Alessandro Brannetti, Grand Prix racer (left), and Giampiero Testoni, Energica CTO (right)
height, trim build, occasional smoker. What I didn’t know when I saw him hanging around the Energica press event was that Brannetti, the guy that drove the eCRP 1.2 to win the 2010 TTXGP EU, was a former Grand Prix racer and, at 33, had been racing bikes for 25 years. This would also be the guy to give me a taste of the Energica Ego’s power. The Ego prototype weighs a hefty 569 pounds, significantly more than the 360-420 pound range that ICE “superbikes” tend to inhabit. Much of that extra poundage comes from the 11.7 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the supplier of which hadn’t been announced at press time. However, despite the weight, the Ego’s oil-cooled, permanent magnet AC motor has to be electronically limited to reign in its ample power. Its 165 lb-ft of torque is dialed back to 144 (195 N-m), and the top speed is limited to 240 kph (149 mph). With all that available oomph, the Ego’s range varies by average speed travelled. You’ll get a maximum range of about 120 miles at 35 mph, 93 miles at 50 mph, and about 31 miles in racing conditions near the top speed. For someone who had only ridden once on the back of a modest street motorcycle in US city traffic, the Ego’s
numbers on open Tuscan roads intimidated me, to say the least. When the writer for Cycle World came out for his test ride in full racing regalia, looking like some kind of futuristic road vigilante from a John Carpenter movie, I decided it was best not to think too much about what I was getting into. When my time came, the CRP engineers briefed me on what to do. Stay low and hang on to the Ego’s “tank” in front of Brannetti, only grabbing the driver if I have to. Try to stay perpendicular with the bike; don’t lean on the turns. Two other riders from CRP driving ICE motorcycles would accompany us on the road at the front and the rear. We took off on the 18-mile road-test loop, and right away my grip on the motorcycle faltered against the massive and immediate pick-up of the Ego. After a few brisk turns, my feet felt slippery against the footrests as well. However, soon enough I was enjoying the exhilarating ride, much more than the iconic Tuscan scenery I barely had a moment of free attention to appreciate. For the most part, Brannetti took pity on me. However, on some of the rare stretches of open, straight roads, he opened up the Ego to show off its smooth and powerful acceleration, easily catching the ICE bike before falling back into line.
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