Does Harley-Davidson leave you by the eyes? Do the sporting ones weary you? Is your Porsche in revision? It is high time to test a Samurai Chopper! The Zero Engineering Type 5 model with the test today on latestbikesinfo is the work of the small manufacturer Zero Engineering. From now on approved in the EU, this Japanese bobber is the comprehensive insurance of shifted in all legality.
When I saw Zero Engineering Type 5 for the first time, I must acknowledge you that I straightforwardly flashed. Its small with dimensions “agricultural machine” was not without me to point out the 125 Ravat a 48 of my grandfather. I still have in memory the yellowed photograph of this machine with which I known my first idyll.
Even design: two wheels, a rigid framework, an engine and enough! But the comparison stops there of course because, in the case of Zero Engineering Type 5, the receipt – also minimalist – proves much more radical: a fork with parallelogram assembled on a rigid framework, Big Twin American, large gommards balloon for the look and roll youth! Morality: I will test authentic a bobber, whereas here more than 40 years that I did not roll on a motor bike with a rigid framework!
This rather antiquated approach and minimalist of the motor bike from the United States, where the first bobbers appeared post-war period in the immediate future. The first with bobber their machine were returned veterans of the European face who had fun to strip of Harley – or Indian – of all their superfluous accessories with an only one aim: to lose weight to gain in performance.
This philosophy of the destitution is the trademark of initiator of the “Zero Style”, Shinya Kimura. And if main Zen left to continue its search of purity on its side (with the orders of Chabot Engineering, it manufactures hybrids baroque “coffee custom”, extremely snuffed stars like Brad Pitt), its inimitable style continues in the productions of (small) series of workshops Zero.
The engine of Type 5 is legendary Harley-Davidson 1340 Evolution with fuel, always available to the catalogue spare parts of MoCo. Considered for its reliability, this engine was chosen by the Japanese’s for the European market: in the United States – where Zero Engineering was established – Zeros are proposed with blocks Evo and Shovel cloned by S&S.
Tradition bobber obliges the standard framework Goose Neck (swan neck) rigid and the Avon tires of 130 – identical to before and in the back – assembled on the rims of 16 inches confer an unstoppable look of “crawling” mechanics to him. For proof, the small seat with springs culminates to 68 cm height for an overall length of 2.30 Mr. Once passed the visual shock; it is in the care of the detail (except for some badly hidden sons) that one admires the beautiful one.
Because at Zero Engineering, not of assembly line: the machines are built craftsmen, in the code of practice, and this since always. For the little story, Kimura San built his first motor bikes “by a show of hands”, without plan and primarily with parts of recovery! Its delirious achievements and its single style, with counter-current of the customs foils of the Nineties, had a planetary success quickly.
Catapulted by the Evolution
Type 5 does not escape the rule even if, one can qualify it from now on motor bike of series. Strong on its increasing success, the mark decided to develop initially with US, then in Europe, by proposing a standardized range (obligatory passage for its approval in our regions) but which preserves a strong visual identity.
And of the mouth, this Zero Engineering Type 5 has some to resell! One likes or one does not like, but difficult to remain indifferent. Even on the stop the machine imposes some and its style resolutely “bad servant boy” is a real invitation with cruiser on the highways. I said well on the highways; because side comfort, my apprehension goes up before even to have mounted the animal. Easy thing if it is, the motor bike is low and incredibly fine. Contact, manual choke, a pressure on ledemarror and the 1340 Evolution are banned to the rhythm of its two large lunch boxes. The saddle with spring proves rather comfortable, the arms are tended towards the small Z-bar, the feet not too ahead.
The cockpit is tiny room to its more simple expression: three indicators (not dead, full headlight, oils) on the mini-headlight, a tachometer, retro of moped, not very practical control units because tiny, and… it is all. Ah, if I forgot: ridiculous witnesses of indicators.
