2018 Energica Eva EsseEsse9

Editor Score: 89.5%
Engine 19.0/20
Suspension/Handling 12.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 10/10
Brakes 9.5/10
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.5/10
Appearance/Quality 9.0/10
Desirability 9.0/10
Value 6.5/10
Overall Score89.5/100

Energica made e-bike waves in 2013 when it let us ride the prototype of its Ego electric superbike that reached production in 2014, the year we tested a production version of the Ego. Boasting 136 hp and 144 lb-ft. of torque with a claimed 150-mph top speed, the Italian-designed Ego was fast and thrilling, to be sure. But its claimed 584-lb weight made it really heavy for a superbike, and its $34,000 MSRP destined it only for spots in the well-stocked garages of well-heeled enthusiasts. It fitted into a niche within a niche.

Then came Energica’s Eva, which took the Ego’s platform and made it into a standard-ish naked sportybike that was more usable in most street conditions. Former editor Tom Roderick tested the Eva in 2016 and came away with many favorable impressions, but he lamented its $34,500 price and the fact that its motor offered less power than the Ego’s, at 107 hp (80 kw) and 133 lb-ft (180 Nm) of torque, while retailing for the same price. For 2018, the Eva 80 will be joined by the Eva 107, which features the Ego’s full-power.

Now comes the new EsseEsse9, which takes the Eva into a more traditional angle. Instead of an insectoid face with dual LED headlights, the EsseEsse9 is fitted with a lovely round LED headlamp ringed by an LED running light, impressively packaged inside a bucket made from billet aluminum with CNC-machined detailing. The milled bucket is accented by a blue hue, as are the aluminum seat supports that are reminiscent of those on BMW’s R-nineT. A pleated brown leather seat, which is less dished than the Eva’s black one, adds panache to the EsseEsse9 package, as does redesigned body panels. The handlebar is slightly wider and taller than the Eva’s, while the footpegs are placed forward a skosh.

2018 Energica Eva EsseEsse9 review

The new Eva EsseEsse9 retains the underpinnings of previous Energica models, including the trellis frame, cast-aluminum swingarm, Marzocchi/Bitubo suspension and Brembo brakes.

Fun Fact: The EsseEsse9 takes its name from Via Emilia (SS9), an ancient Italian road built in 187 BC to connect Rimini to Piacenza, along Italy’s Motor Valley where Energicas, Ferraris and Lamborghinis are manufactured.

Most importantly for the sales viability of Energica are significant price reductions for 2018. The Eva will now retail for $23,400, the same price as the new EsseEsse9. The 2018 Ego has an MSRP of $24,900. Federal and state incentives can reduce the price even further.

2018 Energica Eva EsseEsse9 review

In addition to the Shocking Blue version we tested, the EsseEsse9 is also available in this Lunar White color option.

Still a bit pricey, yes, but not for an exclusive Italian motorcycle with high-level componentry combined with leading-edge charging abilities. Energica offers the only electric motorcycles in the world with onboard DC fast-charge technology based on CCS (Combined Charging System) Combo, which said to be able to bring its 11.7-kWh lithium-polymer battery pack from zero to 85% in just 20 minutes. If no DC fast chargers (Level 3, 20 kw) are available, the battery can also be charged via Level 2 (6 kw) and Level 1 (1 kw) household currents.

2018 Energica Eva EsseEsse9 charging port

Flipping open the EsseEsse9’s seat reveals the CCS charging port. The metal screen behind it covers a fan that sheds heat generated from inverting DC current to AC.

We got the first crack at the EsseEsse9 earlier this week when I met with Energica’s U.S. reps at Mission Motorsports in Irvine, California, the latest dealer added to the brand’s American portfolio, along with locations in San Francisco and Santa Monica. Next up for general manager Stefano Benatti is to woo a dealer in Texas which understands the high-performance tie-in with Energica becoming the sole supplier in MotoGP’s upcoming FIM MotoE World Cup series in 2019, including the round in Austin at the Circuit Of The Americas.

Interview with Energica’s U.S. General Manager Stefano Benatti

The Eva EsseEsse9 feels agreeable when throwing a leg over its reasonably low 30.9-inch seat height, and its tubular handlebar is a modest stretch that puts a rider in a slightly forward lean. Footpegs are milled aluminum without rubber inserts because there is an absence of vibration from the electric motor as compared to a petrol-powered ICE bike. Coincidentally, ergonomics feel remarkably similar to the Yamaha XSR700 I rode in on. Ironically, both use Pirelli Phantom tires.

