Test riding the new Mahindra Mojo

Nov 15, 2015, 08:25 IST | Aninda Sardar

Five years too late, but the Mojo might still cut it when it comes to establishing Mahindra as a credible and serious home-grown motorcycle maker

Half a decade is a long time to wait for anything, especially if we are talking of the fast-paced world of motorcycling. For a manufacturer like Mahindra, the five-year wait to introduce the Mojo could be a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, the wait would have allowed Mahindra to learn the finer points of motorcycle-making, which, in turn, would help them to come out with a good product. On the other hand, a long wait also raises expectations. So does the Mahindra Mojo have what it takes to cut through the clutter and emerge above its competition?

Pic/Sanjay Raikar

The Mojo's blingy visage might just work for Indian customers. Personally, we didn't like it much. The front, with twin headlamps and the golden exposed frame, seem too overt for our tastes, which tend towards subtlety of design. We think the bike is at its appealing best when seen from the rear three-quarters.

The digi-analogue instrumentation, with its rev indicator lights, is a compact unit and looks good. Additionally, there's a host of information available at the tap of a button, including a max speed recorder, 0-100 km/h acceleration test recorder, and more. The party piece for the Mojo, which Mahindra is positioning as a touring motorcycle, is its 21-litre petrol-tank. Although we are yet to test the Mojo's fuel efficiency, it would be safe to presume that Mojo riders on the Manali-Leh route can ditch the jerry-cans!

For tall riders (this writer is just over six feet), ergonomics could be an issue. The foot-rests are a shade too high and set in a commuter stance, as is the handlebar. Frankly, it isn't a deal-breaker though.

The bike is powered by a modern and indigenously developed liquid-cooled, four-valve 295-cc engine. Max power is rated at 27 PS at 8,000 revolutions per minute and 30 Nm of peak torque kicks in at 5,500 RPM. Transmission is via a very slick-shifting six-speed constant-mesh gearbox. The unit felt surprisingly refined and balanced with hardly any vibrations, be it at idle or at highway cruising speed. Power delivery is extremely linear and there's decent grunt at every bit of the rev-range.

Despite being a single, the Mojo has been given two end-cans. Mahindra says that this is to preserve the unique exhaust beat of the bike despite the requirement of a dB killer. While some (or, perhaps, many) will argue with the wisdom of the weight of an extra exhaust, fact is that the bike sounds nice.

Mojo remains stable in a straight line but when the roads become narrow with tight corners and a few bumps are thrown in, you can feel the chassis flex with the front end behaving out of sync with the rear. This bike is clearly not for corner-carving rides up the hillside. Its home is on open stretches of straights or sweeping bends at best. Mahindra has however, given Mojo's 17-inch wheels an excellent set of tyres — a Pirelli Diablo Rosso II 110/70 at the front and 150/60 at the rear. They offer excellent grip, irrespective of dry or wet surface.

The suspension, comprising upside down forks with 143.5 mm of travel and a high pressure gas-charged monoshock with internal floating piston and 143 mm of travel, is set up on the softer side of life. That means ruts, bumps, potholes — absolutely nothing finds its way to your bottom. Everything is filtered out with efficiency. A must-have quality for a bike that intends to be a tourer in India.

When it comes to braking duties, at the front they are flanked by a huge 320-mm dia rotor with four-piston radial callipers while the rear gets a 240-mm dia disc with twin-piston floating calliper. The twin-piston arrangement at the rear is rather too sharp and panic breaking will see the rear wanting to get ahead of the front. To sum it up, the Mahindra Mojo is not a motorcycle that can be dismissed outright as a less than perfect motorbike.

There are some things it's not particularly adept at (like nimbleness and handling), there are some things it does fairly well (like high-speed straight-line stability and features) and then there are some things that are simply excellent (such as ride quality, grip, and range). It's not a perfect bike and certainly has flaws but it isn't something to be dismissed either. Rumour has it that the bike will come wearing a sticker of around Rs 1.60-1.70 lakh, ex-showroom. If that is indeed the case, then Royal Enfield had better watch out. The Mahindra Mojo has the potential to be a serious threat to their dominance in the Indian motorcycle touring scene.

Need to know
Mahindra Mojo
Price: Rs 1.58 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi)
Engine: 295 cc, liquid cooled, single cylinder, four-valve
Maximum Power: 27 PS @ 8,000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 30 Nm @ 5,500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed

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