A Screw in the Zero FX’s Tire Showed Me How the Electric Bike Could Be Better

Knobbies and slicks. Swap, swap!
Jonathon Klein

During my time with the Zero FX, I went out for the usual afternoon ride. Along the way, I picked up a screw. That would normally negatively color my day. It didn’t. What it showed me was how I would make this Swiss Army knife sharper: having an extra set of wheels. 

It sounds like I was expecting its tires to fail, as if they were prone to failure. But that’s not what I’m hinting at. Rather, it made me realize I could stretch its capabilities with a simple switch between knobby tires for the trails and slick performance tires for the canyons. Instead of defeating the purpose of its dual-sport nature, it enhances the motorcycle’s capabilities. When pulling off the Zero’s rim, I found out just how easy it would be. 

For those who’ve only worked on cars before, swapping wheels on this electric motorcycle is simple. You’ve got five to six bolts holding the rim to the hub. All you do is pull those off and swap the wheel. That’s not usually the case with motorcycles. There are all manner of things you have to look out for when you throw it all back together. But the Zero and its belt drive were far more simple than the chain-driven motorcycles I’ve worked on in the past. 

I had two options to fix the tire: Either load up the entire motorcycle into the back of our Honda Ridgeline and haul the entire bike to a shop in town or pull the wheel off. I didn’t really want to try and ramp a partially flat tire into the bed of the truck, so I made the decision to separate the bike and its rear tire. With a little ingenuity, I used my car jack to get the Zero lifted into the air. I then used my trusty Milwaukee impact to remove the retaining nut and, with some persuasion from a mallet, the rear bolt slid through the rim and the entire wheel dropped to the floor. 

The tools.

It took me all of five minutes from nut removal to wheel off. And when I returned home with the fixed wheel, it took me just another 10 minutes to reattach everything. It took a bit longer to put it back together because I wanted to make sure everything lined up properly. I then had to do it all over again when I broke the drive belt and can confirm, it’s still quite easy.

Folks, it’s so stupidly easy to remove the wheels that having a second set of rims would make the Zero FX an even better dual-sport motorcycle. You’re able to swap between tires like Pirelli’s Scorpion Rallys and the brand’s Diablo Rosso IIIs. Go from off-road knobbies to semi-slick sport tires in just a few short minutes. You’d be able to completely transform the motorcycle into an even sharper weapon and lose none of its overall strengths. 

If I bought a Zero FX, this would be the first thing I’d do to make a great motorcycle that much greater.