A 4.3-inch color TFT screen provides a host of info, including the settings for power delivery (Urban, Eco, Rain, Sport), four levels of regenerative braking, and battery range. A USB outlet is standard, and smartphones can be paired to the MYEnergica app that identifies the location of the nearest charging stations and types.

2018 Energica Eva EsseEsse9 TFT

The configurable TFT instrumentation displays ride modes (on left), regenerative braking (on right), among many other info items like the ABS setting seen here at center. Energica boasts that its Bosch eABS also takes into account the amount of regenerative torque in slippery conditions to keep riders from unexpectedly losing traction when backing off the throttle. The bike’s sophisticated Vehicle Control Unit is claimed to monitor sensor inputs 100 times per second.

Riding off couldn’t be easier, as there is no clutch or gearbox to meddle with – it’s a scooter-like twist-and-go operation. Although the EsseEsse9 doesn’t have the power of the Ego, there is nothing humble about the output from its permanent magnet AC (PMAC) oil-cooled motor. Its claimed 133 lb-ft torque peak at its motor shaft positively humiliates the rear-wheel output of even the 1301cc engine in KTM’s muscular Super Duke R, at 95.7 lb-ft. The EsseEsse9 quickly reaches triple-digit speeds but is electronically limited to a 125 mph.

The sluggish steering we noted when testing the Ego is somewhat ameliorated by the EsseEsse9’s taller and wider handlebar, allowing quicker turn-in responses. Still, there’s no denying the bike’s considerable 580-pound (claimed) weight and longish 58.8-inch wheelbase. Initiating quick turns requires a deliberate shove on the bars, so don’t think of it as an electric-powered SV650 or anything of its ilk. It’s more like an Aprilia Tuono with a slightly underinflated front tire.

2018 Energica Eva EsseEsse9

Ripping down a twisty road on an electric-powered motorcycle is more fun than you might think, especially when it has as much grunt as the Eva EsseEsse9. It’ll out-accelerate most bikes on the road.

Regardless, it was enjoyable throwing the Energica into the few curves along our ride route, settling in nicely on its suspension when leaned over. I felt no need to tweak the settings on the fully adjustable Marzocchi fork, which provided exemplary action, but I would’ve added a click or two more rebound damping on the linkageless Bitubo shock if I had more time with it.

Slowing the EsseEsse9 is ably handled by a set of four-piston Brembo calipers and massive 330mm rotors up front, aided by switchable Bosch eABS. They offer a firm lever feel and precise control. It was fun to mess with the regen-braking settings to feel the vast distinctions between them. But no matter which was selected, the “throttle” response remained entirely predictable and intuitive. Engericas have a perfectly tuned neutral-throttle area between the closed- and open-throttle points that allows the bike to coast without adding engine/motor braking, avoiding any disturbing lurching. It feels like a well-tuned motorcycle rather than just a well-tuned e-bike.

2018 Energica Eva EsseEsse9

The Eva EsseEsse9 cuts a dashing profile that nicely blends high-tech and old-school with a dash of Italian style.

Range is always an issue with any electric vehicle, but Energica says the EsseEsse9 can churn out about 125 miles when it’s set to its ECO mode and isn’t flogged down the highway for miles on end. Realistically, its 11.7kWh battery range is closer to 100 miles, and it’ll drop further with high-speed travel.

Energica’s batteries are housed in a splendid-looking aluminum case with finning and through-holes to help dissipate heat that would otherwise shorten the life cycle of the battery set. Concerns about battery life should allayed by Energica’s 31,000-mile warranty on it, and Benatti notes the company hasn’t had a battery failure in seven years of operation. The bike itself has a three-year warranty.

2018 Energica Eva EsseEsse9

We stopped during our ride for lunch at Cook’s Corner, a SoCal biker hangout that is predominantly patronized by the Harley faithful. Several of them were intrigued by the EsseEsse9 and had many questions for us about the bikes. The EsseEsse9 turns its rider into an instant celebrity.

