MotoE Energica Ego Corsa.
MotoE Energica Ego Corsa.
Image: Supplied

There is something about the growl of a motorcycle, especially when in full flight. When you are on it, you don’t quite hear it the same way, like your voice sounds different in your head to what others hear, but it can be exhilarating turning the throttle and knowing that you are creating that high-pitched growl.

Not too far from where I stay is Witkoppen Road/Northumberland Avenue, a relatively straight road with traffic lights not so close to each other. Plus, if you take off just right, you can hit green at every light for at least 2km, especially at night. Hearing a motorcycle cruising — I use the word loosely here — up the road from my house is always music to my ears, in the most cliched way possible.

And then there’s the Moto GP where you hear the motorcycles through the television, in harmony, above the commentary, above the sounds surrounding you, adding the tension and spectacle.

Is it obvious that I love the sound of a motorcycle?

Which brings me to electric motorcycles, or at least the concept of them. I am all for being eco-friendly. I am by no means a climate change denier but, taking into the consideration the above, and the reality that, especially from an SA and African perspective, the penetration of electric cars leaves much to be desired, I do wonder whether we will get to the point where electric motorcycles fully take over the market. And this has nothing to do with performance, experience or even design aesthetics.

Performance-wise, innovation continues to take place to the point where, in 2019, MotoE — electric motorcycle grand prix — was launched. Granted the motorcycles produce a high-pitched hiss as opposed to a growl, but the racing, albeit shorter than traditional Moto GP races due to how long the battery charge lasts, is as fast and furious.

MotoE has been using the Energica Ego Corsa motorcycle manufactured by the Bologna, Italy-based Energica Motor Company, which has been making motorcycles since 2016. But it will switch over to Ducati next season, in 2023. The Ego Corsa is said to have a top speed of 270km/h, torque of 200 Nm at 5,000 rpm and can go from 0-100km/h in three seconds. To give some context, it has been estimated that most Moto GP motorcycles go from 0-100km/h in about 2.6 seconds, reaching top speeds of more than 300km/h.

Energica Ego Corsa Track Bike - Asphalt and Rubber.
Energica Ego Corsa Track Bike - Asphalt and Rubber.
Image: Supplied

What was billed as the fastest electric bike in 2021, the Lightning LS-218 reached a top speed of 350km/h and accelerated from 0-100km/h in 2.2 seconds.

Design-wise, there are some beautiful electric motorcycles on the market, in the US at least. There has been talk of the Energica Eva, their naked bike, and Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire One coming to SA, and both bikes are well-designed and aesthetically pleasing to this motorcycle enthusiast, holding their own against their siblings with combustible engines. There’s the full range of the Zero Motorcycles and the unique styling of the Arc Vector. While I haven’t ridden any of these, or any electric motorcycle, they all have that ‘thing’ that has you wanted to experience what it’s like being in the saddle bit, if I am going to be honest, it is still more about the novelty of it.

Plus, living and commuting in a city like Johannesburg, you need the grunt and growl. Before I started riding a motorcycle, I could never understand why motorcyclists would rev their bikes as the navigated city traffic. My immediate reaction was “these biker hooligans”. When I started riding, after the umpteenth time of someone nearly sideswiping me, I realised that it was to be heard, and now I too rev my bike when lane splitting. Plus, I am still planning to get a louder exhaust for my bike.

The verdict on electric motorcycles, in my opinion, is still out.

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