Orxa Mantis review: not just yet

Orxa Mantis price, performance, design, features: review.

We've seen a lot of companies try to make electric two-wheelers functional and useful – practical e-scooters that offer running cost benefits. However, the list of companies trying to make electric two-wheelers fun is much smaller. Ather has managed an e-scooter platform that's quite enjoyable to ride, and much higher up the price scale you've got Ultraviolette with its sporty F77 electric motorcycle. The latest to arrive on the scene is Bengaluru-based startup Orxa Energies with its debut product, the Mantis e-bike. This is a performance-oriented electric motorcycle that sits in the ballpark of the Ultraviolette F77, in terms of price as well as performance. We got a brief first impression, spinning a handful of laps at a go-karting circuit in Bangalore.

Orxa Mantis battery, powertrain

One big talking point here is the fact that the Mantis is using a liquid-cooled motor, which Orxa says helps with packaging – it's allowed them to make this a compact and light motor. We're told it weighs 11.5kg. And in terms of output, you've got a fairly healthy 28hp and 93Nm. The issue here, though, is that these figures don't translate into the real world.

Despite the motor being liquid-cooled, after just two laps on track (less than 2.5km), we got a high temperature warning on the dash, accompanied by some pretty drastic de-rating of the motor. By the end of our 5-lap stint, the de-rating was so severe that this 20kW Mantis felt no quicker than the 8kW Oben Rorr that I rode just a few weeks ago. This was a little disappointing, to say the least, since on paper, the Mantis is supposed to deliver performance that's in the ballpark of something like a 30hp (22kW) KTM 250 Duke, and it currently falls well short of that. There's clearly a great deal of work still to be done here before Orxa proceeds with deliveries in April next year.

Orxa Mantis issues we faced

Having been given just five laps of a go-karting circuit (less than 5km) on board the Mantis, it's impossible to say anything about long-distance comfort. What we can tell you about is ergonomics – it's a fairly comfortable and upright riding position, and the Mantis should be able to accommodate riders of most sizes. It does feel a little tall, with an 815mm seat height, but not overly so. The pillion seat, though, is so tiny it seems more ornamental than anything else.

We didn't push the Mantis too hard in our time with it. That's partly down to the motor de-rating so severely, and partly down to the track still being partially wet and dirty from some rain. But also because the chassis package failed to inspire much confidence with little feedback from the front end, not much sense of what's going on at the contact patches, and a strange judder under hard braking on a number of different bikes at the test.

Orxa Mantis design, features

Perhaps the biggest reason why the Mantis will grab most people's attention is for the way it looks. It's quite a distinctive design, with a number of interesting elements across the bike. Areas like the aluminium rear subframe and the storage space on top of the fuel tank are quite neat, though the overall appearance may not be to everyone's taste. Build quality is acceptable for the most part, and the Mantis feels reasonably well put together. But there are some rough surface finishes and general coarseness in places.

The Mantis gets a colour TFT display and the only real thing you need to know about it is that it takes over 30 seconds to come on once you turn the key on. This only adds to the list of items to suggest that the Mantis isn't quite a finished product just yet.

Orxa Mantis verdict

As a new manufacturer attempting to enter a premium space with its very first product, Orxa is already fighting an uphill battle trying to convince customers to shell out a hefty Rs 3.6 lakh for a bike wearing badges they've never seen before. The fact that this bike feels quite far from ready will only add to the challenge.

Had the Mantis been able to deliver what it promises on paper, it would have made for an interesting motorcycle, and provided some much needed competition for the likes of the Ultraviolette F77. As things stand at the moment though, this is a fairly difficult motorcycle to digest, especially at this price point, and it's probably a little too early for even brave early adopters to be looking at this bike.

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