Although still hampered by limited ranges and high costs, electric motorcycles are experiencing improved value equations. Hundreds of charging stations are added each year, and I was surprised to note the relatively large number of the high-flow DC/CCS stations located in California. And individual communities continue to invest in charging infrastructure. For example, Santa Monica intends to have 1,000 chargers by 2025, up from less than 100 today. And Energica continues to expand its footprint, now having locations in the UK, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Israel, and Italy.

Although my time on the bike was brief – too short to accurately gauge range and the other intangibles of living with a motorbike – I can say with confidence the EsseEsse9 is my favorite electric streetbike. It has more than enough power, a trustworthy chassis, and confident but not over-the-top styling. It makes a Zero SR feel cheap in comparison, and even with Zero’s Charge Tank, it can’t match the quick-charge abilities of the Energicas. More info can be found on EnergicaMotor.com

2014 Zero SR Review

2018 Energica Eva EsseEsse9

Related Reading

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2013 Brammo Empulse R vs. Zero S ZF11.4

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  • john phyyt

    Getting there ; getting there; …… 100 mile range anxiety is still too little for me. and Price still too high. .. How long before a $9999 and true, all weather, 150 freeway miles . And < 20 minute charging.? .. Tech is converging. 2020?
    When this happens . Will the Grid cope? .. It is easy to think of a doubling of electricity price.

    • Born to Ride

      You’ll never get a bike this nice for 10 grand. Maybe a Zero SR for that price and those specs?

      • john phyyt

        Elon will sell you a model 3 for $35,000 . So $10 grand is about right for a mass market bike ..

        • Sayyed Bashir

          “Torque of 1000; H.P. and speed potential of 650.” Are you talking 1000 lb-ft and 650 mph? That is a good general purpose bike? The grid has no problem with solar charging both at home and at work (at least in CA and the southern half of the US). Actually if your car or bike is plugged into the grid and is already charged, it can help the grid cope with peak demand. Solar panels on homes and businesses reduce their cost of electricity, even make them money.

          • john phyyt

            No Torque of V Strom 1000 . power of V Strom 650. Get it. .

            Why are you plugging your car into grid if it is near fully charged. ?

            Are you really going to sell your “topped-up” vehicle’s potential for the greater good.?

            When you look at the actual energy used by transport. Currently fuel usage will have to be replaced by Coal-Gas /Nuclear/Hydro/Solar etc. It will need to roughly double. If Heavy transport. is included think Triple.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            You are not plugging your car into the grid. It is already plugged in and fully charged. You have a two way meter. If the grid needs energy during peak loads, it can get it from all the cars plugged into the grid, so it does not have to build more power plants to handle peak loads.
            By the time you need the car, it will be charged up again. You are not doing it for the greater good. You are getting paid for it. Remember the meter runs both ways. Electric will not replace all transport. Some may be natural gas vehicles. Electric assist could be provided by highly efficient solar panels mounted on top of tractor trailers. With self-driving cars and car sharing, there will be less cars on the road.

        • PolysmonoTechnologist

          A Model 3 that has yet to be delivered, and who knows when the actual delivery date will be since they keep pushing the back again.

          Tesla will lose a lot of money on each Model 3, so I have doubts how long they will be able to sell at that price as Tesla’s business model is so dependent on Gov. cash.

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  • Barry_Allen

    “It makes a Zero SR feel cheap in comparison”

    Well, let’s just hope Zero has less influence over VerticalScope than Kawasaki does lest this article winds up missing in action in less than a day like the Ninja 400’s dyno charts.

    • Kevin Duke

      We had an embargo on information about the N400, which, unfortunately, was miscommunicated. It’ll soon resurface…

    • Sayyed Bashir

      It is an objective review which manufacturers should appreciate. When Zero comes out with a bike like the Energica, MO will say so. But Zero is in a different market segment and is not competing with Energica. Zeros don’t sell for $34,500 or $24,900 or made in Italy.

      • Mad4TheCrest

        I think you can pay over $20k easily with a Zero DSR with powertank. They are not cheap either!

  • Mad4TheCrest

    That pricing is MUCH better. With electric vehicle rebates it might be right on par with some ICE models!

    I might also be able to deal with 580 lbs of bike (sheesh), but that range is still a problem for SoCal’s lengthy backroads. Hey, maybe Energica will sponsor a fast charger in Wrightwood – or at Newcombs Ranch! Take a page out of the Tesla playbook.

