Mahindra Mojo review: The tourer we need, not the one we deserve

By | September 21, 2016

Mahindra Mojo is one of the most confused bikes I’ve ever ridden. Here’s what my thoughts looked like while I took it on a 700 km/12 hour trip.

The seat is so comfy, the engine is so smooth, the tank is so huge, it must be a tourer!
If it’s a tourer, why does it come with Pirelli Diablo Rosso 2’s? It must be a race bike. 
If it’s a race bike, why is it so unnecessarily heavy? It must be a cruiser. 
If it’s a cruiser, why does it need a top speed recorder and 0-100 timer? It must be a race bike. 
If it’s a race bike, why can it only lean like 5 degrees to each side? It must be a street bike. 
If it’s a street bike, why doesn’t it have something as basic as a gear position indicator? It must be a tourer. 
If it’s a tourer, why are the headlights so dim? It must be a street bike.
If it’s a street bike, why is the front so far forward? It must be a cruiser. 

Why are the brakes so weird? Why is the design so childish? What the hell is this thing?

The reason Mojo feels so confused is because Mahindra made a giant mistake, they tried to make everyone happy. They should’ve known better, given the fact that this story was told some 2500 years ago.

I rode 3 different Mojos, all of them dealership bikes, for a total of some 800 kms. This is not enough, at least in my opinion, to make a review, so I went to Bangalore to ride a friend’s bike. He wasn’t there, and I couldn’t do anything more. Take a look at this short video to see the ways I tried to understand this bike.

Here’s my Mahindra Mojo review, followed by recommendations to Mahindra about how they could vastly improve this thing, if they care.

Mahindra Mojo review: Positives

It would be stupid of me to tell you, and stupid of you to believe me if I told you, that the Mojo had no positives.

1. Price

1.63 lacs ex-showroom Delhi is brilliant for a 300cc motorcycle. It does feel a bit costly when compared to the Duke 390, but then that damn bike makes everything else feel overpriced.

I was talking to one of the Mahindra employees who helped me get the Mojo for a day, and he said that Mahindra is actually selling this thing at a loss, and that might be true. The Paioli suspension package won’t be cheap, nor would be the tires, or that giant octopus of an exhaust system. Some part of this cost is obviously Mahindra’s fault, nobody asked them to put track tires on a tourer, but then I don’t really understand how these big businesses work.

When people compare the Mojo to the Himalayan, which in itself is not a very intelligent thing to do, the price difference between them is some 7,000 bucks. For the extra money, the Mojo gives you a far better engine, better usability, and better reliability. Not a bad bargain in my books.

2. Comfort

I always thought that hard seats meant better touring comfort, and looking at the Mojo’s soft cushy sofa I thought of ass trouble. I was surprised.

The wide handlebars, the wide seat, the semi-upright seating position, and the fat fuel tank combine together to make one hell of a tourer, at least as far as comfort goes. Towards the end of my trip with the Mojo, I rode it continuously for some 350 kms, which although wasn’t a very good idea, did prove to me how relaxed a long ride on it could be.

There are a few issues though, especially for small people. I’m 5 foot 7, and my arms were a bit stretched trying reach the handlebars. On top of that, there’s no wind-protection whatsoever, and you’re sitting almost straight, which meant that by the end of the day, my hands had giant red calluses on them thanks to the effort of holding onto the bike.

But that was mostly because I was stupid enough to do 700 kms in 12 hours on it. For most tourers, the recommended highway traveling distance per day is less than 400 kms, which would feel like a piece of cake on the Mojo.

The standing up position isn’t too bad either, although not as comfy as the Himalayan.

3. Range

As a Duke owner, Mojo’s range on full tank made my eyes wet with tears of joy, and my pants wet with orgasms of love. The 21 liter capacity is simply epic. On most of my rides, I’m constantly looking at my bike’s fuel indicator as bar after bar flies away and the “Low Fuel Level” warning comes up. With the Mojo, you simply never have to worry.

