I’ve had my Z Electric Vehicle Corp. 7100 Alpine for a couple of weeks now, so here is my initial report.
It made it through shipping unscathed despite all of the internal spacers being everywhere except there they were intended. Guess I was just lucky.
Mine is a red Alpine version, which is 8500 watts – ZEV’s most powerful production bike I think (for now). It’s supposed to be able to reach 80 mph, and I have not tested that yet. I’ve had it close to that as an indicated speed, but the speedo is optimistic, so I’ll wait for my Cycle Analyst to be installed before I give any top speed information. Range will have to wait for the CA too, since the fuel gauge doesn't inspire confidence.
Overall, the quality of the bike seems pretty good. The handling is great, with all the batteries mounted down low and some decent tires. It has plenty of power to keep up with normal city traffic on the 40 mph speed limit streets I frequent, which is such a relief after struggling to keep up with my EVTA Z-20b.
The ZEV’s have 3 “electronic gears", which are switched with a push button on the right handlebar (where the starter switch is on a gas bike). There’s an Led indicator for which gear you’re in, and that shifts in a 1-2-3-2-1 pattern; it resets to 1 when you roll to a stop. The Led’s get washed out in sunlight, so most of the time I just try to keep track of the gear. You can switch from 1st to 2nd or 3rd while at a standstill, and I often do that because I don’t like first gear.
So what is an electronic gear? I’m not sure and I’ll need to ask ZEV on the specifics. I think it’s just reprogramming the controller with some current limits or something similar. I think it’s supposed to help reduce battery usage. But 1st gear has some strange behavior; it starts out normally and the power peaks mid throttle, but when you increase the throttle from there the power decreases! Crazy and slightly dangerous IMO. So that’s why I usually use second. Third would only be required for highway speeds. I may try to bypass the gears altogether if I can figure out how to do that.
The biggest problem I have with the bike is the throttle control, which is really jumpy. It’s hard to maintain a steady speed, with micro-movements of the throttle feeling like an on/off switch; not very graceful. I solved this problem today though by replacing the stock throttle with a TNC throttle, $15 including shipping. The TNC throttle has an S curve shape to the voltage response, being flatter in the middle for less volts/degree. Throttle control with the TNC is pretty good (Thanks Chasbro).
The 7100 looks good, and there’s a storage bin underneath the seat just big enough for a half helmet. I’m riding it every chance I get and enjoying the hell out of it.
- Controller and motor seem rock solid and have plenty of power.
- Handling is great.
- Really good hill climbing capability
- Overall quality seems high (but then I’m used to a Z-20)
- Storage bin under the seat is nice.
- No trip odometer
- “Fuel” gauge seems questionable.
- Stock throttle response is jumpy.
- Led gear indicator is almost useless in sunlight
- 1st gear has strange behavior.
The pros far outweigh the cons. Getting the right motor/controller and handling is not something I would want to tinker with. Installing a Cycle Analyst and a TNC throttle will eliminate the first 3 cons. I believe range and top speed will probably be added to the pros as soon as I can verity with the CA.