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Though it has been already established that EVs are the future and the Indian market has seen quite a few examples, this was my first time riding an electric motorcycle. The motorcycle in question here is the Oben RORR. Oben is a Bengaluru-based startup and the RORR is their very first motorcycle. They were kind enough to invite us for a test ride in Bengaluru. Here are my first impressions of what the Oben RORR is all about.
As I mentioned, this was my first time riding an electric motorcycle. I have ridden electric scooters before so I had some idea about how electric vehicles go about their job. To say the least, the RORR was very different. Not only from the ICE motorcycles that I am used to but the electric scooters that I have ridden as well.
So, we reached Bangalore and the motorcycles were ready for us. Upon laying eyes on the RORR for the first time, I was rather impressed with the design. OBEN went with the retro way for the RORR so we have a muscular stance with a round headlamp and old-school-charming taillamps. The lighting is LED all around which is a good thing.
Despite being a fair bit far away from the conventional ICE motorcycles, the RORR did not look as outlandish as I expected. Yet, it is distinct enough to stand out on the road. While I was impressed with the looks of the motorcycle, there were a few things that caught my eye.
Max. Power: 13.5 bhp
Max. Torque: 60 Nm
Final Drive Reduction: Single-stage synchronous belt drive
Battery Pack Capacity: 4.4kWh
The fit and finish of the product are something OBEN has to work harder on. Panel gaps, squeaky panels, untidy welds, and unruly wiring; are all things that can be easily taken care of and therefore, should have been. While the RORR is OBEN’s first product and EVs are still a novelty in India for the most part, they have a fair bit of competition so this is one department where they can make the RORR a more lucrative prospect.
Overall, the OBEN RORR is a good-looking machine. Out of the three colour schemes available, Red and Yellow are punchy and will grab a lot of eyeballs on the road. The Black one though is a little stealthy and can easily move around without catching attention.
OBEN had chosen a good location for us to ride to; Nandi Hills. The route from Bangalore to Nandi Hills would let us test the RORR in varying conditions and that is what we did. So onwards to performance. First of all, getting on the motorcycle is fairly easy.
Despite the high ground clearance, one does not have to tip-toe a lot. The reach to the handlebars is also neutral and makes for a comfortable riding stance. The footpegs are ever-so-slightly rear-set which makes for an engaging riding position but not uncomfortable.
First of all, it took me some getting used to the electric bike layout. No foot controls and everything in your hands; that takes some getting used to. Once I inserted the key, I had to hold the rear brake (left lever) and press the stater simultaneously in order to bring the motor to life. Once it does, release the lever and apply a little throttle and you are on the move.
Ground Clearance: 200mm
The issue with the simultaneous actions of pulling in the rear brake lever and pressing the starter was because of some wiring issue though and was sorted out later. Even then, I had easily gotten used to starting up the RORR and it was not a problem throughout the ride.
Now, the OBEN RORR features three riding modes; ECO, CITY, and HAVOC. In ECO, you are limited to 50 km/h. In CITY, it goes up to 70 km/h. In HAVOC, as you can tell, you get everything that the motor has to offer with a top speed of 100 km/h.
I started out in ECO mode and the RORR felt very sedate and very rideable in the city. The throttle response was satisfactory and the same could be said about the CITY mode. After getting used to ECO and CITY modes as we made our way to the Nandi Hills Road. In the city, I could tell that the OBEN RORR has the potential to be a very useful commuter.
As we started on our way to the final stretch, I engaged the HAVOC mode and right from the get-go I could tell that the power was more and the delivery was sharper too. Almost too sharp. In HAVOC mode, the RORR needs some more fine-tuning when it comes to the throttle. There is a bit of lag between the input and the response from the motor. The motorcycle tends to keep accelerating for a flash even when you roll off the throttle and then when you wind it back on, the motor takes a moment to start propelling the rear wheel again.
Another issue that I found was that if one applies the rear brake while riding, all of the power is immediately cut off which is a little unsettling. It brings the motorcycle to a halt much quicker than expected, sometimes even when you do not want it to. This can be a cause for a minor mishap if one is not used to it. Sticking to the front brake while rolling off worked fine though.
Apart from these niggles, the RORR was fun to ride in HAVOC mode. Loads of torque and a fair amount of power meant that it was quick on its feet. The signature electric motor acceleration starts to taper only after around 70 km/h which is not too shabby at all. I also loved the handling. The suspension was stiff which made the potholes a bit more prominent but at the same time, it made the motorcycle very surefooted in the corners. Braking leaves nothing to be desired either. Though it lacks ABS, combi-braking is a fair bit of a safety net for a motorcycle of its class.
Front Tyre: 110/70-17
Rear Tyre: 130/70-17
Front Suspension: 37mm dia telescopic fork
Rear Suspension: Monoshock
Front Brake: 280mm hydraulic disc brake (CBS)
Rear Brake: 220mm hydraulic disc brake
Though the time spent with the motorcycle was brief and we’d be able to talk more about the overall performance after a longer test, the OBEN RORR seems like a motorcycle with a lot of potential. And that is not just because of the performance on offer, but also because of some standout features that make it one of the best electric motorcycles out there.
The first thing is the battery; despite the large capacity, it takes around 2 hours to fully charge the RORR. And on a full charge, it can return a real-world range of around 150 km in ECO mode which is a very good number. Another standout feature is the non-removable LFP or lithium iron phosphate battery. It is safer because of its better chemical and thermal stability and also charges quicker. It is also encased in aluminium housing to make it safer.
The charging cable is housed where the fuel tank of a regular motorcycle would be. The RORR though requires a 15A socket which can be a bit tricky to find. While OBEN would install one for you for free at your house, away from home, it can be a niggle.
Overall, the OBEN RORR has a lot going for it along with the price. For example, in Delhi, the OBEN RORR would cost you INR 94,999/- (net billing) because of which it undercuts quite a few of its rivals. And despite the slight niggles that can be taken care of rather easily, the performance is impressive and on par or better than most of its rivals. Then thee’s the after-sales features; 3-yr Roadside Assistance, 3 yr/60,000 kms Battery Warranty, and 3 yr Motor & Controller Warranty. So for the price, and if the issues are sorted, the OBEN RORR can be a game-changer in terms of both performance and pricing.