Although Mahindra took its own sweet time with the final product, the outcome is a motorcycle that looks quite distinctive. On the front are round twin headlamps, set inside a large headlamp cluster. Above that are LED strips, which work as city lights. The instrument cluster has an analogue tachometer, and an LCD speedometer. It also records the top speed achieved by the motorcycle, and ours displayed 141kph at the end of day, which we managed on a long, empty strip of tarmac.
The 21-litre tank is well-chiselled. It has sharp angles, but still does not look too aggressive. The top of the tank is relatively flat and has the logo on either sides. It even houses the key insert on the front. Below the tank you see the distinctive love them or hate them 'ribs' – a part of Mahindra's motorcycle design philosophy. These are not just for show, but are part of the chassis itself.
The seat is roomy enough for the rider, but doesn't give the pillion a lot of living space. The material offers enough grip, and doesn't let you slip around. The tail- lamp is small, but with bright LED lights. When you look at the motorcycle from the side though, the rear seems to end abruptly, as if it has been chopped off.
The 292cc single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine makes a maximum power of 27bhp at 8,000rpm, and a maximum torque of 3kgm at 5,500rpm. Interestingly, Mahindra tells us that the almost all of the torque is delivered from 4,500rpm and stays on until a little over 6,500rpm. This is quite evident while riding the motorcycle, for keeping it anywhere in the range, you can happily stay at highway cruising speeds. The engine on our test motorcycle was quite silent mechanically, and the vibrations stayed well in check throughout.
When you twist the throttle, the Mahindra Mojo does not go on a rampage; it revs quite hard, but still stays quite civil. The motorcycle has been built for the highway, and that is where it shines. It reminds me somewhat of an English butler, who takes a moment to respond, but gets the work done efficiently.
Highways in India always come with their fair share of bumps and rough patches. To handle that, the Mojo gets upside down forks at the front, and a gas-charged monoshock at the rear. I found the suspension setup to be quite well tuned, and it soaked up the road undulations nicely, while staying composed on corners. Rough patches or even small speed breakers don't seem to upset the Mojo, and it can take these at reasonable speeds too.
The most impressive bit on this new motorcycle is the tyres Mahindra is offering. The Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres are known for their excellent road-holding ability, and that is exactly what you get on the Mojo too. A 110/70 x 17 unit on the front, and a 150/60 x 17 unit on the rear gives ample grip, whether it is a corner that you are taking or a wet surface. The brakes offered are made by European maker Jijuan, and work quite well too. It feel progressive, and offer good feedback. However, I found that the rear brake locks up quite easily, which can be a little unnerving in tricky situations. ABS is not offered.
The riding position on the Mahindra Mojo is quite comfortable, and although I'm 6 feet tall, I was always comfortable on the ride to Coorg. The seat is on the higher side though, and short riders might end up on their toes when stationary. The long wheelbase of the motorcycle lends it good stability on the highway, but makes it a little difficult to muscle around in city traffic, as I found out while leaving Bengaluru.
Mahindra has made the motorcycle quite distinctive as mentioned earlier, and in line with that, it has given the Mojo a one-into-two exhaust system. It gives the motorcycle a unique sound, but with two exhausts the weight of the motorcycle has increased, a step backwards instead of forward.
A torquey engine, comfort and great tyres sounds like a good recipe for a sports tourer. However, at a suspected price of Rs 2 lakh, the Mahindra Mojo must take on some really able competition, notably KTM's exceptional Duke singles – the 200 and 390, and how it holds its own versus the others in this growing market will be what really defines its future.