The Cero One is one of the most adaptable and durable options available among the few freight electric motorcycles on the market. The Cero One is a reliable performer when it comes to moving you and your belongings from point A to point B thanks to its modular design and bespoke aluminum frame. The Cero One does, however, have a higher price tag than some other e-bikes on the market. Is it really $3,800 worth it?
Yet, are you familiar with cycle trucks? They use a front wheel that is smaller than typical and have a normal-sized footprint like the Tern GSD. The majority of the load duties are supposed to be carried by a large platform or basket attached to the head tube, which is combined with a rear wheel that has a more conventional diameter.
Such a monster deserves greater examination, and that monster is the Cero One.
|FRAME||Rigid aluminum 6061-T6|
|MOTOR||Shimano STEPS E6100|
|DRIVE||Shimano Inter-5E, Gates CDX belt|
|SPEED||Up to 20 mph with pedal-assist|
|TIRES||Schwalbe Big Ben Plus 20" and 26"|
|BATTERY||504 Wh Shimano E8010|
|STEM||Satori UP2+ with 70 mm adjustable riser|
|BRAKES||Shimano hydraulic disc with resin pads|
|BASKETS||Modular baskets for front and rear|
|TOTAL CAPACITY||300 lbs including rider, accessories, and cargo|
|CARGO CAPACITY||77 lbs with no more than 55 lbs on any one rack|
Cero One: Design and Build Quality
It is considerably easier to use the Cero One. True, it has a wheelbase of 44.8 inches, making it not all that much smaller than the Tern. It also weighs almost 60 pounds. But, it appears to be a much smaller bike, one that I may even wheel outside for a little joyride on a rare sunny January day in Oregon.
Although, again, that’s good for normal urban riding and to be expected considering the function, the frame appears more designed for rigidity and durability than ride pleasure since it’s pretty unyielding, especially with that small front wheel. The tires do have a high capacity that you can get permission to keep them a touch soft, but you must strike a balance between that and ensuring adequate support if you’re hauling something big.
I immediately observed how simple it is to board the Cero One when I hopped on it. Instead of throwing a leg over the middle of the e-bike, users can walk over it thanks to the low frame’s step-through design. It must be useful when the cargo bin and cargo are loaded onto the back rack. My tester, however, was missing a rear basket.
With its 20′′ front wheel, 26′′ back wheel, and a load carrier that is directly mounted to the head tube to go with the big rear rack, the Cero One, designed by Yelverton and Krapfl and currently in its second version, adheres to the traditional cycle truck format. The two platforms are modular, and Cero provides three distinct bolt-on options: a small basket, a large basket, and an open-sided platform designed to hold larger packages. All three are made of durable tubular aluminum. There are a dozen threaded holes available up top if you want to get more creative, and the rear rack is natively compatible with EasyFit-style child seats.
Nonetheless, a front cargo basket and netting were included. When required, such basket can accommodate several Chihuahuas in addition to some groceries, a small backpack, and tiny dogs. The basket is also secured to the bike’s frame, so turning the front wheel has no effect on it. Speaking of the front wheel, this bike has the unusual distinction of having a 20-inch front wheel and a 26-inch rear wheel. They are both covered in Schwalbe rubber.
Cero rates each rack for 55 lb of goods independently, or 25 kg out back and 22 lb up front together.
All of that is affixed to a cleverly constructed 6061 aluminum frame that has been TIG welded. Despite having a very big diameter and being placed close together to form a step-through structure, the top tube and down tube are nevertheless spaced apart enough to provide high torsional rigidity. A tiny piece of the rear triangle’s drive side is detachable for belt mounting or removal, and integrated sliders for belt tensioning pair the caliper mount with the axle slot to eliminate the need to constantly re-center the brake.
It is considerably easier to use the Cero One. True, it has a wheelbase of 44.8 inches, making it not all that much shorter than the Tern. It also weights almost 60 pounds. But, it appears to be a lot smaller bike, one that I may even wheel outside for a little road trip on a rare bright January day in Oregon.
Cero One: Motor and Build Quality
Shimano’s STEPS e6100 mid-drive motor, powered by a 504-Wh rechargeable Li-ion battery installed on the down tube, has a nominal power rating of 250 watts (or about double that for peak power), and it can transfer 50 Nm of maximum torque. Together with such components, there is a computer head with an LCD display that is centrally positioned. There are a number of information screens accessible, and they may all be navigated using the handlebar-mounted remote control or directly on the device using the delightful clicky buttons.
