What is Zero Below Zero? (...Origin)

Zero Below Zero


Will an electric motorcycle work for everyday transportation all winter long in frozen Duluth Minnesota? We’re putting together a lightly winterized Zero FX, and some brave (or foolish) volunteers to find out. Subscribe at right for weekly updates by the test riders.

We're going to leave our Zero outside overnight, every night, and outside at work all day. No sleeping inside nice warm garages, so the battery will sometimes require an added experimental warmer during the coldest periods. It may get down to twenty five below zero on the very coldest nights. (NASA uses Radioisotope Heater Units (RHUs) for deep-space and Mars exploration vehicles to keep it's batteries warm. These generate heat through the decay of a low-grade isotope. We don't have anything radioactive-warm available, so the small experimental 'electric blanket' wrap is going to do this job.) The battery warmer will connect to household current as will the Zero's battery recharging system. Other Zero modifications involve the tires, which will be equipped with about 500 special low-profile carbide tipped ice-studs, and the saddle and grips, which will be warmed by conventional resistance wiring.

Riders will also be evaluating Aerostich gloves, scarves, electric and fleece mid and base layers, and variety of helmets and boots. Also helmet anti-fog solutions. even at surface street commuting speeds the risk of frostbite in these temperatures is significant, so learning to dress quickly, easily and correctly will be essential. We are going to learn just how much of a pain-in-the-ass all the extra gear rigamarole becomes, and what it feels like to make it part of our routine. The test commute routes range between three and fifteen miles via surface streets through urban traffic grids and on some high speed two lane highways.

Audio: National Weather Service Forecast, Duluth, Jan 2008

Video: Duluth Snow Tracker (Winter storm of 2006)

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10 thoughts on “What is Zero Below Zero? (...Origin)”

  • Steve Morris

    Having been to Duluth and Aerostich this past Sept/15 I know the terrain. Living near Ottawa Ont , I also know the conditions.
    Will be very interesting to follow the Zero.

    Ride safe on those studs!!

  • Ron Weinert

    Looking forward to the next installment!
    I've been buying Aerostich products for twenty or more years, and am seldom disappointed. You do good work.
    Best of luck on your Zero Below Zero project!

  • Carl Behning

    Gives a whole new meaning to "Ride There". Burrrrrrrr.
    Excellent story... especially the part about the Mall Crawler pick-up truck with rims and tires that has most likely never been off-road.

  • Jack Parsons

    You'll definitely need studs on those tires because they suck on anything but dry pavement and dirt roads. Good luck, Stay Warm, Have Fun and Be CAREFUL.

  • Denis Kerechuk

    Hi Andy thanks for sharing your dirt bike skills really helped going up your driveway. Andy you really paint a great picture with words. I rode on my 650 V-Strom from Pasadena over the mountains to PCH - In SoCal it was cold 52 ride home about 68. When I was there I was very thankful and thought about what you and my friends live though. You guys are tough - Hope that you find a way to get the suspension to work so you don't have to ride on wood. Maybe reach out to Paul Thede of Race Tech. I took a suspension class there and there was an employee in the class from Zero. Keep up the good work looking forward to updates. dk

  • Dave Sweeney

    Read the Blog so far, and maybe its time for some hippo hands, or whatever they're called these days. A little still air around the heated grips will do wonders.

    • Aerostich

      Thanks for the suggestion, we know many riders who have had good results in using that type of hand protection or warmth.

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