2015 Mahindra Mojo first ride review
We just got the chance to put the first 550 of roughly 600km that Mahindra Two Wheelers have planned for the Mojo's media ride today and tomorrow. We are headed from Bangalore to Coorg and here are my first impressions.
The engine is a star
Mahindra have consciously designed the Mojo to take the role of a tourer. So while I say the engine is a star it isn't in the sense of cracking flat out performance. It's a sweet engine. It makes 27PS and 30Nm and it goes with a laid back, reassured sort of authority.
Refinement levels are high and there are absolutely no signs of mechanical distress even on the way to a 147kmph top speed. Disclaimer: That's on a long downhill and the indicated speed on the meter, so the actual top speed is likely lower. The point is, the engine doesn't feel like it's straining even when ridden like this.
The torque peaks from 4,500 to 6,700rpm and this is evident. 100kmph is a pleasant 5,500rpm on the highway and I would be quite happy to cruise at 110-115kmph, conditions permitting, at about 6,000-6,500rpm.
On the flip side, getting out of Bangalore's magnificently terrible traffic, the Mojo could be left in a surprisingly high gear without stuttering or complaint.
Great ride quality
The suspension setup which includes an upside down unit up front and a preload adjustable rear shock is very well calculated. The Mojo absorbed anything the road threw in our path very effectively. At slow speeds or high, the Mojo seems to know what to do.
The Mahindra Mojo handles like a reasonably alert long wheelbase motorcycle - more or less how a tourer needs to. It tracks neatly in response to steering inputs. So far we have only experienced fast, open sweepers and in these the Mahindra Mojo works well. I suspect the chassis setup, especially at speeds above 115kmph, is very close to the limit and you can provoke a weave rather too easily and it takes a while for the bike to damp it out. The good news is that this weave never starts with a bump on the road and never, ever shows up at lower speeds. But at high speeds it means changing direction has to be a more measured input. The KTM Dukes, to quote an example, also do this slight weave but they feel more stable and damp oscillations faster. Again, the KTMs show this behaviour only nearing their top speeds.
Is this a concern? I suspect not. It's just a behaviour that you need to remember once the riding becomes fast and hard. In tighter corners, the length of chassis and the relaxed take are offset by superb grip from the Pirellis and you can corner the Mahindra Mojo very hard if you like. It even changes direction quite well but it needs a firm hand to tackle the long wheelbase in this manoeuvre. But sort of like the Avenger/Eliminator, you need some more lean angle than a normal street bike thanks to the length of the bike. The issue that causes is easy to predict. Go hard and stuff makes contact with the road. Both heat shields, the side stand's foot and the right peg feeler were all down at some point or the other climbing up to the halfway point of our first ride.
Mahindra have been smart in choosing the Pirelli Diablo Rosso IIs for the Mojo and it gives the chassis more grip to work with. On the road it immediately makes braking, cornering or just riding that much more assured. Mahindra say the Pirellis also possess stunning wet grip and once we entered the rain, the tyres remained at a very high level. I only felt the need to back off the pace a little bit while enjoying great grip and confidence from the Pirellis.
The 320mm unit at the front of the Mojo is sourced from Jjuan, a Spanish firm that works with Mahindra Racing. The unit has great power and Mahindra have tuned it for a friendly, progressive relationship between brake lever effort and brake force. The Mojo stops confidently but you do sense that relatively lazy rake when you stop.
Mahindra are working on ABS right now and expect to have an ABS model on sale later. Personally, I wish the ABS model was on sale from day one but at least it's definitely in the plan.
The new Mahindra Mojo is hard to summarise into a verdict because the price is currently unknown, but I suspect that owners of the new Mahindra will be happy with their purchases.
The motorcycle feels well made, like it will last and it has a good set of abilities to match its promises. The engine revs well, torque is abundant and cruising long distances will be handled easily. I don't have a measured economy figure yet but I'm told reliably that Mahindra R&D testers managed a run from Manali to Leh and back without refilling the 21-litre tank.
Will the Mahindra Mojo be a commercial success? I'm not sure. But I'm convinced that unless Mahindra make a serious pricing blunder, the Mojo will give their new two-wheeler R&D credibility in terms of ability to handle the full product lifecycle.
Images by Ishaan Bhataiya
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