Energica Experia (2022) review | ‘Born to be Wind’ in the Dolomites

Energica Experia review (2022)

An Italian Dolomites launch for the new electric touring motorcycle, the 2022 Energica Experia. Here are Alex’s first impressions!

Details
Manufacturer:
Category:
Tourers
Price:
£ 27790
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Not rated

Does an electric motorcycle have the capability of being a formidable long-distance touring machine? Alex was out in the Italian Dolomites to test the new Energica Experia which dubs itself ‘Born to be Wind’.

Built from the ground up for 2022, the new Energica Experia is blessed with an all-new platform - with a new steel tubular trellis frame & aluminium sub-frame, large (and the largest on the market) battery pack, and new second-generation EMCE motor - becoming the fourth motorcycle released from the American/Italian marque.

Whilst the other models on the Energica range - the Ego, Eva Ribelle & EsseEsse 9 - are tuned more for pure thrills, this Experia is specifically designed to seek maximum range and comfort in true tourer fashion - including a comfortable 847mm seat and adjustable windshield behind the aero fairing.

Our ride in the Dolomites started in South Tyrol at ‘Plan De Gralba’, circling the Veneto mountain to Passo Gardena, Passo Campo Longo, Passo Pordoi and Passo Sella, complete with seemingly endless awe-inspiring roads and scenery.

Whilst the day was dedicated to the Experia, the rest of the Energica line-up were also present, including the Eva Ribelle (which I reviewed last year) and EsseEsse 9, plus the Ego that I jumped on for the afternoon - I had to jump at the chance to sample one of the finest electric machines in stunning Tricolore livery on these Italian roads. I just had to, it was meant to be.

What is the Energica Experia - and the price?

The 2022 Energica Experia is currently due for an Autumn (likely August) release, with this Launch Edition model available to pre-order from now for £27,790.

That price tag includes the top case, panniers, a 2-year vehicle warranty with a 3 year (or 31,000-mile) battery warranty, and is available in one colour for launch, ‘Bormio Ice’.

There’s no getting around the price tag when compared to an internal combustion engine, but thanks to the low running costs (and the promise of being an eco-friendly rider) this will balance out the overall cost of ownership over a few years. After which time new technology may be available with faster recharges and longer distances - without negatively adding to the overall weight.

Direct rivals on the market could be considered as the Harley-Davidson LiveWire (£28,995), or the Zero SR/S (starting at £20,180), but others on the market aren’t quite at full production - such as the Damon Hypersport or upcoming Triumph TE-1. Note that there aren’t really any purpose-built electric touring motorcycles outside of the Experia - though you can arguably tour on whatever you want.

For petrol comparisons, there are countless motorcycles to consider. Performance and power wise, perhaps the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT, Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE, Triumph Tiger range, maybe even the Ducati Multistrada - which the Experia does bare a striking resemblance to…

We’re told there will be more to come from Energica from here on out, with the Experia acting as a starting point for bigger & better things, penning EICMA 2022 as an event for further unveilings (and perhaps an extra few colours for the Experia).

Battery & Range

I tend to start reviews with the engine & power, and whilst that’s certainly a talking point on the Energica Experia, I thought I’d delve into the battery unit first - as ultimately that’s the first question on everyone’s mind when it comes to an electric motorcycle. 

Fitted with the largest lithium polymer battery found on two-wheels, the 22.5 kWh battery pack is good for a quoted max 260-mile tour - albeit at city speeds. A 130-mile range is given for ‘extra urban’ riding, and our 60 km jaunt in the imposing Dolomites used around 30% of the battery. 

Is that enough for a European tour? Perhaps you’d have to plan your stops ahead with a few extra added in, but the Experia does have one of the largest quoted ranges for electric motorcycles on the current market with ‘up to 261 miles’. Comparatively, the Zero SR has a max range quoted at 227 miles, Harley Davidson’s LiveWire 146 miles, and Energica’s own EsseEsse 9+ quoted at 250 miles.

In terms of real-world battery consumption on this brief test, the displayed estimated range is updated in tandem with your current riding - so at town speeds it’d bounce back up to the 200~ mile figures. Countless switchback corners and spirited riding through breathtaking scenery (it was quite high up) may not be your typical usage, mind, but from my 60 km ride, my estimate puts the Experia on target for (at the very least) the 130-mile range. 

