The SUVization of the motorcycle runs at top performance and manifests itself in the genres of travel enduro and adventure bikes. Mainly with combustion engines and a lot of power and ever larger market shares. Energica launched the Experia in May 2022, the first electric motorcycle based on the SUV blueprint. Zero follows with the DSR/X in autumn. Do both machines with their data meet the demands of a climate-friendly jack of all trades? MOTORRAD compares the motor, battery, charging capacity, chassis and touring suitability of the two machines.
Modern electric motors
Electric motors offer many advantages for the motorcycle. On the one hand, a rotary movement of the crankshaft does not have to be generated from the stroke movement of the pistons, the power of which then has to reach a multi-part gearbox. On the other hand, electric motors are small and light. Energica relies on a water-cooled synchronous reluctance motor with permanent excitation for the Experia. Tesla uses the same technology as an example in the Model 3. With a voltage of 306 volts, the motor generates a torque of 115 Nm. The continuous output is 60 kW at 7,000 rpm, and the engine generates its peak output of 102 hp at 7,500 rpm. Zero traditionally relies on an air-cooled synchronous motor at 102 volts. Like Energica’s EMCE motor, Zero’s Z-Force 75-10 5T motor is heavily redesigned. In the DSR/X, the engine delivers 225 Nm, produces a continuous output of 48 hp at 4,400 rpm and a maximum output of 100 hp at 3,650 rpm. Both engines are limited to a speed of 180 km/h.
Conclusion motors: The old duel of water cooling against air cooling is being fought again electrically. On paper, the DSR/X is slightly ahead, producing more torque and revs lower. However: The EMCE motor from Energica looks much more modern with water cooling and the way it works like in a Tesla car. 1:1 comparison.
Charge large, heavy batteries
No surprise: Both models have the brand’s current top batteries. Zero uses software to increase the pouch cell battery from 15.6 to 17.3 kWh, Energica relies on the water-cooled pouch cell pack with 22.5 kWh. Both models have a 1.9 kWh lower net capacity for driving. Interesting how both manufacturers approach the important charging of the batteries. Zero has a built-in charger with 6.6 kW power on board, which has to be supplied via a type 2 plug at charging stations or at the wall box. A larger charger can be ordered as an option, which increases the charging capacity to 12.6 kW. In the best case, the DSR/X stands for a little over 90 minutes for 95 percent if the battery was completely empty. The Experia has three ways to charge power. A 3 kW charger for the 230 volt socket is installed. Furthermore, up to 22 kW can be “filled up” with the CSS charging plug on the column. The Chademo charging system, which is unique in motorcycle construction, also achieves 22 kW. This makes loading times from 40 minutes to 95 percent possible. Important: Energica specifies the number of charging cycles until the battery only performs 80 percent at 1,200 or 248,000 kilometers (combined). Zero expects their battery to last 170,000 miles or 1,500 full charge cycles (combined).
Conclusion: Clear point for Energica. The large battery not only has noticeably more capacity, but can even use modern charging infrastructure. With a calculated range of over 200,000 kilometers, the battery of the Zero packs 300 more charging cycles according to the factory. 1:2 for the Experia.
We are used to high weight specifications for electric motorcycles compared to combustion models in the segment. But the two travel-enduro-touring-adventure-electric bikes from Zero and Energica fit well together, the DSR/X can be called comparatively light at 247 kilos. Energica specifies 260 kilos for the Experia, which is mainly due to the water cooling and the larger battery. If we factor out the two factors, the Energica could even be a bit lighter, since its new chassis partly integrates the battery and motor as a load-bearing element. The chassis of the Zero consists of an all-embracing trellis frame. Both models have a high payload. The Experia can tow 242 kilos, and the DSR/X can even shoulder 252 kilos. You read that right: the Zero has more payload than its curb weight.
Conclusion: When it comes to weight, the Zero DSR/X scores twice. One point for the lower weight, another for the high payload. The Energica gets that too, since it can load an enormous amount compared to combustion engines. In spirit, the Experia even gets an extra point for the modern chassis construction with load-bearing drive. Nevertheless: 3:3 for the touring electric bikes.
Electronic upper class
First of all: DSR/X and Experia each get one point for the range of functions in the area of on-board electronics. MSC from Bosch with every comfort, reverse and forward maneuvering assistance, TFT display, numerous driving modes, cruise control and heated grips are on board ex works.
Conclusion: Modern, complete electronics with Experia and DSR/X: 4:4
Chassis only middle class
Contrary to the claim to be the brands top models, the Zero and Energica stack low when it comes to suspension and brakes. Purely in terms of the components, the price and hardware do not go together. Energica relies on ZF and Brembo, Zero on Showa and J.Juan. The forks are fully adjustable, as is the Showa shock absorber. The rear of the Experia only in preload and rebound. The manufacturers also don’t take the brakes off the gold-lined shelf. Energica uses M4.32 front Brembos on 330 discs, Zero J.Juan calipers on 320 discs. At the rear, the Experia brakes like a street bike with a 240 mm disc, the Zero, which is a little more off-road, with a 265 mm disc. The spring travel of the Zero boasts a length of 190 millimeters, while the Energica offers 150 millimeters per axle. However: The Experia has a pure 17-inch road chassis with 120/180 tires. The Zero wants to emphasize the Enduro concept with 19 inches (approx. 48 centimeters) at the front and 120/170 dimensions. Biggest difference: Energica is driven by a chain, Zero by a toothed belt – optionally by a chain.
Conclusion: When it comes to chassis, both top models do not shine with top hardware, with the components and tires they indicate the preferred area of application: road. The Zero flirts with gravel with the 19-inch wheel at the front, but cannot score extra points with it. 5:5 shortly before the final.
It’s all a matter of price
At the price point, the Zero and Energica both do well. The Experia costs just over 30,000 euros in Germany. Zero charges 26,550 euros for the DSR/X. Sure thing for the Zero? no For the 3,500 euros more, the Energica offers more battery and, much more important: more than three times the charging capacity. Even those who upgrade the Zero to 12.6 kW for a good 3,000 euros are still far behind the Experia at the same price. However: The Zero offers the more powerful engine, the lighter motorcycle and the higher payload.
If so, then only a powerful electric motorcycle.
I can imagine an electric scooter for commuting and city traffic.
A small, manoeuvrable electric moped is definitely fun.
Energica seems to win the data cold comparison. It ends up being 5:6 if you use the charging power as the ultimate factor. However, it is 6:5 for the Zero when power and weight count more. MOTORRAD will soon be testing which electric adventure bike is the best.
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