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Mahindra recently launched the face-lifted version of the Rodeo, one of the many scoots that are powering the Mahindra 2 wheelers bandwagon for quite some now in the absence of any motorcycle in their portfolio. The Rodeo was launched by Mahindra as a peppy and rugged scooter targeted towards the young just-into-the college type crowd. It has been there in the market and has made its own space in the scooter market. And with the upgraded version of its hard-working sibling Duro out in the market for some time now, it was high time that Mahindra gave Rodeo a decent facelift too.
xBhp was there during the launch of the new Rodeo RZ and here is an account of our brief rendezvous with it.
Text & Photos: Sunil Gupta
Mr. Viren Popli, Senior VP, Strategy and Market Development, Mahindra Two Wheelers talking about the Rodeo RZ
First of all, the new Rodeo RZ gets its name from the all new 125 cc Z-series engine that it has been fitted with. This new engine, along with a new carburetor system and the dual-curve digital ignition, produces a peak power output of 8 bhp at 7000 rpm and a torque of 9 Nm at 5500 rpm. It also promises to deliver a more punchy performance without compromising on the fuel economy front. The Rodeo RZ with its new engine now claims to give an ARAI certified figure of 59.5 KM per liter and is also claiming a best-in-class pickup.
The new engine did feel punchy and relaxed even while carrying a 67 kg rider and going uphill. We managed to clock a figure of 5.6 seconds going from zero to 50 kmph that was calculated by the inbuilt acceleration timer (more on that later). This figure was tested on 2 different scooters and came out to be the same.
Styling wise, there aren’t too many changes except new, minimalistic decals on the body panels. And it is not a sure shot headturner either. There are quite a few color options available though to match your taste. It is available in 7 different colors now.
The ground clearance on the new Mahindra Rodeo RZ has improved and now stands at 154 mm (124 mm with Rider + pillion weighing around 150 Kg in total) that seems better than the competition with Suzuki Swish at 140 mm and Honda Activa at 150 mm.
Features: Unlike the motorcycle market where the performance figures are a big deciding factor, a customer who is going to buy a scoot wouldn’t really care much about these numbers as the difference between various products’ performance figures isn’t that huge. What a customer looks into a product like this is the riding comfort, convenience to carry some luggage, styling, and “add-on” features (all this while the price and all important mileage figures have been taken care of). And this where M&M is trying to make some inroads.
The Rodeo RZ is fully loaded with features that will make heads turn. It has got an all-digital console including digital tachometer and digital clock and 7 color backlight options to choose from, front refueling, best-in class “illuminated” under-seat storage (22 L), Mp3/mobile charger, four-in-one anti-theft key, side stand buzzer, overspeed alarm, and a 0-50 acceleration timer to name a few.
For us, the main USP of the Rodeo RZ was its all-digital console. It was full of freebies and useful features. Apart from the speedometer and the tachometer, it also had the following options available in digital format: Odometer, Trip meter, Clock, A-T (acceleration timer), and M-T (time taken to cover a measured distance??). And it is not done yet. The backlight has 7 different colors available that you can select according to your mood or the color of yours or your girlfriend’s tee.
Then, there is front-refueling that is a plus feature as neither you nor your pillion will have to get off the scooter while refueling. Then you have a four-in-one anti-theft key and a bonus mp3/mobile recharging point (#WhereIsThatLikeButton) that is surely going to be a handy feature.
Move a little back, and you have this “illuminated” 22 L underseat storage. Yes, bright LEDs light up the storage space as soon as you lift up the rear seat. No more ‘groping in the dark’ now to find your keys or other items in case your scooter is parked in a dark place. The storage space is large enough to carry a half-face helmet and will still have a lot of space left over. We tried to put our Daijya full-face helmet in but it proved to be a bit too big for the under-seat storage.
The RZ also has a quite irritating and so a useful side-stand buzzer in case you tend to forget to disengage it.
Then, there is this over-speed alarm in the Rodeo RZ. There is no ‘sound alarm’ per se, but the entire digital console turns red if you go above 60. But this red light wasn’t quite visible during the day time and also won’t be visible in case you have already selected the red color as the backlight color. So this limits the usefulness of the overspeed alarm.
Features comparo – Again provided by Mahindra and Mahindra
And lastly, unlike the previous Rodeo that had a not so accurate fuel gauge, this new version has new patented pressure sensors fitted inside the tank (and not just a float valve mechanism) to accurately gauge the actual fuel level and give the correct reading.
There is one more thing that is worth mentioning here, though it is not a feature of the scooter per se. In case you are thinking about buying the new Rodeo RZ and want to test ride it, just give these guys a call and the test machine will be delivered at your doorstep for you to test ride. And this is something of a ‘revolutionary’ step in this 2-wheeler industry where the customers don’t get that kind of a royal treatment that even a rare 4-wheeler customer gets.
Riding comfort/Handling/Braking: Sitting on it, the Rodeo RZ doesn’t really give the feel of a ‘big scooter,’ but it feels compact and easy. The sitting posture is upright and easy on the joints. Coming to the handling bit, the chassis and suspension setup did feel strong. The front dual telescopic suspension does its job quite effortlessly. With drum brakes at both rear and front, the braking was quite sharp and effective, though we did feel uncomfortable during hard braking. Particularly, braking on a wet surface didn’t inspire any confidence at all. There is no scope of any adventure during the rains and it will leave you yearning for a softer tyre for more grip in case you are riding it monsoons in a city like Mumbai where the tarmac is of worst quality at best.
Price wise, the Rodeo RZ has been launched at a price tag (ex-showroom) of AP – Rs.49,575 /-, Kerala – Rs 49,410/-, TN – Rs. 50,710/ and Karnataka – Rs. 48,930/-, respectively, which is around 2500 higher than the Duro but seems justified given the features packed in it.
So clearly, Mahindra wants you to “Do More” with your scooter and not just settle with anything less. There does exist a big market for a feature-packed product like this, but whether or not they will be able to sell this scooter well will now depend upon their marketing strategy and how well they have trained their sales team so that he/she could explain and sell all these features to a prospective buyer. A bigger dealer network and more visibility will also go a long way in selling this scooter.