ENERGICA EVA ESSEESSE9 (2018 - on) Review
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Energica are well on their way to proving battery-powered machines are a fun, practical alternatives to petrol power. The Esse Esse9 is classy, smooth and has a shrieking character all of its own.
- Latest news: Energica reveal more powerful EMCE electric motor
But electric bikes still have a way to go in terms of price, weight, range and charge time, but that’s surely set to change when the next generation of battery technology takes another leap forward?
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
In its ‘modern retro’ guise the Esse Esse9 is the most natural-feeling of the Energica range. It suits being an upright naked, with its tall bars, acres of legroom and plush seat. Where the Evo and Eva can’t match its unleaded-powered sportsbike and super naked rivals, the Esse Esse9 can easily hold its head up high against 100bhp nakeds and retros.
The Energica is quick, honey-smooth, rides beautifully and has an evil, high voltage soundtrack, but its lithium power pack is its Achilles heel…that’s until battery technology takes a big leap forward in the future. Energica are hinting of a substantial evolution in the next year or so, but for now there’s limited range (it wouldn’t be able to do the whole SS9) and relatively slow charging.
Well, actually things aren’t that bad. At average speeds the Esse Esse9 will do 90-miles before the battery needs a boost and if you have access to a fast charging station at work, or nearby, you can juice its lithium power pack to 85% full in less than 30 minutes. If not, you’re looking at three to four hours charge time, depending on your home power supply.
Battery weight is the big killer for all electric bikes, even the million pound Mugen TT-winning racer and the Energica is no different. Just pushing the 270kg around could put your back out, which is why there’s a reverse gear to help you out of nose-in parking sports.
Slow speed handling is a little clumsy, but once you’re rolling it’s neutral and you can carve through fast sweeps with the best of them. Pirelli Phantom retro-style tyres keep contact with the tarmac and don’t do anything they shouldn’t and all that weight actually helps stamp out the bumps, like a two-wheeled limo.
Panigale V4-sized 330mm front discs and Brembo calipers give you all the stopping power you need, but if you want more you can crank up the engine braking control at the press of a button.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Powered by an oil-cooled, permanent magnet three-phase AC electric motor the Esse Esse9 has zero engine vibes, no growling soundtrack or gears to play with, but the Italian machine has character all of its own. Nothing can prepare you for how perfectly its 109bhp is delivered, or how fast it is. It accelerates so hard, in one continuous, relentless, screaming Batmobile whoosh, it’s impossible not to be perpetually impressed. Terminal speed is restricted to 125mph.
The merest flash of throttle delivers 133ftlb instantly to your door, like a turbo boost in an arcade game. Grabbing great handfuls of throttle between corners and gaps in traffic is addictive and the Esse Esse9 vaults forward with the kind of violence that would unseat a pillion in seconds.
You miss gravely rumble of an engine at first, but then you don’t. The Energica glides along the tarmac, almost hovering on a magnetic field, with otherworldly smoothness, like taking a hot bath in double cream wearing a velvet suit. There’s no rawness, or in-your-face attitude here, which will disappoint many, but you quickly enjoy the refinement. There’s no clatter from the suspension, bearings or brakes, just dreamy forward motion.
You can flick between four riding modes (ECO, Rain, Urban, Sport), which offer differing levels of power, but the more you have, the more you drain the battery. There’s four levels of engine braking control/battery regeneration, too. We love it in its two-stroke-aping freewheel setting, but it does nothing for battery life.
The only thing the Energica won’t do is wheelie, which detracts from the fun of a naked bike, but its long wheelbase is deliberately designed to keep both wheels on the floor, to save its powertrain. You can’t warm your hands on the engine when it’s cold, but on the flipside you’re not sitting on top of a boiling kettle in the summer. Wafting along in silence isn’t a good way to warn traffic and pedestrians you’re coming through, either and you’re always nervous of someone walking or pulling out on you.
For 2019 every bike in the Energica range has been updated, meaning a 50% faster charging time, alongside a greater focus on battery life longevity during frequent part-charging.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Some of the Esse Esse9’s enthusiastic price tag is down to its premium build quality, not just its electrickery, but it’s too early to say just how reliable the motors and batteries are and there are very few Energicas actually out there in the wild.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
There’s no question the Esse Esse9 is cheaper to run and tax than a petrol powered machine, but there’s no getting away from an eye-watering price tag that will put most people of going electric…for now.
As you’d expect from a machine made just down the road from Ferrari’s Modena factory the Energica comes with a high level of equipment including Brembos fully-adjustable Marzocchi forks and Biturbo rear shock and a colour dash that’s just this side of Star Trek.
You can also choose from a long list of official bolt-ons when you order, from Ohlins suspension, to anodised bar ends, forged and spoked ali wheels, carbon goodies, luggage and paddock stands.
As of 2019, all Energica motorcycles will also benefit from traction control, cruise control and heated grips, too - making the bike more manageable over longer journeys.
|Engine type||Oil-cooled, permanent magnet three-phase AC electric motor. Air-cooled, high energy lithium-polymer 11.7kWh lithium battery pack|
|Frame type||Tubular steel trellis|
|Front suspension||43mm Marzocchi forks fully adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Single rear Bitubo shock fully adjustable|
|Front brake||2 x 330mm discs with four-piston Brembo radial caliper. ABS|
|Rear brake||240mm single disc with twin-piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||-|
|Annual service cost||-|
17 of 17
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||109 bhp|
|Max torque||133 ft-lb|
|Top speed||125 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||90 miles|
Model history & versions
2018: Modern retro style Esse Esse9 released.
Ego 145bhp, 280kg
The bike that started Energica’s battery bike story. It was MCN’s 2017 Electric Bike of the Year and in the same year became the first production electric bike to finish the TT Zero, in the hands of MCN Senior Road Tester Adam Child.
Eva 109bhp, 270kg
An Ego without a fairing and reduced power. But from this year there’s also a an Eva 107 version with the same 145bhp and price tag as the Ego.
Eva Esse Esse9 109bhp, 270kg
Based on the standard Eva, the Esse Esse9 has retro styling and also available in as a ‘Special’ edition with cosmetic tweaks
Owners' reviews for the ENERGICA EVA ESSEESSE9 (2018 - on)
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