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After taking over the reign from Kinetic, Mahindra’s foray into the two-wheeler industry, particularly in the scooters segment, has been quite positive thanks to its two products, Rodeo and Duro.
The 2-wheeler arm of the makers of the heavy-duty commercial and private vehicles, Mahindra 2 Wheelers, recently unveiled the facelifted version of its 125 cc scooter – Duro 125DX, in Lavasa, Pune.
Text: Sunil Gupta
Photos: Sunil Gupta (unless mentioned otherwise)
xBhp was there during the unveiling (and you thought we didn’t cover anything less than 1000CC ), and here is a quick summary of what we could gather of it during our very brief rendezvous with the Duro.
What’s new? Overall, the Duro remains pretty much the same without any ground-breaking change in terms of its looks or performance, yet the guys at Mahindra have incorporated some subtle and not so subtle cosmetic, performance related, and ergonomically focused changes to make it a better overall package to take on the competition. Mahindra says that they have implemented these changes after extensive research and feedback from a selected group of customers from across the country.
So, here is a list of the changes (cosmetic, ergonomics, and performance) that you can see in the new Duro:
1. Digital dual-curve ignition.
2. New suspension setup.
3. Longer wheelbase.
4. More ground clearance.
5. Larger headlamp.
6. Larger RVMs
7. Brake lever lock (what?)
8. Raised handlebar.
9. Better seat profile.
There have been some more tweaks other than the listed above; however, the most significant and anticipated of these is the change in the suspension system. The hydraulic shock absorbers in the earlier version have given way to the advanced telescopic forks in the new Duro, with some tweaks also in the spring setup in the rear ones, making the new Duro a delight to ride on the rough roads. The ground clearance has also been increased slightly to make it even more potent tool to fight the bad roads. And this ground clearance remains significantly high even with the maximum weight on the saddle. The handlebar height has also been raised a bit to make it tall-rider-friendly. Though the wheelbase has been reduced from 1290 mm earlier to 1270 mm, yet it remains significantly longer than the immediate competition (Suzuki Access 1250 mm).
The one thing that you are going to like about the Mahindra Duro 125DXc most is the new brake lock lever on the left side. When engaged, it would prevent the vehicle from rolling down even when parked on a steep incline. Mahindra says that they incorporated this change based on the feedback from their customers.
Then, there are larger RVMs, which give a very clear picture to the rider (even with a large guy on the rider seat) of what’s going on behind his back, perhaps help him identify a crotch rocket approaching in stealth mode!
The previous headlamp unit has also been done away with, making way for a bigger, completely changed unit in the 125DX which claims to be giving a larger and wider beam, though we were unable to cross-check this claim during the day.
Looks and Styling: The new Duro has been given a completely new, bigger headlamp assembly that not only gives it wider beam, but also gives sharper looks to the scooter. The speedo console has also been changed and the new unit has an analog speedometer, odometer, and a fuel gauge which looks pretty clean and the numbers should be visible even during the bad light conditions. Overall, looks wise, Duro hasn’t really been head-turner, though it doesn’t look bad either. I would’ve personally liked it if they had given the Duro some styling tweaks to make it look ‘bigger’ and robust.
Ride quality and handling: During our ride that lasted a little over 45 minutes on the roads of Lavasa, the new suspension setup behaved very well and remained well balanced and planted on all kinds of roads, particularly the stretches heavily infested with potholes. Weighing a little over 100 kg, the Duro was quite amenable to some quick maneuvering and sudden sharp turns with ease. The increased ground clearance does help a lot in taking care of the bad roads; however, the center stand was quite regularly scraping the road on the left side whenever we pressed it a little hard on the corners. But keeping in mind that this scooter will be mostly ridden in normal city conditions without someone pushing it real hard on the tracks or ghats, this shouldn’t be much of a problem.
On the braking front, the new Duro comes fitted with drum brakes, both front and rear, which were just good enough to stop this vehicle producing 8 bhp max.
Engine/performance: There have been no changes in the engine or the performance figures; however, Duro 125DX comes equipped with digital dual-curve ignition, which Mahindra claims will make it more fuel efficient and will also give better throttle response. We couldn’t test the fuel economy; however, the engine felt quite smooth even during the high revs. The low end torque wasn’t that great; however, the mid range was quite satisfactory and we were able to reach up to 80 kmph quite quickly and regularly on the serpentine roads of Lavasa, which generally don’t give you many stretches of straight road where you can open the throttle. Mahindra says that you can expect more scooters in the future from other manufacturers to feature this gizmodry (dual curve ignition).
Overall, Mahindra has given the Duro 125DX some very well thought out and appreciable tweaks rather than working only on graphics and visual elements. These changes should make it a more value-for-money machine provided that Mahindra keeps the pricing right and market it well.