one!
Please check out the attached video for drive review, specifications and pricing information. For more information on ZERO motorcycles in western Oregon go here. When you ride ZERO, we’d like to read your comments at Torque News.