Energica Ego in the Zero TT | Bike Tests
Last year, British bike mag MCN had a dream to be the first team to race a production electric bike at the Isle of Man TT. This is what happened
Can a standard production electric bike, one that can be ridden legally on the road, take on the hardest racetrack in the world? We didn’t know, but last year we set a goal to be the first team to ever race just such a bike in the TT. We knew it was crazy, but from the showroom to Snaefell might just be possible, and we wanted to find out.
In 2009, Rob Barber won the first all-electric race to be held at the TT, with a winning lap time of 25m53.50s, averaging 87.434mph. What was then called the TTXGP has now morphed into the TT Zero, and the lap times have tumbled. John McGuinness currently holds the lap record at 18m58.743s, averaging 119.279mph, set in 2015 on a Mugen. Top speeds are now approaching 160mph, with William Dunlop reaching 159.8mph in 2016 on the Victory RR race bike.
Japanese giant Mugen spend millions on its TT Zero preparation. Its bikes are the most expensive and by far the most advanced racing at the Isle of Man, and there was no way we were going to give Bruce Anstey or Guy Martin a run for their money. But maybe, just maybe, we would be able to get close to Barber’s 2009 winning time. If not, the late Mark Buckley finished third that year with a time of 30m02.64s, averaging 75.350mph, and there was a bloody good chance we could match that.
Averaging more than 120km/h around the TT may not sound that challenging, but remember our bike was road legal, not some swish prototype with a throw-away battery. Yes, we intended to hit well over 220km/h through villages and towns, clipping kerbs and brushing walls on a 258kg roadbike – yet, after a 30-minute recharge, the thing could still be ridden home after the race.
The Energica Ego has no gears, a twist-and-go throttle, and the thing is so heavy, the company even fits it with a reverse gear. We didn’t know how it was going to cope with the TT course’s notorious bumps and jumps, and had no idea what Kirk Michael was going to be like at 240km/h. I was massively out of my comfort zone.
The Ego has a quoted top speed of 240km/h, and claimed motor outputs of 108kW (145hp) and 200Nm. It has fully adjustable suspension and Brembo brakes, optional power modes and four levels of engine braking, which also helps to recharge the battery when you’re off the throttle.
Read the full Story in the current issue of AMCN (Vol 67 No 23) on sale now