Mahindra Gusto 125 Review – First Ride
The Mahindra Gusto 110 surprised us pleasantly with its a very refined powertrain, strong dynamics, good build quality and of course, an array of first-in-class features. So it makes absolute sense to spawn more derivatives on the same platform to attract a wider audience base and that’s exactly what the company has done. Meet the Mahindra Gusto 125, a slightly larger engined variant which builds on the first product’s strengths with a promise of more punch.
Cosmetically, the Gusto 125 distinguishes itself from its sibling by means of a new front apron with nice looking honeycomb meshed louvres, and two new dual-tone paint jobs namely Orange Rush and Bolt White. The new automatic scooter is also bestowed with several chrome finished bits such as brake levers, handlebar end weights, logo carrying placard upfront, engine cover strips and silencer guard. The wheels, suspension components and grab rail are finished in black. Rest of the elements are identical to the Gusto 110.
Mechanically, the new motor is based on the Gusto 110’s M-TEC mill and benefits from bigger bore (stroke length remains intact). Mated to a CVT, the air-cooled engine develops 8.5 bhp at 7,000 rpm and 10 Nm of torque at 5,500 rpm. Mahindra claims that it has worked extensively on ensuring high level of refinement. Some of the powertrain highlights include an offset crank with roller rocker, heavy duty clutch, large venturi carburetor, load-sensing multi-curve digital ignition, high energy ignition coil, low friction piston rings, variable CVT roller track, bigger isolation mounts for engine and silent drive chain.
Mahindra’s French subsidiary Peugeot Scooters is claimed to have given inputs on both technical and aesthetic aspects of the Gusto 125.
What are the interesting bits?
Well, the Gusto 125 retains all the goodies the 110 cc variant introduced to the Indian automatic scooter segment. The top-end variants get LED pilot lamps, remote flip key, Find-me lamp (press of a button on the remote would activate indicators and buzzer to help you find the scooter in a crowded parking lot), Guide-Me-Home lamp, seat height adjustment and a useful cubby hole below the instrument console.
The new color themes do enhance the scooter’s appeal. The material, paint and build qualities are impressive. The clever seat height adjustment does alter the ergonomics significantly, making the Gusto a really versatile family scooter.
How does the new 125 engine fare in real world conditions?
It’s to be noted that the 125 cc engine has nothing in common with the SYM-derived 125 cc mills of the Rodeo UZO and Duro. The 124.6 cc unit produces 0.5 bhp (at 500 rpm lower) and 1 Nm more than the original Gusto’s 109.6 cc unit on which it is based. The initial pickup is strong but a rather slow progress from 40 kmph to 60 kmph indicates a dull mid-range. The motor however offers a second surge of power after 60 kmph which can be felt up to 75 kmph. The Gusto 125 is indeed a peppy performer but one would find it very difficult to realize its performance gains over the already energetic 110 cc variant.
That said, we found the power delivery to be a bit more linear than the smaller M-Tec engine. It also responds better to sudden variation in load (our test route was full of steep slopes). Mahindra’s engineers have done an impressive job of keeping the NVH levels under check. Apart from the inherent auto-scooter vibes at idling, the Gusto 125 proved to be a smooth operator, even when pushed hard. Speed is masked effectively, so 70 kmph on a regular road feels effortless and is sustainable.
During our short drive, we were unable to calculate the fuel efficiency, nor did MTWL reveal the official figures. It shouldn’t be too far off from the 110 cc variant’s figure.
What about riding dynamics?
We loved the Gusto 110’s on-road mannerisms and are happy to note none of that has changed with the new 125 cc variant. The vehicle is equipped with front telescopic forks which is becoming a norm in the scooter space and a conventional single hydraulic coil spring shock absorber at the rear. This setup, combined with 12-inch tyres, works beautifully to offer sound dynamics. The ride quality is very comfortable and the scooter carries itself around the corners with an assuring poise.
Braking duty is taken care of by a 130 mm drum at each wheel. While the system offers adequate bite, a front disc brake would have helped in improving the overall dynamics by a few notches, giving the Gusto 125 a definitive edge over its smaller engined brethren in the process.
In short, the Mahindra Gusto 125 is very well equipped to tackle the Indian road conditions without bothering the riders.
Sum it up for me
Since the Mahindra Gusto 110 itself is a nippy performer, the gains made by the Gusto 125 feel marginal under real world conditions. But that aside, the latest variant emerges as a well built, richly equipped, dynamically strong, very refined and highly versatile unisex scooter. A competitive price tag undercutting its rivals will certainly go a long way in making a compelling case for itself.
If the Mahindra Gusto 125 can’t make a mark in the scooter segment, then it has more to do with the company’s non-existent brand recall in the two wheeler market rather than any flaw in the overall package.