Posted Jun 26th 2012 9:15AM
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has officially approved the electric Zero XU for use in the organization's rider training courses. The electron-powered XU offers a number of advantages for novice riders, including a low seat height, quiet operation and a direct-drive system that eliminates additional learning barriers like clutch and gearbox operation. The bikes are also extremely lightweight, tipping the scales at a mere 100kg (221 pounds) with the battery pack in place.
Speaking of batteries, the XU features a swappable pack and a quick charging system to help in endure hours of cone dodging. Then there's the fact that XU is a zero-emission machine. As such, courses could theoretically operate indoors in a large warehouse. Pretty cool.
We're absolutely down with anything that makes it easier for new riders to learn how to get on two wheels, though we worry about riders receiving their certification solely on the XU. After all, one of the big benefits of the MSF system is that it familiarizes new riders with every aspect of a motorcycle, from basic operations like opening the fuel system and starting the bike to safely operating the clutch and transmission in a variety of conditions. While learning on an XU would be an excellent way to solidify basic handling skills, it would seem to do little to prepare a rider for actually throwing a leg over most motorcycles.