Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Wed 28th Feb, 2024

The Experia, one year on.

On Friday, 1st March, it will be exactly one year since I walked into Zen Motorcycles, signed the paperwork, and got on my brand new Energica Experia electric motorbike. I then rode it back to Canberra, stopping at two places to charge along the way, but that was more in the nature of making sure - it could have done the trip on one better-chosen charging stop.

I got a call yesterday from a guy who had looked at the Experia Bruce has at Zen and was considering buying one. I talked with him for about three quarters of an hour, going through my experience, and to sum it up simply I can just say: this is a fantastic motorbike.

Firstly, it handles exactly like a standard motorbike - it handles almost exactly like my previous Triumph Tiger Sport 1050. But it is so much easier to ride. You twist the throttle and you go. You wind it back and you slow down. If you want to, the bike will happily do nought to 100km/hr in under four seconds. But it will also happily and smoothly glide along in traffic. It says "you name the speed, I'm happy to go". It's not temperamental or impatient; it has no weird points where the throttle suddenly gets an extra boost or where the engine braking suddenly drops off. It is simple to ride.

As an aside, this makes it perfect for lane filtering. On my previous bike this would always be tinged with a frisson of danger - I had to rev it and ease the clutch in with a fair bit of power so I didn't accidentally stall it, but that always took some time. Now, I simply twist the throttle and I am ahead of the traffic - no danger of stalling, no delay in the clutch gripping, just power. It is much safer in that scenario.

I haven't done a lot of touring yet, but I've ridden up to Gosford once and up to Sydney several times. This is where Energica really is ahead of pretty much every other electric motorbike on the market now - they do DC fast charging. And by 'fast charger' here I mean anything from 50KW up; the Energica can only take 25KW maximum anyway :-) But this basically means I have to structure any stops we do around where I can charge up - no more stopping in at the local pub or a cafe on a whim for morning tea. That has to either offer DC fast charging or I'm moving on - the 3KW onboard AC charger means a 22KW AC charger is useless to me. In the hour or two we might stop for lunch I'd only get another 60 - 80 kilometres more range on AC; on DC I would be done in less than an hour.

But OTOH my experience so far is that structuring those breaks around where I can charge up is relatively easy. Most riders will furiously nod when I say that I can't sit in the seat for more than two hours before I really need to stretch the legs and massage the bum :-) So if that break is at a DC charger, no problems. I can stop at Sutton Forest or Pheasant's Nest or even Campbelltown and, in the time it takes for me to go to the toilet and have a bit of a coffee and snack break, the bike is basically charged and ready to go again.

The lesson I've learned, though, is to always give it that bit longer and charge as much as I can up to 80%. It's tempting sometimes when I'm standing around in a car park watching the bike charge to move on and charge up a bit more at the next stop. The problem is that, with chargers still relatively rare and there often only being one or two at each site, a single charger not working can mean another fifty or even a hundred kilometres more riding. That's a quarter to half my range, so I cannot afford to risk that. Charge up and take a good book (and a spare set of headphones).

In the future, of course, when there's a bank of a dozen DC fast chargers in every town, this won't be a problem. Charger anxiety only exists because they are still relatively rare. When charging is easy to find and always available, and there are electric forecourts like the UK is starting to get, charging stops will be easy and will fit in with my riding.


Other advantages of the Experia:

You can get it with a complete set of Givi MonoKey top box and panniers. This means you can buy your own much nicer and more streamlined top box and it fits right on.

Charging at home takes about six hours, so it's easy to do overnight. The Experia comes with an EVSE so you don't need any special charger at home. And really, since the onboard AC charger can only accept 3KW, there's hardly any point in spending much money on a home charger for the Experia.

Minor niggles:

The seat is a bit hard. I'm considering getting the EONE Canyon saddle, although I also just need to try to work out how to get underneath the seat to see if I can fit my existing sheepskin seat cover.

There are a few occasional glitches in the display in certain rare situations. I've mentioned them to Energica, hopefully they'll be addressed.

Overall rating:

5 stars. Already recommending.

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