A steadfast commuter bike that doesn't encourage power but instead empowers the average motorcyclist with higher savings and overall satisfaction, we find out if the Pantero is the real ace in the country's price sensitive two-wheeler space
Self-taught lessons are often the ones best learnt. While most of us shy away from having to learn things the hard way in the case of Mahindra’s two-wheeler division the promise of the present has in a sense worked as a pacifier to what was unmistakeably a suffocated start to their motorcycle foray here in India back in 2010.
Somewhere in the outskirts of Pune the company’s Rs 100 crore two-wheeler R&D facility has been working day and night to build this promising future, and the recently unveiled 110cc bikes, the Pantero and the Centuro are indicative of things finally moving in the right direction for Mahindra. Unlike the earlier Stallio and Mojo models which the company had a minimal role in designing and assembling, these two new 110cc motorcycles have been designed in-house by Mahindra at their state-of-the art R&D centre, and they have managed to design the bikes from scratch in all of 18-months.
The less premium of the two, the Pantero is now up for grabs pan India starting from a price of Rs 44,190 (ex-showroom Chennai) for the base variant and based on our first ride impressions the price seems quite befitting considering the product that is on offer. A closer inspection and longer distances now traversed astride Mahindra’s remarkable new motorcycle for the masses has managed not only to maintain that positive impression, but in doing so also earn for itself a few more brownie points that only time and our tests could have captured.
One that deserves a second glace
I am a little flummoxed to be very honest at this sudden creative inspiration that car and bike design engineers in our country have attributed to the ‘big cats’ out there in the wild, who we otherwise are quite content watching on The National Geographic channel every other Sunday afternoon. This has however, managed to produce some very attractive vehicle body styles in recent times, and the Pantero is certainly no exception.
The bike certainly has a very stylish aura about it, and that’s saying a lot considering its target consumer, who for the longest time believed an upgrade to a higher displacement motorcycle was the only way to get a few on lookers finally turn in their direction.
A lean longish frame with a blackened engine and a neat exhaust coupled with classy flowing flame decals that run from the tank all the way to the tail along the sides gives the Pantero a very appealing overall look. Moving to a fully digital rider display wasn’t too hard courtesy the Mahindra Rodeo RZ, but is nevertheless a welcome feature on this motorcycle. Sadly, a much smaller circular dial adjacent to the main display has a Mahindra badge pasted right in the middle leaving very little room for the high beam and direction indicators, which flash as tiny telltales that aren’t easily spotted by the rider.
The front headlamp, which takes on a rather unconventional shape, thankfully makes room for pilot lamps that while come handy under poor visibility conditions and can be switched on even with the headlamps turned off. The primary headlamp however could have certainly done with a stronger beam throwing a wider spread of light. The taillights with its double deck LED layout at the rear are quite impressive.
Watching your back
Motorcycles belonging to this segment are quite focused on delivering the optimum fuel efficiency considering the longer distances they are expected to cover in a given timeframe. That being said, the comfort level of the rider over the course of his daily travel is of paramount importance and the Pantero caters to this need owing to some clever ergonomics and lightweight architecture.
The narrower proportions of the Pantero’s fuel tank and its low-lying 774mm seat with its flatter and wider proportions that is the longest we have seen so far securely saddles the rider, and if need be even a pillion with adequate cushioning and support. The handlebar and foot pegs are placed at desired positions so as to cause minimal strain to the rider over long distances.