Marketing a brand is an art, for it involves understanding the essence and purpose of the product and communicating the same to the target audience. This gets trickier with motorcycles especially when you’re about to launch one for enthusiasts and not for the mass market. Simply put, it is tough to please a motorcycle lover. The connection has to go right to the heart.
So what is the best possible way to promote a motorcycle before the imminent launch? Let the people, who are actually going to buy it, ride it.
This is what Mahindra did to promote it’s highly anticipated and much awaited motorcycle, Mojo. We were invited to Bangalore to ride their upcoming motorcycle covering over 650 kilometers from Bangalore through Koppa and Hassan to the scenic Coorg and then back to Bangalore via Mysore. It was a 2 day ride with beautiful roads and scenery to behold. We came back impressed.
Video Review of Mahindra Mojo
The Journey of Mojo
Back in 2010, Mojo was first showcased as a concept in the Auto Expo held in Delhi. It was received with lots of enthusiasm along with some critical feedback primarily about the way it looked. Mahindra then went literally quite with it until 2013 when it again came into the picture sporting a redesigned fuel tank and front headlight. It definitely looked better than before.
During the interaction with Mahindra officials on our 3 days visit to Bangalore, the actual work on Mojo started only 3 years ago. And while we have waited for 5 years since it was first showcased, Mahindra is still right on time to launch their first premium motorcycle in the country.
Mojo has certain unique design elements that makes it standout in the crowd. Primarily due to the frame and swing-arm finished in golden color. Honostly, it does look a little weird initially with all that gold plating, but Mahindra has managed to not make it appear too bad. The frame is a Twin Tube HTR unit with coaxial mounting. However, we prefer the motorcycle in Red/White combo since the frame and swing-arm are in black color. There are three colors that Mojo will come in – Black, White and Red/White. Black and White have the frame and swing-arm in gold color.
Second standout design element is the headlight assembly. It makes the motorcycle looks slightly bigger than it is. The dual round headlamps look very good; yet, the body work around it appears slightly over done. It does grow on you over the time though. The fuel tank is massive (it doesn’t look so from the outside) and can hold 21 liters of fuel which is a boon for long rides as we found out during the 2 days ride. Even with consistent high speed runs we did not have to fill it up at all on day 1 when we covered 360 kilometers to Coorg. We believe it will have a range of 500kms with mixed riding. This is quite amazing for a 300cc motorcycle.
The front end houses the analog-digital console unit as well. Besides the regular tell-tale indicators of speed, kms done, fuel indicator and rpm meter, it also has dual trip meter, speed test meter to check 0 – 100 timing (that’s interesting for a tourer), high RPM indicator, Malfunction indicator (since it’s FI), digital clock, LED guided RPM indicator and a maximum speed indicator. The Max Speed Indicator records and displays the maximum speed motorcycle has done. For example, a rider does 100kph for the first time, then that speed can be seen on the screen using the button located at the bottom right part of the console. As soon as the rider does a higher speed, it will update and show the new figure.
There are several other safety features like Limp Home Mode which means that in case the engine gets over heated, the RPM will be automatically restricted to 5000rpm as a safety measure till it gets back to the range of normal operating temperatures. There’s also automatic headlamp controller, self adjustable light beam controller and a roll over sensor. The roll over sensor shuts off the power supply to the engine in case the motorcycle falls off or leans more than 45 degrees and the rear wheel lifts up from the ground. Lastly, there’s RPM limit indicator which blinks indicating the rider to upshift.
The seat is a single unit for both the rider and the pillion. It is quite comfortable for the rider but not so much for the pillion – we will cover that below in detail. The tail light is an LED unit which is a norm today.
Lastly, let’s talk about the twin exhaust setup. It is uncommon to see a single cylinder motorcycle with two exhausts. It also adds unnecessary weight and in a performance motorcycle, more weight is not a good thing to have. However, Mahindra made it clear that their engineers were looking for a unique beat (or the exhaust note) which they could achieve with a twin exhaust setup. We would like to confirm that it does sound pretty good and like a multi cylinder motorcycle.
The front suspension has upside-down forks held together by a rigid triple clamp and have prominent appearance while the rear is a mono-suspension setup. The monoshock is set at 25 degrees angle and it is a high pressure gas charged unit with separate floating piston for oil and gas.
As mentioned, Mojo has a single cylinder 300cc engine with Dual Overhead Cam setup (DOHC), 4 valves and is liquid cooled. It produces 27bhp and 30NM torque. The fuel is fed to the engine via Fuel Injection. It is a very smooth operating machine and we were positively surprised to observe that even after riding it hard for 2 days, it did not lose it’s smoothness. There is no mechanical noise, only pure exhaust note.
