Electric two-wheelers have only graced us in the form of a scooter. Many are usually from startups hiding between Bangalore’s great weather and terrible traffic. The Oben Rorr is one such concoction from the minds of Bangalore’s startups. It’s made to thrive in traffic and good weather although we tested it on the outskirts of Bangalore without the aforementioned traffic and on a day with a gentler side of the monsoon weather.
Oben Rorr first ride review
Not ready to rorr yet
From afar the Oben Rorr looks intriguing and different. It’s that clean look that Oben has tried to achieve with the Rorr that makes it so delightful to admire when you first set your eyes on it. It’s got a naked bike charm with sharp corners around the deceptive fuel tank to look sportier as well. That charm quickly dwindles out as soon as you take a closer inspection. The plasticky body and the unrefined build quality stick out like a sore thumb.
The grab rail at the back lacks polish and the plastics around the handlebar are all screaming ‘budget’. It’s not completely terrible for something that costs around a lakh but it still needs more time in the oven. The build quality is underwhelming at best.
The Oben Rorr is meant to go up against 150cc bikes. It’s also meant to look and feel like a motorcycle rather than a scooter and when it comes to sheer speed, it’s quick. The Oben Rorr is touted to go from 0 to 40kmph in three seconds and in our test ride we did manage to reach that figure very quickly as well. Like most electric vehicles, the power and torque are instantaneous. We rode up Nandi Hill on the outskirts of Bangalore city and the Oben soldiered on and beyond the 40 hairpins without breaking a sweat. On City mode, the Rorr offers plenty of pace (up to 100kmph) for folks looking for it. Although the power delivery is not as uniform. The throttle response is inconsistent and on Havoc mode, it’s downright jerky. The Havoc mode can take the speed ticker all the way up to 120kmph but we didn’t reach that figure due to technical abnormalities which Oben said will be fixed in the final product.
The suspension keeps the Rorr planted at high speeds. It’s stable and predictable at high speeds and around the hairpins of Nandi Hill but your back can take some beating from speed bumps and potholes of the city.
So the 10kW IPMSM motor can churn out reliable power for the city and highway runs but is it comfortable? Sadly not. The seating position is slanted downwards which pushes your thighs against the aggressively angled tank. Even the seat cushioning needs work here. The colossal 4.4kWh battery pack under the tank is kept open to fight the elements and hopefully be cooled by the oncoming air. Oben says there’s an LFP battery inside the aluminium diecast casing which can withstand 30% higher temperatures and their proprietary MHX (maximum heat exchange) technology helps keep the thing cooler. The LFP (lithium iron phosphate) battery is slightly different from traditional lithium-ion batteries. It has a lower self-discharge rate and a longer life cycle which should ideally make the Oben Rorr’s battery life more reliable in the long run.
The battery can charge with a 15 amp socket, and the charger and cable are built right into the bike. The cable and the plug are housed within the tank and your only method to charge it is to yank it out and plug the thing into the closest socket. Hopefully, you have one of those in your parking spot, if not, Oben will install one for you free of charge.
As far as features go, Oben says the Rorr offers a jaw-dropping 200kms (IDC) range and can quick charge the battery fully in just 2-hours. How much of that is true, we’re not sure due to a short first ride with the bike but for now, you will have to take Oben’s word for it.
When it comes to smarts, the Oben Rorr is barely going to make a dent against the much more expensive competition. There’s no fancy display or smart features to rival the electric scooters like Ather or Ola, and there’s no reverse mode as well. There’s an app which lets you geofence, track battery life and provide some basic information about the bike but that’s about it. And the app is also still under development when we tested the bike.
The Oben Rorr needs a bit more spit polish. There’s room for massive improvements to the seating position, the throttle response and the build quality. If the claimed range is true, battery anxiety can be a thing of the past with the Rorr but we can’t say that for certain.
As for first impressions, the pricing is absolutely competitive, at least in Maharashtra where this is going for a lakh but we can’t shake the feeling that the Rorr needs to spend more time in the oven before it’s properly ready. For now, it feels more like a proof of concept than an actual finished product.
A capable EV that needs to fix a few rough edges before it can truly be competitive