When your battery does deplete, the built-in DC fast charge functionality should get you back carving corners within the hour - 20% to 100% charging from DCFC at level 3 mode 4, at a given rate of ‘248 miles per hour’ (that’s a novel way of relating to charge speeds, I like it). We were also briefly told of an energy delivery service, ‘E-Gap’, an app that’ll deliver you a recharge via van to your current location.

If you haven’t got access to a fast charger, AC ‘slow mode’ from the wall socket will take around 8 hours. An overnight break for the bike, perhaps. If you stop mid-journey for a quick coffee, it’s always worth plugging in an electric bike if you can, and is certainly the case here. Also note that if you ramp up engine breaking to full, regenerative braking will drip-feed a bit of bonus power back in - others in the group finished on a few percent around my 70% final figure.

The battery itself is good for around 1200 cycles @ 80%. Run it flat and power will be partially limited for the final 10% - a kind of ‘get me to the nearest charging point’ warning for those who like playing the flashing fuel tank game. There may be gripes with electric batteries in general, but this is as good as it gets in the current market.

Engine & Power

I think that’ll do for the battery. Next up, the Permanent Magnet Assisted Synchronous Reluctance Motor (PMASynRM) engine - say that after a few drinks. With 306V nominal power and peak 102 bhp (continuous 80 bhp), on paper it’s not as power-mad as the Ego & Eva Ribelle (both 171 bhp peak, 149 bhp continuous), or EsseEsse 9 (109 bhp) but it’s certainly a treat to work with. 

If you know your Energica’s, you’ll know of the updated EMCE motor released last year found on the other models - this second generation unit is a further 10kg lighter, no longer a permanent magnet synchronous motor, promising to run more efficiently with lower operating temperatures and fewer magnets. Water-cooled & oil lubricated, it is mounted lower in the chassis for improved handling at low speeds.

A single gear in twist & go fashion can smoothly put down the power to rocket you up to speed. Granted an open stretch of road, you quite literally feel like you’re entering warp speed as the Experia just keeps on pulling - though will top out at a set 112 mph (apparently for the sake of targeting bonus range). 

In terms of torque, that’s where this Experia gets spicy. Quoted torque to the rear wheel is 900 Nm, or 664 lb-ft, which is available nigh on instantly at the twist of the throttle - a classic electric trait. As is the trait of being deceptively fast with no engine screaming beneath you to remind you of your pace…

Power to the rear wheel has been modulated, though, and despite a rocket 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds, acceleration still feels smooth and gradual. You’d certainly still need to mind your throttle discipline mid-corner, but overall the twist-and-go nature is ideal for riding both slow-speed in cities and touring speeds, plus adept in the twisty mountain roads.

You have a multitude of riding modes and control options at your disposal, from 4 levels of engine braking with battery regeneration, traction control settings, to various power modes - a total of 7 (including Eco, Urban, Rain, Sport) and 3 custom modes to switch between with buttons on the switchgear via the clear 5” TFT colour display.

Brakes & Suspension

It’s a seriously specced up machine, here, in true Energica fashion. Front and rear suspension is provided by ZF Sachs, with a fully adjustable (preload, extension, compression) 43mm USD fork up front with 150mm travel, and rear monoshock with 55mm travel (150mm wheel travel) with adjustable preload & extension.

Adjusting the forks is all done manually, and whilst it would be nice to have electronic suspension to easily adjust on the fly (to account for luggage and riders), having the ability to dial in your manual settings is also a bonus on a tourer - just a bit of a faff.

On the road the suspension felt very capable, particularly for the 260 kg weight, happily gliding over bumps and providing a great deal of feel when tackling fast corners and slow hairpins - without even fully setting the bike for my weight. Compared to the Ego, it does feel a tad heavier on the foot - and of course taller - but it's nicely balanced when rolling.

Brembo brakes feature, with twin 330mm floating discs paired to 4-piston radial callipers, and a rear 240mm disc with 2-piston calliper. 

The Experia also features a Bosch IMU for cornering ABS - perhaps the IMU could be put to use with electronic suspension on future models, like as seen in the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT & Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE?

Brake feel was overall very strong, progressive application with a soft-ish initial bite but the ability to really put down the anchors with a good pull of the lever. The rear brake was just as accomplished, and very handy on the mountainous roads in the Dolomites. ABS didn’t chime in unless really pushing into corners, and even then not enough to spoil the electric party.

Whilst we’re there, you’ll find 17” wheels shod with grippy Pirelli Scorpion Trail II hoops, a 1513 mm wheelbase and an overall length of 2132 mm - it’s certainly a big bike, but handles like a bike much lower down in the weight classes.