The Ride, Performance, Handling and Comfort
The real thing, isn’t it? That is the primary focus of its development, to give performance. Mahindra is promoting Mojo as a motorcycle best-for-touring. Let that not fool you though, it is a pretty brisk performer. Of course, it isn’t aggressive in its power delivery like the smaller KTMs we have (just for basic comparison) but it’s quite lively when pushed hard. The feel of the engine is somewhere between a Honda CBR250R and a KTM 390 perhaps. It is not a boring unit at all and will keep the rider happy throughout the journey. We felt that fuelling needs some improvement, it was slightly jerky around 4000 to 5000 rpm, but it could be the case only with our motorcycle. We asked few other riders and they didn’t have this problem.
We were able to hit the top speed of 146 kph which is very satisfying on our highways given the conditions and the engine maintains its smoothness throughout the rev range in all 6 gears. This is a very commendable job by Mahindra engineers. The icing on the cake is it sounds good too.
The handling is good and predictable. It isn’t made to handle sharp but it does everything predictably and there are no surprises in store. In the ghat sections enroute to Coorg, it handled quite well and few us managed to scrap the foot-pegs on the tarmac. The dry weight of the motorcycle is given as 169kgs and we believe the wet-weight would be around 185kgs with such a large fuel tank capacity. Still, Mojo is pretty light to handle at all speeds and we had fun riding it in the ghats. Even with a pillion, the handling capabilities didn’t change much. In normal city traffic also it is quite manoeuverable.
One of the most important aspect that contributes to the way it handles are the tyres. They are Pirelli Diablo Rosso 2 and they are pretty awesome. They are also the top reason why scraping foot-pegs is possible on this motorcycle. Their ability to maintain traction in various riding conditions is superb but I, personally, felt that they are not as sticky as the Metzelers in KTM Duke/RC 390. Naturally, the suspension setup is a factor in the tyre behavior.
However, even though the overall stability of the motorcycle is quite impressive at all speeds and while taking corners, at times, the front end felt shaky at high speeds on flicking it right/left to do an overtake.
The seating comfort for the rider is one of the major highlights of Mojo. The rider sits absolutely upright, the handlebar is wide and high. For most riders (shorter ones especially), their hands are at their chest level when holding the handle bar. Foot-pegs are set at a neutral position and not at the rear like on a typical sportbike. This setup makes it relatively easier to scrape the pegs in a corner. Also, contributing to the rider comfort is an Air Deflector system that sways the warm air from the engine away from rider’s legs.
But we cannot give full marks to Mahindra for comfort due to the pillion seat. Any rider in our group who rode as a pillion complained that the seat is small. The small size of the seat counteracted for the nice padding. It felt like we were sitting on the rear edge of the motorcycle and the feeling is quite scary in certain situations. The important point to note here is if the rider has a back-pack, then it would be difficult to accommodate a pillion (impossible in case the back pack is big). This means that Mojo is not quite suitable for two up touring (city rides can be managed). Also, it leaves little to no room to put any luggage. This is ironic since Mahindra is marketing it as a touring motorcycle. We would appreciate if they can make suitable changes to it.
Suspension at both ends is very nice, it soaks up normal potholes very well without the need to slow down the motorcycle. The rake angle is a bit high giving the handling its neutral nature than being sharp and aggressive.
Front brake is the biggest in its class with a 320mm disc and a radially mounted two piston calliper. We feel it need some improvement. It works fine overall but there were instances when we didn’t get enough bite and feedback from the front brake. Rear brake is quite opposite in its operation and locks the rear wheel pretty easily. There’s no ABS (not even as an option) but Mahindra says it is inevitable in future.
So How It Is?
As mentioned, for their first “big” motorcycle, we have to say Mojo is excellent even with all its shortcomings. It is also the right time to launch such a motorcycle since the 300cc is the new definition of the Quarter Liter segment and Mahindra has tuned the single cylinder engine perfectly for its intended purpose. They do have a challenge on their hands, they are entering an arena with the big daddies of the motorcycling world slugging it out with each other for decades already! They have all the experience while Mahindra is new.
We hope (actually believe) that with the experience Mahindra is gaining each year in Moto3 (250cc class in MotoGP), they will learn, improvise, implement and come out with even more exciting motorcycles in future.
Pillion seat could be bigger.
Need more feedback from front brake.
Rear brake locks the wheel easily. It could be more progressive.
Fuelling wasn’t perfect. It was slightly jerky around 4000 to 5000 rpm