The Orxa Mantis EV has been launched at a pricetag of ₹3.60 lakh
The Orxa Mantis EV has been launched at a pricetag of ₹3.60 lakhShot by Avdhoot Kolhe for evo India

Orxa Mantis first ride review | Is this the rival the Ultraviolette F77 never had?

The Orxa Mantis has been eight years in the making and has many segment first features including a liquid-cooled motor, and an all aluminium frame. How do all these features add up?

The Orxa Mantis has been a long time coming. With a team working on the bike for nearly eight years, The company has finally attached a price tag to the Mantis and given us a timeline for when deliveries will begin. With a ₹3.6 lakh price tag and deliveries commencing from April 2024 for Bangalore only for the time being, the Orxa Mantis has its work cut out for itself as the space is currently dominated by the very capable but slightly more expensive Ultraviolette F77. What makes the Mantis different is the liquid-cooled motor, aluminium frame and styling that is quite polarising. How does all this add and does it do enough to justify the price tag it commands? We were given some time at a go-kart track with the bike to find out.

Orxa Mantis styling

The Orxa Mantis has an interesting design to say the least. Inspired by the predator the praying mantis, this bike is styled to mimic the bug. To that end, the front end is garnished with a bug- eyed projector headlight system with a dry that resembles the nose of the critter. The body panels which Orxa claim are functional as well as aesthetic resemble a praying mantis in the crouched position. Where you’d expect to have a fuel tank on an ICE motorcycle is a tank like silhouette that has been hollowed out to create storage space. The charging port is also housed in this area. The rider and pillion seat are placed on a shiny all-aluminium frame and have an interesting design. One that felt comfortable even for taller riders. The rear end is made up of a slender LED tail light and indicators. The battery pack in a stressed member of the entire frame assembler and that sends power to a liquid cooled motor, one that has a see through cover so you can see the motor spinning, Interesting feature this.

There also seems to be a bit of part sharing on this bike with other OEM suppliers. Because the mirrors look like something you’d find on a Honda, the wheels look like the ones you find on the Pulsar N250 and the headlight assembly looks like a re-profiled KTM RC 200 unit. Overall the design of this bike is quite polarising, but it does grow on you. There are two colours available. One with white and yellow accents and one with black and red accents. The former goes better with the ‘mantis’ theme. In terms of fit and finish, this is not the worst EV I have encountered but there is still a fair bit of work that needs to be done before customers start getting their hands on the bike.

Orxa Mantis battery, motor and performance

The Orxa Mantis is powered by a 9kWh lithium-ion battery pack that sends power to a liquid- cooled motor that makes 27bhp of power and 93Nm of torque. Orxa claims a top-speed of 135kmph and a 0-100kmph time of 8.9 seconds. We could not put these claims to the test owing to the small go-kart track we were riding at. More importantly, Orxa has kept the thermal management so conservative that the bike would go into a low-power mode not even half a lap into riding fast. So at this point I can’t tell you with certainty what this bike feels like in terms of performance but it feels closer to something like the Tork Kratos R than the Ultraviolette F77. The throttle response was acceptable and Orxa have tuned it such that the response will be very linear till 20kmph so as to not catch anyone off-guard. So a more in-depth analysis of the performance will be given when we have spent time with a motorcycle with better thermal management.

he motorcycle is the lightest in the segment, weighing 182kg
he motorcycle is the lightest in the segment, weighing 182kgShot by Avdhoot A Kolhe for evo India

In terms of the battery, with the 9kWh unit Orxa claims an IDC estimated range of 221km. How accurate this estimation is, is something we can confirm at a later date.

Orxa Mantis chassis, ride and handling

The Mantis deploys a first in class all aluminium frame and subframe setup. This frame is suspended on a telescopic fork setup at the front and a monoshock at the rear. The motor sends power to the rear wheel via a belt drive system and for easy maintenance of the belt, Orxa have implemented a modular swingarm design. Comments on ride quality will be reserved for when we ride on the roads in real world conditions but in terms of the handling this one is a bit of an oddball.

The bikes I rode had a strange issue where the front end would start juddering violently if you get on the brakes. This means trail braking is out of question. The wheel combinations are interesting with a 110-section tyre at the front and a 130 at the rear. While the bike is fairly quick to turn in, I feel it would be nicer with a narrower front tyre. This is something Orxa will look into with future revisions but nothing is concrete yet. Handling-wise the bike felt sporty enough but because of the motor going into limp mode so quickly we couldn’t test the full potential of the chassis as we weren’t caring enough speed to fully lean the bike over. That being said the 182kg kerb weigh makes for a nimble bike overall.

The Orxa Mantis has a wheelbase of 1450mm and a seat height of 815mm
The Orxa Mantis has a wheelbase of 1450mm and a seat height of 815mmShot by Avdhoot A Kolhe for evo India

On the braking front you have a radially mounted ByBre calliper at the front and a single-piston calliper at the rear, with single-channel ABS only. But the rear wheel tends to lock up with little effort and especially considering the price tag, not fitting it with a dual-channel ABS seems like an oversight. In terms of ergonomics, the Mantis offers a comfortable riders triangle with an 815mm saddle height. While the weight height isn’t a lot, the placement of the frame and the body panels are such that there’s a sharp notch digging into your thigh when you try to grip the bike or get your legs down to move the bike around. This pain point is compounded further when you factor in the lack of a reverse mode or any riding modes for that matter.

The Orxa Mantis has a ground clearance of 180mm
The Orxa Mantis has a ground clearance of 180mmShot by Avdhoot A Kolhe for evo India

Orxa Mantis features

The Orxa Mantis gets an all-LED lighting setup, including LED turn signals. Then there is a colour TFT screen with optional navigation function. These features were not available yet, so we can’t comment on the functionality just yet. The Mantis doesn’t get any riding modes out a reverse mode either and that seems like a bit of a miss. Other features included a distance to empty, odometer, the ability to customise the screen by choosing different themes and pairing your phone via bluetooth. The screen took well over thirty seconds to boot up and still has a lot of glitches in the UI, glitches that we have been promised will be resolved close to launch.

Orxa Mantis verdict

While Orxa doesn’t mention this, the Orxa in terms of features and performance slots in between something like the Tork Kratos R and the base model of the Ultraviolette F77. The Mantis commands a ₹3.6 lakh, ex-showroom price tag and will be available only in Bangalore to begin with when deliveries begin in April 2024. Is the Mantis worth the asking price? As has been the case with many EV makers in the past, the Mantis is far from ready. There are many teething and quality issues that have to be resolved before deliveries can begin. The thing with the Mantis is that there is a potentially good motorcycle hidden in the exoskeleton, but Orxa will have to really roll up their sleeves and work hard for that bike to come through. Till that happens, the Orxa Mantis is a difficult bike to recommend.

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