2022 Tork Kratos R first ride review
This is the Tork Kratos R, one of the few electric motorcycles to have ever been launched in the country. It's been in the making for over six years now, so we're elated to have ben invited to finally ride it. Over the last six months, we've seen a flurry of electric two-wheelers being launched in India, but most of them are scooters. This Kratos R was launched in Jan 2022 this year with a price of Rs 1.23 lakh (ex-showroom, Pune, inclusive of FAME and state subsidies) attached, along with a slightly more affordable standard Kratos model, and the bike we're test riding today, the R - the higher-specced version - is still in its pre-production form. So yes, it will undergo a couple of tweaks here and there before the production ready models roll out, but today, we're going to get a little taste of what the much-awaited electric motorcycle will soon bring to two-wheeler EV table in India.
The Tork Kratos R bares much resemblance to the T6X concept electric bike that the company pulled the covers off back in 2016. The Kratos R has got quite an aggressive look about it with its sharp body panels which include the tank extensions which flow down to the bikini fairing which also help disguise the mass of the battery and controller unit located where the engine would normally sit on a regular ICE bike. Even the y-shaped allow wheels add a sporty touch to it all. The Kratos and the R share the same bodywork including the LED lighting units at both ends. Overall it's a very sharp looking motorcycle with an aggressive stance.
In terms of the Kratos Rs fit and finish, I feel Tork could have done a lot better. The switchgear felt good to employ, there were some functions that come across as unnecessary like the double rap of the kill-switch that engages the drive of the motorcycle. There were times where a single touch would do the trick, or sometimes not work at all. There are lots of panel gaps all over the place like between the seat and tank, under the seat, etc. There are ill-fit plastic bits like the bikini fairing that protrudes forward and makes contact with the front fork on a full turn-in. Also, the hard plastic rear number-plate holder is very brittle and can be prone to snapping off with the mudguard subject to constant vibrations after you hit a relatively long rough patch of road.
Tork tell us that the Kratos and the R have been developed completely in-house. Both versions of the bike house the same 4kWh, 48V lithium Ion battery pack which gives them a claimed range of 70km in Sport and a maximum of 120km in Eco mode. With all the toggling between modes on this short ride, I can't really confirm the range capability of the R this time around. While the standard Kratos gets a less powerful motor of the pair which is an axial flux 7.5kW motor that produces 29Nm of peak torque, the Kratos R we're testing today gets a more powerful 9kW motor which puts down a max of 38Nm.
The standard Kratos comes packed with a good amount of features that include multi-drive modes, reverse mode, an anti-theft system and a glovebox with USB charger where you would otherwise have fuel stored, the Kratos R gets the additional features like geofencing, find my vehicle, crash alert, track mode and analytics, vacation mode and charging network access for free for a period of two years as well as. Now, on this ride we had a couple of issues with the LDC display. First up, the display unit would switch off and reset randomly with the bike running perfectly well on a good patch of road.
The standard Kratos is said to take around 4-5hours to come to a complete charge from the regular home charging unit, while the R gets a fast charger which the company claim can charge the battery up to 80 per cent in one hour. Like the Kratos R, the standard Kratos is capable of receiving Over-The-Air (OTA) updates.
Ride and Handling:
The Kratos R will make you assume a slightly forward set, aggressive riding stance with its flat handlebar, the rear set footpegs. The shape of the tank and the seat will leave you with enough room to shift about should you feel the need to take corners on hard. The in-house built chassis which has the battery unit as a stressed member is just lovely and the bike handles quick changes in direction really well. The suspension is a bit on the stiffer side and you'll feel most almost all minor bumps that you traverse over through the handle bar, but the front end gives a good amount feedback of holds up very nicely at all speeds. The rear suspension and brakes perform very well and you always feel in control of the bike even over loose surfaces much of this has to do with the bike's well managed centre of gravity. The Kratos R's brakes are activated by the levers on the handle bar, which takes a while to get used to, and although there's CBS, I felt that the bite of the front brake when the right lever is employed could be a lot better.
When it came down to the performance aspects of the Kratos R, here's where we were let down quite a bit. Off the line in Eco Mode, the bike feels quite sluggish and as one would expect, accelerates at a very conservative pace. In Power mode, the bike accelerates with better intent, but still seemed to be lacking a certain amount of gusto. What came as a shock to us on the test was the fact that the bike tended to overheat quite rapidly after just over 15 minutes of giving it the beans in Power mode, as the tiny digital meter on the dash would often indicate. This would lead to the bike losing power and at times crawling forward with the throttle wide open. This came as quite a surprise considering the fact that the location we tested the Kratos R was a public road which didn't include overly steep gradients. Yes the outside temp was quite hot, but all considered, it shouldn't have affected the bike the way it did. So, Tork will have to sort out the issue with the battery heating this quickly.
Once again, the Tork Kratos R we're riding today is a pre-production motorcycle and this bike shows the tremendous effort that has gone into making this motorcycle reach this stage in its life cycle. Yes, there are things that we like about the Kratos R like the styling, seat, chassis and the ergo, and the bike as a whole shows a lot of promise, however, there are unfortunately a lot of issues with the bike that Tork have to iron out before it plans to commence deliveries later this April.