The first electric maxi enduro bikes. Energica and Zero Motorcycles: borderless roads

Let's discover together the first two electric street enduro motorcycles

Home Road Motorcycles Electric The first electric maxi enduro bikes. Energica and Zero Motorcycles: borderless roads

The world of electric vehicles is evolving at the speed of light: starting with small city vehicles, kick-scooters and scooters, through to motorcycles, with “displacements” ranging from the smallest ever seen on a two-wheeled vehicle to the maxi versions. Of course an electric motor does not have a displacement, but for us motorcyclists it is easy to classify two-wheeled vehicles into small, medium and maxi - just consider their power - and when we are dealing with 50-100 HP engines, these can already be considered as the maxi category

In this article, we talk about two newly released maxi bikes that are the first to interpret the road enduro theme, bikes that are designed for big adventurous journeys, ready to tackle all the roads in the world, capable of riding across thousands of kilometres on asphalt roads and not stopping when faced with the most uneven dirt roads and desert tracks. 

Show more images

How much does an electric motorcycle weigh?

Maxi enduro bikes are powerful, quite charming but certainly not relaxing to manoeuvre and drive off-road. They have large displacement engines (a 1,000 cc is now an average), a very rich set-up with bags, trunks, fairing, engine bars and countless accessories. The result? Easy to exceed 250 kg, weight we find in our electric protagonists: The Energica Experia weighs 260 kg, the Zero Motorcycles DSR/X 247 kg. 

It is therefore essentially on a par with internal combustion engines, where the main part of the weight is due to the engine and that of the fuel tank is less important (a full tank accounts for about 15-20 kg depending on the capacity). On the electric bike, it's the opposite: the engine is still very compact and light, while the “tank”, i.e. the battery, is the bulkiest and heaviest component

What is the mileage on a full tank?

With regard to the tank, an important feature of an electric motorcycle is its range, particularly if, as in the case of Experia and DSR/X, it is a touring motorcycle. The former has a nominal (i.e. actual) battery capacity of 19.6 kW; the latter has a nominal capacity of 15.2 kW. Since we have compared the battery to the fuel tank (and quite rightly so), we will continue the comparison with an internal combustion engine bike, in other words with figures we are familiar with. If we imagine 1 kW as a litre of fuel, we can see that on a combined route we travel from 12 to 13 km/kW, with a range that varies, approximately, between 200 and 250 km. These numbers, in the case of electric bikes, much more so than in a conventional bike, depend on the route and the driving style

Electric motorcycle, notes on charging

In addition to the weight of the battery, charging is also a limitation of electric motorcycles, but some considerations should also be made in this regard. The manufacturers indicate the total charge time, from fully depleted to 100%, which in our case ranges from 6 and a half hours for the Energica (down to less than an hour with a Fast Charger) and a little over two hours for the Zero (which goes down to about an hour with a Rapid Charger). However, this is the worst case scenario, which does not occur in real life. First of all, because you will never reach the charging dock with a completely flat battery, and secondly because the best way to use a battery and extend its life is to use it at between 20% and 80% of its capacity. In this case, even a short break for coffee or lunch on the road will give you enough charge to get you back on the road.

Two huge advantages

Energica declares a continuous power of 80 HP for the Experia; Zero Motorcycles declares 48 HP for the DSR/X. They seem very limited compared to the conventional competition (up to 170 HP!), but there are significant differences in delivery, in favour of electric motors. These, unlike internal combustion engines, can deliver a peak that is significantly higher than that dispensed continuously, although for a limited amount of time (about 100 HP for both bikes, so it's a draw), but above all the maximum torque is immediately available, nominally at zero revolutions. This extraordinary quality enables exceptional use of the available Horsepower, with a decidedly brighter low RPM throttle response than that of an internal combustion engine, and what is more, there is no gearbox. For traditional riders, this may seem like a flaw, but it really isn't: it allows you to concentrate 100% on driving and make the most of the traction you can get, which is a big advantage on the most critical surfaces, all the more so because the throttle management on an electric motor is not only much more precise and accurate than that of a conventional engine, it can also be changed at will, without restrictions

From sports driving on the tarmac to dirt tracks 

Maxi enduro bikes are designed for all roads, whether asphalt surfaced or not, but because of their sheer size they certainly cannot be specific to extreme off-road driving. Indeed, the wheels of the Experia are road sized, with both 17” wheel rims; not far from those of the DSR/X, with a 17” rear rim and the front 19”. The equipment is the same, both are fitted with Pirelli SCORPION Trail II (sizes 120/70, 180/55 and 120/70, 170/60 respectively), semi-knobbed tyres developed for the last generations of Crossover, Adventure-Touring and Enduro Street bikes, boasting outstanding road characteristics, which allow them to be categorised as sport-touring tyres, for rewarding driving on the asphalt, but at the same time suitable for dirt tracks. 

Travelling computers

When a designer can rely on a rich set of sensors, such as phonic wheels and an inertial platform, as well as sophisticated electronic functions such as very powerful, extreme engine and energy control, he can offer the rider a number of functions that we can consider to be infinite. 

The two maxi enduro bikes in question offer everything you could possibly want in terms of engine and vehicle control, more safety and personalisation. Both allow the engine control to be set as desired, by choosing the throttle response, the delivery curve, and also the traction (cornering), wheelies and even the engine brake to be adjusted from zero to maximum, which is also used for energy recovery; in addition, there is ABS braking control, again cornering. Last but not least, the bikes feature colour TFT dashboards with rich configuration menus.