Mahindra Two-Wheelers have just launched their all-new scooter – the Gusto – built for Indian and international markets, and first introduced here in India. It is created from the ground up and developed completely in-house by Mahindra Two-Wheelers R&D division, located on the outskirts of Pune. Mahindra is to launch the scooter in South Asia, Latin America and Africa in the months to come.
It sports muscular body lines that stroke backwards, merged with a good paint job. The front mudguard is well-designed with straight angles, while its front apron has fins and turn indicators, plus a company logo sitting in the middle. The well-designed front headlight provides ideal visibility at night and is fitted with three LED lights on either side. Switchgear feels premium and well laid-out, with comfortable-feeling palm grips and brake levers. A rear brake lock clamp mechanism is provided, and proves really handy on gearless scooters such as this one.
The large rear-view mirrors are placed well and provide a clear rear view over a large field; the stems are wrapped in synthetic cladding, which helps them look so much neater. The backlit instruments are packed into a silver console that displays a speedometer, an odometer and fuel-gauge. Below these sits a reliable, spring-fit open-air compartment, for temporary carriage of a cell phone or wallet when riding the scooter. The leg room proved roomy, and rider’s legroom is not hampered when turning the scooter. Two hooks are provided for quick storage in the front area.
The flip-to-access key has an inbuilt torch and also features two extra buttons. The first, when pressed, deploys a familiar jingle and flash of indicators from the scooter, while the other silently flashes the indicator lights, both to help locate the scooter in crowded or dark parking lots. A unique feature is its height-adjustable seat, a first for scooters globally and a technology patented by the two-wheeler manufacturer. The cleverly designed, supportive and comfortable seat is height-adjustable for 35mm up or down, easily moved with two fingers, providing taller or shorter riders with ideal ride height. The seat opens towards the back of the scooter, and not the front as is usual. Riders can rest assured the seat will not fall over, thanks to a cleaver stopper built into the hinge to clamp the seat open when accessing the roomy storage bay below. It comes with rectangle-shaped pillion footrests and a flip-down lady foot support ledge, all well-designed. On the scooter’s other side, an all-black silencer comes with a heat shield. Good kick-start lever design ensures riders can kick-start the scooter without having to get off.
A contemporary rear grab handle provides good support for the pillion. The large rear tail-light is well designed.
It is powered by an all-new, four-stroke, 109.6cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder engine with max power output of 8bhp generated at 7,500rpm, and peak torque of 0.8kgm coming in at 5,500rpm. Mahindra tells us the new scooter uses their patented M-TEC engine technology, featuring a strengthened crankshaft and bearings, an anti-cranking mechanism, a silent-chain, higher inertia magneto with greater energy ignition coil and an efficient series regulator. And yes, the engine does feel smooth and largely vibe-free, picking up effortlessly from a standing start. It calmly transports you forward, with acceleration that is quick enough to be fun.
There's an upright riding posture with a well-padded, long seat and commuter-friendly ergonomics on offer. The company let us loose on the Gusto on the open highways around Jodhpur, which gave us the opportunity to open up the new scooter, and it performed well to stay confident and stable at speeds of upto an indicated 80kph, thanks to its up-market telescopic fork front suspension and large-diameter 12-inch wheels, fitted with a pair of tubeless tyres. The scooter absorbs broken road patches with minimal fuss. A good turning radius is a boon and it has a comparatively longer 1,275mm wheelbase. The scooter handles fairly well, even though it can at times feel slightly heavier than rival scooters.
There were times during my ride that I needed to tug on both brake levers really hard to extract enough stopping power, when tackling speed breakers or the occasional stray animal crossing the road. It can brake reasonably well, yes, but this calls for more effort than ideal, making us hope the company adds a front disc brake option as soon as possible to the Gusto.
Pricing is an attractive Rs. 43,000-47,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi), positioning the able scooter well in its segment, ready to take on rivals and give Mahindra Two-Wheelers a firm push, taking them to more success in the burgeoning Indian scooter market.