Oh yeah, and they’re a GEM dealer. If you don’t know what that is, it’s one of the three or four electric vehicle companies Polaris has purchased on the last 4 years or so. They are essentially large golf carts made specifically for moving people or maintenance staff and equipment around campuses. Although “large golf cart” is doing them a large disservice, but I don’t have a better description offer you.
Either way, I recently moved to Bowling Green, KY from Clarksville, TN. The last I checked the closest Zero dealership to me was way the heck down in Georgia, and the closest Brammo dealership was up in south west Pennsylvania. I knew there was a Victory dealership in town, and now that Victory owns and makes the Empulse I thought I’d check it out to see if they had one in. First I stopped by their website and noticed that they were already a Zero dealer, as well as a GEM dealer. I thought maybe they were trying to market themselves as the ultimate electric dealership in KY or something. So, as you can imagine I was really looking forward to visiting the dealership. Well, its not the utopia I was hoping for, but its actually a place I highly recommend based on my experience with the salesmen I talked to. Its actually really funny, they are a Victory and Polaris dealership first and foremost, but they are also most certainly a Zero dealership. They have a new 2016 DSR on the floor, as well as a 2015 SR and FXS, and a 2014 DS Police model, which sounds like their money maker. Or will be when all the grants go through. The salesman said he was pretty sure he could sell 50 of them to departments in the area as soon as the grants go through; and probably will.
Now I mentioned the new Victory Empulse TT, thinking he was free to talk about that too. But he was good at very politely and humbly dismissing it. He just knew it as the Brammo. He said he had been told it had the better electric tech. And then it seemed he was under the impression that Polaris was keeping the Brammo brand, and really the bikes were just Brammo’s. And again the Zeros were most likely better, as any salesman should say in his situation. I told him that they were actually full on Victory’s, and would they have any of those in? He said he was quite certain they wouldn’t as his impression was that it was one of those deals that if you want that model the dealership would have to add on a the equivalent of a new brand. Having worked in the bicycle industry, I knew what he was talking about, and knew it wasn’t bull. I’m just not certain its correct. He offered to ask his boss, but I knew I wasn’t going to drop $20k on a bike, and didn’t need to be wasting anyone’s time, and told his as much.
But I was so impressed by the salesmen. He was pretty up front that he was less knowledgeable than the customers that come in to buy them. But he clearly had done his homework. It seemed he had spent a fair bit of time with the Zero rep at a trade show or two, and paid attention while he was there. He named features I had forgot about, and had his facts straight. Mind you I never once told him that I had blogged and podcasted about these things, and played dumb pretty much from the start, but my “knowledge” and excitement slipped through. The GF very patiently watched me almost go off the deep end and yet catch myself several times, well from her account of the visit. But not once did I find him giving false information. But I do find his dismissiveness of the Empulse, like it was a competitive brand particularly funny, considering the main brands he sells not only owns, but actually makes the bikes now. Ah well, I figure if his manager can’t keep him up to date then its not his fault. He clearly has put a lot of work in. Oh no, wait. He said the extra battery pack was very light and wouldn’t affect the handling, or so he was told. I have read reviews of people who have ridden and/or own said bikes, and I find that to not be completely true. But I think the only people who would notice are racer types, and my impression is its not particularly noticeable to normal folks. If that’s the only quibble I could come away with, the dude deserves salesmen of the year as far as I’m concerned.
First impression of the Zeros on the showroom floor? The 2015 and 2016 bikes look no different to each other, other than a 12.5 vs 13 badges on the battery packs. But they look stout. The switchgear looks nice, the forks are inverted and sizeable, and adjustable. And the rear shock is fully adjustable. The only problem is that the compression and rebound knobs are color matched to the spring. The SR I was looking at had all red knobs? And the DSR all black. Really Zero? Is red for rebound and blue for compression so 2014? In the MTB world if you see rebound and compression knobs that are color matched to the bike then its a good bet the bike came from WalMart or Dick’s. On two of the bikes the knobs were different shapes, which is a help I guess. But it made me wonder just who they were marketing too. And then I remembered MTB’s know exponentially more about suspension than you average motorcyclist, generally the people who buy electric and aren’t motor heads want to believe these EV factories are imbued with some sort of magic that makes the bikes perfect from the factory, and turning a knob would let all the magic out. So, you know, I can’t really fault Zero for that. But I am annoyed, what ever that is worth. Anyway, back at the bike the “tank” area didn’t seem as massively wide this time, unlike the last time I sat on one a year ago in TX. And the bikes are demo models, and the salesman said I could test ride one as soon as I got my permit. So look forward to Youtube video in a few months. I just have to figure out audio, and the best place to mount my Garmin Virb, as it provides telemetry, unlike the GoPro. Well that, and get my permit [ahem].