On my ride I got a mileage of roughly 35 kilometers to the liter, which gives it a total range of 700+ kms. I was quite hard on the bike, and it was a test-ride machine to begin with, so I won’t be surprised if you are able to squeeze out 800 or more out of your Mojo.

The best part is that even with a full tank, you don’t really notice much difference in the bike’s handling. There’s no sloshing around on bends, no weird feel on the front end while braking. On standstill, the bike does feel a bit heavier, but that’s just physics, can’t get away from that shit.

4. Engine and gearbox

Again, as a Duke owner, Mojo’s engine and gearbox are centuries ahead as far as refinement goes, and don’t even get me started on the clutch. The 300cc mill isn’t nearly as powerful as the KTM’s 375, but the power delivery is extremely smooth, absolutely predictable, and very very sweet. Be it highways, twisties, slush, off-road, or the city, I never felt the bike was underpowered.

The gearbox is pretty slick too, never missed a shift, never had any false neutrals. One Mojo owner did have some catastrophic issues with his gearbox, but that seems to be a one-off case, and was solved by Mahindra.

Clutchless upshifts were easy, rev-matching while downshifting was even easier. I managed a top speed of some 150 kmph, and I’m sure you could go till 160 on a road long enough, but I think the sweet spot for this thing is 130, which is perfect for touring anywhere in the world.

At no point during the ride, even while I was in heavy traffic, did the bike feel too hot to handle. At no point during the ride I felt my clutch hand was in trouble.

Again, if you compare it with the Himalayan, the 6th gear and the extra power on the Mojo make it so much better. The service interval of the Mojo is 6000 kms, which is roughly half of Himalayan’s 10,000, but with some nice synthetic oil it can be easily bumped up to 8-9000.

5. Suspension

I think the Mojo has the most balanced suspension of any budget bike in India. It’s not as hard as the Duke’s, it’s not as soft as the Himalayan’s. On top of that, both the front and the rear systems are imported from Paioli, and the Italian company is one of the better suspension manufacturers out there.

The front is tractable enough to keep you confident in corners, but has enough travel to not destroy your arms on the rough stuff. The rear is quite happy jumping over rumblers, and flying through 100 kmph corners. The front gets no adjustments, the rear gets some, but I didn’t bother with it.

6. Marketing

The thing I liked the most about the Mojo was the way it was marketed. No shitty ad campaigns, no pointless little videos of riding through the Himalayas, no dishonest reviews by people who were obviously paid to say what they said. They let the users ride the bikes and make up their own mind.

This was brilliant in so many different ways.

All reviews are useless, because all reviews are biased to the reviewer’s choices. The only way you’ll ever know for sure if you should buy a particular bike or not, is by riding it. Most manufacturers don’t give customers this choice, and even if they do provide test rides, they are usually limited to a few kilometers in crappy city traffic. With the way Mojo was sold, you could ride it for far longer and get to know it far better.

Also, they employed actual riders to prove the bike’s capabilities in real life. Sarath Shenoy has ridden his Mojo some 60,000+ kms, and is all set to do the Raid de Himalaya on it in the coming month. Most companies don’t have to balls do to stuff like this, or enough confidence in their own product.

What you end up with is a huge number of people with real knowledge of the bike sharing it with other riders for no monetary benefit, making it a very pleasant, transparent ecosystem. Whoever designed the Mojo’s marketing strategy deserves a donut, and a blowjob.

Mahindra Mojo review: Negatives

Of course there are some people at Mahindra who decided to ruin what could have been as close to a perfect machine as you could get. Here’s where they went wrong.

1. Exhausts

Whoever designed the exhaust system on the Mahindra Mojo needs to be fired immediately, then kicked out the company gates, hit on the head with the exhaust system, pulled by the legs back inside the gates, peed on by every employee in that office, disemboweled with the exhaust system, peed on his open guts a second time, then buried in a shallow grave with the exhaust system up his ass, left to rot for a year, then dug up once again, peed on one last time, and his corpse mounted at the highest point on the building to remind everyone not to fuck up so royally.

