Stealth Off-Roading on the All-Electric Adventure Motorcycle

I separate the wilderness into two categories: nearby and way the hell out there. Nearby is for your day trekkers, your weekend warriors, and those folks who put a few off-road miles on their machines and set up camp for a night. Nearby is still the outdoors, but you’re never too far away from a gas station burrito. 

But what I want and yearn for is Way the Hell Out There-land. I want dark woods, deep rivers, desolate deserts, and nonexistent cell service. Land that’s far into the wilderness and miles from any human being. I want locations only accessible by a very long and arduous hike, or the best mode of backwoods transportation: an adventure motorcycle. 

Silence is golden. Jenny Linquist/Zero

Adventure motorcycles promise to deliver me somewhere remote, untouched, and uninhabited. They do so with off-road tires and suspension, ample payloads for all your camping gear, and enough power to get you through the toughest mud pits. But most of all, they have plenty of range to get you to hell and back, as it often takes a good amount of miles to get you far and away. Given concerns around the range of electric vehicles, it may seem disingenuous—if not even dangerous—to trust your wilderness survival to an electric motorcycle.

And even after falling for the dirtbike-like Zero FX, and never really experiencing range anxiety there, a proper electric adventure motorcycle that can compete with the best of KTM, Ducati, Yamaha, and Honda still felt ages away. But California-based EV bike startup Zero doesn’t adhere to that idea—and now neither do I after being introduced to the new 2023 Zero DSR/X, the first all-electric adventure motorcycle that seems to have what it takes to go after those big dogs. 

2023 Zero DSR/X Review Specs

  • Base price: $24,495
  • Type of motorcycle: Adventure
  • Powertrain: 17.3-kWh battery (additional 3.6-kWh Power Tank available) | belt-driven | Parking Mode has forward and reverse
  • Horsepower: 100
  • Torque: 166 lb-ft
  • Brakes: Dual J-Juan radial-mounted 4-piston calipers, 320 x 5 mm disc (front) | J-Juan single piston floating caliper, 265 x 4.5 mm disc (rear)
  • Suspension: Showa 47mm (front) | Showa 46mm piston (rear)
  • Seat height: 32.6 inches
  • Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Trail (optional Pirelli STR Rally fitted to wire rims)
  • Curb weight: 544 pounds
  • Range: 180 miles city | 85 highway | 200 off-road miles 
  • Quick take: The first all-electric adventure motorcycle has real promise.
  • Score: 8/10

We’ve Got the Range

Beneath the DSR/X’s handsome bodywork sits a 17.3-kWh battery—the largest battery in Zero’s lineup—connected to the brand’s Z-Force 75-10X motor. The pairing is good for 100 horsepower and a body-clenching 166 pound-feet of torque, which is more than the supercharged Kawasaki H2R that offers a measly 121 lb-ft. 

Not only does that big battery pack give the DSR/X solid performance, but also what I believe is the right amount of range. According to the brand, the DSR/X’s battery offers 180

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