ZEV says to Brammo, Zero: “Think Different”

ZEV M-13

Time was, I liked ZEV.  After going through several rounds of trying to understand the claims on their site, thinking we were going to see a new, bigger motor from them, and suffering through multiple rounds of what I can only say were dodged questions with obfuscated technobabble, I’m at “not so much anymore”.  Though I’d love to embrace this new motorcycle concept, it seems ZEV is sticking to form, making fairly extreme and incredible (as in “not credible”) claims, and resorting to disparaging attacks on anyone that questions their “explanations”.  The “explanations” go against basically every tenet of modern motorcycle chassis and suspension design, without even me addressing the motor claims.

Rather than spending a stupid amount of time going through the site and the discussions point-by-point, I just wanted to link the instances for future reference, and yes, this will be included in the book.

Here’s one of the older conversations on ElMoto, where the denizens of ElMoto really showed their tech chops.  Torque, anybody? ZEV 10 LRC.

ZEV has a problem answering direct, simple questions. Here’s an example of that, where the 0-60 acceleration times were requested 3 times, with no answer as of this writing, and the tire/wheel/motor assembly weight was also requested, and finally answered, but not before I donated my spleen to science in the effort: ZEV Electric launched a Full Fairing Electric Motorcycle.

I don’t go over to VisforVoltage much, but apparently there is a group of ZEV owners there, as well as scooter fans.  This didn’t go well for ZEV, either: ZEV Electric Launched a Full Fairing Electric Motorcycle.  There’s more there, I guess, but they don’t have a ZEV category and I don’t much feel like wasting time searching.

Finally, there’s a page on Wikiwand, which gives the complete background on the company and the founder in one short page.  I’m not even sure what Wikiwand is, but the information there is accurate, and credible references are cited.

Here’s the thing that is so disappointing.  Here’s a company that has been working for over ten years (by their claim) and selling scooters that more than a few people seem to like.  The prices aren’t bad.  They have a spotty customer support record, but hell, they’re a small company with no dealer network, no huge investor backing, and they are, if nothing else, resilient and seem to try.  They have some impressive products, even if you believe about 75% of their claims.  And a hub motor bike with a sport fairing is a cool idea.

Screen shot 2015-11-05 at 6.47.39 AM

“New Electric Sports Motorcycle HONDAGT” via Alibaba

So why the bullshit?  Claims that unsprung weight doesn’t really matter in handling, claims of racing prowess with no trophies to show, inaccurate claims of competitive specs to Zero bikes, inflated torque numbers, mis-information about C/G and handling?  It’s just unnecessary.  It’s a decent product for what it is, so stop trying to sell it as something it’s not, shall we?  For everything I’ve seen, this is a Chinese motorcycle chassis outfitted with top-level scooter parts, and some “uprating” of the motor.  Fine, there’s a place for that, so call it what it is.  Oh yeah.  And when you’re caught with your hand in the bullshit jar, how about not personally attacking the folks who are simply stating fact?  I’ll acknowledge that some people think that Sales amounts to bullshitting people and spinning facts, and my guess is that this is what’s going on here.  It’s a shame, but as the saying goes, tigers can’t change their stripes.

What’s almost equally disappointing is the ready acceptance of the claims in the community. I have, on several occasions, been bitch-slapped by people who think that this kind of thing is a “good effort” and should be praised and promoted.  Seriously? I’d have thought these are the guys who should know better.  (edit: Since posting this, the community has stepped it up a bit, and started to ask some questions…  )

Want to “meet” the Zehrbachs?  Here you go:

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3 responses to “ZEV says to Brammo, Zero: “Think Different”

  1. Because Brammo wanted a “scooter” (starter bike/ around town bike, more specifically) Americans would actually buy! I started out on vintage Vespas and they made escaping the suburban hell I grew up in a slower and more tediuos process than the first car I got.

    Some people just don’t want something that looks like a half squashed Honda Ruckus.

    Have you ever tried to do a stoppie on an Enertia? I seriously doubt it’s an issue. Even on my R1 I can avoid doing stoppies from as much as 180mph by simply using both brakes.

  2. Wait, what?

    So you’re saying the American scooter market (not insignificant, btw) is really a bunch of people who think they want scooters but really don’t, ’cause they want Enertias? 😀

    Could you pass over some of that Brammo KoolAid? … sounds like pretty good stuff!

    (BTW, the performance numbers ZEV claims far surpass your old Vespa.)

  3. Interesting that you said ZEV designed an electric vehicle from the ground up. That frame comes from one of the asian motorcycle manufacturers. I don’t remember which but do remember seeing that frame on alibaba.com or that ilk of web site.

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