Motorcycle review: Ultraviolette F77 – A motorcycle, not just a motor on a cycle | The Financial Express

Motorcycle review: Ultraviolette F77 – A motorcycle, not just a motor on a cycle

Although it’s far from perfect, and will improve with customer feedback, the F77 is the finest electric motorcycle in India, as of now

Motorcycle, review
The F77 is an electric motorcycle made by Bengaluru-based start-up Ultraviolette Automotive.

LiveWire, Zero, Tork, Stark Future, Ultraviolette … the names of electric motorcycle models/companies stand out. But do electric motorcycles also stand out? Here is our first-ride experience of the Ultraviolette F77.

What is Ultraviolette F77?

The F77 is an electric motorcycle made by Bengaluru-based start-up Ultraviolette Automotive. It has been developed by a team that includes people from aerospace, electronics, consumer technology and automotive industries.

Ultraviolette was founded in 2016 by Narayan Subramaniam and Niraj Rajmohan, two college friends from Bengaluru. The biggest investor in this start-up is TVS Motor Company (Rs 30 crore in 2020, following on from Rs 6 crore in 2018).

How is the design?

It’s almost the same size as TVS Apache RR 310 or BMW G 310 R, but looks bigger because of its massive battery storage area (the battery takes up the space occupied by the fuel tank and the engine in a petrol motorcycle).

It doesn’t have a clutch lever, the handlebars are low, the front headlamp unit looks a bit like Ducati Monster’s, the rear seat is high, it doesn’t have an exhaust pipe, and the instrument cluster is a screen. The F77 also sports the colours of the Indian flag as a small insignia.

How big is the battery?

There are two variants: F77 (7.1 kWh) and F77 Recon (10.3 kWh). The F77 has a range of 206 km (under ideal conditions) and the F77 Recon can go 307 km on full charge.

For this review, I rode the F77 Recon.

How does it ride?

It’s quick: 0-60 km/h in just 3.1 seconds and 0-100 km/h in 8 seconds.

It’s quiet, too—it produces a very ‘electric’ sound, like that of a kitchen mixer, but also like that of a fighter jet (if heard from a distance).

The riding position is body-forward. For riding on a race track or short commutes within a city, the F77 seems perfect, but it’s not a motorcycle for long rides.

There are three riding modes: Glide, Combat and Ballistic (quick, quicker and quickest).

Does it feel ‘different’?

One, there is no clutch lever and that takes some getting used to.

Two, there are no engine vibrations that means more comfort.

Three, there is no engine heat and so riding in summers will be cool.

Four, acceleration from any speed to any speed is very quick. For example, 0-40 km/h feels as quick as 40-80 km/h. But at speeds above 100 km/h, acceleration tapers down.

Five, the entire motorcycle feels ‘clean’. It doesn’t have an engine and therefore no engine oil leakage.

How does it charge?

It comes with a standard charger that can add 35 km of range per hour. You can buy a boost charger (75 km per hour). Both need a 15 ampere socket.

Challenges for electric bikes

While riding it on public roads, I faced the following challenges:

—It’s almost silent (when not accelerating hard), and this doesn’t alert cars or big vehicles, and when they don’t hear you, they can hit you. So you have to be extra cautious, especially on blind corners.

—The claimed range is very good, but when you accelerate hard (which the peppy bikes coaxes you to), the range drop is quick. If you are doing an intercity ride without access to a charging station, you have to plan carefully.

—On a slope, you can put a petrol motorcycle in first gear and park without worrying about it rolling down. But I struggled to park the F77 on a slope because it doesn’t have gears. Ultraviolette executives, however, told me they will soon fit a hill-hold feature on the F77.

Is it better than petrol bikes?

The F77 is a one-of-a-kind electric motorcycle, and all its competitors are petrol bikes. Most are far more affordable, and are faster, and have a longer range.

The F77 is priced Rs 3.8 lakh and the F77 Recon Rs 4.55 lakh. Its primary competitors are TVS Apache RR 310 (Rs 2.65 lakh), BMW G 310 R (Rs 2.8 lakh) and KTM RC 390 (Rs 3.16 lakh). Petrol bikes have a century of R&D behind them, so they have to be better in overall riding, performance and ownership. The F77, instead of challenging petrol head-on, will create its own niche.

It’s far from perfect and will get better with customer feedback, but it’s possibly just the right start the world of electric motorcycling needed.

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First published on: 04-02-2023 at 02:10 IST