Mahindra Gusto 125: First Ride Review
When the covers were taken off the Mahindra Gusto 125, it didn't look very different from its older sibling - the one with the 110cc engine. If you place the Gusto 125 against the existing 110cc Gusto, take off the 125 chrome badge and paint them in the same colour, not a single soul in this world can differentiate between the two. But no one needs to be bothered because the Mahindra Gusto 125 will be launched sometime in February in four dual-toned colour schemes which makes it strikingly different than its older sibling.
Putting the specs of both the Gusto scooters, they both seem quite similar apart from just sharing the name. However, the Gusto 125 has retained some of the interesting features of the existing Gusto like height adjustable seat, remote flip key, find-me lamp, guide lamp and a very-useful quick storage compartment just below the speedometer. Even some of the key specs like wheelbase, ground clearance, fuel tank capacity, brakes at both ends, battery, saddle height, dimensions, wheel size, headlamps, suspension, frame, remain the same between both the scooters.
Swing a leg over the Mahindra Gusto 125 and you feel the same nice and cosy seat taking care of your comfort. Push the start button and the engine sound suddenly makes you think of the engine refinement Mahindra has emphasised a lot upon.
Once it got going, it was hard to find any stark difference between the Gusto 125 and its 110cc brother-from-the-same-mother. Maybe I overestimated the Gusto 125 or maybe I am not someone who will be upgrading to a 125cc automatic scooter from the 110cc one, but the scooter, according to me, didn't seem worth the jump. The scooter does offer 15 extra cc, but what does it boil down to? 0.5 extra bhp of power and 1Nm of extra torque. All this much effort for 0.5 bhp and 1Nm of gain? 'Why' is something I guess the guys at Mahindra can answer better.
The power delivery is too linear, and doesn't immediately respond to your wrist twisting the throttle. On many occasions on the ride, I wanted to overtake the Innova up ahead, and soon found out that twisting the throttle wasn't enough. The engine is quite refined, but doesn't change the game in any way.
While chasing the camera car, I didn't notice when I crossed the 80km/h mark. It was only when I happened to look at the speedometer and was actually surprised to see how stable and comfortable the scooter remained at those speeds. This should be 'blamed' on the 12-inch wheels that use telescopic forks at the front and a monoshock at the rear. The scooter is light which makes it very easy to throw it in any corner without worrying about kissing the ground. The ground clearance was enough to encourage me to take it to a dry riverbed (with all the stones I encountered on the way) to take some good pictures.
The best thing, however, I noticed was the brilliant suspension. I realised it while I was ferrying this fellow journalist from one point to another in an attempt to get a better picture. The suspension has been tuned to perfection, and took care of the rears of two not-so-young journalists along the winding roads of Lavasa.
So, is this a scooter which can be considered as an upgrade from a smaller scooter? No, if you ask me. Let's say you already own a Gusto 110, and you like it very much (like us), and from the time you heard about the Gusto 125, you have been thinking of upgrading to it. Well, if you don't mind throwing in your 'extra' money on the 'same' scooter with a dual-colour paint scheme, be my guest.
Honestly, it should have been more than just increasing the capacity. Maybe adding more features would have worked, as most of the people who buy an automatic scooter look at the practicality of the machine. Features as basic as having the fuel cap not under the seat, which saves you the hassle of getting off your scooter every time you go to a fuel pump, can actually be a deciding factor for many potential customers. Then there are some scooters in the market which have a USB charging socket under the rider's seat, some also have a light that goes on every time you lift the seat making it extremely easy to find stuff in dark.
Some of the features like the height adjustable seat, find-me lamp, guide lamp and a quick storage compartment actually make your life easy in many ways, but aren't enough to win the game.
Do you remember the movie The Prestige? The movie wasn't just about the flamboyance of magicians or their rivalry or even Mr. Tesla (played by David Bowie, who unfortunately died yesterday). If you pay close attention you realise it is about two brothers who look the same; identical in every way except some. If you remember the crux of the movie, then you watch good cinema and should know what I am hinting at. It is no secret, therefore, that the existing Mahindra Gusto is the brother with lesser abilities. And the brother with marginally superior ones was introduced to the world yesterday. Whether these minor upgrades are worthwhile is yet to be seen.
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