Author: Andrew Thijssen – BMS E-Motorrijder | Taiwanese ottobike Group is an electric mobility company headquartered in New Taipei City. An unknown name in the motorcycle world? That may be so, because the ottobike Group was founded in 2016. Under the brand name “ovaobike” – without a capital letter – ottobike presents a serie of 3 electric street motorcycles: the MCR-H, MCR-M and the single-seater MCR-S. The ovaobike MCR-M is the subject of this review.
MCR stands for “Mini City Racer”, the second M refers to the mid-engine. The name of this electric motorcycle clearly refers to the use of this motorbike: urban use and commuter use. The MCR-M is equipped with 2 non-removable batteries with a combined capacity of 9.6 kWh. The onboard charger is a 1.2 kW version and you can plug it into any home, garden and kitchen outlet. The motorcycle is equipped with 14 inch wheels. The liquid-cooled motor is centrally located and has a nominal power of 11 kW. That makes this motorcycle suitable for an A1 driving license. The peak power is 17 kW. The specified electric torque of the MCR-M is 35 Nm. The rear wheel is driven by a silent maintenance-free belt. The suspension consists of a UPSD 35 mm fork and a 218 mm mono link system with “piggyback” suspension at the rear. This is adjustable, you can adjust the rebound damping and spring preload. Braking is done with a single disc in the front and rear wheel. There is also apparently a gear lever present. More about those brakes and that gear lever later.
The design is modern, sleek and neatly finished. The plastic bodywork is in this case sprayed with a kind of anthracite glow lacquer. The compact drivetrain and the battery placed forward create a large open space around the rear wheel so that the buddy seat seems to float. In combination with the fairing and the low-positioned modern headlight, the ovaobike seems to be a bit upside down. This gives the motorcycle, partly due to the 14 inch wheels, a compact sporty look. This is enhanced by the low sporty steering wheel, the dashboard and the cool streetfighter mirrors on the handlebars. The MCR-M is equipped with a beautiful single-sided swingarm and striking cast wheels.
The ovaobike MCR-M is a compact motorcycle, getting on it is no problem. You sit slightly forward and that gives a good feeling of control over the motorcycle. The two-stage saddle is somewhat thinly padded but not annoying. The view of the compact, fully digital dashboard is fine. This dashboard gives you all the necessary information at a glance. You activate the motorcycle keyless. Flipping a switch on the right handlebar brings the dashboard to life visually and acoustically, complete with welcome text. You have 10 seconds to press the start button, if not, the motorcycle deactivates itself including salute. The controls easily show you the way thanks to the excellent ergonomics. You can choose from 5 driving modes: Eco, Comfort and Sport to start with. In addition, there is a “Turbo” mode and a handy reverse mode.
Driving in the city
Get on, activate, fold jiffy and drive. It couldn’t be simpler. The ovaobike moves quietly and almost silently, but fast enough to be at the front of the city at the traffic light. You are treated to a quiet but unobtrusive smooth acceleration due to the absence of the gear changes. Due to the sporty seating position, the relatively low weight of 188 kg and the 14-inch wheels, the ovaobike Mini City Racer can be manoeuvred through city traffic at ‘lightning speed’. To avoid fines, you can choose the ECO mode. Turning on the road is a breeze due to the tight turning circle. Braking is via a single 270 mm floating disc with a thick 4-piston radially mounted Brembo caliper. In the rear wheel is a 200 mm disc with Brembo 2-piston caliper. Front and rear brakes are combined. Needless to say, the brakes are perfect. Braking in city traffic is mainly done regeneratively. You do this by clicking the “shift lever” downwards and set the regeneration to maximum. The lever has 4 positions, 3 for braking and a freewheel. This can be read on the dashboard. Indicating the direction gives a clearly audible signal. Safe!
Driving outside the city
Driving on main roads is no punishment on this 11 kW strong ovaobike MCR-M. The electric couple provides relaxed acceleration. Think of a 0-100 km/h of 10 seconds. Smooth overtaking manoeuvres are also possible. A 60-80 km/h takes just 3 seconds and the 80-100 km/h intermediate sprint takes 4 seconds. The motorcycle takes long and short turns with playful ease and is still easy to take off its line in this cornering if necessary. Ground clearance is always plentiful. The suspension is set quite comfortably from the factory. In sport mode, a frame in the dashboard changes from yellow to red up to 80 km/h. As soon as you exceed 80 km/h, a red frame will flash on the dashboard. You can only be warned.
Driving on the highway
Driving on the highway is quite possible in sport mode, but only intended for connectors. The top speed is 120 km/h. With the “turbo boost” you can get some extra power above 80 km/h, but then the battery must be at least 50% full. That turbo boost is fun but it’s not Fast & Furious style… The ovaobike feels nicely stable. The view in the widely placed mirrors gives a good and clear view to the rear.
A city / commuter motorcycle must be practical as well as manoeuvrable. For that reason, there is also a storage space at the location of the tank. You can unlock this with an activated engine via a push button on the left handlebar, the valve will open automatically. You can store a lunch box or other small items in this space. A laptop will not fit. In the large compartment is another lockable compartment where the charging port is located and there is some space for paperwork. Furthermore, there are no luggage options. The motorcycle has a two-stage saddle and therefore offers space for a duo passenger. The light sensor is also useful. You always drive with the driving lights, but as soon as it gets dark, the dipped beam switches on automatically.
ovaobike gives a range of 250 km at 50 km/h. We have not been able to try that. A combination fast/B road with a light and slender person resulted in a range of 135 km. A commuter distance on B roads with a rider with above average weight and stature resulted in a range of 100 km. Loading from empty to full takes about 8 hours. From 20%-80% takes 5.5 hours. It should be mentioned that the battery was still brand new and the performance is expected to improve somewhat with use.
This A1 city / commuter motorcycle has a striking appearance. Neatly finished with nice details such as the mirrors, the turbo boost, light sensor, acoustic support and the load space with plug-in options. But the ovaobike especially fits in this rapidly changing times. The driving characteristics are more than good and above all pleasant. The 11 kW nominal power may initially deter some people, but practice shows that it is sufficient for the user’s purpose to drive pleasantly and safely with the traffic. This motorcycle is not intended for long touring rides. The small battery gives the ovaobike MCR-M a functional range. However, due to the small battery, the range is sensitive to the size of the rider. The charging system has the advantage that you can charge with a thin charging cable that you can easily take with you. A little more charging speed would be more practical to recharge a little faster in between, which makes the possibilities just a bit larger.