E-motos are two-wheelers that appear to either be overgrown downhill mountain bikes that lost their pedals, or shrunken-down enduros with electric motors. No matter how you want to look at it, they’re blowing up in the market. These bikes are light, quick, relatively fast to charge, and super fun because they hit a unique mission: There’s basically no burden of practicality. They’re usually off-road-only so you’re just meant to hop on and rip or cruise while having fun. They’re also typically affordable and low-maintenance.
The $4,999 Rawrr Mantis 72V is one of these all-electric playbikes. Its 33.5-inch seat height and narrow, light chassis/motor combo (claimed 165 pounds with the 72V battery) make it very easy to ride for people new to throttle-powered two-wheelers, and easy to master for those with more experience. Rawrr is definitely easy to ride slow, but I also came here to find out how it rides fast. “Here” is Blackmore Ranch in Menifee, California, a supercool privately owned motorcycle complex that is dirt heaven.
Rawrr is a young Los Angeles–based company with a design team in Italy and R&D in China, where the bikes are manufactured. The founder was described by the US team as a former Chinese national motocross competitor, and the desire was to build an e-moto that was more motorcycle-like than competitors, while still being easy and fun to ride. The Mantis is in its second year of production and the big news this year is more power: The 2024 Mantis is equipped with a Samsung 72V 35Ah battery that boosts electric motor output to 7,500 watts. It is also said to increase torque output by 19 percent versus the 60V.
Further, throttle-control mapping is updated to its seventh version to give a more natural, predictable feel for experienced riders, and they even fixed a few reliability concerns including a new kickstand switch. If you already bought a Mantis 60V, the 72V battery is a drop-in replacement and you’ll get the same benefit. The company says a smartphone app is on the way and will allow users to tune within certain parameters the max power, torque, and brake regen, as well as write their own throttle map. It will also offer over-the-air updates.
The Rawrr Mantis electric powerplants claimed maximum of 7,500 watts is equal to 10.1 hp. It’s a solid horsepower number with the size and mission of the bike, but the fun begins when you find out the motor produces a claimed 37 lb.-ft. of torque right from zero rpm. For comparison, the KTM 450 XCF-W we dyno tested made 31.4 lb.-ft. of torque at 6,800 rpm. So while the Rawrr in Sport mode pushed an adult up to 50 mph, it got there in a hurry. There is an enclosed-chain, oil-lubricated reduction system between the motor output shaft and chain final drive.
Four different power modes tune throttle response and motor output, truly changing the character of the bike. Eco 1 is the perfect mode for first-time riders, offering soft throttle response and 20 mph top-speed limit. It is also ideal for loading and unloading with a little power assist. Eco 2 pumps it up a little in throttle response to give beginners learning to ride a fun but mellow space to explore the Mantis’ performance, while also offering top speed. Eco 3 adds more throttle response and full top speed, but is still designed to maximize battery life. Sport mode is full power with maximum acceleration and top speed. This mode is for experienced riders who are not concerned about range or battery life.
2024 Rawrr Mantis 72V Suspension
The Rawrr Mantis utilizes KKE suspension, a brand and type that’s been used on downhill mountain bikes and also Sur-Ron and other e-motos. New on the 72V is that the inverted fork uses a metal spring in the left leg and air springing on the right. So the rider can vary air pressure as well as adjust the metal-spring preload. Rebound-damping adjustment keeps it in check. The shock is fully adjustable, and preload is tweaked using a threaded collar. The Rawrr comes with a mini tool chest to make these adjustments and other work on the bike easy.
Rawrr specs the suspension with all-steel internals versus the aluminum used in some applications. While this does add a little weight, Rawrr believes the added strength and reduced failures are worth the trade-off. The suspension does have more of a motorcycle feel than a mountain bike feel.
The Rawrr Mantis is built for fun, but this is not a toy. It is designed with a stout aluminum frame and swingarm. The subframe is also designed with off-road riding in mind and allows for a more extended rear fender for added protection from roost/rocks, mud, and water.
The battery is placed low and in front of the motor to keep the center of gravity down and allow for a lower seat height and increased ground clearance. The 33.5-inch seat height is achieved in part by a cutdown section near the front that makes for a noticeable step between there and the rear part of the seat. Essentially, theory here is full-size humans will end up sitting on the tall part, and the cutout part allows shorter riders to get feet planted on pavement when stopped.
2024 Rawrr Mantis 72V Overall Impression
The previous version of the Rawrr Mantis was said to be slightly underpowered. It is not underpowered with the larger 72V battery. Acceleration was quick and top speed has increased to an actual 50 mph with a fully charged battery.
In Sport mode, power loss only becomes noticeable below 50 percent charge. With a 175-pound pilot riding at full power, we found that you can expect 25 to 30 minutes out of a charge in Sport mode. On the other end of the spectrum, in the mellow Eco 1 mode, range is said to be approximately 75 miles at 20 mph. We didn’t get a chance to test that in this first ride but intend to get a 72V for a more thorough evaluation.
The brakes are adequate but not strong. There is some brake fade under heavy, race-oriented use. With the Rawrr’s newly added battery weight, additional braking power and fade resistance would be nice. But, hey, I was riding this at a max pace. For anything but full race mode the bike is a lot of fun and very predictable, with nice control feel and good damping.
At 5-foot-10, I found the Rawrr’s ergos to be good, except for that stepped seat. When riding, the drop in the middle is far too low. A flat seat front to back would allow the rider to move around much easier. Rawrr representatives acknowledged this and said a new flat seat option would be available shortly and would be standard in 2024. Another accessory soon to arrive is a 21-inch front wheel. While a 19-incher is fine for most, hardcore riders are asking for a 21.
Overall, the Rawrr Mantis is an absolute blast to ride. It feels and handles much more like a motorcycle than other e-moto bikes we’ve tested. It’s small enough to be easy to handle but big enough for a pro-level adult to hammer on it. Its very low noise makes it unobtrusive to neighbors if you have room for a backyard moto, and is priced half of some high-end e-mountain bikes. The Mantis is perfect for off-road and light trail riding, and can even cross over into low-key track riding.
Sur-Ron has become a pretty big name in the space and the Mantis compares favorably on paper as the Sur-Ron offers a 60-volt battery and 5,000-watt motor and costs $4,400. Yes, the Rawrr 72V is 160 pounds compared to the 120 or so of the Sur-Ron, but there’s just more juice and we’d take that every time. We’d still love to ride these bikes (and a few more) back to back to see just how much fun a new generation of riders will have getting on two wheels, and how far a group of more experienced testers can push them. If that sounds like fun, expect this segment of light e-moto to keep growing.
|Motor:||PMSM (Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motors)|
|Maximum Torque:||50 Nm (36.9 lb.-ft.)|
|Maximum Speed:||50 mph|
|Battery:||Swappable Samsung lithium 35Ah|
|Charge Time:||3–6 hours|
|Transmission:||1-speed, internal, motorcycle-style gears|
|Front Suspension:||Inverted fork, rebound and preload adjustable; 7.9 in. (200mm) travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Monoshock, rebound, compression, and spring preload adjustable; 3.0 in. (75mm) travel|
|Front Brake:||Hydraulic w/ 203mm disc|
|Rear Brake:||Hydraulic w/ 203mm disc|
|Wheels, Front/Rear:||19 in./19 in.|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||70/100-19 / 80/100-19|
|Steering Head Angle/Trail:||N/A|
|Wheelbase:||50.8 in. (1,290mm)|
|Ground Clearance:||12.2 in. (310mm)|
|Claimed Seat Height:||33.5 in. (850mm)|
|Claimed Wet Weight:||165 lb.|