The new Revolt RV400 is unlike any motorcycle you would’ve ever ridden. From 0-40kph, it’s quicker than most 150cc petrol bikes; it produces a buzzing, humming, whirring sound (it can be changed to sound like a petrol bike as well); and you don’t need to pay an upfront cost to buy it (just pay monthly instalments).
Interesting, isn’t it?
The RV400 (and its variant RV300), launched earlier this week—Revolt Motors is a company started by Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma—is a new step in two-wheeler electric mobility in India. Unlike most 60-odd-km range electric scooters you would see on the roads, the RV400 has a longer maximum range (150-km), better acceleration, higher top speed (80kph), and looks stunning.
However, while it’s got the juice and the looks for city riding, the looks are heavily inspired by a certain Chinese motorcycle.
The RV400 is powered by a 3.24 kWh lithium-ion battery that generates an output of 72V and has a maximum range of 150-km on a single charge. Plugged to a regular three-pin electricity point at home, it can be charged up to 75% in three hours, and fully in 4.5 hours. However, the claimed range of 150-km can be achieved only if it’s ridden at a top speed of 45kph (in the Eco mode). In case you ride faster (at 80kph), the range can drop to about 80-km. Even riding at 65kph, the range drops to 100-km.
The good side
I rode it for about two hours on a go-karting track in Noida, near Delhi, and in a few areas the RV400 did impress.
One, an electric motor provides instant torque, or pulling power, and this torque is uniform across speeds—i.e. you may accelerate from 0-40kph or 40-80kph, and the RV400 won’t feel low on power. Imagine coming out of a corner on a 150cc petrol bike in a higher gear—you downshift, you use throttle to accelerate, the engine meanwhile takes a second or two to produce maximum torque, and then you feel the bike pulling through. No such drama in the RV400—you just give it full throttle, and the motor works for you.
Two, the RV400 feels safe while braking. It has a combined braking system (both front and rear are 240-mm disc brakes). What helps this ‘feeling of safety’ is that the bike has a limited top speed (the faster you go, the longer it takes for a vehicle to stop).
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Three, thanks to its wide tyres (front is 90/80-17, and rear is 120/80-17), you can corner it like a pro, and even at low speeds.
Four, it has an adjustable monoshock (rear), which makes riding very comfortable, and has a high ground clearance of 215-mm. As part of the accessories package, Revolt is offering a connected helmet in partnership with Google; it allows you start the bike using a voice command: Revolt Start. In addition, riders can choose from four different exhaust sounds (can be changed using the app) and more can be downloaded, too. All these features make the bike quite futuristic.
The not-so-good side
For India’s first electric motorcycle to be heavily inspired by a Chinese motorcycle—the Super Soco TS—doesn’t speak well about our design innovation capabilities. Taking design cues might have been okay, but from certain angles the RV400 looks like a rehashed version of the TS.
The company says the motorcycle comes with introductory benefits such as unlimited battery warranty (8 years, 1.5 lakh km), free maintenance (3 years, 30,000-km), product warranty (5 years, 75,000-km) and insurance (1-year company-owned, 5 years third-party). Also, you don’t need to pay an upfront cost to buy it—the RV400 can be owned starting Rs 3,499 per month (and there is a lower-specced model RV300 that costs Rs 2,999 per month). As of now, it’s available only in Delhi, and subsequently in Pune.
(This review is based on a curated two-hour ride in ‘ideal’ conditions; the performance of the motorcycle in real city-riding conditions—in stop-and-go traffic and potholed roads—may be different.)