First Ride: Mahindra Mojo
We put India’s first thoroughbred 300cc tourer through the ropes on a 350km road-trip from Bangalore to Coorg.
It’s true, the bug-eyed Mojo concept that was shown by Mahindra five years back, almost made us want to pick up a flyswatter and have a go at it. But now, the bike that we rode earlier today, the production-model and soon-to-be-launched Mojo, is a bit easier on the eye. Yes, its almost half a decade since we first laid eyes on the bike, recording a couple of albums worth of test-mule spy-shots in the process, the once thought of fictional character that was the Mojo, is now a reality.
Its twin-pod housing head unit looks a tad bulky in the flesh, even with the fancy LED eyebrows and that tiny wind deflector that sits atop. But once you get past the looks up front, which are subjective, the bike exhibits some nicely executed touches like the part-analogue-part-digital instrumentation with its catchy illumination (that even temporarily lights up the region on the tacho where you last shifted a cog), that’s easy to read. Then there’s the red-lit switchgear, those aggressive and neat radiator shrouds, the ignition-mounted burly 21-litre tank with the Mahindra insignia below. The shapley tails section which houses LED lights looks quite classy too. The Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres, especially the beefy 150/60 R17 rear that sits between the twin exhaust cans add to the overall muscular stance.
The new 295cc single cylinder, liquid cooled engine sits coaxially mounted in an all-new twin-tube exposed frame. Wait, what’s with the single cylinder, and twin exhaust layout you ask? Well Mahindra claims to have decided on that based on the premise of achieving a specific performance and beat note. Well, as far as performance goes, the Mojo’s engine delivers all of its 27bhp in a very smooth, refined and relaxed manner. There’s a decent amount of grunt low down the powerband, with the engine’s 30Nm of torque that sends the needle to its limit (around the 9000rpm mark), with relative ease.
No it doesn’t exhibit the same urgency as say the Duke 390, but the power never felt short of being right about adequate at any point on our ride. 100kph comes up at 5500rpm in the fifth of six gears, and it felt rather effortless getting up to that speed. In fact, the bike feels like it could run at that speed all day without a fuss. Very acceptable for touring, this.
As far as the exhaust beat is concerned, if you’re not one for hard snarling and growling, you’ll be impressed by the way the Mojo sputters and hums. It’s not a bad exhaust note over all, but it’s not the best either. The engine does sound a bit stressed when the needle midway through the tacho, but it never really feels overly stressed with vibrations being quite low at any revs. One thing that remains to be seen is that if this liquid-cooled bike fancy’s toasting important parts of you, because we’ve mostly been riding out on the open highways and didn’t really encounter heavy traffic.
The Mojo, with its communicative chassis and USD front and gas charged monoshock rear suspension setup – which is on the stiffer side – makes for a pleasurable riding experience. The riding position is upright with you not having to stretch very far to meet the wide bars. Here, a rather long wheelbase of 1465mm ensures that the bike is stable at triple digit speeds with the Pirellis working their magic very well. While the 165kg (dry weight) Mahindra definitely earns some brownie points in the ride and handling department, some might find the riding saddle to be a bit too narrow and uncomfortable on long rides. Also, the commuter-ish positioning of the footpegs means that you’ll be scraping then quite often while cornering enthusiastically. On the braking front, the large 320mm (f) and 240mm (r) disc brakes provide a progressive bite, but there’s no ABS being offered as of now, so there’s a good possibility of you locking up in a situation of emergency. However, Mahindra brass have stated that ABS will be an option in the near future.
While the rear disc has a good bite to it, the one up front falls short of ideal feel and halting power. If you’re not careful, you just might have to scrape your Mojo off the back of the vehicle in front of you, or the ground. We haven’t touched the topic of fuel efficiency as yet, but we have noted that we’ve covered little over the 350km-ride today and the digital fuel gauge indicating that we’re one bar under half tank. But we’ll get more on that story tomorrow. Oh, right, so that’s two things that remain to be seen.
With the Mojo, Mahindra has definitely come a long way from the Stalio. It’s a motorcycle that has an air of competence about it, and with a tag of Rs 1.58 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the pricing is very palatable. But the real challenge now for M2W will be to convince potential buyers that, this time around, it has got its act together (from the word go) and is now offering a properly desirable product – which it definitely is. The Mojo looks unique, and if anything, its quirkiness does grow on you. We’re not being generous when we say this, but the Mojo is a Mahindra motorcycle you could actually consider owning.
295cc, single-cyl, liquid-cooled, 27bhp, 30Nm, 6M, fuel tank: 21-litres