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India is quickly becoming the hotbed for motorcycling. Not just in terms of riding but manufacturing as well. Some of the most aspirational brands in the world are making their motorcycles right here in India. Along with the conventional ICE motorcycle, made-in-India electric two-wheelers are also making their presence felt. While the EV landscape is primarily dominated by scooters, a few are taking a shot at motorcycles as well. One such manufacturer is Matter and we are taking a look at their ambitious project called Aera!
Matter was founded in 2019 and today, it is run by a team of 500+ innovators with a combined experience of over 2,000 years in EVs and energy technology. Their operations are not limited to just electric vehicles. Matter has two arms; Matter Mobility which focuses on electric vehicles and Matter Energy which works on Lithium-ion energy storage and energy management solutions. For us, the primary talking point is the Aera, India’s first and only electric motorcycle with a manual gearbox and right off the bat, Matter has a homerun on their hands.
The motorcycle was unveiled at the Auto Expo, 2022 and we were fortunate enough to take a firsthand look at it. With features like liquid cooling, a manual transmission, and enviable features headlined by a 7” touchscreen, we could tell that the Aera would be a banger. Fast forward to today, and we are riding the Aera 5000+ in Matter Mobility’s birthplace- Gujarat. With their headquarters in Ahmedabad, it seemed fitting to experience this revolutionary Indian machine in the great Rann of Kutch… and during the Rann Utsav Rann Ke Rang no less!
Riding the Matter Aera 5000+ in Kutch was a unique experience for us. So far, we have explored 66 countries around the world and yet, we never properly explored the Rann of Kutch, one of the most serene landscapes you can find anywhere in the world. All the exploration we have done was on some of the most amazing motorcycles ever made, both big and small. But never an electric motorcycle. So riding an electric motorcycle and that too in the Rann of Kutch had us very excited right from the get-go. And as it turned out, our excitement wasn’t unfounded.
Moreover, we had not one but two Aera 5000+ examples with us being ridden by Sundeep Gajjar aka The MotoGrapher and Ankita Arora, also known as HighHeelsMotorcyclist. Despite having more than a million km of riding experience for the former and more than 11 years of riding for the latter, the prospect of riding an electric motorcycle in such a landscape was a first for both. As a Matter of fact, they both felt blessed to be alive in an Aera where India has become the birthplace of a motorcycle as impressive as this. The world just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?
Also, we think that it is time to drop the mystique and tell you why the Matter Aera 5000+ left us so darn impressed. Starting with the looks, the Matter Aera 5000+ looks phenomenal. It is just the right amount of radical without being overbearing on the futuristic look. Despite being edgy, the design has a certain flow to it. First up, the front looks smashing with the projector lamp, the DRLs, and the turn signals placed on the scoop on either side. It is one of the most unique fascias we have come across in quite some time. Moreover, the TFT screen is not only humongous but has been placed well which a lot of manufacturers do not get right, especially on naked motorcycles.
Moving to the side, the Aera 5000+ has just the right amount of mass. We love the execution and along with it, the placement of the motor and the battery. The highlight on the side though is the spinner that complements the amount of throttle you give it. Another thing you notice is oil because the Aera 5000+ has a gearbox but more on that later. Towards the rear, the lines taper as they should and all-LED lighting accentuates the overall design. In lesser words, the Matter Aera 5000+ is a phenomenal-looking streetfighter that will grab a lot of eyeballs on the roads.
The colour scheme on both the motorcycles also looked pleasing; red with white accents and grey with neon green accents, even more so in the setting! Rann of Kutch is one of the most spiritual places we have been to. The sheer expanse of it and the calmness it brings leaves one spellbound. While the sound may be an important aspect of motorcycles, the Aera 5000+ with its lack of it makes it easier to hear nature as it is meant to be. We had the Rann of Kutch Lake on either side of the road so you can imagine what an experience it was to hear the wind and the water. It was like meditation. We can’t even imagine how it would have looked on a full-moon night!
Here are some closeups of the Matter Aera 5000+ for you to appreciate
Coming back to the Aera 5000+, let us talk about the riding experience starting with the ergonomics. Being a naked motorcycle, the rider’s triangle is very comfortable making it a very comfortable motorcycle over long distances. And it can easily be used for long distances but again, more on that in a bit. Another ease of life feature is the parking assist. For shorter riders, taking the motorcycle out of a tight parking spot can be a hassle but the Aera takes care of it with just the press of a button. Overall, the Aera 5000+ is an easy motorcycle to live with in both the city and over long distances.
