Simple One first ride review | A worthy Ather 450X rival?
Do you remember the Simple One electric scooter that was showcased over a year ago? Yes, we’re talking about the same scooter that launched the day the Ola S1 and S1 Pro were launched and had all the figures that seemed too good to be true. It has been nearly a year since and we’ve finally gotten a chance to get our hands on it to see if the scooter lives up to the hype and delivers on all the claims that Simple made.
Simple One design
The Simple One is a striking scooter. Its cuts and creases lend it a sharp, chiselled stance. The Simple One looks like the amalgamation of the styling of a traditional sporty ICE-powered scooter and designs we can expect from manufacturers in the future. The headlight of the One is a triangular LED unit on the bottom of the front apron with LED DRLs above. Behind those, sits a massive, although now normal, 7-inch colour TFT instrument cluster. These instruments are bright, easy to read and as expected, touch-enabled. The scooters we were riding were running a beta OS, meaning some features were not operational, something Simple assured us would be up and running when deliveries commence.
Moving behind, you have a large seat, which held up well over the few hours we spent on the One. Larger riders will also find it fairly comfortable, other than finding their knees come in the way of the handlebar while making U-turns, something the company aims to rectify, by re-profiling the seat. In the side profile, the Simple One continues the same sharp design philosophy and so does the rear with twin LED strips making up a protruding tail light. The build quality is not yet up to an acceptable level, something that Simple is confident they can rectify before deliveries start. An interesting thing to note is that the design of the scooter has changed slightly since being unveiled in August 2021.
Simple One battery and performance
When launched last year, the Simple One boasted specifications that would immediately make it a class leader — 4.8kWh battery, 4.5kW nominal power (8.5kW peak), 72Nm of torque, 203km of real-world range, 105kmph top speed. These are all the numbers that made the Simple One stand out in the sea of electric scooters. How do these numbers add up? Right from the get-go, the Simple One feels fast and accelerates with vigour. At the same time, the throttle is well calibrated, so there aren’t any jerks while the scooter gains momentum with linear acceleration. The One has 4 modes to choose from — Eco, Ride, Dash and Sonic. As you work your way up the modes, performance becomes snappier and your range falls. The property we rode in didn’t have long enough roads for me to test the top speed, but hammering down a few stretches, I did manage to clock a sprightly 80kmph, and the One certainly felt like it had some more to give! The Simple One also has a regenerative braking system which as of now is limited to a single mode, offering about 3 per cent regen while coasting. This isn’t quite perceivable, but the engineers divulged there’s an additional mode in the works, where engine braking level feel will be activated by shutting the throttle past its resting position. This is a feature I’m really looking forward to testing. Another good feature, like with the Ather 450X, is power doesn’t cut off the second you touch the brakes, making it safer to navigate U-turns and tight corners.
As for range, Simple claims the One is capable of returning 203km on a full charge if ridden sensibly. This comes from two batteries, a fixed floorboard unit and a detachable one in the boot. Unfortunately, this is not something I was able to put to test, considering the limited time we had with the scooter. But according to what the trip-meter and range indicator were displaying over the course of the few hours that I spent with the scooter, I’m inclined to assume it is possible to extract close to 180-190km if riding really gently. If the One does manage this, yes, that’s seriously impressive. To make things more interesting, you can carry an extra detachable battery in the boot and connect that when the first one depletes, furthering range. Smart move, this.
Simple One ride and handling
In terms of chassis setup, the Simple One has telescopic forks and a monoshock at the rear, that’s mounted on a bespoke aluminium swingarm. The scooter rides on 12-inch alloy wheels. This entire package ties together well to make for a well-balanced ride. It feels very poised in the way it goes over undulations. How it handles speed breakers and deeper potholes is something we can only say after spending more time with the scooter. The riding position is comfortable and the seat is well-cushioned. In terms of handling, the Simple One is an agile, yet stable scooter. It changes direction rapidly always feeling surefooted. You can have plenty of fun in the corners and that’s also courtesy of grippy MRF Zapper-N tires.
The only fly in the ointment in Simple One’s handling setup is it scrapes its underbelly easily. The chassis is capable of handling more lean but the bodywork prematurely kills the fun. Simple engineers are working on new design plastics in that area, to liberate two more degrees of lean angle on either side. Braking is courtesy of a three-pot Bybre calliper chomping on a 200mm disc in front and a single-piston Bybre calliper and 190mm disc at the rear. This setup comes with CBS and works well. You have a good initial bite, also enough feedback to properly modulate the lever to come to a controlled stop in any situation.
Simple One verdict
Now that fun time’s over, what do I think of the Simple One? As a package, this electric scooter is promising, but there’s also some work to first be done. Even as things stand, it is heartening to see an electric scooter that actually delivers on a significant amount of its claims. Yes, some features still aren’t functioning and build quality isn’t at par with rivals, like the Ather 450X. But at Rs 1.1 lakh, ex-showroom, the Simple One is great value for money. Would I recommend you go out and spend your hard-earned money on this scooter? Well, the answer to that is multifold. First up, the company has to live up to their promise to sort out the issues they promise are being addressed. Then, in the real world, the One shouldn’t be plagued by issues commonly prevalent with electric scooters these days. Thirdly, the One must actually deliver the promised range. If Simple manages to deliver on these three counts, I’d wholeheartedly recommend the One. Time will tell whether Simple can manage to accomplish all that.