First: sounded! I appreciate the firmness of the clutch on the way, and let’ S go for has wrinkle in the Parisian congestions. The first meters at the very least prove diverting for the neophyte that I am. Without instructions, the “square” tires return information little making safe (I do not dare to imagine under the rain who more am without guard front mud!) and the turning radius is worthy of a Motor bike GP.
Second (Re- sounded) and here which I leave the ground in a train of hell. Third (known refrain: sounded!): this engine is a genuine catapult. Fourth, fifth: I return gases, the Parisian peripheral ravels in panoramic mode with 2,000 tr/mom. Completely the kind of bike which gives you desire for looking at you rolling!
Trepidations of the machine start to go up in the hollow of my kidneys while my 24 vertebrae are in direct catch with the irregularities of the bitumen, the manhole covers and other speed reducers. I am not in Harley-Davidson and yet I have the feeling that everyone recognizes me! The glances of the motorists are astounded; the motorcyclists make me a small sign, amused.
This bike, it is flames it total and of the pleasure in a rough state. 80 ch and the generous couple of V fixed with 45° are enjoyed one quickly surprises oneself to dry the handle so much V-Twin breathes, tractor draws severe in the low modes, clashes with deceleration. The cavernous sonority hardly choked 2-in-1 is used here incidentally as warning signal. The pedestrians are still very turned over from there. Happiness out of bar!
But attention, a cool control is largely recommended, because the fork of the type Springer replica 74 (modified to receive a disc) with ridiculous clearance, the tires balloon with cramps, the small handlebar and 230 kg of the machine do of it all except a motor bike of race.
The turns are to be approached with reserve, which prevented not Zero Engineering Type 5 from remaining very nimble and handy thanks to a very low centre of gravity. To zigzag between the cars turns quickly to the punishment, I am appropriate about it however… To stop the beautiful one, two discs of 292 mm gripped by a clamp doubles pistons in the back and simple piston with before ensure a powerful braking which requires a certain practice all the same.
With least a little supported braking, the broad front tire grates and declares fixed price under the effort. To cure it, it is advisable to be accustomed to operate the brake initially postpones then before in the event of brutal deceleration, in order to avoid spreading itself like a piglet. Also drops a clinger with (very) the weak ground clearance, quasi non-existent of with dimensions of the crutch and left casing which come to play the turbid festivals as of the least degree of angle.
Single in its kind
Then, it is sure, they are not few tens of terminals traversed with its handlebar in the town traffic which will enable me to consider qualities dynamic of the machine. Here, not of 400 m DA, not maximum speeds either: one card-index passionately so much the irrational one overrides the rational one, the timeless one on reality. I confirm, this Zero rest an excellent alternative when Porsche is with the garage! Small difficulty, but of size, it is not made to roll far and a long time because of its very weak autonomy (hardly more than 80/90 km) which prohibits any motorway course under penalty of breaking down to him dry.
Also prohibited the battered roads or the paved streets, because the sanction is immediate, tallies rigid obliges! Its playing field, it is rather the main roads or secondary roads covered well where it appears, even at legal speeds, being real an antidote with the moroseness, far, very far from all that you could test front. This motor bike was only one bracket in my life of motorcyclist but it was for me a real revelation. It’s a pity that it is not mine. Rare indeed, are the machines which communicate as many emotions to you, a little like a good old man English twin, with its batch of good vibrations, the stiffness moreover.
Assessment: The price of the eccentricity
But Zero Engineering Type 5 is enjoyed as much for its defects as for its qualities. The experts will appreciate… the others will find the framework rigid frankly obsolete and surely using unless in the long run having a good physic. Sold 25,650 € turn-key, and on sale free Absolute in Cycle, the specialist in the chop’ in Paris, Type 5 is certainly not given.
For as much, 27 specimens already found purchaser in the Hexagon. When it is known that the production capacity of Zero Engineering Type 5 is only of about twenty machines per month for the whole world, it will be necessary to hurry to order… and that I seriously think of being made increase!