    • GreggJ

      I don’t think it will actually go 100 miles outside of the city, so your worries are valid. Their battery is listed above as 11.7 Kwh. ZeroS with the power tank (16.6 Kwh) claims 103 miles at 70 Mph.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        The range for the SS9 at 70 mph will be 70 miles, which means the furthest you can go from home is 35 miles. If you are riding at 80-85 mph, it will be more like 25 miles. Once the battery gets low, the motor controller shuts down the bike and you have to call a tow truck.

    • Kevin Duke

      That’s not out of the realm of possibility. Energica co-sponsored with an electric company to put a charger at Stelvio Pass, the illustrious switch-back strewn road in the Italian Dolomites.

  • Vrooom

    To be fair, the Zero is cheap compared to this. So feeling that way makes sense.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      As someone else said, a Zero DSR with Power Tank is $20K. Not that cheap.

  • Joe

    In all the articles I’ve read about electric bikes, I’ve never seen information that I think are vital to really using these bikes.
    Can you ride the bike in the rain? If so, are there any issues with leaving it parked outside in a summer deluge and thunderstorm? Would there be an issue with charging it outside in rainy or thunderstorm conditions?
    How does temperature effect the range, output and life of the batteries? I live in NC and I ride over 300 days a year. It can be in the single digits in winter and triple digits in the summer. Surely these conditions have impacts on Li-On batteries.
    It’s not all about the power. Those numbers are meaningless on the street. How are these bike to live with in an environment that is not Southern California?

    • MyName

      These bikes are as waterproof as any other motorcycle. Electric vehicles do lose range on hot and cold days. 100% efficiency is at around 65F, with 80% efficiency at 30F and 100F. Of course, I’m getting that from cars that are using the battery for heat or A/C… I’m not sure how it translates to motorcycles. FWIW Teslas are super popular in Norway.

      • Joe

        Thanks for the info. Just because Tesla can do something with a car doesn’t mean that the same can be accomplished on a motorcycle.
        That’s why I’d like to see an indepth report on an e-bike.

        • Vincent Swendsen

          I live about an hour south of Raleigh, NC and have a 2016 Zero SR. Had a 2014 SR before that. The biggest difference in riding in the rain between an ICE bike and a e-bike is you have to be mindful of the torque the motor puts out. Your right wrist will get you in serious trouble on wet roads with an electric motorcycle. As MyName said the bikes are as waterproof as any other motorcycle on the market. I have never had any rain/water related issues with either SR. Vinny

          • Joe

            Thanks Vinny. You probably live close to me. Your objective opinion is exactly the info I was looking for.

  • Patriot159

    I will buy an electric bike when they weigh 20% less, have a +200 mile range, can re-charge fully in 5 min. (gas stop) and cost what a gas bike does. Me thinks that’s a decade away if ever.

    • That’s all well and good, but why would you expect it to have a range that exceeds practically any IC bike available today?

  • Old-Skule

    How does the lack of a transmission (torque multiplier) affect lower speed accelleration? Given the top speed I’m assuming it’s like a riding a 130 foot pound built busa locked into something like 4th gear?

    Certainly not bad bad compared to a car I”m sure. But it doesn’t answer the critical question of will that 130ft/lb wheelie that 580 pound bike?

    I understand the desire of engineers to not include transmissions in these bikes – more weight and power transmission loss is real. But in my mind part of the fun of a bike is being able to store energy in the flywheel and release it. Or also use the flywheel effect to help stabilize the bike at low speed. I’d really like to see an electric bike with a clutch and a lower ratio accelleration gear, and 1:1 “drive gear” for best range. I don’t think 5 or 6 speeds are neccessary but a custom 2 speed tranny would make the bike infinitely more enjoyable and at 1:1 drive should provide minimal transmission losses…..

    • Barry_Allen

      Formula-E tried just that (a two speed transmission) for just that reason (faster initial acceleration) and found that the weight penalty wasn’t worth it so they abandoned that idea. Electric vehicles don’t need transmissions (This includes you, Brammo/Polaris). Will it wheelie? Since an electric provides maximum torque at zero RPM, the thing would loop out at less than half throttle if the software didn’t manage the acceleration curve.

  • PolysmonoTechnologist

    Afraid with electric bikes being so quiet cars might merge into your lane more often, I don’t think bikes need to be loud but some sound is good to let them know you are close.