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At the product presentation, when asked about the reason for the long delay in launching the Mahindra Mojo, the technical representative had quite an interesting answer. Since it was first revealed at the 2010 Auto Expo, the Mojo has literally been built from the ground up. The Chinese engine with which it was showcased was scrapped and a new 300cc powerplant was completely developed in-house. The frame was developed in conjunction with a Spanish supplier with a lot of technical expertise from Mahindra Racing manifesting into the Mojo.
The one word to describe the Mojo’s looks is polarising – you either love it or you don’t. But one thing’s for sure, it has presence. From the massive headlamp unit to the 21-litre tank and gold coloured cycle parts, it is like nothing else on the road. Front styling is subjective and Mahindra seems to have gone with the ‘bigger is better’ theme for most of the design. The best way to view it though is the rear three-fourths with the tail piece exuding a scrambler-esque persona. The twin exhaust is unique in the sense that Mahindra has tuned the one into two exhausts to emit a rorty growl that actually sounds like a twin.
The riding position is canted more towards commuter than sporty. I reckon this has more to do with the touring intentions Mahindra wishes to market the bike with. We rode the Mojo over a period of two days form Bangalore to Coorg and back. Over the ride we had the opportunity to get intimate with Bangalore’s notorious traffic. Here the upright stance and wide handlebars helps to maneuver the Mojo despite its long wheelbase and makes the 165kg bike quite easy to ride. The 295cc liquid-cooled mill is quite promising as well. It is refined and vibe free for most part of the rev range. Mahindra has installed fans that direct hot air away from the radiators and from below the engine. This is quite evident in stop and go traffic where other liquid cooled bikes tend to toast your legs; the heat extractors work, leaving you with one less thing to worry about. While the six-speed gearbox lacks the precision of its Japanese competitors, the shifts are light and positive.
On the highway, the engine is powerful enough to keep up triple digit speeds with ease. The 27bhp and 30Nm of torque come up quite early which makes it quite usable in town and country. The short stroke mill comes with a low rev ceiling with the redline set at 8500rpm and at sixth gear, the Mojo maxes out at a speedo-indicated 146kmph. Even near the redline, the engine feels unstressed and the Mojo has this innate ability to sit at 120-130kmph all day if conditions permit.
It’s a good thing then that the relaxed rake and long wheelbase make it quite stable. It does have this slight headshake at the limit though it isn’t nerve wracking. The upside-down forks and rear monoshocks provide a good ride at most speeds. Show it a set of long sweepers and the Mojo is game with supreme levels of grip. In terms of handling, the Mojo has a trump card up its sleeve. It is shod with Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres which are frankly astonishing.
The roads after Sakleshpur are a series of bends and hairpins and nowhere was the Mojo found lacking in terms of grip. Even in the wet. The only issue was the lazy rake which makes turn-in slow but that is something you get used to. Braking duties are handled by a 320mm petal discs upfront and 240mm disc at the rear. Braking is a progressive affair with good feedback emanating from the front but the rear locks up quite easily. While ABS isn’t available, it is being worked on and will soon find its way on the Mojo. The Mojo makes a lot of sense for someone looking for a quick, relatively easy-to-ride motorcycle that won’t break the bank (knowing Mahindra’s penchant for aggressively pricing its products) both in terms of retail and ownership costs. A step-up to the world of large capacity motorcycles if you may.