A double silencer on a single cylinder engine is the most monumentally moronic thing I have ever seen. Who were you trying to please? The squids who would invariably remove the baffles, poke some holes in the canisters, and slide around the city, making this world the sad place that it is?

You added 20 kgs more to the weight of the bike, maybe more, and for what? So the bottom feeders of the motorcycling world would love you and the Frankenstein you made?

On top of that, the entire design is so disgustingly stupid that anybody who even remotely loves motorcycles should’ve immediately killed himself by poking a screwdriver through his eyes, just for thinking such a ghastly thing should ever be done.

The idiotic exhaust system not only makes the bike unnecessarily heavy, it reduces its ground clearance by a great deal, reduces its lean angle by a huge margin, and makes the bike look like something designed by a retarded kid. I mean seriously, when you guys made the prototype and noticed that the side-stand starts sliding on the road every time you lean more than 4.99 degrees, didn’t anybody have the brains to just saw the damn thing off and sell it for scrap?

The only advantage of that hideous exhaust system is that it also works as a leg guard. The bike that I rode didn’t come with one, and when I lightly dropped it in some dirt, I noticed that the fucking exhaust pipes extend so far out that the bike naturally rests on them when on a side, giving space to your legs to pull through. On the not-so-bright side though, the pipes bend out so wide and so low that if you find yourself in a rut, in that low section made when a heavy truck passes through muck and then the muck solidifies over time, it’s so easy to hit the pipes on the sides, lose control, damage them and more.

If you’re someone who was a part of the think tank that thought of this thing, kill yourself.

2. Headlight

I was not aware of this, but a Mahindra employee told me that the designers actually traveled to the part of the world where “Predator” movie was shot, searched for the alien, found him, cut his head off, and brought it to their R&D center to create the molds for the headlight.

What must that thing weigh? 5 kgs? Who knows, but the sad fact is that it actually sucks at the purpose it was made for. The damn thing looks like its beams would light up a stadium, but in reality it’s even worse than my old Pulsar’s flickering little bulb.

Why, then you ask, did someone waste so much black plastic? The reason seems to be that they wanted to make it look like the Intruder’s face, but at some point in the design process some genius thought 2>1, and the shit only slid further downhill from there.

Another unnecessary weight addition to the bike that serves no discernible purpose. How does it feel to be a designer, make something horrible, and then watch as someone makes it better just by removing your shit away? Look at this bike, looks so much cleaner, meaner, and better.

3. Brakes

Every time I read a review on Overdrive or one of these other big brands, they always mentioned of some bikes having “Wooden Brakes”. I was always like, “What the fuck does that mean?”. Mojo had the answer.

The front brake works like this.

You are going at 100, you see something upfront that you must slow down for immediately. You press the lever, nothing happens, you press some more, nothing happens, you press a tiny bit more, the front suspension collapses, violent braking happens, and all the while you get this weird feedback from the lever, like the rotor and the brake pads are all made of wood.

There’s a very peculiar feel to the front under heavy braking, it can’t be described in words, you have to feel it for yourself. Needless to say the braking action is quite vague, and everything is over even before the lever has reached the halfway mark. Mahindra did change some of the front brakes for some of the customers, so it might have been a manufacturing defect.

I also noticed that it’s not a problem with all their bikes. The 2 other Mojos that I rode had perfectly well setup front brakes, no wood in there. However, I saw another Mojo whose front brake lever never bounced back up once you pulled it in. Tells you something about Mahindra’s quality department.

The rear is a whole other story. On the Mojo I took for the long ride, the rear engaged only when it was completely depressed, which meant that I had to push my right foot down at a very awkward angle. On the other 2 Mojos, it wasn’t this bad. Rear brakes aren’t very important as far as riding a bike on the road goes, but while off-road, I had some major problems with it, especially in downhill sections. But then again the entire bike is so magically sucky on dirt that the rear brake is the least of your problems.

