Five years in the making and after having given a glimpse of things to come, Mahindra Two Wheelers has finally pulled the wraps off the Mojo. Of the five years, the past thirty-six months have been crucial for the firm. Going back to the drawing board, re-designing and re-engineering the motorcycle, Mahindra were hard at work. And, during all this time, the market opened up to the 250cc plus category of motorcycles. Better late than never, the Mojo comes in and quite surprisingly, is threatening to carve out a niche for itself.
We travelled to the beautiful city of Bengaluru where two days of riding through wide open highways and winding ghats would lead us to Coorg and back via Mysore. About 600-odd kilometres would give us ample time to gauge the Mojo’s true potential and we were in for a revelation.
Looks and aesthetics
First off, the motorcycle looks appealing from many angles barring the headlamp casing which received mixed opinions. Twin headlamps remain from the original design and LED DRLs have been added as eyebrows to them. It is bordering outlandish but we think it gels with the overall look of the bike. The tank has received major redesigning making it muscular and in the process, giving it a massive capacity of 21-litres. This is possibly the largest fuel tank capacity in the segment and Mahindra claims to have covered the distance between Manali to Leh in a tank of fuel, which is nearly 500km.
The twin tubular frame is exposed and adds a bit of character, complimenting the swing arm. The rear is what we liked the most as the hanging splash guard integrates the number plate holder, reminiscent of dirt bikes and supermotos. The twin-exhaust setup has to be the Mojo’s piece de resistance. An unusual setup for a single cylinder bike, Mahindra has made use of a single pre-muffler to tune the note emitted by the twin mufflers. What’s more is that the mufflers use a dB killer each that can be easily removed for a throatier note. The bike might look fairly compact in pictures but in person, it looks substantial.
This is mainly attributed to the 1465mm wheelbase (The Bajaj Avenger measures 1475mm) and the raked-out front suspension making the bike look long. There’s enough ground clearance on offer too with the Mojo sitting 173.5mm off the ground. This is as much as a KTM 390 Duke’s 172mm. The seat height is 814.5mm but that wasn’t an issue with shorter riders who could put both feet on the ground.
A lot of smaller capacity bikes these days are employing equipment which was only limited to higher capacity machines and the Mojo is no exception. Starting with the compact meter console, there’s a large, analogue tachometer and digital readouts for speed, odometer along with two trip meters. A shift light indicator and max speed recorder are thoughtful additions but we would’ve preferred a gear position indicator along with fuel consumption readouts. 43mm upside-down front forks with 143.5mm of travel and a gas charged monoshock at the rear with 143mm of travel make up the suspension system.
Braking is handled by a single but big 320mm disc and radially-mounted twin-piston calipers in the front along with a 240mm disc and floating caliper setup at the rear. The units are by J.Juan, a Spanish firm who partners Mahindra in Moto3. Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres have been opted for the Mojo in 110/70-17 and 150/60-17 sizes for the front and rear respectively.
Ride and Handling
All this is good but how does all of it come together out on the road? Getting out of the city, there’s a lot of steering movement courtesy the long wheelbase but once you manage past crawling speeds, there’s immense stability from the frame and suspension. We got out on the highway and post a few kilometres, the superb ride quality came to fore.
Bumps, undulations and even potholes were ironed out by the well damped suspension and at no point did the rebound threaten to upset the rider or the motorcycle itself. The riding position, with the low-set footpegs and high handlebar, make up an ergonomic package that’s relaxed and wouldn’t tire the rider over long distances. It didn’t take us long to realise that the intent and focus here is touring.
The 295cc engine produces 27bhp and 30Nm of power and torque and is relaxed in its delivery. The acceleration is brisk and at no point intimidating. There’s enough power low down in the rev-range and as revs climb, the bike gains speed steadily. This still is a high compression, short stroke motor so there is urgency when power is called for by your right hand but Mahindra has kept the fuelling/ECU tuned soft thus the linear, very predictable power delivery and smooth on/off throttle transitions.
This motor is a gem. Not just for its unstressed performance that’s nearly devoid of vibrations but also for its slick 6-speed gearbox. Shift action is light, reaffirmed by a solid movement of the lever. The gear ratios compliment the power delivery perfectly and under no circumstance did the engine stutter when we left it in a higher gear while moving slowly.
The roads leading to Coorg are scenic with tall trees, coffee plantations and seemingly endless tight bends that are a motorcyclist’s delight. On the Mojo however, attacking corners is not the way to go as I found the front losing its line and running wide in these corners. This was mainly down to the raked out front end which frowns at an aggressive riding style but revels in enjoying a sunny day in the mountains.
The front end forces you to put in extra lean angles than required. Smoothness is the mantra here. The Pirelli tyres are hard at work while cornering and offer a lot of grip that’s there even when the going gets damp and wet. But their full cornering potential becomes limited in tighter corners when the exhaust heat shield and side stand scrape the tarmac while banked.
Let the roads open up, as did the Bangalore-Mysore highway, and the Mojo gets its mojo back with utmost steadiness. The engine sings along at 6,000rpm while the speedo displays an indicated 110kmph and you can sit there all day long while enjoying the exhaust note that’s more akin to a twin, with some thump in it. We like it. The biggest surprise was heat, a major concern these days with high capacity liquid-cooled engines. Mahindra have put some nifty aero work into the side radiator casings which help re-direct hot air blown by the radiator fan, downward. This translates to nearly no heat coming onto the rider’s legs thus increasing comfort.
The Mojo is a bike that grows on you and very quickly so. Mahindra has got the styling, engine and ride quality going for them and these essentially make up a near complete motorcycle. The refinement and quality levels feel high too but how the components age is a factor that’ll show their quality. The bike invites riders who like a relaxed ride but prefer spending more time on the saddle.
Speaking of which, Mahindra has also told us that a harder touring seat will be offered as an option. Also in the pipeline is ABS that we thought was necessary as the rear brake easily locks up while the front, although progressive, doesn’t offer the right bite when required. At a price of Rs 1,58,000 (ex-showroom Delhi), the Mojo hits the Honda CBR250R head-on and has a lot many Royal Enfield models in its sights.