There had been a lot of speculation as to what Mahindra’s new scorer with the codename G108 scooter was going to be. Most pointed at a 125cc version of the Gusto, and well, they were right. Mahindra recently unveiled the Gusto 125 and we managed to get our hands on one for a ride.
Well, the first thing you notice about the scooter is the styling. It is, most definitely, eccentric. The front is slightly different from the Gusto 110 with a cleaner, neater design. The paint schemes come as a pleasant surprise as well. It is available in a solid red and solid black paint scheme, but also has some dual-tone offerings — either blue and white or orange and white. Mahindra acquired a 51 per cent stake in Peugeot’s two wheeler division last year and claim that a lot of inputs were taken from them in terms of design and paint schemes. Not much else has changed on the design front, save for body-coloured mirrors and a chrome plated heat guard.
Height adjustable seat
Before we get on the scooter, the first thing that deserves mentioning is the height adjustable seat. The Gusto 110 was the first scooter in the country to feature such a mechanism and Mahindra carry it forward on the Gusto 125. It is easily operable, all it requires is a twist of a knob which is tucked away neatly in the under-seat storage area. It is an interesting feature that can allow different people of different builds to use the same scooter without compromising on comfort and convenience. It is great to see Mahindra take the lead and be the first to introduce innovations not yet seen in the segment.
Now the main bit — the engine. It is a 124.6cc single cylinder with a 54.4mm bore and 53.6mm stroke. The engine is carbureted and makes 8.6bhp at 7000rpm and 10Nm of torque at 5500rpm, and the difference is apparent. Where the Gusto 110 felt sluggish, the 125 definitely feels more sprightly and eager. Acceleration is extremely linear and rather good from a standstill. The most surprising bit (and the most pleasant change from the 110) is the refinement. The scooter feels really smooth and the engine doesn’t mind being wrung out. The Gusto 125’s engine has an offset crank and low friction piston rings which is probably what has led to this improved refinement.
However, all said and done, it does feel a tad bit slower than its other 125cc rivals, owing to to its heavier kerb weight.
Ergonomically, the scooter has its quirks. The console and switchgear is identical to the one on the Gusto 110. And like the Gusto 110, it doesn’t feel very premium. The seat opens up backwards (so that the adjustable seat-height mechanism can be accommodated) to access the cubby hole under the seat and the fuel tank. The storage under the seat is rather small, it couldn’t fit a full-face helmet however there is plenty of options for storage on the outside. There is a tiny expandable cubby hole at the base of the console, a convenient storage for your wallet or phone or anything else with not-too-large dimensions. It also has two hooks, one under the seat and one in front of your knees. And unlike many scooters with mirrors so tiny that they are close to redundant, the Gusto gets nice, large rear-view mirrors that are actually of some use to a rider. The Gusto 125 also carries over those unique features first seen on the Gusto 110. It has a remote flip-key with buttons to operate the ‘Find Me Lamps’. What it essentially does is flash the scooter’s indicators and beep a small siren to grab your attention in case you can’t locate it.
Ride and handling:
Another thing that Mahindra have got spot on with the Gusto is the way the suspension is set up. The scooter feels quite settled over bumpy roads, it doesn’t bob about like some of the earlier Mahindra scooters had a tendency to do. And it does so, without being overly stiff. The Gusto gets 12-inch wheels with tubeless MRF tyres which is great for handling. Where the Gusto does lack majorly is on the brakes. The scooter gets 130mm drum brakes in the front as well as the rear and this isn’t enough for a heavy 125cc scooter. The brakes are a little soft and don’t inspire as much confidence as you would like them to. The addition of disc brakes could change that, but nothing seems to be on the cards yet.
Mahindra haven’t announced pricing yet, they will do so right before Auto Expo 2016 in February. The Gusto will go on sale in markets in south India in February itself and will find its way to other markets around the country soon after.
The Gusto 125 is most definitely unique. While it shines in some respects, it lacks equally in others. But one thing is certain, this scooter is a massive improvement over the Gusto 110. If Mahindra continue down this path, they could pose a serious threat to the well-established Japs in the scooter segment.