Rideability

That allows me to segue into the next topic, handling and 'rideability'.

Billed as a touring bike, you’re granted a comfortable 847mm double seat that will easily take a pillion - and I sat on the back with a lucky journo for a minute to find the passenger pegs nicely positioned, my lanky legs and knees at around 95º. 

Despite the luggage (in my opinion) not quite matching the svart aesthetic of the Experia, the Givi top box and panniers provide 112 litres of space, easily enough for a weekend away for two and will take at least my Shoei NXR2 lid. Plus your passenger will be nice and comfortable on a tour with it as a backrest. Or just chuck on your own Givi luggage as I’m told the plate is universal.

Total weight is listed as the same as other Energica models, 260 kg (when you remove boxes), and I found most of the weight to be nice and low down allowing for sharp cornering and confident road manners, allowing for smooth control at low speeds. You’ll also find a slow-speed forward and reverse mode for navigating in car parks and the like.

Somewhat annoyingly, when you’re parked up there is no handbrake or means to stop the bike from rolling - it’s in a constant state of neutral. So park it wisely. 

When the pace picks up, handling is quite honestly exceptional and allows for some solid lean-action - I was happily able to conquer the Dolomiti route atop this silent monster, and would eagerly jump at the chance to do it again.

If you have read any of my other reviews you’ll know I love heated grips, and despite not needing them on this launch ride (it was beautiful out), they are there to ensure comfort on long cold days in the saddle. Overall comfort for me as a 6’4”ish tester was typical touring - upright riding position and solid wind protection thanks to the adjustable screen. 

For those who like their gadgets, a USB socket is found up front, and there is a large waterproof storage compartment with a further two sockets found where the tank should be - the charging port is to the right of the tank behind a plastic compartment. An accessories list is said to be gradually building to suit the needs of touring riders.

As for overall rideability, in all honesty, at no point during this ride did I feel like I’d be better off on an internal combustion engine - and there were plenty of other bikers out on the roads to remind me of the other options. It handled supremely well, the power delivery was superb for this usage, and as a tourer it ticks most of the boxes I’d look at.

The only box it sort of misses is in the recharging and range category, but as mentioned above, this is as good as it gets for electric two-wheelers. This will only improve as the industry as a whole is supported with more frequent fast charging points and larger capacity batteries (without negatively increasing weight), with advancements in technology. Until then, this Experia tourer is a great way of silently enjoying the roads and scenery, just requiring you to stop and appreciate it all a couple of times more than the big stinky petrol alternatives (that I still absolutely adore).

Quick ride on the Energica Ego Tricolore

A quick few words on the Ego from my afternoon ride. You can certainly feel the bonus bit of power, and it’s a truly race-oriented saddle you find yourself in - full tuck position, high rear sets and a whirlwind of power at your disposal. 

Sharp corners and long mountain straights were eaten up on this, and whilst it’s absolutely no way near as comfortable as the Experia, the Ego Tricolore has that certain flair that turns heads in town. 

Power output does feel a tad sharper, largely thanks to 70 more ponies provided at peak power, and 100 Nm more torque, but it doesn’t feel worlds apart from the Experia in its application.

If you’re after a machine to rival litre sports bikes in performance, but be able to 'refuel' and charge at home, this Ego wants a word. I want to try one on track.

Energica Experia Verdict

The Energica Experia is a first delve into the popular world of touring machines for Energica - and for a first dedicated stab at it, I’d say it’s a resounding success. Sure the price is up there, and the inherent drawbacks of electric power will no doubt be fresh in many minds, but as far as power output and range goes, the Experia is (for now) in a class of its own. 

Speaking to the Energica test riders on the launch, I wondered what their favourite Energica in the range is - as it’s a pretty dazzling range to pick from - it was no surprise that many were enamoured by the Experia, insisting it now takes the top spot thanks to a combination of comfort and performance, even with the lower quoted power figures when compared to the Ego & Eva Ribelle.

Perhaps it’s the start of a new wave of electronic brilliance from Energica, who may well use what they learn from this platform to deliver further electronic motorcycles for other sectors of the market.

Until then, the Experia is a positively capable electric tourer, and one that is (more importantly) extremely fun to ride with buckets of torque at your disposal. It'd make a superb addition to any stable - albeit a pricey addition at that.

Thanks to Energica for having us on the launch, head to their website for further details and spec - and book yourself a test ride, well worth a go!