And Zero Motorcycles is currently leading the revolution. But perhaps not for long, considering the impending onslaught of competition coming any day now… As much as I LOVE my Zero motorcycle, and I’ve been riding one daily since 2013, I also love my Yamaha R1. For different reasons, of course. But the most lovable feature of any Yamaha is the same as any Honda — reliability and serviceability. These two juggernauts of the motorcycle industry aren’t just neck and neck on the racetrack, but also for global sales dominance. Maybe someday Yamaha will build an R1 like this…
So a young brand, with weird motorcycles handcrafted in the capital of weirdness, Santa Cruz, California, has to compete on lifestyle. On passion. On the coolness of everything Californian. Practicality is important, but as any Mad Man will tell you, practicality doesn’t sell. Sex sells, yes. But in 2018, if you want to sell to young people, that means showing men and women enjoying your product equally. Luckily Zero has caught up, at least in print, and in its launch video (below). Its early photos always showed the woman on the smaller bike, the XU. Now the woman gets to ride the proper sportbike, too.
Granted, the audience attending rEVolution are already drinking the electric Koolaid. There was a waiting list 60 people long when I tried to get Zachary (who was co-MC!) to sneak me in at the last minute! But in the 21st century, it’s the online audience that matters. Every conference is an opportunity to create a viral video that will get people talking about your brand. In the three weeks since this video was published, it’s had a whopping 220 views. Enjoy!
Here are some motorcycle videos with far more traffic:
Girls Go Wheels talk about the scooter revolution in Egypt.
Caramel Curves talk about riding in stilettos in New Orleans.
Ladies riding three-up on a Yamaha sportbike, all in saris, while being heckled. Just another day in India for these dames.
And then there’s the global warming-ready aspect of electric vehicles. This Chinese lady demonstrates how an electric motorcycle can easily handle even the deepest floodwaters.
All of which goes to show that people enjoy watching women ride motorcycles. Sure, the crash videos are even more viral, but crash videos are also a huge reason why motorcycling may never become mainstream in America, the country designed for cars. Between crash videos and everyone you know having a story about “that one guy I heard about who crashed that one time…” and having a ridiculous licensing system that enables untrained teenagers to ride two-wheeled rocket launchers, it’s no wonder young Americans would rather sit alone in a metal box staring at their phones. Meanwhile in other countries, countries with tiered licensing and traffic to make any Angeleno give up in despair, people ride. And increasingly, they ride electric.
Although Zero has first mover advantage, they might not be able to hold this advantage for long, once Honda and Yamaha decide to enter the market. And I mean ACTUALLY enter, not just tease us with yet another dumb concept bike. When that happens, they need to be able to sell the California dream the way Ducati sells the Italian dream.
While many of us were saddened to see Zero’s antiquated ad that Umberto chose to show at the rEVolution 2018, here is the video he should’ve shown.
And of course the line that makes it somewhat clear the Zero video star is addressing his female partner “…you have your shoes…” Really? Like I can’t have my shoes AND my Zero…
The photo below is by a local fan who shot this and tagged me. Yet another of the many cool things about riding electric — no shifter scuffing your black/white leopard print pony fur (cow, actually) stiletto boots. I know, the ankle protection they offer is inadequate, but I also know from 30 years of moto-commuting that bones heal, and a girl’s most important riding accessory is a great helmet that fits flawlessly. Now to move to a country where autonomous vehicles aren’t poised to take over and render motorcycles obsolete…