September 19, 2021

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Kabira Mobility KM3000, KM4000 review, test ride

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These are interesting times in the automotive space – every manufacturer wants a piece of the electric mobility pie, and it’s no surprise that a lot of new names are emerging. One of those new names is Kabira Mobility. The start-up is based out of Goa and tells us that it’s been around for nearly four years now. The company claims that, so far, it has been selling electric scooters in its local market of Goa and that the KM3000 and KM4000 are its first motorcycles.

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The brand vehemently tells us that these are completely indigenous products, designed, developed and manufactured from scratch at its plant in Goa. Kabira says that the development of both motorcycles started in August 2019, and that it had its first prototypes on display at the Auto Expo, less than six months later. For reference, the average two-wheeler from established manufacturers with huge R&D capabilities takes no less than 3-4 years to develop from scratch. 

Nevertheless, despite Kabira’s claims that its products are completely local, a closer look at either of them will have you begging to differ. There are giveaways like obviously removed logos from the key fob and a Chinese domain name stamped onto one of the components visible in Kabira’s own product brochure. 

Kabira Mobility KM3000, KM4000: design and styling

There’s no escaping the fact that the KM3000 is an obvious rip-off of the Kawasaki Ninja 300. In fact, I pulled up Google Lens on my phone, and the camera recognised this as that very motorcycle. We also found an almost identical electric motorcycle listed on a Chinese wholesale website for about 1,000 dollars apiece. The KM4000, on the other hand, appears just like the Kawasaki Z1000 – the tank, mid- and tail-section look nearly identical to those on the litre-class Kawasaki, while the headlight bears a striking resemblance to the Yamaha FZs. 

We were told these are pre-production units but considering that these bikes are scheduled to go on sale in the next couple of months, the quality levels were disappointing. The test unit of the KM3000 that I was riding seemed particularly worn, with missing bolts, rusted components, and exposed wiring. And while I was riding it, the right-side foot peg bracket broke off over a pothole. 

In comparison, the KM4000 that I rode seemed comparatively better put together, but still quite sub-par. The finishing of the paint, for instance, was notably better on the surface. However, if you make the effort to check the underbelly of the compartment that houses the battery, you’ll find only drips of paint that flowed there when the sides were painted. Another point of concern was that the tank extensions flow down quite a bit, but the bottom area is left unfastened. This, contrary to the company’s claims of a noiseless experience, caused a lot of rattling. 

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 The tank extensions on the KM4000 flow down and the bottom area is left unfastened, causing a lot of rattling.

Both bikes use the same switchgear, but different instrument clusters. Unfortunately, on the bikes I rode, they were extremely poorly lit. Even in the shade, it was nearly impossible to make out what was on screen, However, we did get to take a look at the clusters when the company first showcased the two models inside our hotel conference room on the previous night. The information they both convey is the same, with a speedometer in the middle and a tachometer across the top. The tachometer supposedly displays the RPM of the electric motor, but we’re not sure how that information is helpful, given that these bikes have no gears.

On the plus side, these unconventional colour schemes and flashy graphics do attract attention. We did have a couple of people walk up to us, curious about where and who made these motorcycles.  

Kabira Mobility KM3000, KM4000: hardware and features

It’s quite common to see a manufacturer launch a supersport and a street-naked that are based on the same platform. That isn’t the case with the KM3000 and the KM4000; both motorcycles use different motors and batteries (which we’ll get to in a bit), frames, suspension hardware and brakes. The KM4000 gets a USD fork and a twin disc-brake setup at the front, while the fully faired (usually associated with higher performance) KM3000 gets a traditional telescopic fork and single-disc brake at the front.

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Dual disc setup on the KM4000 provides a sharp bite, but little feel or progression.

On the flip side, rather interestingly, the supersport had the more pliant ride. I took both motorcycles over a broken stretch of road and the KM3000 did a better job of soaking up jitters and bumps.

Ergonomically, too, the supersport is quite like the Kawasaki Ninja 300; the foot pegs are rear-set and even though the clip-ons are flat, it sits close to you, and so, the rider’s triangle isn’t too aggressive. The KM4000 has a more upright seating position but uses an unnecessarily large tank that spreads your legs fairly apart, putting you in a slightly awkward position. Considering that the tank on an electric motorcycle is largely aesthetic, the original designer of this motorcycle could have made it slimmer. 

Kabira Mobility KM3000, KM4000: battery and performance

Now, onto the powertrains that drive these two motorcycles. Kabira Mobility informed us that following its market research, it found that it made sense to have the street-naked as the higher-specced model. So, this bike gets an 8kW motor that is powered by a 4.5kWh battery pack, while the supersport employs a 6kW motor and a slightly smaller 4kWh battery, and consequently, a lower claimed range.

The spec sheet tells us that the 3000 Is capable of a 0-40kph time of 3.3sec and a top speed of 100kph, but the test unit I was riding topped out at a speed that felt like half that. There was no way for me to be certain, as the speedometer on my bike did not work. The power delivery was also quite choppy and there was a dead zone in between when you started rolling the throttle and when the bike started moving. Once you got going, it felt like there was no more power to extract and pulling off an overtaking manoeuvre even at common speeds proved to be quite difficult and risky.

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The KM3000 employs a 6kW motor and a 4kWh battery.

That said, this wasn’t the case with the KM4000, which felt like a much livelier motorcycle. It felt decently quick, and even though the speedometer topped out at 50kph, I’m quite sure it was actually going much quicker than that. However, I’m also certain of the fact that I was not able to reach the claimed top speed of 120kph. The KM4000 also got off from a standstill quite briskly, in proper electric two-wheeler fashion. It’s not shockingly quick by any sense, but it is definitely the faster of the two.

Kabira Mobility KM3000, KM4000: should you buy one?

Kabira has made it clear that it has its sights set on the Revolt RV models as its immediate competition. Dealership presence is currently centred around Goa and select regions in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, but the company tells us it will soon have more touch points than the 27 that it claims to have now. 

However, there is plenty of improvement required from these products, especially for the prices they command – Rs 1.27 lakh for the KM3000 and Rs 1.37 lakh for the KM4000 (on road, Goa). Going by what we have experienced with these two, we’d recommend you look elsewhere if you’re on the lookout for an EV. 

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