Have you ever heard that electric motorcycles aren’t good for long-distance riding? Try telling that to these two guys that are doing a 1,000 mile (1602 km) trip on an electric motorcycle in just 24 hours to score a coveted Iron Butt certification.
Electric motorcycle Iron Butt run
A pair of riders, Morgan Vetter and Brandon Nozaki Miller, are preparing to run a SaddleSore 1000.
The achievement, certified by the Iron Butt Association (seriously), requires riders to carefully document a 1,000 mile trip in a maximum of 24 hours.
To complete the feat and ensure proper documentation, Morgan and Brandon will use the extensive network of EVGo chargers throughout California.
For the electric motorcycle itself, the duo will use the Energica EsseEsse9. The EsseEsse9 is a naked electric motorcycle featuring an oil-cooled AC motor and a relatively large 13.4 kWh battery pack. While there are other e-bikes that offer larger batteries, such as many Zero electric motorcycles, the Energica EsseEsse9 offers DC fast charging capability. That means it can be recharged from 0-80% in as little as 20 minutes.
The 80 kW or 109 hp electric motorcycle has an electronically limited max speed of 125 mph (200 km/h), not that the riders will need it. The Iron Butt Association actually doesn’t publish records that maintain an average speed of over 75 mph (120 km/h) over the 24 hour period, in an attempt to prevent the SaddleSore 1000 run from turning into a race.
Of course, range on a single charge will still be an issue for the Energica EsseEsse9. It gets a respectable combined city/highway range of 93 miles (150 km). But once you get it on the highway full time, the range will drop. That makes the Level 3 DC fast charging option even more critical to the success of this run.
To test out the route and prepare for the attempt, Brandon did a recon run recently. He covered 821 mi (1,321 km) in 23 hours in the unofficial test run, seen in the video below. That means he was about 85% of the way towards hitting the necessary pace for certification from the Iron Butt Association.
As Brandon described it:
“For this 821 miles test, I started my ride in Carmel Ca. then worked my way up to San Francisco, over to Lake Tahoe, Reno Nevada, back into Sacremento around the other side of Lake Tahoe, and down the California Hwy 99 to LA.
The goal of the ride was to test all the stations along a proposed Iron Butt Saddle Sore route. I also wanted to check the traffic, and boy was that a good idea! There was sooo much construction.
Even still though, it was a BEAUTIFUL RIDE! In this video, I covered 821 miles in 23 hours and called it quits because I was very tired and quite pleased with the results. I learned a lot, and am ready to do an actual attempt soon!”
I love seeing attempts like these because they help show what electric motorcycles are actually capable of.
DC fast charging, which is now available on a number of electric motorcycles such as those from Lightning and Harley-Davidson, is a game-changer. In the case of the EsseEsse9, 0-80% in 20 minutes is huge. That’s not quite as fast as a gas stop, but it isn’t really that much longer either. Especially considering riders will want to stretch their legs, perhaps grab a coffee, and then off-board the coffee they drank during the previous pit stop.
Also, can I just say that the EsseEsse9 is my favorite of the Energica lineup? It’s not quite as fast as the 150 mph (240 km/h) Energica Ego, but 125 mph (120 km/h) is more than enough for most people. Sure, naked bikes don’t have the best (or even decent) aero, but riding isn’t always about squeezing every last little bit of efficiency out of the bike like you’re wringing out a mop towel. It’s about enjoying the experience.
These guys are definitely going to have some fun. Let’s wish them some luck! And we’ll be sure to report back once they let us know how the ride eventually goes!
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