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A Zero FXS As A Thank-You Gift

By Nick Ienatsch Yesterday at 4:00pm
The Yamaha Champions Riding School’s message hits students hard, especially riders who have struggled with pace and safety. In our short time together, street riders see a path to becoming an immensely safe and efficient rider while racers see the path to the podium.

Graduates write us notes of thanks and recommend our school to friends, but three days ago a graduate named Bim (his nickname, not his real name) gave me a Zero FXS Supermoto bike with a thank-you note! A truck actually pulled up to my driveway and disgorged a brand-new electric Supermoto bike, Zero’s FXS Z7.2.

Bim had started attending YCRS classes 10 years ago and saw not only what it did for his riding life, but for his friends’ riding and racing. He and I became friends, and he visited Colorado for a few days of lapping racetracks in my area. Later his family spent New Year’s with our gang in a remote area of the world. We don’t talk often, but we are true friends with a shared love of riding.

I told him no but added that I rode Alan Wilzig’s Brammo in New York state and enjoyed it.

“Oh man, you’ve got to ride this Zero. I’m going to send it to you.”

True Story Over the next few weeks Bim got things arranged and on July 3 the truck pulled up. But rather than roll out Bim’s used Zero, the delivery guys uncovered a brand-new FXS, the Supermoto model. It was titled in my name.

“Yeah… I thought I’d just keep mine and get you a new one.”


Zero uses bolt paint on all fasteners, which I like, but I still wanted to take things apart and fondle the new parts. I made some tweaks and adjustments but mostly enjoyed the pristine machine.

Nick Ienatsch

A new motorcycle! My last new streetbike was in 1991, a Yamaha OW01. My last new racebike was in 1995, a Yamaha TZ250. My last new dirt bike was in 2009, a Yamaha YZ250 two-stroker. Yes, I’ve purchased many more bikes than these three, but all of those were used. The Zero arrived and I didn’t want to ride it because I hated to get it dirty! To me, a new bike is like a brand-new kitten: precious and worthy of protection. Who wants to mar kitten fur?

So far, I’ve ridden up and down my gravel driveway five times. It feels shockingly quick because all 78 pound-feet of torque are available right now, at any rpm. It wants to spin the rear 140/70-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II as long as I dare, and I’ve giggled like a schoolgirl every time. And that’s on Eco mode… Can’t wait to try the Sport setting. I couldn’t find any information on breaking in a Zero, so it’s been hammer down in the driveway already.

FXS toolkit

The FXS came without a tool kit so I pieced one together and slipped it under the seat. I changed the 13mm-head seat bolts to Allen heads and then “hid” the Allen wrench on the rear-brake line because it’s easier to hide an Allen key than a 13mm wrench. I’ve done the same thing on several bikes because sometimes you need a tool to access the tool kit under the bolt-on seat.

Nick Ienatsch

One aspect of this bike that really hit me: There is no maintenance. Sure, you can plan to replace the fork oil, brake fluid, brake pads, belt drive, and battery, but there are no oil changes, valve adjustments, spark-plug swaps, coolant dumps, air-filter changes…zero. If you’re like me and worry about those little valves buzzing around in used oil, can’t sleep at night due to stress about tight valves, and fret about how to get rid of used antifreeze, this maintenance-free aspect is quite relaxing. The Zero’s battery has a five-year warranty while the rest of the bike has a two-year policy. I like that confidence from a manufacturer.


2017 Zero FX 6.5 Review

A different way to get your dual-sport buzz


“How’s Your Coal-Powered Bike?”

That’s what my brother Bill asked me. Here in southeast Colorado, much of our electricity comes from coal, but my family has solar power on sunny days, so in fact, my Zero is sun-powered. The Zero site tells me a full (nine-hour) recharge only costs about 81 cents, and a full charge should be good for anywhere from 50 to just over 100 miles, depending upon how hard you stretch the throttle cable—I mean wire.

The FXS has an on-board battery charger so all I have to do is plug the bike into the wall with the supplied cord. There are some quick-charging items available from Zero, but I’ll worry about that once I start riding it. Which should be tomorrow. Man, did I mention I hate getting it dirty? A bike can only be new once and that will end tomorrow—truly the definition of “joyful sorrow.”Fit and finish

The FSX’s fit and finish are first-rate and on par with the major manufacturers, but I installed a cover in the steering stem to beautify it and keep water out. The steering-stem bearings were slightly too tight (slow-speed on-center wallow), but other than that this thing was perfectly prepared by Zero and Filipacchi Motors, including tire pressure and suspension damping (which is adjustable)

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