Tale of two scooters

Mahindra adds two new scooters to its portfolio. Ajay Joyson brings you an exclusive first impression


If you ask a common biker about Mahindra, he might have heard of the brand but in all probability, he would have no clue about its qualities or value. He may have read the name a zillion times in his rear view mirror, but would not be acquainted with the brand or its heritage. However, that is all set to change. After acquiring the erstwhile ailing Kinetic Motors, Mahindra two-wheelers has certainly gained momentum by launching two new models in the market called the Rodeo and the Duro.

If you are looking to flaunt you ride, then the Rodeo is the obvious choice. Though largely based on the Flyte, the new scooter has some interesting styling cues that make it stand apart. A front mudguard, a slightly revised front end and new turn indicators differentiate the Rodeo from the Flyte. Apart from this, the rear grab handle, the colour scheme and snazzy decals are also new. However, what really makes the Rodeo unique is its fantastic digital instrumentation display. Apart from the usual speedo and fuel gauges, it also offers a tachometer (the only production scooter in India to have this), a trip meter, an acceleration indicator and a clock. What bemused us is the option to change the colour of the scoot’s LCD backlight – green, blue, orange, red – you name it and at the press of a button the backlight can be changed to match the colour of your shoes, fingernails or hair. Mahindra has also given the Rodeo a 12 Volt power socket for charging your mobile phone or other electric devices on the go. Features don’t end just there as the scooter also gets a side stand warning buzzer as well as an illuminated underseat storage area.

The Rodeo has the Flyte’s novel front fuelling system which has indeed found quite a following. It retains the smart mirrors that fold inwards in the event of an impact resulting in almost no damage – a feature earlier seen on the Flyte. The four-in-one antitheft key by which one can start the engine, open the fuel filler cover, engage the handle lock and secure the keyhole with a magnetic key lock also finds its way into the Rodeo. This scooter is powered by the same 125cc engine that does its duty on the Flyte. The engine feels silky smooth to rev and the power and torque figures at 8bhp and 9Nm are quite respectable for its class. The rest of the underpinnings remain identical to the Flyte and the new model is quite able-bodied in the ride and handling department, if not exceptional. The ergonomics, fit-finish and overall quality are also satisfactory.

The Duro, on the other hand, is strikingly similar in looks to the old Kinetic Nova. But that’s where the familiarity ends because underneath the innovative body is a completely new engine. Additionally, unlike general comprehension, the basic frame of the Duro also differs from the older Nova. The new scooter gets the same 125cc SYM engine found in both, the Flyte as well as the Rodeo, producing 8bhp and 9Nm of torque. At 1290mm, the Duro has one of the longest wheelbases among Indian scooters. This along with wide 3.5inch rubbers gives the scoot good stability and road holding capabilities. The saddle is also comfortable for two average sized adults. Although the legroom is ample, on our short first ride, we found the riding position to be a little bit of a concern for tall riders as the handle tends to come in contact with the rider’s knee especially when negotiating U-turns. Compared to the Rodeo, the Duro has fewer goodies up its sleeve since it is conceived as a no-nonsense scooter for the masses. Although it comes with a conventional underseat fuel tank, the storage space is very generous and even large helmets fit in easily with space to spare! The rest of the scoot is pretty basic. The instrument cluster that houses a speedo, a fuel gauge and the standard array of telltale lights is simple and legible.
The manufacturer has played the pricing game competitively for both the scooters thus ensuring that they have mass appeal. The Duro is priced at Rs 38,299 (ex-showroom, Pune) which is very compelling for a 125cc scooter. The swankier Rodeo retails for Rs 41,299 (ex-showroom, Pune) which is also quite appealing. Mahindra vehicles have always been applauded for their robustness and vigour and these traits find their way into their newest offerings as well.

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