Electric Motorcycles Energica at the Snake

Published on July 29th, 2014 | by Susanna Schick

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Energica Ego Review | A Proper Electric Superbike

Energica at the Snake

Imagine you had the choice between an Italian supermodel and that nice girl next door. Both of them like you, but the girl next door loves shopping at Walmart and it shows. The Italian? Well, you probably think she’s too rich for your blood. But all that goes out the window once you actually ride her, feeling the way her top shelf suspension components hug the curves of your favorite road, and the delicious bite from her 240mm Brembos as you brake hard from her top speed of (governed) 150mph, you know you want her. At any price.

I only had her between my legs for about 17 miles, even though I begged CRP to let me ride the Energica Ego further, and faster. Even at a staggering 568 lbs, she’s easy enough to ride. Even confidence-inspiring, as Asphalt & Rubber also said. Sure, it’s not a bike you’d flick around through tight traffic, but it performed beautifully in the tight twisties known as “The Snake“. Because I’ve primarily been riding Yamaha R1’s the past decade, I felt right at home on the bike. The footpegs were a bit too high for me (I’m 5’11), but it was a nice contrast after scraping pegs on the Zero SR the day before at Laguna Seca.

The Ego is a big bike, and I like big bikes. At 100kw, it’s got twice the motor of the SR, and 143 ft/lbs of torque vs 106 on the Zero. We were forced to sign a contract promising not to wheelie the Ego, or ride recklessly, and I did my best to hold back. We had to stay behind our ride leader the entire time. As you can see in the video, it was a fairly mellow ride:

The Ego is a very smooth ride that definitely corners like it’s on rails. It hold its line perfectly through the twisties, although I would really love to be fast enough to put this bike through its paces in the TT Zero. I rode in sport mode the entire time, with the regen set to “standard” for the first few miles. But the regen was so subtle I switched it to max, and it felt more like a Ducati, with that nice engine braking. It’s easy to switch modes on the fly, and the Ego features 4 settings for riding and 4 for regen.

The Energica Ego also sounds different than any other electric motorcycle. CRP explains the Ego has straight cut final drive gears similar to the drive train of an F1 car. Which would explain the high-pitched whine of the motor. It was novel, and sounds really badass, but I missed the peaceful silence of my Zero FX. Riding in Los Angeles is a bit stressful, so having one less source of noise vying for your attention, even if it’s your own bike, is nice.

The good news is, the Ego isn’t Desmosedici expensive. Just Panigale expensive. Well, the purchase price at least. Maintenance costs are basically $0 compared to a Ducati. CRP is hoping to get this bike to market at $34,000, while the Zero SR as I rode it, with the power tank, has an MSRP of $19,490. The maintenance costs on both of these bikes are practically nonexistent, so total ownership cost is more manageable than it would be for an Italian gas superbike.

That Price Includes Top-Shelf Components

You may recall we toured their factory in 2010, to see where the magic happens. CRP’s main business is 3D printing ultra-light parts for racing vehicles and spacecraft from their patented carbon “ink”, Windform.

This ultralight material enables them to pack more battery power into the Ego- 11.7kWh to be exact. CRP claims 31 miles of range under racing conditions and as much 93 miles of city riding. The TT Zero is 37.73 miles long, so they’re not far from making a bike that can compete there. The bike also features a reverse gear, to make it easier to park. This is nice, since the regen can really make it hard to back up even the 280 lb Zero FX.

Energica Ego at Rock Store

Marchesini wheels hold Pirelli Diablo Rosso’s, my personal favorite tire brand. Brembos stop those wheels with a pair of 320mm rotors and 4 piston caliper brakes up front and a 220mm rotor and 2 piston caliper on the rear. In production, there will also be a Bosch ABS system.

This massive beast is exceptionally well handled by fully adjustable Marzocchi 43mm forks and a fully adjustable Ohlins shock. None of which were adjusted specifically for me, and I felt fine on the bike. My videographer said I looked much more comfortable on the Ego than I do on my R1. I felt more comfortable, even though it’s 140 lbs heavier. It’s just so much smoother and easier to manage the power. I thoroughly enjoyed riding this bike, and would certainly consider it as a canyon and trackday bike.

 




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About the Author

Susanna is passionate about anything fast and electric. As long as it's only got two wheels. She covers electric motorcycle racing events, test rides electric motorcycles, and interviews industry leaders. Occasionally she deigns to cover automobile events in Los Angeles for us as well. However, she dreams of a day when Los Angeles' streets resemble the two-wheeled paradise she discovered living in Barcelona and will not rest until she's converted the masses to two-wheeled bliss.



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  • Offgridman

    Thanks for the detailed write up, and info on a plus 100 mile range motorcycle which the extra weight will be worth meeting my specific needs.
    Perhaps a dumb question but I haven’t done the research to know if when using the regen for slowing into curves or stops does it activate the brake light to warn drivers behind you of what you are doing.
    Thanks in advance if you can take the time to answer this for me.

    • http://pinkyracer.com susannaschick

      Regen isn’t strong enough to activate the brake light, so it would be a bad idea for people behind you to think you’re braking when you’re not. As far as I know, all EV’s still have the brake lights connected only to the brakes.

      • Offgridman

        Thanks again for taking the time to reply.
        In the article you discussed the different levels of regen, so I was equating level 4 with dropping a gear or two and popping the clutch. Which if someone was riding my tail when doing I would also just touch the brake to make the light come on to avoid getting rear ended. But I am asking about something that it hasn’t yet been possible to experience, so now guess that it is more similar to just letting off of the gas and letting the motor wind down.
        Thank you for your time, it will take me at least a couple hours drive to get anywhere it is possible to test drive any type of EV, so gathering as much info as possible beforehand.

        • http://pinkyracer.com susannaschick

          Cool! Do take one for a spin, the torque is sooo fun!

          • Offgridman

            Will do, last bike that I had with some good kick was a ’84 Honda Hurricane that I picked up when a couple of years old.
            Stripped down Suzuki 1000 police cruiser has been covering the basics for the last twenty years, but it is time for either a serious rebuild or something new and would much rather go electric now that they are catching up.
            Looking forward to some fun rides powered up by my panels rather than the gas pump.

          • http://pinkyracer.com susannaschick

            totally! the electric bikes they’re building now have enough power & range for most riding, especially daily use. I love never having to buy gas! And I love riding the Zero FX because it’s so light, nimble and low maintenance. Even the belt drive makes a massive difference, as I hate doing chain adjustments.

      • Ole Tjugen

        EVs, at least cars, brake hard enough with regen that the brake lights ARE activated. The one EV I have personal experience with, Tesla Model S, solves the question of what is braking by reading an accelerometer which decides whether or not the light should be activated.
        Most days I only touch the brake pedal when I need to come to a complete stop, and some days not even then.

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