The Italians get it right! Let’s talk Electric Superbike. Let’s talk Energica.

That’s right I said it!  eCRP has got it right, and the others haven’t.  But before you Brammo folks start burning me in effigy (if you could manage doing such a thing out side in Oregon), I have said from the beginning that if my (imaginary) Empulse came with without clip-ons, I’d be sending it back.  You were warned, so there.  If you haven’t figured out by now I have a preference for a sporty position, and my ego, since of style, and love of yellow 15mph signs dictates that any motorcycle of mine come with clip-ons.  If you have been following the saga of the Empulse, the original had clip-ons.  The cry’s of back pain from the monstrous amount of geriatrics that populate the forums I peruse, just at the sight of clip-ons on a the prototype makes me reminisce of aftermath scenes in civil war movies.  Bodies everywhere randomly laying on the ground and slowly moaning, as canon smoke/fog blows across the battle field and the camera slowly zooms out and fades.  It was sad.  I’ve never seem those hideous handle bars go on a bike so fast in my life.  Even Honda doesn’t respond with that kind of speed.  But then again, Honda had a time when they liked to tell you what you wanted.

So while the Brammo crew tries to figure out just how much lighter fluid they have to soak a human sized doll in to get it to burn in the constant Oregon winter rain, lets slide into reality.  Do I need clip-ons to rail corners?  No.  Do those horrid handlebars actually help in flick-a-bility?  Yes.  Does the Empulse shred corners like a rabbid Gixxer?  YES!  Or so I’ve read.  Are the folks at Brammo the types to burn anyone in effigy?  Not even close.  But I do credit them with a descent sense of humor, so . . .  Here’s the big thing though; eCRP’s 2013 Energica is a running prototype and we will not be seeing production models being delivered until 2014.  So really, until real people are riding it, eCRP only potentially has it right. But lets look at this Italian creation bit closer.

Now, for some background you may want to check out AutoBlogGreen’s article on this bike from just a while after the release.

Here’s the deal with this bad boy.  It looks good.  Not great, as I’m not a big fan of the latest Italian bike trends of pushing stylistic boundaries, but a bit nicer than last year’s prototype.  It also has a powerful PMACmotor attached to a reduction gear box.  How powerful? 100kW and 160Nm of torque.  That’s 134 hp and 118 ftlb of torque.  That’s Mission Motors 2011 racebike territory (who’s lap record still hasn’t been broken)!  The thing is limited to 220kph, or 137mph.  Although to be fair, that limit probably comes via a compromise in gearing for acceleration and not anything cool like electronic limiting, put in to keep you from killing yourself.  And how much weight does that motor have to sling?  The prototype weighs 235kg (518lbs), but they say the production bike should be 225-230kgs. which is 495 to 510lbs.  That’s only 25-40lbs heavier than an Empulse.  Well, the pack must be tiny then, huh?  Nope.  I just got confirmation the pack is 11.7kWh nominal, and 13.2kWh max.  Using the Dort Standard (darn tootin’ I’m still using it) that gives you 97 miles of real world range.  They are claiming 150km (93 miles) at 80kph (50mph), and an off the top of the head estimate of 50 miles range during “spirited riding”.  Unless they have built the worlds most inefficient gear box or are over claiming their pack size, they are seriously low balling their range.  But then again, I have driven in Italy.  For as fast as they drive, that range might be right.  And the price?  18,000 Euros, which today equals $23566.  That is only $4500 more than an Empulse.  And it talks with an Italian accent.  May I now declare the 2014 eSS champion.  Thank you.

Well what about Lightning.  240ish HP, as much torque as god would have put in had he the money, and it’s made in the USA.  Well, you have a valid point, accept your point costs twice as much.  But lets look a little deeper.  eCRP’s parent company (for lack of a better term) is CRP Racing.  CRP Racing’s big thing is rapid prototyping and making of parts for people like F1 teams.  And as they are located in Modena, if you can’t figure out who they may have done, or do business with you’re, well . . . hopeless.  After watching the 25 minute webcast of the release event, it seems to me that this bike is as much CRP showing off their WindForm rapid prototype/3D printing technology and abilities as anything.  I get the feeling they are trying to prove something cool to big manufacturers, but I can’t quite grasp it.  Despite the steel trellis frame, which is as much for ease of chassis development as it is cool, and the motor and dash, most of the bike is made of (a?) cool  carbon blended material and 3D printed.  Including the reduction gearbox which was used with F1 transmission technology, whose internals are steel.  Freakin’ cooler than sharks with lasers on their heads.  Ok, maybe not.  Also, when eCRP goes racing, like Munch and Brammo, they show up and their bikes run, with few exceptions.  Lightning has something to prove.  I have little doubt they can, but I’ll take “A bike built by people who make F1 parts for half the cost” for a $1000 Alex.  Oh, and their smartphone apps may out perform Zero’s.  Does no one remember endlessly inputting suggestions for options and smartphone app features, just to get a look at a lame drawing last year?  I sure do.   Now that I think about it, these people owe me a test ride after all that.

Is it 2014 yet?

2 thoughts on “The Italians get it right! Let’s talk Electric Superbike. Let’s talk Energica.

  1. I believe that top speed limit is an artificial one. Also, I halfway expect the production frame to be something other than heavy steel. (Perhaps more like the prototype.

    Finally, just to clarify, they plan on selling it in the US.

    1. Ducati frames have been steel trellis for a very long time. even their GP bikes were until recently. They aren’t that heavy, and make for a very nice handling frame. They may switch to aluminum, but it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if they didn’t.

      Yep, I forgot to mention them being available in the US, but that’s one of the reasons why I referenced your article. 😀

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