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  • The cooling system on the Classic is not very effective.
    The cooling system on the Classic is not very effective.
  • Speedometer positioning makes it hard to read while riding.
    Speedometer positioning makes it hard to read while riding.
  • Addition of bar-end weights would combat some vibration.
    Addition of bar-end weights would combat some vibration.
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2017 UM Renegade Commando Classic review, road test

16th Jan 2018 6:00 am

The new swankiest cruiser from UM Motorcycles, the Renegade Commando Classic is on sale now. We test its competence.

  • Make : UM Motorcycles
  • Model : Renegade

With the motorcycle market in India developing a steady upward rhythm, it is only logical to provide buyers with a wider variety of options. And although there were a fair few complaints about the pre-production models of the Commando and Sport S we rode about a year ago, UM has put a solid amount of thought into ironing out those issues. Being a direct competitor to established motorcycle manufacturer Royal Enfield, we decided to take the UM Renegade Commando Classic to the streets to see how well it stands its ground.

UM has an unmistakably American cruiser theme going for it. The Classic, as the name implies, is designed along the lines of classic American cruisers, and boy does it turn a fair amount of heads. It
gets a dual-tone paint scheme as well as an all-black one, along with swathes of chrome that give it a rather classy look. It also gets a large front windscreen that comes as an accessory and completes its highway cruiser image. In fact, you would be forgiven if you thought it was a larger-displacement cruiser; it certainly has the road presence that will leave an impression on bystanders.

The only area that could do with a little improvement is the tank-mounted speedometer; it is a bit difficult to read on the go due to its positioning. There’s also a small digital display within the analogue speedometer that has a gear indicator, a fuel gauge and an odometer. 

The Classic is equipped with a 279.5cc, single-cylinder fuel-injected motor that gets liquid-cooling and four valves. Overall, this is a relatively smooth motor that feels decently powered for a 280cc motorcycle. The engine puts out peak power of 25.15hp at a rather high 8,500rpm, while its peak torque of 23Nm kicks in at 7,000rpm. The first and second gears have shorter ratios, while third, fourth and fifth are quite tall. Sixth gear, on the other hand, is purely a cruising gear, which should help with mileage during highway cruising. And since torque and power are made higher up in the revs, you will need to really work through the gearbox to avoid knocking and stalling the machine. This is the sort of engine character you’d expect from something like a street-naked, and is quite uncharacteristic of a cruiser motorcycle.

That being said, gearshifts happen predictably and we did not find any false neutrals on our test ride. The Classic managed a 0-100kph time of 13.51sec, which isn’t exactly earth-shattering, but respectable for a 280cc cruiser. The bike feels happiest out on the highway, sustaining speeds of 80-90kph. There is a fair amount of vibration that creeps out of the handlebar and seat at high revs. The bike also gets a removable decibel killer on its silencers, which, when removed, gives the exhaust a louder note.

The frame is a dual-cradle one, and while suspension up front consists of conventional telescopic forks, the rear gets twin hydraulic shocks. The ride stability is well sorted but the suspension will give your back a bashing on bigger, sharper bumps. Even in terms of handling, the Renegade threw no surprises our way. The bike took to corners with stability and confidence, while the TVS ATT tyres provided good levels of grip.

When it comes to braking, the bike’s 280mm front disc and rear drum are able to shed speed predictably. Though the front brake does have decent initial bite, the feel is slightly wooden and you really have to reel in the lever to get the full stopping force out of them; we managed an 80-0kph time of 3.96sec, which is acceptable from a 179kg motorcycle.

We weren’t really expecting the high-revving 280cc motor to produce any spectacular mileage figures. Our highway run resulted in a figure of 36.9kpl, and our city run resulted in a 28.4kpl figure. Combine the highway mileage with an 18-litre fuel tank capacity and you’re looking at a range of nearly 580km between fuel stops. 

The Classic gets a nice scooped-out seat for the rider that lifts up into a separate pillion seat, which also gets a large backrest. The riding position is a very comfortable one – the seats are well-cushioned, the reach for the handlebars allows for your shoulders to be in a relaxed position, and there isn’t much of a stretch to the forward-set foot pegs. All in all, this position could work well for riders of varying heights.

It also gets a 16-inch wheel at the front and a 15-inch one at the rear, which keeps things low. However, it still manages a ground clearance of 200mm.

 Overall, UM has done a commendable job of improving its machine from what we experienced a year ago. It has decent ride quality and could really make a good companion for munching up some highway miles. However, there are a few areas in which the bike could be improved; engine refinement levels could certainly be looked into. With a price tag of Rs 1.89 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the Classic, the bike is priced competitively and falls bang into Royal Enfield territory. While it does miss out on the torquey, big single-cylinder feel, and the brand recognition that Royal Enfield has, the Renegade Commando Classic is a competent motorcycle in its own right. Those looking for an affordable, American-style cruiser, or those upgrading from something like a Bajaj Avenger, should stop by to a UM dealership and see if the Classic fits their cruising bill. 

PRICE Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Ex-showroom - Delhi Rs 1.89 lakh -
ENGINE Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Fuel Type Petrol -
No of Cylinders Single-cylinder -
Cubic Capacity (cc) 279.5cc -
Ignition System Electric -
Cooling System Liquid-cooled -
Fuel Delivery System Fuel-injected -
Bore/Stroke (mm) 74/65mm -
Valves per cylinder 4 valves per cylinder -
Max Power (hp @ rpm) 25.15hp at 8500rpm -
Max Torque (nm @ rpm) 23Nm at 7000rpm -
Power to Weight Ratio (hp/tonne) 140.50hp per tonne -
TRANSMISSION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
No of Gears 6 -
Dimensions & Chassis Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Weight (kg) 179kg -
Length (mm) 2257mm -
Width (mm) 780mm -
Height (mm) 1350mm -
Wheel base (mm) 1545mm -
Ground Clearance (mm) 200mm -
Fuel Tank capacity (lts) 18 litres -
BRAKES Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Front Brake Type Disc -
Front Brake Size (mm) 280mm -
Rear Brake Type Drum -
Rear Brake Size (mm) 130mm -
SUSPENSION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Front Suspension 41mm telescopic forks -
Rear Suspension Twin shock-absorbers -
WHEELS AND TYRES Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Front wheel (inch) 16-inch -
Front Tyre 110/90 16 -
Rear wheel (inch) 15-inch -
Rear Tyre 140/90 15 -
ACCELERATION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
0 - 10 kph (sec) 0.63s -
0 - 20 kph (sec) 1.32s -
0 - 30 kph (sec) 2.13s -
0 - 40 kph (sec) 2.88s -
0 - 50 kph (sec) 3.89s -
0 - 60 kph (sec) 4.86s -
0 - 70 kph (sec) 6.33s -
0 - 80 kph (sec) 7.93s -
0 - 90 kph (sec) 10.46s -
0 - 100 kph (sec) 13.51s -
BRAKING Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
80 - 0 kph (mts, sec) 44.96m, 3.96s -
EFFICIENCY Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
City (kpl) 28.4kpl -
Highway (kpl) 36.9kpl -
Overall (kpl) 32.6kpl -
Overall Range (kms) 580km -
2017 UM Renegade Commando Classic review, road test
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