River Indie: First Ride Review

Benjamin Gracias
It’s more than a robust two-wheeled take on SUVs

The two-wheeled electric ecosystem is a glorious mess right now. Sure you have solid players in the form of Ather, Ola, Bajaj, TVS and Hero Vida that are offering world-class products but discount these and you will notice that most EV players are fly-by-night operators with electric scooters that look the same. How do you stand out from this sea of scooters? You innovate, you think out of the box. That’s the premise behind the River Indie and it’s a good one. A scooter that looks like no other and offers more than an affordable ride around town.

In terms of styling, the River Indie nicely balances the line between functionality and road presence. It is a large scooter but most of that size is focused on storage and passenger space. It offers a massive 43 litres of boot space which can easily swallow two full-size helmets. This besides a 12-litre glovebox and optional hard panniers with a top box that together add 65 litres of storage space! River also offers a floorboard cage for extra storage.

The front end is distinctive with two large LED headlamps that offer a bright spread. The large theme continues everywhere you see — the well executed tail lamp, grab rail, seat and even the instrument console. We particularly liked the inbuilt crash bars on the front apron and saddle stays that can be used to fit hard panniers — a cool touch. It even gets two retractable footpegs, both for the rider and pillion. Nothing feels out of place, except for the front apron-mounted turn indicators that stick out quite a bit and run the risk of breaking off.

In terms of quality, the River Indie has impressive fit and finish levels. The dual-tone paint job feels premium and while there is some cost-cutting seen in the form of the switchgear and levers but these too feel robust. Overall, the clean and practical design is an eye-catcher and a well-executed one at that.

I am glad this scooter offers practical features instead of going for gimmicks. The LCD display is bright and easy to read thanks to an uncluttered layout and important information like speed, range and battery charge percentage displayed in large fonts. It does not have Bluetooth connectivity but instead uses an e-sim to connect to the River app on your smartphone through a unique QR code sticker on your scooter or the VIN number. The app offers Geo Fencing alerts, service reminders, scooter stats and charging status. It also gets three ride modes — Eco, Ride and Rush.

Power comes from a mid-mounted electric that sends 6.7kW and 26Nm to the rear wheel via a belt drive. It’s a fun scooter to ride, getting off the line with vigour. According to River, the Indie can accelerate from standstill to 40kmph in 3.7 seconds and hit a top speed of 90kmph. Performance is entertaining in all three modes but more importantly, it’s the way the power is delivered. The acceleration is smooth and seamless with none of that on-off throttle responses associated with most electric scooters. Even the transition to battery regen feels seamless, akin to riding a conventional ICE scooter. In terms of performance, the River Indie has enough to keep you entertained and I bet you’ll spend most of the time riding around in Rush mode because of how addictive the swell of torque is.

Thankfully, the large battery pack, effective regen and battery management are adept in keeping the fun going on for a long time. Its 4kWh battery pack offers an IDC-tested range of 161km but depending on your riding, you should be able to eke out between 80 to 120km of range. Under normal riding, with Rush mode used liberally, we managed to nudge past 100km of range. That’s quite impressive given the performance on offer and the heavy 140kg kerb weight of the scooter.

Charging time is a claimed five hours for a 0-80 percent charge (1.5 hours extra for 100 percent) with the bundled 800-watt portable charger. The scooter also supports fast charging.

For what’s one of the heaviest EV two-wheelers around, the River Indie handles well thanks to a low center of gravity owing to the floorboard mounted battery pack and mid-mounted motor. Barring the slightly heavy steering at low speeds, there is little to complain about, the scooter feels planted at speeds and offers excellent composure in corners. Most of the grip on offer can be attributed to the 110-inch front and 120-inch rear 12-inch wheels — they not only enhance that butch SUV design but offer ample grip to inspire confidence in corners.

Ride quality is another area the River Indie excels in. It features conventional forks upfront and twin shock absorbers in the back. While the setup is on the firmer side, it glides over potholes and speedbreakers without unsettling the scooter or transferring the judders to its passengers. The disc brake setup at both ends work well to offer a strong bite and bring the scooter to a rapid halt without losing composure. The only downside is the low ground clearance that has the underbelly scrape on poorly designed speed-breakers. That’s the only thing contradicting its built-like-an-SUV claim.

The River Indie is priced at ` 1.38 lakh ex-showroom. At this price, it undercuts most premium scooters while offering more space and flash value. The River Indie comes across as a well-engineered scooter that looks unlike any other electric scooter yet it feels more practical than most. It’s hard not to like the River Indie as it does everything you ask of it without breaking a sweat and that’s what makes this scooter easy to recommend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Post

Jeep Slashes Compass Prices: A Look at the New Lineup

Next Post

Tata Tiago iCNG AMT

Related Posts