Oben Rorr: First Ride Review

Ritesh Patil
A no-nonsense electric motorcycle that gets the basics right

In the world of electric vehicles, there has been a major focus on packing the vehicles with a host of electronics to give it a modern techy feel. But the ultimate goal of a vehicle is to transport its passengers from point A to point B. For that, it needs to have its basics right. Oben, a Bengaluru-based startup, with its first electric motorcycle, Rorr, aims to deliver just that. We first rode the Oben Rorr last year in July and came out impressed with its performance, range and low charging times, but there was some scope of improvement in areas like the fit and finish and throttle modulation that needed to be addressed before the product reached the customers. Well, Oben listened to our feedback, made updates on the electric motorcycle and invited us back to ride it around the foothills of Nandi Hills. Do the updates make it a better product now? Let’s find out.

At first glance, the overall design does come across the same as before, but there are a few updates. The most noticeable ones are the new graphics with ‘Rorr’ boldly written on the dummy fuel tank. I particularly liked the lighting bolt running across the length of the motorcycle. It continues to get two dual-tone paint options, Electric red and the Voltaic Yellow you see here. Up front, the LED headlamp gets a new cowl. At the rear, it now gets a saree guard and a rear-tyre hugger. Overall, the looks are quite striking and I like the neo-retro theme of the electric motorcycle.

Hop on the motorcycle, and the updated single-piece seat which gets a lower and wider pillion seat and firmer bolstering, felt like a comfortable place to be in the few hours we spent with the motorcycle. The seating posture itself is quite good, with the slightly rear-set footpegs and tall, wide handlebars offering a somewhat forward-set position for the upper body which suits the overall character of the motorcycle.

In terms of features, it continues to get all-LED lighting but now gets a bigger housing for the colour-TFT display. The ambient light sensor that helps to automatically adjust the brightness of the display depending on the light conditions, is a nifty addition. Overall, the display continues to be informative and legible thanks to the use of large fonts. You no longer get an inbuilt 15-amp charger in the dummy fuel tank. Instead, there is a 750 Watts portable charger on offer, placed in the underseat storage, which can fully top up the motorcycle in around six hours. For faster charging, Oben offers a separate 2kW wall box charger that can charge the Rorr from 0-80 percent in two hours, at an additional cost of 25k.

The fit and finish levels were one of the biggest shortcomings in the motorcycle we rode last year, but things have improved on the production-spec model. The panel gaps are consistent all around, and the touch and feel of the materials feels good as well. However, the flap to access the charging plug and storage area in the tank could have been of better quality. Currently, it feels a bit too flimsy for my liking, and I doubt if it will be able to take all the abuse it might be exposed to. 

At its heart, the Rorr continues to get a PMSM motor as earlier, but the peak power has been reduced to 8kW from 10kW, in the interest of increasing the life of the motor. That being said, it continues to get three riding modes – Eco, City and Havoc, and a 0-40kmph time of three seconds and a claimed top speed of 100kmph in the Havoc mode. The performance is still impressive with the motor offering brisk initial acceleration in all three modes. As expected, Havoc is the most fun as it effortlessly reached its claimed 100kmph top speed mark. The units we rode last year had an issue, wherein even after closing the throttle at high speeds, the motorcycle continued to accelerate for a couple of seconds. We didn’t face any such issue this time around.

The 4.4kWh LFP battery pack too is the same as before, but the IDC claimed range has gone down to 187km from 200km, so has the true range in each of the modes – 120km in Eco, 90km in City and 70km in Havoc. Most of this can be attributed to an increase in weight, which has gone up to 147kg from 130kg. Oben says this is due to the updates done to the battery to adhere to the latest AIS 156 norms for the EVs, along with other additions to the motorcycle. That being said, the display shows a fairly accurate DTE (distance to empty). We started our ride with the display showing 70km for DTE, and after riding it in the same mode for around 35km, the range dropped to 32km. 

The handling of the motorcycle complements the performance on offer as the Rorr rides absolutely stable at triple digit speeds, with the suspension comfortably absorbing small bumps we encountered on our testing route. Low speed manoeuvrability is again impressive thanks to the agile front end. The braking leaves you wanting for more, though. While it has decent stopping power from front and rear disc brakes, the former has a very vague feel that robs you off the confidence at high speed braking. There is a combi-braking system on offer and things are better when using the rear-brake lever, as it offers a more progressive feel, but press it harder and you can feel the rear-wheel locking up. Given the performance on offer, we feel ABS should be offered to give that extra net of safety.

The Oben Rorr is currently priced at an introductory price of Rs 1.49 lakh, ex-showroom, which puts it on par with most premium electric scooters and it is slightly more expensive than 150cc motorcycles in the market. At this price, the Rorr offers a no-nonsense alternative to the aforementioned vehicles that gets the job of getting you from point A to point B without any hassle. Yes, there are a few rough edges here and there, but nothing major enough to make it a deal-breaker. Most of its issues we faced last year have been ironed out and it comes across as a no-nonsense electric motorcycle.

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