Monday, February 20, 2012

Charge On with the new 2012 lineup from Zero Motorcycles

The 69th Milan International Motorcycle Show (EICMA) is now officially underway and the first order of business for electric motorcycle enthusiasts is the reveal of the 2012 line up from Zero Motorcycles. If you were hoping for better looks, better performance and better range from each and every model, you got it. Big time.
At first glance, the five-strong range looks like it may have received nothing more than a mere cosmetic makeover, with the Zero S street bike especially benefiting from cooler wheels and more modern-looking lights. Indeed the frames and much of the bodywork are carried over from a 2011 line up that was only revealed nine months ago.
The beauty of these bikes is more than skin deep however. For 2012, every model gets both a new, vastly improved battery and better motors which, save for the off-roading X and MX, are now a maintenance-free brushless design. The Zero S and its dual-sport variant, the DS, now come standard with a six-kWh pack and have a nine-kWh option that gives them a potential range of 114 and 112 miles, respectively, in city driving and 63 and 62 miles on the highway. 
Ducati Monster 696
The 696 might occupy the lowest rung on the Monster ladder, but it's a tremendous value for the rider who wants to swing a leg over a legendary Ducati for not a lot of dough. Just looking at this bike makes motorcycle geeks weak in the knees. The exposed trellis frame and the classic naked style of the Monster have inspired countless bikes.
The 696 produces 80 hp, and though it's the least expensive bike in the line, you still get Brembo brakes, Marzocchi forks, and that quintessential Ducati motor music. Newer riders won't fear this Monster; it rides smaller than it is and feels incredibly tight and nimble where others might seem cumbersome. Here is a great bike to slice through snarled traffic or the tightest canyon road you can find. Best of all, the list of accessories is long, so you upgrade your Monster 696 later and make it your own.