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Pay to Play


Well-known member
Mar 28, 2022
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I had never heard the term until I read the following article from RoadRUNNER magazine when I was at the dealership yesterday.

What is Pay to Play? Zero Motorcycles sells you a bike and you get to unlock its full potential by paying for features that are already part of the bike but that are locked in the software. The price varies from a couple of hundreds of dollars to over a couple of grands. Ouch. If that's the future of motorcycling (or cars), I don't want it.

Here's a pic of the article:

I think BMW is doing something similar in their cars. You can upgrade to heated seats through an app purchase, among other features.
Woohoo I get to buy a bike and then spend a whole bunch more money to use the bike, and forget about working on it yourself, all the major parts are serialized on the zeros which means only the dealers can do anything more than a tire change.
It's been around in electronics for years, so I expected it with EVs. Tether-free airbag vests are doing the same thing, such as the add-on for "ADV mode" from In&motion.

I don't have a problem with the concept. It may save consumers money by allowing companies to simplify their design & manufacturing, and as the article said, it can lower initial costs and allow a buyer to pay for additional features they value the most.

How a manufacturer utilizes it will make the difference between customers feeling like it's a screw job or a reasonable up-charge for a feature.
When you talk about cost, the bike would already have all the features built in already. You have to pay to unlock them. Does it become a subscription? What happens when you sell it? The article says that improvements are permanent and stay with the bike when you sell it but for how long?
Those screaming eagle parts and tesla drive trains you can instal and modify yourself though, my understanding is with zero its serialized to their ECU so if the numbers dont match it will not work.
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