Mahindra Pantero, Centuro test ride review
The word Pantero comes from the word Panther, just like the word Stallio came from Stallion. Some things stick, eh? Jokes aside, they never fail to come up with fancy names for the steeds at their stable. The past weekend has been pretty exciting at Mahindra, with the unveiling of two 110 cc motorcycles. Although we were told that we have a surprise waiting, and we were half expecting to ride the Mojo at Pune and tackle the hillocks around, it wasn’t too disappointing because what we saw was equally interesting in terms of technological advancement of the 100- 110 cc commuter segment.
You see the Centuro, Pantero’s premium sibling, brings along some never-seen-before stuff on two-wheelers in this segment. Powered by Mahindra’s indigenously developed intelligent MCI-5 (Micro Chip ignited 5 curve) engine that “responds smartly to your need for power and economy on the go”, a central locking anti-theft System with Engine Immobilizer and a remote 128 bit encrypted Flip Key, Find Me Lamps that help you easily locate your motorcycle in crowded parking lots, Guide Lamps that continue to illuminate even as you walk away, after parking your bike, the Centuro indeed looks all set to give segments leaders a run for their money. It sports an advanced, white fully-lit digital dashboard with an in-built, Service Due Indicator and Distance- to-Empty Fuel calculator too. Smart! All of these have been patented by Mahindra as the first in the motorcycle industry.
The Centuro and the Pantero both feature the same 110 cc engine that powered the Stallio though with a lot of changes. The mills put out 8.5 BHP @ 7500 RPM and 8.5 Nm of peak torque at 5500 rpm and the bikes also have best in class ground clearance of 173 mm and 165mm respectively. The Centuro also has interesting styling features too, like two “ribs” that run along the fuel tank and are meant to add sort of a sex-appeal to it. A shirtless man, perhaps? The basic and mass segment oriented Pantero has been designed and developed from scratch at the Mahindra R&D Centre at Pune. This too sports the MCi 5 (Micro Chip Ignited 5-Curve) engine. The Mahindra Pantero has a 13.7-litre fuel tank, and besides producing identical 8.5 BHP @ 7500 RPM, Mahindra has managed to squeeze out a mileage of 79.5 kmpl (as per ARAI), promising over a 1000 kms in a tankful. A large, fully digital dashboard is also a feature that Mahindra is pitching.
The Mahindra Pantero has the longest seat (774 mm) in the 110cc commuter segment that offers riders increased comfort over longer distances. The motorcycle also has best in class ground clearance of 165 mm. It has alloy wheels with a wheel-base of 1265mm giving a stable ride. Pantero is available in four variants – Self Start/ Cast Alloy Wheels/ Digital Console, Self Start/ Cast Alloy Wheels/ Analog Console, Kick Start/ Cast Alloy Wheels/ Analog Console and Kick Start/ Spoke/ Analog Console. While we rode it on the Western Ghats, the maneuverability of the Pantero stood out, with the suspension playing an important role in the ride. The upside was that it was pretty much perfectly balanced to tackle hairpin bends and potholes with the same setting. The downside was that after a good 2 hour run, a few of the bikes that we got made a creaking sound when it hit gentle bumps or if the pillion got on or off the bike.
The brakes were decent and slowed the bike at the right time and to the desired speed, a perfect recipe for the hill dash. It’s important to have the right kind of braking power while riding on hills and on highways, a fact that a lot of people ignore. The bike performed well on uphill stretches, though the engine seemed to want to die on the way up, but it never did. 8.5Bhp of power isn’t too great a figure but the light weight rider in me helped and I actually stayed enjoyed the ride, keeping the engine in its meaty band. Each gear however seems slightly tall for the next in line, and the bike revs up really high, before it goes into the next gear and then seems to have less power for the one you just slotted into – fuel economy priority to be blamed here. Shifting is fast and easy though, and it never misses a gear. Good effort put in there!
Overall, the bike looks good, rides well, handles really well and sounds and looks good! If someone is a commuter, and would like to commute in style, the Mahindra Pantero is something they should really consider and for a few thousand extra, its premium avatar, the Centuro will simply makes rivals bare basic!