Test Ride: The LAPD-Worthy Off-Road, Electric Motorcycle


On one of the last days of spring, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that they had a new two-wheeled weapon in their arsenal, an off-road capable electric motorcycle that's sexy, stealth, and not available to you. But, what the LAPD didn't mention is their military grade Zero MMX is almost identical to Zero's FX model, which we tested for two days recently.

It was the best 48 hours of our nascent summer.

The Zero FX comes equipped with their ZF5.7 battery pack that takes about seven hours to charge and is good for about 70 urban miles, according to the company. But, if you're in a rush, Zero offers a charger that gets the job done in about 60 minutes for $1,799.

Fire it up and the first thing you notice is the machine is as quiet when it's running as it is when it's off. This is why the LAPD added an electric bike to its fleet: its silence is perfect for stealth missions. It's so quiet that when we passed a pedestrian who had their back to us they didn't even realize we were there.

Give the FX a little throttle and the eco-friendly hooligan is off and running. And when out of old habit, you think it might be time to shift, you'll notice there's no clutch lever – this is an electric vehicle, so there are no gears. We can't overstate how much power the 280 pound machine delivers: 70-plus foot-pounds of torque, which will get you to 60 miles per hour in about four seconds and will get the front end off the ground almost instantly.

During our two-day tour of Los Angeles, we discovered narrow roads and hills we didn't know existed in Mount Washington, gobbled up semi-legal trails in Griffith Park, and devoured a few of the top 10 steepest hills in the U.S., in Echo Park. We also got a lot of compliments on the Gotham-esque matte black aesthetic.

A capable trail bike, at $11,990 the Zero FX is not cheap. But, a handful of states offer incentives. And, you'll start saving money when you start riding it because it costs only a penny or two per mile to fuel and is practically maintenance free, which will also save you a few ducats down the road.
[$11,990; zeromotorcycles.com]

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