Trans-Am Trail on a Zero Motorcycle

One day, I want to complete the Trans-America Trail (aka TAT) on a Zero Motorcycle. Possibly summer of 2021? I've wanted to do the Trans-Am Trail for some time, but I'm a big electric motorcycle enthusiast and it makes sense for me to try it on a Zero. Possibly I'll be the first person to do it on electric, I know of no other attempts to date.

The Trans-Am Trail is a dual-sport trail on unpaved dirt & gravel roads across the US. It begins in western North Carolina, and on through Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, and Oregon to the Pacific Ocean.

This page, for the moment, is to record my thoughts and plans around this. It is in the early stages.

I believe I would use my Zero DS for the task, with its power tank for more range and its accessory chargers for faster charging. The Zero FX would be a better bike technically, but the range of the smaller battery is insufficient for the distances required. The DS should suffice, and is still pretty lightweight (~450 lbs depending on configuration) compared to many larger adventure bikes that have completed the trail which can easily exceed 500 lbs. And I'm a pretty good rider. Another potential weakness of the DS is its belt drive, but that is now upgradeable to a chain for all Zero models - so I would definitely do that.

I would likely remove the ABS unit (or fuses at least) and add drop bars as well. My DS already has a rack and luggage, knobby tires, handguards and more. Otherwise it should be like planning any other trip on the TAT. The trip would be done slowly, reducing the daily distances required (maybe 100 - 150 miles per day). Charging still may be an issue in some areas, but anywhere there is a 120v plug I can at least charge overnight. On my Zero DS + PowerTank, that full charge should provide at least 100 miles of range, if not more due to the low speeds.

Given that the TAT is about 4,700 miles, averaging 125 miles / day makes for about a 40 day trip. I could take a month and a half to do it, and then ship the bike home. To get to the starting point I would probably rent a truck to take the bike to the start, as to not extend the time of the trip any further or wear out the knobby tires before starting.


TAT on Zero logo

Trans-Am Trail Map

Zero DS