Oben Rorr - First Ride
Think electric two-wheelers in a country like India you have a flurry of electric scooters to deal with, but not a lot of electric motorcycles. You do have a couple of options in the form of a couple of Revolt bikes, the Tork Kratos although that isn't a finished product up until this point in time, and now you have this bike the Oben Rorr. This motorcycle is still in the final stages of its prototyping it is still going to undergo a certain amount of change. The underpinnings are going to remain the same, pretty much. But the aesthetics like the plastic panels, the fit and finish levels they're all going to be different a lot better than what you see on the bike here today. Well, we're out here to sample what the bike is capable of in terms of performance, ride and handling and so on, so let's get into it then.
So looks-wise, it's really hard not to notice this motorcycle, obviously, the colour that you see over here, it really pops and it's difficult for you to not look away. On the design front, it does look very similar to the Honda CB300 but it does have a couple of unique bits as well. Looking at the Rorr head-on or even if you see it in your rear-view mirrors, you won't be able to tell that this one's electric. Because, unlike most electrics, this one doesn't look spindly and narrow, but a lot like a regular old ICE motorcycle with its chunky telescopic fork and alloy wheel. The LED ring around the headlamp looks cool, but a bit too Honda wannabe for me.
So coming up to the display, you have a 7-inch reverse LCD unit which gives you just the basic amount of information. Not a great deal to toggle through honestly, and it's a little hard to read when you're out riding in the sun. But you can connect o the motorcycle via an app and you get a lot of additional information via the app rather than on the motorcycle itself. Coming to a little further ac to the tank, you have these nice tank extensions with the Oben branding on it. Now the tank, yes this is an electric bike so there's no need for petrol r anything as such, so what's the big bulbous tank doing out here? Well, much of that has to do with the charging unit of this motorcycle. The tank of this motorcycle houses the cable that you can use to charge the bike. The most unique bit of this bike is the fact that this wire extends out of the motorcycle and has a three-pin plug which you can plug into any three-pin wall mounted socket. Coming further back towards the rear of the bike you have a narrow seat and tail section. And yes, this being an electric bike there's no exhaust unit or end can, so it's quite airy looking out back.
Ride and Handling:
Coming to the ride and handling bit, once you actually swing a leg over the motorcycle, yes that will take a little more effort than you would usually have to put into doing something like that because this is a tall motorcycle and it has around 200mm of ground clearance so it's pretty tall and it appropriate for Indian road scenarios. Now as for the ride and handling. The seating position is a bit on the sportier side. Your feet will be positioned a bit rear-set and it feels quite sporty. The flat handlebar is well within reach and everything is where you'd want it to be. My only qualm with this particular setup is the shape of the tank whose shape is a bit intrusive because it pokes into your thigh area, so the longer you ride this bike the more painful it's going to be to deal with. now the company have said that it is going to address certain problems like this when they receive feedback from its prospective customers and people like me, so let's see how that goes. The seat itself is very narrow which could be better. And as for the pillion, well it gets even narrower out back, so I'm not really sure if that'll be the most comfortable of options over a relatively long distance trip. In terms of handling, the handlebar is well within reach and the motorcycle as a whole doesn't feel out of sorts when you want to ride aggressively. It weighs around 130kg but it doesn't really feel so. it doesn't mind it when you change direction quickly, and leaning into a corner, it should hold the line quite comfortably.
Out on the road, the Rorr feels nicely balanced with a slightly aggressive riding stance and neutral handling. The suspension is on the stiffer side and the electric could be compared to a sporty 150-160cc ICE motorcycle.
Now on this outing we're only going to be spending a couple of hours with the Oben Rorr, and without doubt, one of its main USPs has to be its bit 4.4kWh battery that you see right there. It's a Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) unit and not the regular Lithium-ion pack like on most electric vehicles out here. So what's so unique about this unit? Well, first of all it offers you a good 150km of range of course in Eco mode, which is the most economical mode of this bike ill just explain what makes this battery so unique.
Compared to regular lithium-ion batteries, Lithium Iron Phosphate or LFP batteries are cheaper to construct and since they are nickel and cobalt free, these units don't create their own oxygen in its energy-creating chemical process which spells disaster in the event of a thermal runaway. Also, it can also withstand higher temperatures before going into thermal runaway. So they're really safe. The biggest disadvantage of this battery is its lower energy density in comparison to the lithium-ion battery pack meaning it's less efficient and has a shorter range for electric vehicles in comparison. So to address that issue, we have a large 4.4kWh battery in the Rorr. And the best part, the company claims that the battery will take just two hours to come to a complete charge which sounds brilliant, although we are yet to test out this claim.
On the topic of performance that's a big stand-out feature of the Oben Rorr. It's one of the highlights. So you have three ride modes to contend with Eco, City and Havoc with Eco giving you the best range capability and Havoc being the most fun. In the latter, you are limited to a top speed of 100kmph and the throttle response is a lot more active. Every input is well rewarding. It feels a lot livelier and it feels really quick.
The Rorr may be an electric mute with no exhaust note but this thing really takes off in Havoc mode. I think that its 10Kw motor could even put some proper small-capacity performance-type ICE bikes to shame with its performance, which sounds like heaps of fun, and it is. In Havoc mode the throttle definitely feels most rewarding, but doesn't feel so much so is the calibration of the throttle and brakes on this motorcycle which were definitely off.
Yes there's no clutch lever on this one and the brake levers on either end of the bar felt really hard to employ which took a bit of effort, but the brakes themselves functioned very well. With the way the throttle was set up, the bike would decelerate for almost half a second after you rolled off the power, and there were times when it would exceed the top speed in each mode and then slow you back down below the limit and then catch up. So definitely serious issues to be addressed here.
To sum up the Oben Rorr. Now in a state like Maharashtra, this motorcycle will set you back by Rs 1 lakh ex-showroom, inclusive of State subsidies, and further down south, in a state like Telangana which bike will cost you about Rs 1.25 lakh. So should you whip out your cheque book and basically sign up for the Oben Rorr? Well to be honest, at this particular time, you really shouldn't. And let me explain why. Now the biggest issue that I see with this motorcycle at this time is that the manufacturer still has a lot of niggling issues to iron out before it comes out with the final 'complete' motorcycle later this year- in September. And whether it actually lives up to its word and manages to achieve all of that in this very short span of time is yet to be seen.
Starts Rs 99,999