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Mahindra Mojo Review – The Mile Muncher!
Mahindra wants to drum it into your skull that the Mojo is a tourer. While the bike was being showcased to us the evening before the ride, the company boffins were at pains to point this out, so much so that they used the term ‘tourer’ at least 20 times in the 10 minute presentation! But true to its name, the bike does have tons of touring mojo and we came away suitably impressed. Yes, we start with the verdict!
In the 2010 Auto Expo, Mahindra first showcased its oddly styled flagship motorcycle to the public and had to beat a hasty retreat after coming under scathing criticism by the media and fans alike. Thumbs up to the company for persevering and after half a decade have finally brought out a well put together package called the Mahindra Mojo. This is thanks in no small part to P S Ashok, Head of R&D and the man behind the realisation of this machine, since he took over this position in 2012. The Red & White and White & Black colour schemes were also displayed and the bike looks best in red, since it’s similar to what Mahindra Racing used in Moto3.
Cut to the chase, around 30 odd media guys found themselves standing in line waiting to grab the keys to the Mahindra Mojo for a reasonably long ride of 600km from Bangalore to Madikeri and back. Almost everyone was excited to ride the bike, what with the 5 year wait, though I was a bit disappointed that we weren’t getting the red bike. As Henry Ford once famously remarked “You can have any colour as long as it’s black”! At long last, it was time to straddle the bike and thumb the starter.
Only after a madcap dash out of the city to avoid Bangalore’s famous peak hour traffic, did I get a chance to stop the bike and take a proper look at it. And a good hard look is essential, since the majority of us have been led to believe that the bike isn’t good looking, at least that is what websites and forums have harped along from the time it was first showcased. Though the Mojo isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing and will have its fair share of ridiculers, the bike has a robust aura which inspires confidence in the hardcore tourer. From the side profile, the bike reminded me of a small mountain pony, with strong fore limbs and relatively slim hind quarters. Giving it the appearance of a bike ready to climb the harshest terrain under load, but not necessarily the fastest to the top. From the front the bug eyed headlamp takes prominence and on closer inspection you see the LED DRLs, with the entire assembly rather large in comparison to the bike. This does give the bike a bit of a robotic (read transformers!) appearance and you wait in anticipation that it will actually start conversing with you! Move along to the side and you notice the massive front disc, the beefy USD forks with a triple clamp for added rigidity and the radiator shrouds with silver fins, and to add to the bulky look is the chiselled 21 litre fuel tank, spacious rider saddle and twin exhausts. The bike narrows after the waist and the tail is a sleek affair, with the LED tail lamp giving the bike a contemporary appearance. Something that I didn’t like was the forks, chassis and swingarm dipped in gold. A bit loud for my liking. The red colour on the other hand has a black frame which adds to its charm. The paint quality on the motorcycle is great, while the gold on the frame highlights the weld marks. The switchgear is simple and functional, while the entire motorcycle oozes quality with a built to last feel.
The Mojo comes with some nifty specs and safety features which include the Twin Tube HTR Frame, USD Fork with 143.5mm travel, Gas charged mono-shock at the rear, 320mm disc (segment largest), Pirelli tyres, 1-2 dual exhaust, liquid cooling and a torque limiter slipper gear to increase starter gear train life. On the safety side of things you get the Limp Home mode, which restricts the bike to 4k rpm in the event of an engine malfunction and roll over sensor, which shuts off the engine when it senses the motorcycle is leaned at 45 degrees or more and the rear tyre is in the air. On the gimmicky side of the garage you get a top speed recorder and 0-100kmph time recorder. Not features that you would use every day or for some tourers – ‘ever’!
For the ardent motorcycle traveller, bikes don’t prove their worth on paper but on the open highway. And that is where we were most impressed with the Mojo. The bike with a 1465mm wheelbase is rock steady at high speeds on the straights. Though the visor is ineffective and a windscreen is sorely missed as the windblast does tire the rider. The saddle and suspension are plush; keeping the rider happy even on potholed infested roads, the fabric used on the saddle isn’t slippery but does allow the rider to move around when cornering and has sufficient room for moving back and forth to release those aching muscles on long rides. The ergonomics on the motorcycle are as straight up as one can imagine, foot pegs directly below the rider coupled with a raised single piece handlebar takes some time getting used to, but are very comfortable for long distances. Though at 5’11”, I did feel it a tad bit cramped. The bike idles steadily at 1500rpm, with the dual exhausts emitting a lovely bass note. Mahindra did tell us that the dual exhaust aids getting better power and fuel efficiency from the engine along with increasing the aural pleasures, but it does make me wonder about the extra weight that is being lugged around, is the trade-off worth it? For the rider on the go at triple digit speeds the bike sounds like a KTM, but when a bike whizzes past you, it sounds like any ordinary single. To make matters more enjoyable, the Db killers can be removed in the SVC without voiding warranty and that does improve the sound of the motorcycle considerably.
