Two- Wheeled Debut

Mahindra Two Wheelers are out to capture their share of the huge motorcycle pie in India. Will their Stallio prove its worth in the intense competition among commuter bikes?
Stoty: Adhish Alawani  Photography: Sanjay Raikar

As has been reiterated ad nauseam, India is one of the largest motorcycle markets in the world. Not just that, the Indian two-wheeler market is being looked upon as the fastest growing and rapidly emerging one as well. There are an unimaginable number of two-wheelers running on the roads of our country and over a million are being sold each month.

Statistical data tell us that of this gargantuan number of motorcycles, the maximum are commuters. Yes, precisely the ones that the motorcycling enthusiasts tend to term as ‘boring’, ‘undramatic’, ‘unprepossessing’ or ‘bland’. Nevertheless, the ground reality cannot be ignored and every manufacturer has to deal with it.

Hero Honda have established themselves at the top by claiming the largest share in the market. Local players like Bajaj Auto and TVS are doing well and international brands like Honda and Yamaha are quickly catching up with them.

If one analyses the percentage share of each of these brand-names, one will realise that they do not have a cut-throat competition among themselves. However, one cannot deny the fact that everyone is putting in their best efforts to overtake the first rival ahead. And in this huge battle for higher sales and better market shares, we have a new entrant that is attempting everything possible to grow and create its own space in this extremely aggressive bazaar.

Yes, it’s a sapling. Mahindra Two Wheelers came into existence some time back and started out in the market with their scooter options. However, there was no doubt that they had to take up the motorcycle aspect seriously if they wanted to grow. As a result, the company invested a lot of money and brains into the development of a mass machine, the Stallio, which could start earning them respectable sales figures across the country. So then what is this Stallio?

It is a typical commuter bike, one that would grab the attention of the average Indian customer who is willing to shell out not more than Rs 50,000 and, in the bargain, is also expecting modern (read different) looks, good fuel-efficiency and least maintenance cost. Styling has always been a subjective matter and the case is proved very well with the Stallio. Take a look at it in the pictures and you will hardly feel like complaining about anything in its design. It is not radically new and striking, but, then, it is not supposed to be. It is a commuter and it does don the commuterish attitude.

Take a closer look and you might come across bits that might appeal to some in a positive way, while others might just be put off. For instance, the tanpad-ish plastic on the tank with a weird design on it. We were personally not impressed by it. However, when we asked a few people on the streets what they though of it, we were in for a surprise. They appreciated the new bit and insisted on having it. The narrow petrol tank feels a bit too slim in between the thighs. The instrument cluster from the Rodeo (with digital bar-type tacho and digital speedometer) is funky and, thankfully, does not change the backlight colour as it does on the scooter. White pilot lights are stunning, but they come across as a little mismatch with the yellow headlight.

White LEDs for pilot lights look good

The digital console is the same as that on the Rodeo scooter

The 106-cc engine should deliver good fuel efficiency

The tail-lamp looks much better than most of the other design elements

Come down to the engine and we have a 106-cc engine pumping out 7.3 PS of peak power and 8.0 Nm of max torque. The bike doesn’t feel quick under outright acceleration. Once we do the performance testing, we might get an exact idea of its acceleration time, but, taking into consideration an extremely hard-to-twist throttle, we are not really looking at quick pace timings. We can also ascribe this partly to the clutch lever, which is equally hard to operate. The engine feels all right and within its own territory until 6,000 rpm. However, post that mark vibrations can be felt through the seat. Nonetheless, let us not forget that being a commuter, hardly anyone is going to go high on revs like that. The Stallio’s suspension is slightly on the stiffer side, which feels better with a pillion on board than while riding solo.
We know that this a commuter and it is going to be sold in a market where people accord priority to fuel-efficiency over everything else (barring a few sensible ones, who also consider quality of the product as a whole). Mahindra talk of promising fuel-efficiency figures and we sincerely hope that these work out in the bike’s favour. With a tag of Rs 46,000 (approx OTR, Pune, for alloys and kick-starter), the bike is priced at par with some of the old players. How the Stallio proves its mettle in the long run is the million-dollar question for Mahindra, which, only time can answer.'

Bike India Team – who has written posts on Bike India.

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