There are a few aspects you might miss if you frequently bicycle with heavy loads. When it comes to shifting, I do long for a continuously variable gearbox, which shifts gears on the bike in accordance with your own cadence, particularly while climbing hills or towing loads that require frequent stops and starts. The 2020 Bosch Cargo Line drive unit on my bike is newer than the 250-watt mid-drive motor on the Cero One, which is powered by the Shimano 6050. It does seem to have less power. Without any goods, I could easily reach 20 mph, but when I was hauling, I had to pedal much more vigorously.
It is a smooth and comfortable experience to ride the Cero One. Longer rides are comfortably cushioned by the Ergon saddle, and the bike handles shocks effectively despite lacking suspension. The e-bike also feels well stable due to its low gravity point and doesn’t feel ungainly when laden with cargo.
Thanks to a Satori riser that is adjustable, it is also incredibly ergonomic. Just to be clear, the front and back racks each have a maximum weight capacity of 55 pounds.
The STEPS e6100 system is paired by Cero with a Shimano Nexus 5 internally geared rear hub, a matched twist shifter, and a low-maintenance Gates belt drive, moving away from the electronics. Shimano also supplies the Deore front hub with replaceable cup-and-cone bearings, along with non-series double hydraulic calipers with 180 mm-diameter front rotors for braking.
The Cero One lacks an electric throttle and has a top speed of 20 mph. I advise looking into the Aventon Solterra if you want a Class 2 e-bike. And if you’re looking for a Class 3 bike, you might want to read my evaluation of the Aventon Pace 500. The Cero One, however, is a Class 1 bike, so you are permitted to ride it wherever, even sidewalks.
Front and rear 32-hole Alex double-walled aluminum cargo bike rims, as well as 14-gauge stainless steel spokes with brass nipples, are used in the construction of the wheels. Finishing kit is rather simple, with the exception of the Satori stem’s angle- and height-adjustable stem.
Given how large the battery is, the promised range is enormous. There are three preset assist modes: Eco, Normal, and High. The Eco option is stated to provide a range of up to 105 miles. Yet regardless of which option you select, a motor cutoff at 20 mph is required.
I discovered that it takes a moment or two for the Shimano STEPS electric motor to engage when riding the Cero One. Contrary to the Aventon bikes I’ve used, which had motors that turn on a lot faster. On the tiny LCD panel, the motor’s three modes (ECO, Normal, and High) can be selected. I typically left it at the High setting, which provided me the largest boost.
Also, a Shimano belt drive, which appears to be a pleasant improvement over a conventional chain, connects the motor to the pedals.
I regrettably don’t have enough experience with Shimano’s Nexus rear hubs to comment on their long-term reliability, but I think the Deore front hub is excellent. Although it is less expensive, cup and cone bearings will last a lifetime with correct installation and maintenance. But, considering the heavy-duty aims, it would have been wonderful to see a thru-axle setup rather than a quick-release one. This would have been for security more so than rigidity, which really doesn’t matter with a 20′′ rigid fork.
Though it’s unlikely, the computed range estimates on the desktop screen are not only incredibly generous but also astonishingly accurate. On its highest level and after a full charge, the e6100 motor can assist for up to 55 miles. In environmental mode, too? It is an enormous 110 miles away. The intermediate position, which offers 80 miles of help, is where I spent the majority of my time. That usually meant that I only needed to plug the Cero One into the charge approximately once every two weeks for my minimal commute and errand needs.
Cero One: Conclusions
The Cero One is very well with quality components and can get the task done when you need to transport your stuff about. Nonetheless, depending on your demands, you might be able to find a better deal among the other cargo e-bikes available because they aren’t as expensive. The Cero One is a terrific option, though, if the cost is within your means and the e-features bike’s are right for you.
These, however, are only minor nits. If you don’t have numerous children and are searching for a total automobile substitute, the Cero One will likely be everything that you require once you’ve bolted on the enormous bike basket and constructed your own handlebars for your kid seat. Never undervalue the impact of creating quality products for your business.
My own requirements call for something with a carrying capacity greater than what the Cero One offers, but I believe this will be the happy medium for the majority of individuals considering some type of bike for daily tasks. I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest this bike to friends if Cero can resolve the stem issue.