First ride – Energica Italian electric superbike
Updated: Feb 10
Pic: Gorgeous Ego+
Sometimes I have to pinch myself because I am so fortunate; recently I was honoured to be the first Australian journalist type bloke to get to ride not just one but two new Energica electric motorcycles.
You can read all about Energica here but the short version is they are a Modena based company who have built a strong reputation for making a range of very tasty performance electric motorcycles and have been the sole supplier to the premier Moto-E class since it started in 2019.
They also proudly and rightly claim to provide the most powerful and longest-range production electric motorcycles in the world, which few would dispute and I salute their astounding achievements; Bellissima!.
Sydney based Zen Motorcycles is a relatively new entrant to the world of electric motorcycles but have demonstrated a genuine commitment to the segment and have a growing range of bikes and scooters on offer, including Energica which was recently approved for sale in Australia.
Founders Bruce Crerar and Ben Rubner explained that they “love motorcycles of any type, old or new but specialise in custom builds and electric motorcycles”. Bruce recently took delivery of two new bikes from Energica; the unadulterated Ego+ sports bike and the slightly classic styled, urban focused EsseEsse9 both of which I got to play with.
Although targeted at different markets both bikes share some features which are worthy of a mention up front.
Firstly, choosing the 21.5kWh battery option provides the best range in a performance electric motorcycle available today from a volume manufacturer. This equates to a 400km range in the city and around 180km at sustained highway speed and based on my real-world experience I reckon they are realistic figures.
Interestingly, that’s a 28% bigger battery than I have and 38% more city range which I suspect is due to their enhanced drive train efficiency. At 256kg the Energica is only 6kg heaver than mine despite the significantly larger battery. Exceptional.
The brakes and suspension are typical of what you’d expect in such high end machines, featuring ubiquitous radial mounted Brembo monobloc calipers. On the front the bikes are equipped with fully adjustable Marzochi 43mm USD forks and on the rear there is a Bitubo mono shock which is positioned for really easy adjustment but only features adjustable spring pro-load and rebound. Several other testers have commented they felt like the rear suspension could be better but the bikes I rode were excellent.
The general build quality and equipment level was excellent with a definite Italian flair. The Ego was simply stunning and although I loved the ride of the EsseEsse9 personally the styling didn’t really grab me but that’s highly subjective.
You can’t mention Energica without raving about its motor which frankly is arguably the best and most powerful in the business. Their 300V Hybrid Synchronous Motor & Inverter is an astounding piece of technology. It’s lighter, more powerful and capable of higher RPM than previous versions and has a peak of 171hp (Ego+) and 109hp (EsseEsse9) and 215Nm/200Nm of torque.
Its design allows the benefits of both permanent magnet and excitation winding designs. In simple terms what this means is that the inverter can adjust the magnetic fields dynamically, so you get a compact and more efficient motor which runs cooler and always operates in the sweet spot.
I also applaud the fact that Energica fit 3kW AC chargers as standard, given how common AC chargers are becoming, in addition to its DCFC capability. Sure, it doesn’t give you a 5-minute recharge but that’s not the point – it gives you an option that isn’t tediously slow, if you need it. If Energica can do it, anyone can – are you listening out there?
All the Energica’s are chain drive allowing more flexibility with gearing and lower cost parts, albeit being slightly noisier and needing a more maintenance than a belt.
And lastly, there’s the speed. The Ego is capable of 240kmh and as low as 2.6 seconds to 100kmh in top trim. The EsseEsse9 is limited to 200kmh and can achieve 2.8 seconds to 100kmh. Both these bikes are extremely fast off the line and can carry that speed to blisteringly fast levels.
Pic: Totally sick Energica motor
The Ego+ is a sports bike, closely based on the company’s highly acclaimed race bike. As you would expect it has low set clip on handlebars, relatively high foot peg positioning and a full race style fairing. It has a very high level of suspension and braking equipment and immediately feels like it’s going to love being ridden aggressively and quickly.
