Mahindra is slowly but surely working its way up in the Indian two-wheeler market. That’s the first impression we got astride Mahindra’s new Centuro, which marks the newbie bikemaker’s entry into the premium end of the commuter motorcycle market. In a segment where the Hero Passion and Honda Dream Yuga reign supreme, you can tell Mahindra has tried hard to distinguish its challenger.
The Centuro looks quite large for its class, and there are some nice elements like the angular headlamp, well-shaped fuel tank and smart LED brake lamp. Sadly, details like the twin gold pipes under the tank and overdone graphics on the side panels take away much from the bike’s style. What buyers will undoubtedly like is just how much the Centuro offers by way of features. The instruments are dominated by a large tachometer that reads up to 12,000rpm. Just below resides a digital display for the speedometer, odometer, trip-meter, clock, service indicator, economy mode and even a handy distance-to-empty readout. There’s more, too. The Centuro also gets a multifunction flip-to-open key with 96-bit encryption that rules out the use of a duplicate key to start the bike. Owners can also get their Centuro lights flashing at the touch of a button to easily locate the bike in a crowded parking lot. Follow-me-home lamps that keep the lights on for a couple of seconds after the ignition is switched off are part of the package too. Other nice touches include comfy palm grips, large mirrors and well-finished switches that include a pass-light flasher.
Mechanically, the Centuro is near identical to the Mahindra Pantero launched earlier this year. It uses the same single-cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled and 106.7cc engine as its sibling. Peak power is 8.4bhp at 7500rpm. Performance feels just about adequate, although the engine is on the noisier, gruff side. Gearshifts on the four-speed, all-up gearbox are largely smooth.
The Centuro deploys a twin downtube frame with suspension comprising front telescopic forks and adjustable shocks at the rear. City-based owners will like the comfort afforded by an upright seating position. The Centuro is not suited to quick, sporty riding though, not by any stretch. Part of the blame for this going to its old-school tubular swingarm. Also, the drum brakes lack in feel and power, even as Mahindra assures us a disc brake variant is on the cards.
Prices are expected to be in the region of Rs 47,000-50,000 (estimated). While the Centuro is a good effort from Mahindra, it remains some way off from its many better engineered rivals. Still, with so many features on offer, the Centuro could just go on to rope in some admirers.