This Zero DS ZF9 may look like a sleek, grown-up plaything—it is one—but it has a practical side, too. Beneath its aircraft-grade aluminum frame is a whisper-quiet electric motor that lets you cover 112 miles on a charge—the farthest of any electric bike. And the California-based Zero imagined the DS for both off-roading and urban commuting. It has a clutchless transmission, a lithium-ion battery, and an adjustable suspension that effortlessly glides over dirt track and downtown potholes alike at up to 80 mph.
The 2012 model's buffed-out front-brake cylinder and pads combine to deliver superior stopping power on slick asphalt—as a bonus, braking recharges the battery pack.
If you like a guttural roar, forget the DS—its battery-powered electric motor is nearly silent. But don't underestimate the joy of an 80-mph night ride that doesn't wake the neighbors.
In just nine hours, the built-in charger fully replenishes the battery with about a dollar's worth of electricity from a standard outlet. That works out to 480 miles for the cost of a single gallon of gas.
Tipping the scales at only 341 pounds, the lightweight DS gets up to speed quickly and stays nimble as you navigate unexpected obstacles like boulders or Buicks.