Mahindra Pantero: First Ride
Back in July last year, Mahindra 2 Wheelers inaugurated a state-of-the-art Research and Development centre in Pune consisting a team of about 175 young engineers led by the feisty PS Ashok, who has been handling the automotive R&D for Mahindra & Mahindra and has the Maxximo and Gio automobiles to his credit. The decision to establish its own R&D centre for Mahindra 2 Wheelers came after the Stallio didn’t quite stir up the segment for Mahindra.
Not the one to be bogged down, Mahindra 2 Wheelers has taken the right initiative and set up its own development house instead of roping in another movie star to endorse its products, a step that shall present the company with incredible advantages in the coming years as can be seen from the very first result of the new R&D department, the Mahindra Pantero – a 110cc motorcycle plying in the volume segment.
Design & Styling:
At first glance, many would simply discount it for a rebadged Mahindra Stallio, but delve deeper into the underpinnings of the motorcycle and it is clear that barring the cosmetic similarities, the Pantero is a brand-new product built from the ground up by the Indian bike-maker. On the outside, the Pantero takes the basic design of body panels and fuel tank from the Stallio with the large front bikini fairing housing LED pilot lamps (three on each side) and the headlight.
Having scrapped the Stallio project in totality, the R&D division at Mahindra 2 Wheelers has made sure to not only iron out the glitches that came to fore on the previous model but also gone a step ahead and bettered it in every department crucial to the commuter segment. For instance, the fuel tank although still a bit narrow, like on the Stallio, is now aided by a longer (774mm, longest-in-class), flatter and a bit wider seat, making for a comfortable riding stance.
Couple that to the feet-forward placing of the rider foot pegs, and the ergonomic geometry is dead right for city commutes. A closer look and it is telling that the overall built quality and finish on the Pantero is not just better than what we saw on the Stallio but on par with the current competition in the 110cc class of motorcycles.
The paint quality is well finished and there are no shoddy panel gaps or dodgy weld spots visible on the outside. The full digital display console upfront comprises a tachometer, speedometer, fuel meter and tell-tale lights. While the console is up to the task, the switchgear quality on the chrome-laden bars could be improved to gel with the overall finish of the Pantero.