Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will see a special entry this year - an all-electric motorcycle from Zero. But then it'll be heavily modified to deliver 70% more torque than a Ducati Panigale V4R superbike. The Pikes Peak Zero SR/F will aim to set a new hill climb record in the Open Heavyweight class where it will compete with some of the biggest names in the industry. The record currently belongs with Chris Fillmore who rode a KTM Super Duke 1290 R up Colorado's Race to the Clouds in 9 minutes and 49 seconds.
Pikes Peak Hill Climb is mostly associated with fire-breathing custom-built four-wheelers and rally cars, but it does have a history with electric power. EVs started racing there in the early 80s, and in 2018, the 8-minute barrier was broken by Romain Dumas for the first time in an electric Volkswagen I.D. R.
Zero could be the next to do it. The SR/F has 110 horsepower and 190 Nm of torque, which compares well to the 113 Nm of the Ducati Panigale V4R. The factory’s ‘Blue Sky’ race program has wound this up a notch, under the tutelage of Eddie Smith, Zero’s Mechanical Design Engineer.
“I’ve literally been going up that mountain all my life,” says Eddie. “Sure, for a long time it was playing hours of Gran Turismo—but I actually got an invite to compete back in 2011, when it was still mostly dirt.”
The SR/F has been upgraded with Showa Balance Free forks and shocks, as used by the factory Kawasaki WSBK team—plus Dymag forged aluminum wheels, which do look fantastic and also provide crucial weight savings.
Custom rear sets were developed to accommodate the unique swingarm pivot, which is concentric with the motor output shaft. Harnessing that power and directing it into the rear wheel is a Gates carbon belt drive, which allows lag-free throttle control.
The real action is in the software, though. Zero have uploaded custom race firmware that will push the stock motor and battery beyond the usual conservative thresholds. Top speed is the same 200 km/h as the showroom bike, but Pikes Peak is all about acceleration out of corners—and you can bet this machine will test the Pirelli slicks to the limit.