Zero Recalls All 2012 Motorcycles for Potential Fire Risk

Zero Recalling All 2012 Electric Motorcycles for Fire Risk

We love motorcycle recalls involving fire. Wait, that sounds wrong, and likely to end up with some NRA spokesmodel talking about how we love burning motorcycles because it’s “ratings gold.”

"Burning motorcycles are ratings gold."

But in keeping with CityBike’s role as the self-proclaimed Beavis and Butthead of motorcycle “journalism,” I’m comfortable with us admitting we dig fire. Internal combustion fire, barbecue fire, torch fire, photo-op fire in front of the East Bay Rats clubhouse… fire is cool. Recall fire is cool (sort of) simply because we get to crack jokes about fire. Hell, we’ve been crackin’ wise about KTM’s flammable pajamas recall since 2015, much to the chagrin of people who think children potentially catching fire isn’t funny (AKA the rest of the world).

Also not funny is the notion of riding down the street on your ultra-modern electric motorcycle, just minding your own business and saving the world one motorcycle at a time, when all the sudden your ass is on fire. Literally. Or at least your motorcycle, and soon your ass.

I take back the “not funny” part—it actually sounds pretty hilarious now that I visualize it, as long as our hypothetical moto-ecotopian gets off his or her external combustion motorcycle without getting hurt. Maybe there’s something to this “ratings gold” stuff after all.

All—or at least most—jokes aside, Zero is recalling all 2012 S, DS and DSP (police) bikes due to electrical issues: “Cell pouches in the battery packs may wear from contact with the holders, allowing humidity to enter the pouch and cause an electrical short within the battery.”

The recall notice sums up the situation with this no-nonsense line: “An electrical short can increase the risk of a fire.”

Yes! Fire!

Oops. Again, fire bad. Not funny.

According to recall documents, there have been at least three “thermal events,” one in Hong Kong while the bike was charging, and two in Canada and Texas while the bikes were being ridden. NHTSA’s docs quantify the potential number of units affected as 218.

Zero FXS burnout.
This is a 2017 Zero, not a 2012, and it is not on fire. However, there is smoke, and that’s the best we can do short of picking up a 2012 on Craigslist and hoping it goes all ‘Spinal Tap drummer’ on us. Photo: Max Klein / Rider: Fish.

Zero plans to notify their dealers by the week of April 16th, and bike owners by the week of April 30th, unless those folks read it here first, of course.

Zero says the 2012 battery architecture was unique and they’re unable to replace the battery pack. Instead, they’ll offer owners of 2012 bikes “a choice of either the repurchase of their motorcycle or a financial trade-assist towards a newer Model Year Zero Motorcycles motorcycle.”

Zero also says owners should “no longer ride or charge these motorcycles,” and they’ll come pick ’em up. Or, if you want to be a part of some seriously groundbreaking independent moto-journalism, send us a note, and we’ll come get your 2012 Zero. Yes, we’ll make sure it makes it back to Zero and you get your buyback money, but first we’ll wake up our video crew and see if we can make some fiery magic happen.

It’ll be hilarious.

Zero Fire Risk Recall Documents

Safety Recall Report

NHTSA Recall Acknowledgement