Mahindra Two Wheelers' first in-house developed scooter, the Gusto, has now been upgraded to a larger capacity, 124.6cc powerplant. This couldn't have come at a better time, as the scooter market is buzzing like an angry bee on steroids. Every two-wheeler maker in India worth their salt needs to hit the nail here for success.
So can the new Gusto blow enough wind up the Mahindra scooter sail?
As we get closer to the new scooter, we can’t help but feel the Mahindra Gusto 125 could be better styled. The Gusto 125 has a boxy form, that looks awkward from some angles, and lacks a contemporary edge. To spice things up, Mahindra is offering the new 125 in several exciting premium colours.
This is a fibre-body scooter with its straight lines cloaked in good paint quality. Switchgear on the Gusto 125 is nice to the touch. As nice and solid feeling are the buffed alloy levers that give the new Mahindra an edge. To its credit, the new 125 also includes a handy brake-lock clamp. However, we found the Gusto 125’s body-coloured mirrors cumbersome to adjust.
The instruments on the upgraded Gusto are legible, with speedometer, odometer and fuel gauge offered. Just behind is a dinky little spring-loaded storage cubby. We didn’t like the old-school rubber floorboard mat, especially at a time when new- age scooters use integrated mats that stay better in place.
A flip-to-access Gusto key gives this Mahindra an upmarket feel. There are buttons that remotely operate the indicators when locating your Gusto 125 in a crowded, dark parking lot. Another innovative feature offered on the scooter is a height-adjustable seat, that opens front-to-back. There’s a convenient scooter-typical underseat storage bay as well.
Overall quality, while moving in the right direction on the Gusto 125 can definitely be refined. For example, the pillion footrests fold in and out with much play.
The button-started Gusto 125 is powered by a four-stroke, 124.6cc engine, with 54.4mm x 53.6mm bore and stroke measurements. This single-cylinder, air-cooled engine carburettor-fed, running two-valves is driven by a single overhead camshaft. Power output is up from 8 to 8.5bhp, and there’s a big improvement in the feel.
There’s a silent cam-chain, and high-energy ignition-coil with improved multi-mapping. Friction is cut to a minimum, with low friction piston rings incorporated. And the 125 performs so much better than the smaller Gusto, which used to have a marked whine from the gearbox, but that’s now history.
The Gusto 125 excels with butter-smooth and vibe-free feel, as power feeds in. Acceleration and performance are brisk, with enough low and mid-range pep. The Gusto 125 easily pulls to 80kph, and there’s no hesitation or poor NVH character that pulled down the older Gusto. There’s no doubt, Mahindra are well on their way, as they climb the two-wheeler engine learning curve.
Good to go
The Gusto 125 riding position is comfortable, upright and roomy even for tall riders. Amongst the most massive improvements, is ride quality, now properly damped, unlike earlier. The 125 comes with upmarket front telescopic suspension and includes tubeless MRF rubber, these giving the scooter 125 good road grip. Handling is good, with reasonable cornering manners. That brings us to the Gusto 125's brakes, which disappointed with leaden feel from the front, while the rear worked well. Mahindra would do well to offer a front disc brake option.
The Gusto 125 has a few rough edges, while striking a high note on features and delivering in spades with a strong performing, refined engine, and able handling. The Gusto 125 will make the best value two-wheeler offered by Mahindra so far, if priced well when it goes on sale next month.