The Exotic Italian Energica Ego Electric Bike

eSportbikes like Energica’s Ego change everything and nothing at the same time, but skill is still paramount.

energica, ego, jack lewis,
eSportbikes like Energica’s Ego change everything and nothing at the same time. Skill is still paramount.©Motorcyclist

Celebrating 45 years of race history you never heard of, Energica's electric Ego "45" is as refined in every stitch and rivet as a Balenciaga bubble skirt. The showpiece that John Clelland and Eric Nicolulis rolled off their truck outside Seattle Used Bikes sported copious carbon fiber and radial-mount Brembos spilling across her little black OZ Racing wheels.

Energica’s explicit design goal is “the ultimate expression of Italian luxury,” but speed and luxury are merely selling points for its electric superbike. Energica doesn’t want to build alternative motorcycles. It’s redefining “real.”

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You can forget a gearbox that panics at the lack of flywheel. The Energica goes 0 to OMG with one dexterous twist and no sinister tugging, all the while howling through the straight-cut gears of its reduction drive.

That angry growl is intentional. Like a VFR’s gear-driven cam whine, it doesn’t make the bike quicker. It makes it stirring. Italian OEMs perennially understand traveling as an experience of movement, not simply as wanting to be somewhere else, and Energica effortlessly translates this sense of velocità dolce.

The Ego doesn’t aspire to equal current superbikes. It intends to hijack your pleasure centers by placing your entire focus on “go, stop, turn.”

“Go” is a kick in the breeches rivaling Barrett recoil, and “stop” is one finger-width from right now. “Turn” is where your skill comes in.

Because battery positioning offers more leeway than cylinder head location, the Ego’s booty-full bulk feels as centralized as the cindered heart of a dying star. When riding your Ego, Earth revolves around you. It’s the closest real-life experience to dreaming in Tron.

Microprocessors transfer drive torque to your contact patch’s limit of strain. Tire slip is programmable, but wheelies will require a more complex hack than fanning the clutch.

Your primary control challenge is remembering not to slam the accelerator shut in a corner, though it’s not like you’ll fall off the pipe. Until the instant you shatter carbon fiber, each input remains infinitely programmable. Park badly and you’ll discover that reverse dispenses enough torque to back up onto a curb.

No valves to fiddle, injectors to clog, or freeplay to adjust. Soon enough, we’ll view gasoline rituals as period charm in the fashion of oil lamps: warm memories, but we’re happy to flip a switch now.

Not everybody wants that. We cling to seeping, backfiring, brass-bound examples of the steeds on which Uncle Harold wooed flappers. We insist eBikes have “no soul,” as though soul consists of an old pickup truck to fetch your broken-down wheezer. Note to bikers now composing furious retorts: Before mailing that letter, stop by for a beer and let’s kickstart our bikes together.

Technology is good, speed is addictive, and piston count is irrelevant. eHaters wittering on about soullessness are confessing inchoate fears: that our hard-won skills are obsolete, our freedoms are threatened, and our self-sorted cool is slipping away.

Well, what if it is? Your mammalian heritage calls you to evermore sophisticated tools and toys, and your Ego demands you train. Uncle Harold had to learn new tricks. Now we do too.

Motorcycling might be recreation and transportation, but it’s also a sport. Trade your jetting kit for Dick Tracy’s Apple Watch, brake 4 feet deeper, and refine your lines. Ride excellently or learn that the Ego strips away excuses with relentless, digital accountability. Everyone knows you never really “had to lay ’er down.”

As always, today’s early adopters pay designer prices to finance tomorrow’s “Everybike.” Anyway, “cheap” applies to precisely zero interesting Italian vehicles. Go test it when it comes to town, but do not buy an Energica Ego unless you feel it for what it is: the Desmosedici of battery bikes.

Buy it only if it makes you yearn to hack software—if your favorite stories headline tomorrow’s news sites and if your very first roll-on makes you whoop like veteran racer Nicolulis. “You know it’s great,” he said. “You know it’s the future. You know it’s gonna change everything.”