Change - Mahindra Gusto

Change - Mahindra Gusto
India’s Largest Auto Media
Winds of
Change
Mahindra has built a fantastic scooter
in the new Gusto
Supplement not for sale
t e st
Road Test
Ma hin d ra Gusto
Mi Gusto
1456
OD Rating
Price
`43-47,000
ex-Delhi
+ Engine
+ Features
+ Ride quality
- Styling at the front
The Gusto is a well rounded scooter and Mahindra’s best
effort yet - a proper contender in the scooter market
Words Rishaad Mody Photography Makarand Baokar
I
t’s been a long wait, one that included interesting theories about
the name and strange media embargoes but we finally have the road
test of Mahindra’s new Gusto and
it’s been one of the more pleasant surprises
this month. Mahindra gave us another black
Gusto for our test here in Mumbai but we
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overdrive
figured we’d use the same pictures from our
first ride - rural Jodhpur looks so much nicer!
What I like most about the Gusto is that
it is an interesting and fairly unique looking
scooter but it’s not garish or overtly attention grabbing. The scooter is covered with
strong lines especially in the side profile.
The rear end is the best looking angle in my
opinion, and perhaps it’s just me but I see a
hint of Aston Martin in that tail lamp design!
In comparison, the front end gets a safe and
slightly boring design that doesn’t really gel
with the rest of the scooter. The pilot lamps
and faux grille add some character but that
headlamp looks like it could have come off
any number of scooters available today.
The LED position lamps do add a bit of flair
to the front end but the Gusto does have a
rather generic front end. Which brings us to
the name. Mahindra say that they expect the
Gusto to be a breeze of change for them, a
gust of good business if you will. And that’s
the reasoning behind the unusual name.
After having ridden it thoroughly we
don’t think their optimism is unfounded.
Simply put, the Gusto is the nicest scooter
built by Mahindra to date, both in terms
of engine and chassis. Contrary to some
reports, the engine is all new and almost entirely constructed out of
aluminium. Mahindra say they’ve
given it a stronger crank and bearings, a high energy ignition coil
and a high venturi carburettor –
all in the name of strong but mainly stress
free performance. Christened the Mtech, it
displaces 109.6cc and produces 8.2PS and
9Nm, figures which put it at the higher end
of its segment. But then the Gusto has a kerb
weight of 120kg which makes it considerably
heavier than its rivals.
Thumb the starter and the Gusto fires up
without complaint and settles into a smooth
idle with faint vibrations in the mirrors. It
sounds and feels very similar to a Honda
engine at idle, which is pretty high praise.
On the move, what impressed me most
about the Gusto was its refinement
– the small vibes at idle disappear
once you set off. The throttle is
smooth and doesn’t have that initial tendency to launch the scooter
ahead that we’ve seen in older Mahindras.
The Gusto feels unstressed and reasonably
quick. It doesn’t build speed quite with the
pace of the Suzuki Let’s but it feels happy and
stress free at a sustained 60 to 70kmph. The
Gusto is decently quick taking 12 seconds to
60kmph before topping out at 85.3kmph. It’s
also pleasantly efficient, returning 62.5kmpl
on the highway and 58.2kmpl in the city for a
combined figure of 60.25kmpl.
Also very impressive is the Gusto’s ride
quality. Previous Mahindra scooters were
very softly sprung in an attempt to be comfortable. The issue with this is that they bottom out quite easily with a pillion on board
or if you hit a bump fast enough. Not so on
the Gusto, with its new telescopic forks and
firmer rear spring. It has a nice, taut feel
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Ma hin d ra Gusto
that doesn’t get upset even through sharp
potholes or speedbreakers. Large 12-inch
steel wheels with 90 section tubeless MRF
Zappers and one of the longest wheelbases
in class (1275mm) further add to the stable
feeling. Whether it’s traversing bad roads,
jumping speedbreakers or leaning through
corners, the Gusto feels stable and enjoyable.
The seating position is pretty comfortable as well, accommodating enough for
tall riders like myself but with the potential
to feel confident to shorter riders as well.