Mahindra Mojo Review Tech Specs
Try flicking the bike at speed and you can feel the frame flex, as the bike moves sideways. It isn’t as stiff as the KTMs, but neither is it all bound by rubber bands. One pleasant surprise was the lack of vibrations, with no vibes felt in the handlebar, foot pegs or mirrors; with the RVMs perfectly placed, leaving hardly any blind spots. The 21 litre fuel tank should give a range of around 500km, one of its biggest USPs, though we didn’t get a chance to accurately measure the fuel consumption. The 295cc engine produces a healthy 27bhp at 8000rpm and 30Nm of torque at 5500rpm and this shows up when riding. There is hardly anything in the bottom end and you need to keep the bike revving past 4500, and quick overtaking manoeuvres require the rider to be closer to 6k, not too much of a problem on highways, but it wouldn’t be a lot of fun in city traffic; the biggest shortcoming of the Mojo. The bike cruises at a comfortable 105kmph at 6000rpm and can be ridden between 100-120 for the entire day without breaking a sweat; usable speed for Indian roads. The tacho needle would also be jumping around needlessly even when the engine was being held at constant revs, though the lights moving along with the needle are something new and therefore cool! Clutchless shifts are not a problem, and we quite enjoyed working the slick gearbox, where with varied riding conditions, we never got a fool’s neutral nor any missed shifts. With the weight of the bike, moving it around in parking lots isn’t going to be fun, especially once luggage is loaded on it.
It isn’t light at 165kg dry and it shows while remaining planted in crosswinds at speed, but while cornering it isn’t the easiest to throw around. A firm hand is required on the handlebars to lean it into the corners, though once done it stays there predictably. Mid-corner bumps are also absorbed with aplomb, though mid-corner corrections are not as easy. The brakes on the Mojo are a funny lot, on paper the 320mm front and 240mm rear mated with steel braided brake lines should get it stopped in a jiffy. But in reality, the bike does so rather gently and progressively. A good thing for tourers and beginners, though doesn’t allow you to push the bike’s limits. The J Juan callipers are from Spain and developed with help from Mahindra Racing based out of Europe. For those who don’t know, this Spanish company doesn’t just work with Mahindra in Moto 3, but also provides braking components to Kawasaki Racing’s championship winning bikes in WSBK. I found the front brakes perfect, while some co-riders complained of locking up the front and rear and sliding the tyres when on the brakes. Engine braking is optimal and the bike is easily controlled with the judicious use of the brakes and downshifting. For those wondering about ABS, currently Mahindra is testing it out and will probably appear on the Mojo, sooner rather than later. The icing on the cake in the handling department is the Pirelli Diablo Rosso II Radial tyres, which make the bike stick to the tarmac like on rails. The quality rubber allows the rider to forget the length and weight of the bike as we flicked the bike through the Ghats of Coorg, even on damp tarmac. Some aggressive riders even mentioned scraping the pegs thanks to the confidence inspiring Pirellis. Though, Pirellis as OEMs would increase the cost of the motorcycle, Mahindra did state that they would continue with the same in future as well; but cheaper alternatives might be made available as aftermarket replacements if the owner so wishes.
Among other things, the pillion seat isn’t as comfortable as it looks, the broader front half being unusable, while the latter half is too narrow to provide adequate support to the pillion. The tail lamp is a bright 8 LED unit, which glows to 12 LEDs when you get on the brakes. Trafficators are clearly visible even in bright daylight. One thing we couldn’t check was the effectiveness of the headlights, since we didn’t ride after dark. If you plan to take the bike round the corner to buy vegetables, make sure you wear shoes, anybody in slippers could easily get burnt on the silencer while engaging the side-stand. But then you wouldn’t be riding the bike in slippers! The stand was a tiny irritant, it wouldn’t go up easily, and pushing it up with riding boots was a clumsy affair, the instrument cluster does get a side stand indicator, and I would suggest to check it every time before riding off! The instrument panel is easily readable in bright sunlight and quite informative, displaying an analogue tacho, digital speedo, clock, fuel gauge, engine malfunction light, rev limiter LED, trip metre, engine overheat and the regular tell-tale lights.
Mahindra has positioned the Mojo as an outright tourer, and it does that job with panache. The few things that we feel would add to its label of a tourer as accessories are – windscreen, centre-stand, hard panniers and hand guards. Though the company did confirm that soft panniers, tank bags and riding gear would be made available shortly for Mojo owners. The bike can do everything that the rider throws at it, in moderation but push the limits and this isn’t your cup of tea. Buy the bike if spending long hours in the saddle is a pleasure, where ‘tech specs’ are far less important than practical usability. If I were to buy a Mojo, it would surely be the red!
Mahindra Mojo Review: Technical Specifications and Comparison