Also, for a bike that can touch 150 kmph, ABS is mandatory. I understand you want to keep the price down, but that’s not stopping you from giving it as an optional extra, is it? Price that some 30k higher, people would pay.

4. Tire choice

I spent a lot of time thinking about this. Why did Mahindra decide to put Pirelli Diablo Rosso 2, a tire well-known for its cornering abilities, on a bike that has a worse lean angle than a Harley? I have not come up with an answer.

Clearly, Mahindra thinks that Mojo is a tourer. They have marketed it as a tourer, there’s all that shazam of the Mojo Tribe, riding it in groups through mountains, forests and coasts. The ideal tire for it then would have been the Michelin Pilot Street Radial. Not only would that last much longer, it would also provide far better grip off the road.

Either Pirelli offered them a better deal than Michelin, or some genius at Mahindra thought that the Pirelli has a more “exotic” feel to it, looks more like a race tire, so might help sell it to posers who can’t tell the difference between engine lubricant and anal lubricant.

Whatever the reasons may have been, it was a bad decision. Off-roading in India is NOT a choice. Yes there are people like me who purposely go and get stuck in some mud, but most of the time you’d be riding happily on some highway, and suddenly it will vanish, leaving only a slush-filled track where some black asphalt should have been. Even on the ride that I did with the Mojo, I decided to go to Srisailam dam from Hyderabad via Kurnool, Google Maps said it’s a highway. In reality, it’s a single lane, truck and bus infested hellhole with slush on both sides. I have no idea how the bike and me came out the other end in one piece.

I mean for fucks sake, even when I just wanted to park the bike on the side of the road to get some rest, it used to be a pain to handle the thing. Yes you have given your bike a giant fuel tank, but you can’t really expect your customers to ride all day long without stopping.

5. Instrument console

The instrument console on the Mojo is a piece of art, in the sense that it looks good, has a lot of snazzy stuff, but isn’t entirely something that’s useful to mankind.

Every time you let your revs falls, LEDs light up on your last highest RPM and stay lit for a few seconds. You have a top-speed recorder, and a 0-100 kmph time recorder, a 500 meter distance timer, and for some reason, a Race Mode.

Why?

If you could do this much electronic wizardry, surely it isn’t asking too much for a gear position indicator? Your bike comes with 6 gears, your Race Mode doesn’t tell me if I’m in 5th or 6th. I have to pull the clutch in, lift the gear up, and sigh like a noob every time that does nothing.

Also, what about an engine temperature gauge? I would like to see it getting hotter and hotter, rather than just get a warning when it has completely overheated.

On the positive side, the speedo is fat and readable, so is the time, the trip modes and the fuel gauge. The analog tacho is brilliant as well, no complaints there. It’s just that as with the whole bike, the intention of the designers with the console seems to be making squids happy, rather than seasoned tourers.

6. Chassis

I’m not a mechanic, I’m not a racer, I don’t claim to know everything about motorcycles. While off-roading, I felt something was decidedly wrong with the Mojo’s chassis, but I could be wrong. I got no feedback from it at all, especially when the going got tough, more so when I tried to stand up on the pegs.

The tires make life hell in slush anyways, but the bigger problem is how the bike responds. This is what happens when you find yourself attempting to maneuver some dirty off-road sections.

As soon as you step in dirt, the front tire completely covers itself in a fat layer of mud and becomes a MotoGP slick. This means that you can’t depend on the front brake much, so you start using the rear. But when the rear starts skidding under braking, something very weird happens. As the bike fishtails to a side, the entire frame starts oscillating with it, which pushes your handlebars in a strange motion, like a wobble. So while you were busy controlling the rear, now the front is also trying to fold on itself for no particular reason. What you end up doing is grabbing both the brakes and sliding uncontrollably to a halt, with your feet doing all the work.