That’s thanks to the smart height adjustable seat that Mahindra have devised. It’s a
rather complex system where by you can
raise or lower the seat height by a difference
of 40mm. The system involves twisting a
knob which drops the seat support up front
to lower the seat height. Raising it requires a
twist of the knob along with a pull of the seat
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overdrive
Simple dials unlike other Mahindra scooters.
A reversed kick-starter means easy starting
without having to use the main stand. Soft
rubber on the pegs is kind to the rider’s legs.
Handsome tail is Gusto’s best angle
support. It’s easy to use and takes little effort
to operate. Mahindra have also engineered
the seat to open backwards to facilitate this
system. 40mm is quite a bit and I found that
it was comfortable for me on the higher setting while shorter riders preferred the lower
position. This should definitely be popular in
households where riders of different sizes intend on sharing the scooter. The seat, while
plush, isn’t overtly soft like in some of Mahindra’s previous scooters and that’s a good
thing as well. You can see that Mahindra
have listened to the feedback they’ve gotten
from customers and the media and that reflects in the new Gusto. The Gusto runs twin
130mm drum brakes which offer adequate
performance but not the best feel. The levers
feel quite hard and wooden and require a bit
of a pull to produce strong braking performance. Considering that the Gusto will be
sold in international markets, you can expect
a disc brake option somewhere down the
road. Overall performance is good though
and we managed to get the Gusto to a dead
halt from 60kmph in 18.7 metres.
What Mahindra Two Wheelers have always prided themselves with is the amount
of features they offer. The Gusto gets quite a
few interesting features beyond the trick adjustable seat. Of them, I really liked the reverse
style kick-start that extends towards the front
of the scooter, rather than the rear as in most
other scooters. This lets the rider start the
scooter without having to put it on the main
stand, something that the ladies will quite
appreciate. The rear footpegs have a small
extension of soft rubber so as to not hurt the
back of the riders feet while paddling in traffic with a pillion on. And then of course you
get Mahindra’s car-like flip key with a find me
and follow me system. There’s also a small
open storage compartment under instrument
cluster although I wouldn’t store anything of
much value in there for fear of it sailing out
when you hit a pothole hard. The rear brake
gets a locking clasp while there are two bag
hooks, one under the front seat and one on
the front apron. Honestly, there isn’t much
missing on this scooter, perhaps with the exception of the option of a front disc brake.
The Gusto is available in two variants. The top end VX variant gets all the
features I’ve mentioned above and costs
`47,000 ex-Delhi. For `4,o00 less you
Large 12-inch wheels and telescopic forks mean
good stability. Two step height adjustable seat
works by twisting the knob underneath. Good
storage space despite seat height mechanism.
Simple front end gets LED position lights
can have the base DX version which gets
a fixed seat height (set between the max
and min position) and a standard key but
retains the reverse kick, LED position
lamps and soft footpegs. That puts the DX
almost equal to rivals like the TVS Scooty
Zest, Suzuki Let’s, and a good `3,600 less
than the Honda Activa. This also puts the
Gusto squarely in the middle of a rather
competitive market. Its a genuinely enjoyable scooter to ride and a big step
ahead for Mahindra. They are now more
equipped to take on the competition than ever before.
M a h i n d ra Gusto
Drivetrain
Type
Air cooled single cylinder
Valvetrain
2 valves/cylinder
Displacement
109.6cc
Max power
8.2PS@7,500rpm
Max torque
9Nm@5,500rpm
Fueling
Carburetion
Power to weight
68.3PS/tonne
Gearbox
CVT
SUSPENSION
Front/Rear
Telescopic forks/ single shock
BRAKES
Front/Rear
130mm drum/130mm drum
WHEELS & TYRES
Tyres
90/90 R12
GENERAL DATA
Kerb weight
120kg
Fuel tank capacity
6 litres
PERFORMANCE
0-60kmph
12s
Top speed
85.3kmph
60-0kmph
18.7m/2.5s
EFFICIENCY
City/Highway/ Overall
58.2kmpl/62.5kmpl/60.3kmpl
PRICE: ` 43,000/ `47,000 (ex-Delhi)
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