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Matter Aera 5000+ – First Ride Review

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Pratik Bhanushali

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Introduction

Matter AERA Right Front Three Quarter

An electric motorcycle with a gearbox. This is what we have been hearing since last year when Matter first launched the Aera 5000 and the Aera 5000+. But what would it be like to ride the Aera 5000+ in the real world? And does the gearbox work like what we are used to on petrol bikes or should you expect something different? With all these and some more questions, we headed to Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, where Matter held the first ride for the Aera 5000+. Here is what unfolded next.

The Visuals

Matter AERA Right Front Three Quarter

The very first thing, more often than not, that catches one’s attention is the design. Once you lay your eyes on a motorcycle, regardless of an EV or ICE, you form a perception of it. And after having a good look at the Matter Aera 5000+ in person, we think it looks attractive, youthful, and sizeable for the most part. It has the proportions, cuts and creases, and the visual mass to draw your attention. But when you look at its fascia, it appears robotic and closer to the ‘Transformers’ (yes, the film series), instead of something sleek and svelte. Whether that’s a good thing, is subjective.

Matter has five colour options for the Aera 5000+ – Cosmic Black, Cosmic Blue, Glacier White, Blaze Red, and Nord Grey. All of them look quite enticing, but Nord Grey and Cosmic Black give the Aera a subtle appearance.

The Package

Matter AERA TFT / Instrument Cluster

The Matter Aera 5000+ has to be one of the most feature-loaded electric motorcycles made in India. Apart from the standard LED illumination, ABS, and ride modes, the Aera 5000+ has a long list of features. Firstly, it has three ride modes and four gears. So, that’s a total of 12 different combinations capping the top speed. The ride modes are called Eco, City, and Sport. Other bits include liquid cooling, Bluetooth connectivity, remote lock/unlock, live location tracking, push navigation, geo-fencing, ride statistics, park assist (reverse mode), keyless operation, auto indicator turn off, call/music control, OTA updates, specification sheet, and more.

Matter AERA TFT / Instrument Cluster

We think the current package on the Matter Aera 5000+ is enough to serve the purpose and then some more. But any other additions would be an overkill to the Aera’s feature list.

The Ride

Matter AERA Front View

As we mentioned earlier, the Matter Aera 5000+ comes with a four-speed gearbox and a clutch setup. This is complemented by a 10kW motor linked to a 5kWh battery. Matter claims that the bike can cover 125km in the Eco mode. While the top speed hasn’t been revealed, we saw a speedometer indicating 98kmph and even learned that other riders managed to do over 110kmph too. That is a decent figure and should suffice for cities and highways.

Speaking of the ride, the process is quite simple. You can shift from neutral to first and further with and without holding the clutch in. It is the same if you want to get the bike moving ahead. The clutch and gearbox setup adds the feeling of riding an ICE bike in terms of the process if that excites you. That said, the Matter bike still rolls forward and backward on slopes when engaged in gear, strange, we say. And since there is not much noise from the motor, you can hear the gears slotting in every time you up or downshift.

Matter AERA Left Front Three Quarter

If you need to downshift, Matter recommends doing so only when the motor is spinning at or less than 3,000 rpm. But if you choose to downshift above the said limit, the Aera enters a limp mode of sorts and the system disengages. So, you will have to come to a full stop and restart the bike. This is inconvenient and limits the riding experience as well. Overall, the gearbox integration is a nice touch but it needs improvement and the overall usability also needs to be better. Ideally, an electric motorcycle with just ride modes and a plain Jane accelerate-to-go setup does the job well enough. We also feel the Aera 5000+ needs better regenerative braking since the current levels are barely noticeable.

Speaking of the brakes, the Aera 5000+ gets a disc at both ends with single-channel ABS. But the front brake lever needs to improve on the feel and offer gradual feedback with the most braking bite towards the end. On the contrary, the current setup on the Aera has very little stopping prowess at the beginning followed by a sharp bite in between, and again a wooden feel towards its limit. The rear brake is reliable and stops the bike in time. Since the Aera’s weight is concentrated at the top, near the fuel tank, its handling isn’t impeccable. You need to actively move and counter-steer when taking fast turns.

Matter AERA Right Side View

Then, as you board the saddle, there is an uncanny resemblance in the Aera’s riding stance with that of the TVS Apache. Now, this is a good thing since you get to sit upright but in a mildly sporty position. This offers good leverage on the handle and is a nice mix to the commuter purpose of the bike. We rode the Aera in mixed-bag conditions in the land of Kutch and found it to offer decent room when you need to move around.

The build quality for the most part is decent but there is some room for improvement near the charging flap panel and the tank storage lid. Even the feedback from the switches including the start button near the tank and the left side cluster could be enhanced and have a better click to it.

The Conclusion

Matter AERA Right Front Three Quarter

At Rs. 1,83,999 (ex-showroom, Ahmedabad), the Matter Aera 5000+ isn’t cheap by any standards. It sits above a lot of other electric motorcycles that are currently sold in India. But before you cut the check for it, there are things that one needs to be ready to get used to. The list includes inconsistency in braking and build quality, top-heavy weight distribution resulting in noticeable heft of the bike when moving it around, and the gearbox setup as a whole.

Matter AERA Left Rear Three Quarter

However, the gear and clutch are what make the Matter Aera 5000+ unique and modulate the charge consumption. The four gears cap the top speed as per their default setting, and hence, the reduction of charge is mitigated in a calculated manner. Moreover, the Aera 5000+ looks unique, has good ground clearance, and packs a bundle of features. The latter is at a scale where you may not need any more features going forward. Additionally, the bike has a small storage space in the tank area where the charger, which is also compact, can be stored. Here, the positives outweigh the cons and we think if you are in the market for a homegrown product and can pay a price that is higher than that of a few other e-motorcycles, then the Matter Aera 5000+ should fit the bill.

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

Gallery

Matter AERA Right Front Three Quarter
Matter AERA Right Front Three Quarter
Matter AERA TFT / Instrument Cluster
Matter AERA Electric Bike Charging Input Plug
Matter AERA Left Rear Three Quarter
Matter AERA Left Front Three Quarter
Matter AERA Front View
Matter AERA TFT / Instrument Cluster
Matter AERA Left Side View
Matter AERA Right Front Three Quarter

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