Also, unlike the Duke, or the Himalayan, it’s very difficult to control the Mojo under a powerslide. The bike seems to have a mind of its own, and I’m sure the added weight doesn’t help either. I think reducing the rake up front might help with this issue, but I’m not certain.

Mahindra Mojo review: Verdict

You have to understand the context of my disappointment with the Mojo.

This is a bike that we saw everyday testing on our roads for like half a decade, this is a bike with a great engine and a sexy gearbox, this is a bike that’s been priced very reasonably. And yet Mahindra decided to fuck it all up, just to be able to please all kinds of bikers.

Here are my basic recommendations to fix everything wrong with the Mojo, and make it into one of the best machines money can buy.

  1. Remove the entire exhaust system. Design a simple, light, single exhaust setup that doesn’t climb up too high. Your bike is meant to be a tourer, tourers carry saddlebags, upswept exhausts burn holes in saddlebags. Also ensure the ground clearance isn’t compromised much.
  2. Redesign your side stand to make sure it doesn’t start scraping before the pegs do.
  3. Remove the entire headlight setup. Put a single but powerful bulb in a small, light housing. Projector would be even more awesome.
  4. Add a windscreen, at least a basic one.
  5. Upgrade the brakes.
  6. Add ABS as an optional extra.
  7. Reduce the rake a bit. The front is too far forward in the current setup, creates problems with handling, and reduces the turning radius. Reducing the rake will also push the rider into a slightly more forward-biased position, which’ll help take the load off his butt, and let the wind blast support his body a bit.

If this happens, the Mojo that’ll come out will not only be a great tourer, it’ll also be an impressive track bike. The engine on this thing is so smooth, it’ll be hoot to push it through corners. The only reason you can’t do it right now is because you’re too scared of scraping the stand/exhaust, folding the front, and sliding away into untold despair.

With these changes, and a set of knobby tires, it should also be reasonably fun off the road. Mahindra had displayed a scrambler version in the past, so they do understand people like such stuff. They also have steadily built an impressive network of dealerships and service networks, roughly 30 now, and even launched it in Nepal, so obviously they are serious about it.

I don’t care about the looks, make it as ugly as possible. All I want is usability.

Mahindra Mojo is the bike we needed, just to show to other manufacturers that there’s a huge market for proper tourers in India. However, it’s far from the bike we deserve, it has too many flaws, too many things that can be easily improved. Mahindra has a great opportunity right now to build upon an already fantastic base.

Will they step up?

  • The way you have recommended things to Mahindra, no buyer will go near it.

    I know brakes are bad I have seen plenty of reviews. And by the look I can tell its turning radius will be hell.

    Any how one thing I always keep in mind is – not to consider buying a bike that is not selling in volumes. You don’ know when they will remove it from manufacturing. You will be left with no spares.For me that one reason is enough not to go near it.

  • Pingback: Few thoughts about the Bajaj Dominar 400 launch - RiderZone()

  • Peace has no chance now

    I’ve been waiting for their ABS offering since the beginning. Now this article sealed it – not buying the Mojo. I’m waiting to see the BMW 300cc adventure bike they’re releasing, and for the VS400 from Bajaj.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      I’m waiting for the BMW too, don’t have much hope from Bajaj though.

      • Peace has no chance now

        Any reason why? They’re not releasing it as a Pulsar, and plan on premium pricing. Hopefully that makes it better quality than the Pulsars too. The thing I like about a tourer from Bajaj is the service network, compared to the others.

        • Akhil Kalsh

          It’ll all be marketing bullshit, nothing premium about the motorcycle. Yes, their service network is vast, but I don’t think the bike is going to be anything special.

          • Peace has no chance now

            Guess we’ll have to wait and see 🙂

  • Ashish Purohit

    after reading a lot..i am still not sure which bike to get for city-use as well as for touring at times…i was thinking of ktm 390…but i have a problem regarding the pillion seat..since i will be travelling with another person, wouldnt it be uncomfortable for the person seated at the back? also you can hardly see places to carry stuff on the duke 390 unlike RE help a brother out.. plz

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Duke is horrible for city, and the pillion will murder you.