Finally, let us talk about the things that make the Matter Aera 5000+ the revolution that it is. The powertrain consists of a 5 kWh battery, a motor rated at 10.5 kW or around 14 bhp, and most importantly, a 4-speed manual gearbox. One of the major reasons why people find it hard to move to electric motorcycles is the lack of a gearbox. Being able to use a clutch and changing gears is an important part of the experience of riding a motorcycle. With the Matter Aera 5000+, one gets to experience the conventional with an electric twist.
Another major reason why electric vehicles are finding fewer takers is range anxiety. The Aera 5000+ takes care of this as well. While the 125 km range is impressive, it is the charging that takes the cake. It allows the use of a conventional 5 amp socket to charge the motorcycle. It was insane to see our motorcycle getting charged along with our phones while we enjoyed a hearty meal at a nondescript dhaba during our trip. It takes a little more than 5 hours for a full charge with the normal charger but if you can find a place to use the fast charger, it can be done in less than 2 hours! These two alone take care of the lion’s share of concerns that people have regarding electric two-wheelers.
While Kutch mesmerized us with its colours in some places and the lack of them in others, the Aera 5000+ impressed us with its performance. Matter claims that it can get to 60 km/h from a standstill in under 6 seconds and we can attest to that fact. The throttle response is crisp and immediate in Sport mode. All the torque is available right from the get-go and that is one of the things that makes this motorcycle so exciting. But it is also something that you have to get used to and for that, you can use the other modes; Eco and City. All the modes are very distinct and it feels like one is riding a different motorcycle in each.
While some may rue the lack of sound in electric vehicles, we are pup-culture buffs and so, we find the hum of the motor quite familiar. Riding the Aera 5000+ feels like the vehicles in those science fiction movies such as Tron. Another thing that makes it feel like a futuristic machine is OTA. Matter states that with over-the-air updates, the Aera 5000+ can transform into a completely different motorcycle. That is something that used to happen in smartphones and now, the same thing can happen in a motorcycle… Welcome to the future, people! And it is a matter of pride that this particular piece of the future is completely homegrown.
In addition to the impressive features we have discussed so far, another area where the Aera 5000+ blazes trails is thermal management. The motorcycle features intelligent thermal management along with liquid cooling for both the battery and the motor. This not only ensures peak efficiency and performance but also longevity. Moreover, being able to integrate all that in such a lithe body is a feat of engineering that is worthy of all the praise. Then there’s the robust battery management system, the FOB which enables a host of other features, and even offline maps from MapmyIndia. Add to that things like a comprehensive capacitive touchscreen, 4G, WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, a 9-axis IMU and what you have on hand is finesse that is not seen in any other electric motorcycle made in India so far.
Despite being their very first motorcycle, Matter Mobility has put a lot of effort into ensuring that the Aera 5000+ is just as impressive dynamically as it is in other areas. The geometry is spot on and the weight has been kept in check. As a result of all that, Matter Aera 5000+ handles like a dream be it in the turns or on the highways. Moreover, the tractability and the precise throttle make the Aera 5000+ a very usable motorcycle in the urban setting as well. On top of that, you get dual disc brakes with a single-channel ABS adding another dimension to the already impressive handling department.
Here are some shots of Kutch from our eye in the sky
After exploring what Kutch had to offer along with what the Aera 5000+ brings to the table, we ended this journey on a high by witnessing an amazing sunrise in the seemingly unending salt plains of Kutch. It almost reminded us of the Bonneville Salt Flats except the sunrise made our own salt flats look much better. Coming back to the Aera 5000+, it is a motorcycle that has redefined electric vehicles for us. It is a game-changer that makes us consider modifying the term petrolheads to motorheads. That is how good it is and the two we had with us were pre-production examples which means that the actual motorcycles will be even more polished.
It is relatively easy to put together an electric motorcycle. There have been a few parts-bin examples but the Aera 5000+ changes all that with its cohesiveness and it is palpable despite the added complication of liquid cooling and a gearbox. For that, we have to respect Matter Mobility for coming up with such a comprehensive motorcycle despite it being their very first attempt. We are sure about the fact that there will be more such motorcycles coming out of India but for now, the Matter Aera 5000+ is surely leading the charge!
Here are some more photos from our time with the Aera 5000+ in Kutch