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Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Moto électrique dans le désert devant un troupeau de dromadaires
Switzerorider's Zero SRF in the Moroccan desert

We wanted to find out more about this biker who travels far and wide on his Zero SRF. If there's one person who doesn't suffer from "range anxiety", it's Philippe, aka switzerorider, who kindly gave us a few moments of his time in a telephone interview.

Introduce yourself in a few sentences :

How old are you? What do you do for a living? etc.

I'm originally from Lyon.

I've lived in Lausanne, Switzerland, since the beginning of Covid and I'm 48 years old. I lived in England for 10 years and have been in Switzerland for four. I have a marketing company in London. We develop software and do consultancy work.

We are a 100% remote company since Covid and it works out pretty well, as long as we're in the same time zone...

So you own a Zero SR/F. Is it the only one you've got?

Yes, it's the only bike I've got

I'm a young biker, in fact, I got my license in 2021.

I started with a Vespa thermal scooter in London in 2017 and in the meantime, I tried the Zero S (125 equivalent) which was my first contact with electrics.

When I moved to Switzerland, I brought the 125 S with me and sold it shortly afterwards. As the urban centers in Switzerland are quite small, the aim was to go further afield and go away for the weekend, and the 125 became limited for longer journeys.

View of Lake Geneva

So I got my motorcycle license in 2021. Incidentally, in Switzerland, you can get a learner's permit with an L plate, valid for one year, without having to take a test. So I bought my new SRF Zero before taking the test. I drove it and validated my license within the year allotted to me. Back then, in Switzerland, you could go straight from the 125 to the A license.

Why switch to an electric?

I switched to electric because I was in town and needed a bike that delivered power right from the first turns of the wheel, especially at traffic lights.

I stumbled across the Zéro motorcycles website and their marketing was very good. I went for a test ride and the salesman said "you'll come back with a big smile on your face", and I did.

There were no ecological reasons behind this purchase.

So, you're going to tell me, when I got my motorcycle license, why didn't I switch to a combustion engine? Because I had the choice after all. Well, I didn't, because I was already convinced. For me, electrics are simple, and I love the fact that I'm always in the right gear with 100% of the torque available...

Incidentally, it was the electric motorcycle that made me switch to an electric car. Today, I don't regret my choice.

From time to time, I won't lie to you, I'll have a look at the BM, Honda etc. websites…

But, if I'm going to end up with bikes that heat up, with oil that can leak, with chains etc… well actually no, I'd rather stay with an electric.

They're certainly perfect bikes, like the GS, but where's the adventure in a bike that's “too” perfect?

What do you usually use your bike for?

I work from home, so I don't need it on a daily basis. So for me, it's weekends and vacations only.

I'm a young biker and a traveller.

I discovered motorcycle travel and found the combination of the two excellent!

What is the range for this type of use?

My zero is a 2020 model with a smaller battery than the new ones. My reliable range is 160 km, even on freeways.

So at first, I stopped every 130, 140 km to recharge. Today, I do 200 km, because I've learned to do 200 km :-) I've reached 0% a bunch of times, but I know the bike now.

How do you learn to go further?

You drive slower. Above all, you don't have the noise of the bike anymore, so you're fighting against other sources of noise. And with an electric motorcycle, it's the wind noise. So we start with earplugs, but you always come back to the same conclusion: speed. As a result, I rarely go faster than 110 km/h.

But, you know, I met a guy on an Africa-Twin in Morocco and he was doing the same thing. He faces the same constraints. We both use less power at lower speeds.

moto électrique devant un canyon au Maroc
In the heart of the Moroccan Atlas

In any case, if you want to go far, you have to take it easy on your bike, and that means reducing speed. I doubt you'll get very far if you're going 180 km/h all the time (it tires out the bike and the rider).

How long does it take to recharge for your usual use?

With my current 0-100% battery charger, it takes about an hour on a type 2 socket (the European standard). Most of my breaks on the road last 40 minutes, which isn't too far off the pace for other bikers. The proof of this is that on long distances, I only bump into people with thermals because they also take regular breaks.

So yes, when you're riding all day, the last break may be a bit long, but it's not too restrictive either, frankly.

I can also plug it into a normal socket, but that takes 4 hours and I need a charger. That's more for the evening at the hotel. So when I go on a trip, I need my charger, which isn't very bulky, for domestic plugs and my cable for T2-type plugs.

Let's get into the details of your trips. Why venture out on an electric motorcycle?

One of Philippe's videos from his trip to Morocco.

The others can be found on his you tube channel.

To answer your question with another question, what am I really risking by going electric? Well, not much, to be honest. For me, electric = simplicity. The simpler it is, the fewer problems you have.

With the Zero, what could go wrong when I set off on a trip? The aim was simply to anticipate what could go wrong. I know, for example, that it's a reliable bike, but that a broken belt can happen from time to time. So I know before I set off that I could break my belt and possibly get a puncture.

I prepared myself for both eventualities and ended up taking far fewer tools than the average biker. My stress was more about knowing when the belt was going to break...

For my first adventure, I didn't know Eastern Europe, so I rode all the way to Albania on my own and ended up with no problems. No broken belts or flat tires :-)

moto électrique devant un lac entouré de forêt
Durmitor National Park in Montenegro

So what's your biggest travel problem?

I haven't had any problems... Electric bikes are a pain (laughs). As I said, I didn't even get a flat tire. Oh yes, I "almost" had a problem in Morocco.

I got to Merzouga at 40% battery and could only recharge up to 70%... Then nothing.

When this happened, we were at the peak temperatures of my trip (around 40 degrees). I don't know what happened, but I couldn't recharge the bike. I wondered whether it was the charger, the mains, or the battery. Power levels vary all the time in this part of Morocco, so I thought it could have been the mains.

But if it was the charger, I was in deep trouble. Fortunately, that wasn't the case and the next charge went off without a hitch.

How are your daytime recharges going in Morocco? The country doesn't have many Type 2 sockets?

In Morocco, Type 2 charging points are mainly found along the freeway and in the major coastal towns, so the return journey from Marrakech to Ceuta was fairly easy, as I mainly took the freeway via Casablanca and Rabat. On the other hand, on the outward journey, I went straight to the center, and in this Middle Atlas region, there are only 2 Type 2 sockets. In the south, there's one at Zagora and then another at Ouarzazate.

So everything else was on normal plugs, which enabled me to take a few long lunch breaks. All you have to do is ask at a hotel or restaurant, and they'll usually lend you a plug if you're having lunch there.

So you did Albania, then Morocco. I don't want you to tell us what we've already learned from watching your videos (which we invite you to see if you haven't already).

But what's the next trip?

It'll be up north

I'm oriented towards the North Cape, but I actually dream of going to Iceland on a motorcycle. There's every chance I'll be concentrating on this future destination. To be continued...

Still on a Zero?

Yes, but with a different model. I'm waiting for a dsr/x.

It's a bike in my size, with a bit more range and a bit more travel-oriented.

Moto électrique sur la route entre deux champs
The Zero DSR/X, Philippe's future motorcycle

Last question: what kind of luggage do you carry?

2 x 30 L bags plus a 40 L top case. I think I'll be carrying around 50 kg more on the bike.

Thank you for this fascinating feedback. We remind you that you have, among other things, a website on which we can find details of all your adventures, an Instagram, and a YouTube channel (links below).

Ride on

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