Available in 3 variants, the base model has a 13.4kWh battery whilst the Ego+ and Ego+RS both have the companies enormous 21.4kWh pack, the RS featuring some performance enhancements. The latest models also feature Energica’s 300V Hybrid Synchronous Motor & Inverter which is an astounding piece of technology.
You can go through all the specifications and options on the Energica website but let’s talk about what it’s like to ride!
Predictably, the sportier Ego took me a short while to get used to with its aggressive sporty ride position but before long my younger brain remembered what to do. With it’s racing heritage, the Ego feels like it wants to be ridden hard and rewards you by feeling rock solid and predictable.
I was restricted to the streets of Sydney rather than my favourite twisties but it’s precise handling and sensational power delivery was bags of fun and the suspension set up was really good for this application; firm but super smooth.
The motor produces a cool (imho) banshee like shriek and was notably louder than most electrics I’ve ridden thanks to its straight cut primary gear reduction. It isn’t obtrusive and I rather liked it. On paper the Ego has substantially more power and torque than my current bike. In sport mode with medium regen it felt super crisp and was really responsive on drive and regen, a bit more raw than I’m used to, although I didn’t get a chance to mess around with all the settings. Speaking of which, Energica have a really wide variety of parameters which you can play with to change the ride and the dash offers a lot of information and is a bit more techy and colourful than I’m used to. Flexibility and swathes of information isn’t something you always need, but when you need it it’s there.
Is the Ego for me?
I think my own Ego is big enough and although I loved this bike and its epic battery capacity and range, being honest it isn’t for me – purely because I prefer a slightly less sporty ride and a more luxury rather than racy feel. If you hanker for that raw Italian sports bike like feel with prodigious gear-changeless linear power – test ride one right now.
The Ego is available in several variants, expect to pay around $51,000 for the Ego+ which is on par for high end ICE sports bikes and performance electric motorcycles.
Pic: Stylin EsseEsse9+
Because one electric motorcycle ride is never enough, I also got to play with Energica’s EsseEsse9, named after Italy’s equivalent of Route 66. It’s a more relaxed upright style with a larger bench seat suited to city or cruising duties, a sort of modern classic styling and is a also available in a number of variants.
I immediately felt at home on this bike with its wider bars and cruiser feel and found myself throwing it in to the second corner I got to with velocity and confidence. It’s an easy bike to ride and with all that power and seamless torque is a confidence inspiring hoot to ride.
Again, I didn’t get to play with all the settings but I reckon fully unleashed, this thing could easily be a hooligan-esque, wheelie inducing you-can-try-to-beat-me-off-the-line-but-wont bike. The suspension and brakes are all pretty similar to the Ego, but its not a scalpel like its stable mate – although still sensational.
If city riding, cruising or slightly more relaxed is your thing, ride this bike.
Is the EsseEsse9 for me?
This bike was extremely tempting. Because is uses the latest technology with a moto-e derived motor, 3kW AC & DCFC and its larger 21.5kWh battery it offers scintillating performance and best in class range and charging.
Its familiar ride style was great for me, I loved the build quality, the range was next level and at around $45,000 it was very tempting.
If you live in Australia like me your choices for electric performance motorcycles are extremely limited. The full range of Energica’s are now available (including the Ribelle and Experia) and some late model Zero’s too, all coming in to the country now too thanks to the commitment of the Australian Electric Motorcycle Company on the Gold Coast who have import deals in place and Dealers like Zen Motorcycles who are distributing and servicing the machines.
Personally, I would choose the Energica all day long over Zero because of the DCFC capability alone, much as I do love the simplicity of Zero’s design philosophy.
The million dollar question is did I like it more than my Livewire and currently the answer is no, which is hardly surprising and a bit unfair but I know you are wondering. I almost bought one instead of the Livewire almost a year ago. As a buddy said to me, the Livewire has a luxury feel to it and an extraordinarily user-friendly design which simplifies the complex into simple, functional excellence and suits me perfectly.
Energica has the advantages of range, power, speed and style in spades and critically its available right here right now. I love what the company is doing, they are absolutely leading the way in the segment in terms of performance and volume by a mile and If I was in the market for a new bike, they would have me.
Just ride one.