Mahindra Two-Wheelers recently launched their very first in-house developed scooter, the Gusto, built by their R&D team in Pune, to take on the Indian as well as the international markets. While Mahindra has initially introduced the Gusto in India, it will go on to launch the gearless scooter in South Asian, Latin American and African markets.
The Mahindra Gusto sports good paint quality, and comes with straight body lines. It’s a somewhat boxy looking scooter, styled conservatively to appeal to a wider audience. Stylish fins placed next to a set of integrated turn signal indicators, lend good relief to the Gusto's front apron. The smartly-designed headlight provides good visibility at night, and comes supported by a set of LED lamps as well. Switchgear on the Gusto feels premium, is nice to touch and easy to come to terms with. The Gusto's palm grips could have done with better feel, and likewise, both brake levers don’t feel as good as on every other scooter in India. The Gusto does well to include a rear brake locking clamp as standard, an important feature on gearless scooters for improving safety when stationary.
The Gusto comes with large, well placed rear-view mirrors that provide clear rear view covering an ample field, however their mounting stems come with flimsy, ill-fitting cladding. The Gusto’s backlit instruments display an easily legible speedometer, odometer and fuel-gauge apart from the other regular warning icons. Just beneath sits a handy storage compartment. Even a taller rider’s knees have enough space to move around freely when turning the Gusto, which is good. Two bag-hooks are in place for quick storage in the foot-well region.
The flip-to-access Gusto key gives this Mahindra an up-market feel, and has an inbuilt torch as also two extra buttons. The first button operates a jingle and flashes the turn indicators, while the other silently flashes only the indicators to help owners locate their Gusto looking for it in crowded or dark parking lots.
A unique and really clever feature on the Gusto is its height-adjustable seat, which can be adjusted 35mm up or down in a jiffy, with minimal effort, a first on an Indian scooter. The seat opens towards the back of the scooter, instead of front. A stopper built in the hinge hinge to clamp the seat open ensures that it doesn't fall when held open to access the roomy underseat storage bay.
The Gusto comes with well designed pillion footrests and a flip-down lady footrest. On the other side, a silencer protrudes backwards with its heat shield. The kick-start lever is well designed to ensure easy starts without calling upon undue rider effort.
The Gusto's grab-handle looks smart, as does its large, rear tail-light section. Overall build quality is adequate, although fit-finish as well as rubber and plastics all need improvement on the Gusto.
The Mahindra Gusto is powered by a four-stroke, 109.6cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder engine with peak power output of 8bhp generated at 7,500rpm, and 0.8kgm of torque coming in at 5,500rpm. Mahindra Two-Wheelers tell us the Gusto uses their M-TEC engine technology, featuring a strengthened crankshaft and bearings, a silent-chain, higher inertia magneto with greater energy ignition coil and an efficient regulator. Once fired up and on the go, the carburetor-fed Gusto engine does well to feel butter smooth, and vibe-free throughout its powerband. A distinctive whine does, however, infringe on this otherwise refined sounding engine. Acceleration could also be better - the Gusto lacks good enough low and mid-range pep for this class of scooter, calling for riders to open an undue amount of throttle to gain adequate performance. The Gusto can power you to scooter respectable speeds, an indicated 80kph being easily achieved on this gearless Mahindra scooter.
Padding on the Mahindra Gusto saddle feels much too soft, and also fails to allow riders to settle into and sit comfortably. We found that we had to constantly re-adjust our posture for there's a tendency of to slip forward on this seat. The riding position is good, upright and roomy with the flat floorboard that's comfortable enough as well.
The Gusto comes with telescopic suspension in front, but ride quality isn’t as good as expected - the suspension feels too rigid and lacks adequate plush feel. The Gusto, surprisingly, does not absorb small road undulations with adequate grace, despite its large wheels for a scooter with 12 inch rims. Tyre grip is reasonable; the Gusto gets tubeless rubber as standard. A good turning radius is also a boon on the new Mahindra scooter; the Gusto comes with a comparatively longer 1,275mm wheelbase. The Gusto, whilst no segment topper, handles reasonably well, although it feels slightly heavier than rival scooters in city riding conditions.
Although an earlier brief ride on the Gusto left us disappointed with brake performance, the second scooter we tested provided with good braking - a nice, progressive feel apparent at both levers.
The Gusto is priced at par for its segment, retailing for Rs 43,000-47,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi), positioning the latest Mahindra well in the market, ready to meet it rivals. However, although Mahindra Two-Wheelers is clearly moving in the right direction, with a steadily improving product line-up, the Gusto still comes with more than a fair share of rough edges, all of which Mahindra needs to smoothen out, before the Gusto will match its many rivals already plying Indian streets.
Rayomand Darius with Rishad Cooper
Type 109.6cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, four-stroke
Power 8bhp at 7500rpm
Torque 0.8kgm at 5500rpm
Specific output 73bhp per litre
Power to weight 66.1bhp per tonne
Wheels 12-inch, pressed steel
Tyres(f-r) 90/ 90 x 12 inches
Front Telescopic forks
Front 130mm drum
Rear 130mm drum
Tank size 6 litres