F77 ON TRACK

Can the Ul­travi­o­lette F77 lead the charge for elec­tric per­for­mance mo­tor­cy­cles?

Evo India - - CONTENTS - WORDS by AB­HISHEK WAIRAGADE PHO­TOG­RA­PHY by RO­HIT G MANE

The Ul­travi­o­lette F77 elec­tric bike tested at the MMRT

IT’S SU­PER­MAN! RE­ALLY; IN A WORLD dom­i­nated by KTMs and Royal En­fields comes the Ul­travi­o­lette F77 as a breath of, er, fresh Kryp­tonite. It wasn’t born in Smallville, though, but a garage-like fa­cil­ity near Ben­galuru. It’s all-elec­tric like so many other scoot­ers and mo­tor­cy­cles that are pop­ping out ev­ery week from not just the Sil­i­con Val­ley of India but ev­ery metropoli­tan city. How­ever, the catch here is the fo­cus on per­for­mance and not ef­fi­ciency. Is the F77 the su­per­hero we all need to sa­ti­ate our Thrill of Rid­ing?

Is it like a UFO?

The F77 seems ab­so­lutely space-age and seems to be tele­ported straight from Kryp­ton. I was al­ready im­pressed by the de­sign at the launch that was held in­doors in a fancy ho­tel in Ben­galuru. But see­ing the F77 on the track re­ally blew me away. It may not seem slick in the pic­tures but in the flesh, it is sim­ply mind blow­ing.

Work be­gan on the F77 back in 2016 and it is as­ton­ish­ing to see what the team has man­aged to cook up within such a short time­frame. A small tête-à-tête with Ak­shay Kamthe, se­nior de­signer, Ul­travi­o­lette, at the launch event sug­gested that the F77 is a new prod­uct from the ground up. Ob­vi­ously, the cells are im­ported but the mod­u­lar bat­tery pack is com­pletely de­signed in India. And Ul­travi­o­lette claims that it is one of the most dense bat­tery packs cur­rently avail­able on earth. Each mo­d­ule (1.5kWh x 3) weighs about 8kg and can be charged in­di­vid­u­ally us­ing in­tel­li­gently de­signed pods. You can also pur­chase in­di­vid­ual mod­ules for ad­di­tional range. The 4.5kWh bat­tery (4.2kWh avail­able to use) of­fers a range of 130-150km in real world con­di­tions, claims the com­pany. And that’s with­out com­pro­mis­ing on the per­for­mance, un­like other main­stream elec­tric two-wheel­ers on sale in the coun­try. The claimed fig­ure of 0-100kmph is quite im­pres­sive, too, at 7sec, mak­ing it al­most as quick as the Royal En­field In­ter­cep­tor 650. The top

speed is rated at 147kmph, on par with the BMW G 310 R. The weight, at 158kg, is sim­i­lar to the G 310 R as well. The cur­rent weight dis­tri­bu­tion is 49:51 (front:rear) but the team is still eval­u­at­ing the ar­chi­tec­ture and things are ex­pected to change slightly on the fi­nal pro­duc­tion model. Ul­travi­o­lette hasn’t skimped on the com­po­nents ei­ther, and the F77 comes with top-shelf equip­ment. The brakes sourced are By­bre and can also be found on the KTM 390 Duke. The rear monoshock, too, is from KTM’s in­ven­tory but is ex­pected to be changed on the pro­duc­tion model.

Race ready?

We barely spent about 12 min­utes at the Madras Mo­tor Race Track near Chennai astride the Ul­travi­o­lette F77 but ini­tial im­pres­sions seem to be re­ally promis­ing. The er­gos are al­most spot on for some­one with my physique (al­most 6ft tall, heavy built) al­though I would have liked wider bars and some­what ex­tra space for my bot­tom. We could not test the un­hinged In­sane mode ow­ing to bat­tery re­stric­tions (yet to be sealed) and had to make do with Sport mode.

Un­like other elec­tric two-wheel­ers I have tested so far, the F77 comes with a chain drive. It is some­what noisy but the de­liv­ery seems very fa­mil­iar. The progress is quick till 60kmph af­ter which it be­comes slightly lazy but that does not mean it’s slow. Not at all. I could hit 130kmph on the main straight be­fore slow­ing down for C2 but there was a lot more grunt left in the mo­tor. Ini­tial im­pres­sions are that of a very friendly mo­tor, com­fort­able at low speeds which would make it ex­tremely po­tent in ur­ban con­di­tions. Aided by its agility we be­lieve the F77 would turn out to be a hoot to slice through traf­fic.

Yes, the agility is very KTM-like ow­ing to ex­actly the same wheelbase and rake an­gle (23.5deg) as the RC 390. The front-end is su­per duper sharp but the rear is ex­tremely soft. The end re­sult was a very wob­bly ride through cor­ners at the MMRT, es­pe­cially with my body weight to lug around. The en­gi­neers said the monoshock is to blame. But fret not, we ex­pect it to be re­placed with a be­spoke shock be­fore the F77 goes into pro­duc­tion.

The brak­ing, too, is ex­tremely sharp and im­pres­sive with the F77 com­ing to a halt with­out any drama. ABS was not ac­tive on the test bikes as Con­ti­nen­tal is yet to cal­i­brate the sys­tem for the F77, claimed the Ul­travi­o­lette team.

ICE-killer?

Mind you, the F77s that we rode were pre-pro­duc­tion mod­els and were plagued with a lot of teething is­sues. The bike conked off on sev­eral oc­ca­sions dur­ing the ride while the in­stru­ment clus­ter, too, was not run­ning up to stan­dard. The switchgear was yet to be sourced and we couldn’t test even half the fea­tures Ul­travi­o­lette had promised at the launch. But mind you, these is­sues are ex­pected to be taken care of be­fore de­liv­er­ies be­gin in Oc­to­ber 2020.

Con­sid­er­ing the bike’s been in the mak­ing only for three years, the re­sult is quite com­mend­able. The book­ings are open, though, and op­er­a­tions are ex­pected to be­gin on Ul­travi­o­lette’s home­ground – Ben­galuru. The range starts at `3 lakh and goes up to `3.25 lakh, on-road. Ul­travi­o­lette is also of­fer­ing op­tional ac­ces­sories in­clud­ing Brembo monoblocs, ad­justable levers and Pirelli Su­per­cor­sas.

They clearly have the 200 to 300cc mo­tor­cy­cles in their crosshairs and the F77 is at par when it comes to per­for­mance. The range is still a ques­tion mark but with a choice of op­tional bat­tery mod­ules and por­ta­ble fast charg­ers, they prom­ise it’ll be taken care of.

If you are scared of heights, would you ever be able to fly like Su­per­man? I don’t think so. But the Ul­travi­o­lette has taken a gi­ant leap of faith and the F77 car­ries the hopes of many, many petrol­heads, all with­out wear­ing the red cape and S badge. ⌧

Top: Fast charger takes 90min to top up the bat­tery. Above: Not the fi­nal ver­sion of the clus­ter. Fac­ing page, bot­tom: Each mo­d­ule has a ca­pac­ity of 1.5kWh; head­lamp is very 1290 Su­per Duke-ish

UL­TRAVI­O­LETTE F77 Pow­er­train 4.5kWh Li-ion bat­tery, Per­ma­nent mag­net AC mo­tor Trans­mis­sion Sin­gle-speed Power 33bhp Torque 90Nm Weight 158kg 0-100kmph 7sec (claimed) Top speed 147kmph (claimed) Price `3-3.25 lakh (on-road)

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