Oben Electric Rorr first ride review: A game changer in its segment?
Showcased earlier this year, we were very eager to find out and test what the Oben Electric Rorr claimed to offer. Best-in-class range that doesn't affect any performance and a new type of battery technology with the least charging time. We rode the Rorr on the beautiful twisties of Nandi Hills around Bangalore and here’s the answer to your is it any good question.
Oben Electric design and features
Oben has chosen to take the neo-retro route for the design of the Rorr and I have to say they have done a pretty good job with its styling. It mimics the looks of the motorcycles of the yore, with its round LED headlight and slim indicators. But it is its side profile which gives the Rorr a unique identity. The bike has a forward stance and that is courtesy of its high set tail and panels like the tank extensions. Its rear end is very clean, with a slim tail light and tiny grab handles. The Rorr will certainly grab extra eyeballs if you opt for the eye-popping Red or Yellow shades of the available three colours, with the Black flying a little under the radar. All-in-all the Rorr surely is a good looking motorcycle, but that is only when you're looking at it from a distance. Walk closer to it and you’re treated to some not so acceptable finishing. WIth exposed screw heads, improper integration of wires under the handle bar and improper paint finishing, Oben really needs to work on the fit and finish of the Rorr. The charging port for example feels very flimsy and something which doesn’t belong on a motorcycle and even the panels themselves squeak, just adding to the substandard fitment quality. The bikes which we rode were production ready, but with fit and finish levels of that of a pre-production motorcycle. Everything from the side stand to the panel gaps, and even the surrounding frame of the instrument cluster looks like it has been put together in a hurry.
The Rorr gets a full-colour LCD instrument cluster that displays the basic information and features like geofencing, rider alert system, and battery theft protection. But I found it to be a little dim for the day. The Rorr also gets a dedicated app that tells you the battery percentage and temperature.
Although it doesn’t have a fast charging system, the Rorr’s battery can be topped up in just two hours because it comes as standard with an on-board 15Amp charger with a domestic socket and that is surely one of its USPs. This system adds in power at a rate of 1km per minute.
Oben Electric Rorr battery, motor and perfromance
The Rorr’s performance is what Oben Electric’s founder Dinkar Agrawal is most proud of and that is one of the factors which surprised me the most too. The Rorr is designed to go against 150cc ICE-powered motorcycles and it feels as quick. Its kerb weight of 130kg makes it lighter than the Tork Kratos, but not as light as the Revolt RV 400 and that coupled with a class-leading power output of 13.4bhp and 60Nm torque makes it the quickest of the lot. It gets three riding modes — Eco, City and Havoc and the last one is where it is at its sportiest. 0-40kmph comes in a claimed 4 seconds with a claimed top speed of 100kmph.
The Rorr’s IPMSM motor draws power from a 4.4 kWh LFP battery that the brand claims is all kinds of revolutionary for its class. Oben has opted for an LFP (Lithium Ferric Phosphate) battery unlike the competitors who choose a NMC (Nickel, Manganese, Cobalt) battery because of what it offers in terms of safety. Not only does this system withstand upto 30 per cent higher temperatures which means they’re safer out there in the hottest climate our country has on offer, but they are also far less harmful to the environment in the recycling department.
The second reason is efficiency. LFP batteries have a low self-discharging rate and can charge substantially faster. That has enabled the Rorr to have a class-leading claimed charging time of just two hours. Adding on to the safety department, Oben has chosen to enclose the battery in an aluminium casing which dulls down the chance of a battery blast. Lastly the Rorr’s battery is IP 67 certified, which means it can deal with the Indian monsoons without any hassle, although I would ask you to stay away from deep river crossings.
Out in the real-world the Rorr feels light from the moment you swing your legs over it. It comes to life in the standard City mode which is limited to 70kmph top speed. To switch to the other two modes all you have to do is press the ignition button. The Eco mode limits the top speed to 50kmph, while the Havoc mode allows you to exploit and enjoy the Rorr’s top speed of a 100kmph.
The Rorr's fixed battery pack is claimed to deliver an IDC certified range of 200km, although Oben themselves told us that in the real-world conditions you'll more likely be able to achieve 150km in Eco mode, 120km in City mode and 100km in Havoc mode, which are again class leading numbers. While we didn't get a chance to test its full range, I believe it is easily possible to achieve what Oben claims, give or take a few kilometres, if you ride the Rorr normally.
Oben says that the Rorr is fastest in its class upto 40kmph and that is evident. It feels lively from the get-go and it's only when you pass 60kmph, that the acceleration begins to taper, but not that frantically. One thing which the Oben officials warned me about was the Rorr’s ultra sensitive throttle response which has a mind of its own in the Havoc mode. It is super sensitive and doesn’t cut power after you’ve rolled off the throttle for about a second and a half and that is downright dangerous. The brand claims it has been done intentionally to provide the best kick off the line and for the regenerative system to work efficiently and after our feedback they agreed that it will be solved with a software tweak.
We rode the Oben Rorr on a two-lane B-road which gave me the chance to test its overtaking capabilities numerous times. 40-60kmph is where the Rorr is at its happiest and overtaking a bus for example isn't a hassle when riding alone. Those are the speeds you'll be in most of the time in or around the city. But it's a different game altogether, if you have a pillion to haul around. The performance drops a fair bit and that takes a toll on acceleration.
Oben Electric Rorr ride and handling
The Oben Electric Rorr uses a split-tubular frame with the battery pack as a stressed member. It gets telescopic forks up front and a monoshock at the rear to handle the suspension duties. In terms of ride, the Rorr gets a pretty firm suspension setup and that reflects in the way it rides around a corner. It is flickable which makes it easy to tip into corners and it holds the line rather well. But it's the urban jungle where the Rorr will spend most of its time. Here, you'll notice that the suspension, although a bit stiff, does a fairly good job of dampening rough roads but that is when you're riding alone. Grab a pillion and the suspension bottoms out on speed breakers quite easily, which I found out to be unexpected, considering the fact that the Rorr gets 230mm of ground clearance which is more than certain adventure bikes.
The Rorr gets the longest wheelbase in its class and that makes it feel stable, even at higher speeds. In terms of braking, you get disc brakes at both ends with a combi-brake system. The brakes work well under regular use with good levels of bite and feedback. But under hard braking the rear can lock quite easily.
Oben Electric Rorr price and verdict
The Oben Rorr comes at a price tag of Rs 99,999 thousand ex-showroom Pune. And that makes it the most affordable bike in its class. For the class leading attributes like the longest range, safest battery, those neo-retro looks, and good handling characteristics. I feel that the price tag is extremely justifiable. But it is in the fit and finish department that it truly suffers. The company needs to work on its quality control big time. Things like wires and screws needs to be better and things like smoother throttle which will not only make it safer but also more enjoyable to ride will make it more appealing. Moreover, things like a brighter instrument cluster and more tactical, easy to use, switchgear is a must, and only that is when I'll suggest you to put your hard earned money on it. So to conclude, there is a lot of promise with the Oben Electric Rorr, but it needs updates. Hopefully Oben is listening to us.