Ultraviolette F77 Reckon: Akira Cometh?
Ultraviolette F77 Reckon: Akira Cometh?

A week with India’s most powerful electric motorcycle has revealed some intriguing parallels between the cult-classic anime from the ’80s and the current golden age of motorcycling in the country

Call it a cardinal sin, but my tryst with motorcycles doesn’t stem from speed or power; rather, it comes from movies and culture. I grew up watching the T-1000 chase Arnie on his ’92 Fat-Boy in Terminator 2. I remember planning a Wild Hogs-esque road trip with my mates and also being fascinated by the Hollister Riots of 1947, which gave motorcyclists the reputation they have today. Now with the Ultraviolette F77 in tow, I can’t help but think of 1988’s Akira. The parallels between the cult-classic anime and India’s most powerful electric motorcycle run deeper than the big red motorcycle they share between them.


A Moving Abstract



The art style in Akira doesn’t move like modern anime, and neither does it look like one. The Ultraviolette does something similar, with the F77 still treading the thin line between looking like a concept and a production-spec model, a design choice that is neither in the past nor the present. There’s also a big contradiction in its appearance, with the front profile giving it a naked streetfighter look, while the sides show the silhouettes of a sports bike, no thanks to the sealed-off fairing which houses India’s largest 10.5kWh battery put on two wheels.



Astride the visual drama, you’ll quickly notice the aggressively forward-set handlebars as well as the aggressively backward-set footpegs. While you’ll be tempted to focus on the 5.0-inch TFT dash, your initial thought will veer towards the unnerving absence of a left lever, which has become redundant on global electric motorcycles. However, when you do interact with the dash, the feeling isn’t as sleek as you’d expect, considering the overall package and price. Things seem a little glitchy and the screen appears a bit too busy. Looking ahead, I do wish for a clutter-free experience with a visually smoother layout.


Elephant In The Room



There’s no escaping its 207kg of weight. You feel it while moving it around the garage or during slow-speed turns. However, there are workarounds on offer here. Holding the ‘O’ button along with the “ignition” switch will activate the reverse mode. Although the experience isn’t as streamlined as I had hoped for, it does work wonders in negating the motor’s resistance noise, making it feel like a necessity.



But something happens with a twist of the throttle. Unlike most EVs I’ve experienced in the past, the F77 doesn’t, for the lack of a better word, shock you from the get-go. This was a conscious choice, as the folks at Ultraviolette put it, so as not to intimidate the rider, and safe to say, it works.


After getting comfy in its saddle, the riding position, and the lack of the left lever, the F77 doesn’t move like a heavy electric sports bike but rather like a sports bike. Once you get going, you do feel the surge of 95Nm of torque coming your way rapidly, but again, without intimidating you. I started with Glide mode, the tamest of the three, leisurely making my way through the unpaved path outside my house, and true to its name, it did “glide” over with a linear delivery.



After hitting the highway, I switched to the Combat mode, which I personally recommend for day-to-day use, offering a nuanced balance of bonkers and practical. While you can clock triple-digits in Combat mode, Ballistic is where things get a little, well ballistic, with the F77 unleashed, the experience is akin to what I’d imagine operating a super-sonic aircraft would feel like. Or as Maverick puts it, “you’ll feel the need for speed.”


Hitting The Twisties



Ultraviolette says that the chassis of the motorcycle had to be redesigned and strengthened, from its prototype that was showcased back in 2019, which also interestingly featured swappable batteries, that have been done away with. Coming back to the present though, the suspension and chassis work in tandem to hide the weight of the motorcycle in a clever way. The ride quality feels plush, coping with small and large bumps and potholes with ease, all of it also helping in easing the pain of its sporty saddle.



What doesn’t help though is the bike’s front-biased weight, which inadvertently loads up the front suspension. It steers heavily, requiring an extra bit of effort and some muscles to really hustle it around or do a lane change. I wouldn’t recommend riding it the “Indian way” in our traffic unless you’re absolutely sure of your skills. I am not and thus I didn’t. If things do get hairy though, the 320mm rotor does a good job of calming things down. Although I did experience a slight but noticeable amount of brake fade at the end of its week with us, while the ABS felt a bit too intrusive at times.


Range Anxiety? Not Really



On paper, its 10.3kWh battery offers a range of 307km (IDC) on a full charge, the highest of any two-wheeled EV offering in the country. How did they do it? Narayan Subramaniam, CEO and Co-founder of Ultraviolette, explains that there’s a separate team for battery innovation whose priority is to address “safety requirements, thermal management, and how all of this comes together in a volume that makes sense to fit in a motorcycle package.”


And a package they deliver, with range anxiety nowhere in sight as you twist the throttle. The Glide mode offers a top speed of 80kmph but with a real-world range of 261km. Combat and Ballistic, see a drop in this number, offering a range of 200km and 171km respectively, but in return offer enough power and top-speed on tap for both a spirited ride to the ghats on a weekend or day-to-day commute. Currently, there are three levels of regen – low, medium and high. In the real world, they do well…just okay. Setting it on low feels a little too tame, while high feels a little too much. The medium, though, fluctuates between the two but does the job better than the rest.



Now Ultraviolette says the F77 charges at the rate of 35km of range per hour, with a standard charger. The optional Boost Charger (Rs 26,650) that we had takes things up a notch, filling up the Reckon with a rate of 75km per hour. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to clock the exact charging time, but a rough estimate suggests that four or five hours of plug-in time should do the trick.


The Context And The Cost



“There was nothing, then there was Akira” is a sentiment that has echoed in the annals of anime history for decades. The cult classic created a seismic effect in the industry, redefining how modern anime is viewed today. But here’s where the important threads of the parallels start to emerge. Created by a collaboration of seven major studios, Akira came out in the mid to late 80s golden age of Anime.


In the backdrop of the motorcycling renaissance that the Indian motorcycle industry is currently witnessing, the homegrown electric startup, Ultraviolette, is attempting to do the same. Powered by millions in funding from Europe’s EXOR Capital, US-based Qualcomm Ventures, TVS Motor, Zoho Corp, Gofrugal Technologies, Speciale Invest, and celebrities like Dulquer Salmaan and Rannvijay Singha. While Toho delivered a moving piece of art that heralded a new era, the folks at Ultraviolette are trying something similar. But is their first offering a moving piece of art?



Well, yes, but an expensive one at that. The base model of the F77 costs Rs 3.80 lakh (ex-showroom). The one we tested, the F77 Reckon, with added goodies and a bit more frills, costs Rs 4.55 lakh. And here lies its Achilles heel. It is too expensive for the package it offers right now. However, just like Akira, I do believe the F77 is going to herald a new era of electric performance motorcycles in India. And, isn’t that exciting?


Image Credits – Abhijeet Landge, Ultraviolette, Toho

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