      Mojo is far better for your requirement, but as you may have read in the review, has plenty of faults.

      • Ashish Purohit

        Say I was to put a modification to pillion, then? Would it fulfill me requirements?

        • Akhil Kalsh

          There’s little you can change in the Duke to make it better for the pillion. You might try to put a gel seat, but that just makes the pillion seat higher. The problem is how rough the engine is, it just jerks the shit out of the pillion.

    • Peace has no chance now

      The VS400 power cruiser from Bajaj is set to release in November. I’d wait for that before deciding.

  • akm blr

    Have you ridden any of the 300cc twin cylinder bikes? would be interesting to know your views on the same. I was smitten by the top end power delivery (that twin cylinder howl as well) and vibe free nature. There’s nothing special and they feel pretty mundane at city speeds (in a good way, theyre no hassle and putter about silently). Out of the z250 (build quality is something else, simply awesome) and the R3 (75 to 150 in top gear, engine feels as smooth). Compared to that the duke 390 which has a crazy and fun hooligan nature really wore me out after a long ride. Maybe im getting old 😛

    • Akhil Kalsh

      I haven’t ridden any of those 3 bikes, but yeah, they do sound sweet. Should be fun 🙂

  • Rahul Sen

    And the video quality and editing was great…
    Simplicity eh?

    Was all of it on the sjcam? :/

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Yep, apart from the sections where I took some closeup shots of the bike, that was with a DSLR.

  • Akhil

    Headlight looks like it had been ripped off from a yamaha mt10

  • Hari

    the way you mentioned the features and character which make this a complete confusion was excellent. laughed a lot 🙂

    • Akhil Kalsh

      🙂

  • Akhil Kalsh

    🙂 Cheers!

  • Hi, I love reading your blog. The only thing is most of the time I end up enjoying your method of writing instead of the actual product you are writing about and mostly I end up reading it once more from the beginning. So now after a second time reading yea I do completely agree with what u said about mojo. That engine and gear box is a gem. For once we have a brand whose engine-gearbox can rival or maybe surpass the Japanese.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      🙂 True, India made bikes generally suck in those departments, but not the Mojo.

  • PS

    This was on of the most engaging, hilarious and to the point review i have read! I own a Mojo and agree with you on each point. I have in fact planned to sell it due to its poor handling dynamics (my bad didn’t test ride it enough) i am evaluating duke 200. Or the rtr 200.
    Pls advice. Also if a duke 200 is coming with ABS in the 2017 version?

    • Akhil Kalsh

      I doubt there’ll be an ABS version of the Duke 200 anytime soon. If you’re looking for handling, look no further than the Duke, that chassis is magic, and combined with the light weight, it’s just a brilliant package.

      Haven’t ridden the RTR to can’t tell you about that.

      • PS

        Thank you for that quick reply. I will test ride the duke 200 over the weekend. My main purpose is city riding and occasional long distance ride. I am not considering the 390 hence, or should i?

        • Akhil Kalsh

          390 sucks for city, but more fun on the highway. Also ABS 🙂

          • PS

            Haha ok thank you, guess i will go ahead with the duke 200btw how do i subscribe to your blog?

          • Akhil Kalsh

            You can like the RiderZone FB page, I don’t have email subscriptions on this website, who clicks on that shit? 🙂

          • PS

            Buhahaha … u just gave me a ‘happy ending’! Ciao. Happy riding. . Wud eagerly wait for ur rtr 200 review as well. Tc.

  • Ahem, finally the review is out! After riding the Mojo for about 11K now, I seem to agree with this. Although, I get a far worse fuel economy.

    By the way, if the chap who is responsible for the exhausts were to read this, he’d either quit; or pay someone a lot of money to hunt you down!

    PS: The forks on the Mojo are made by Endurance; you can see the brand name embossed near the axle. Not sure if the rear is made by Paioli also; they usually have their brand name displayed prominently on their products, and I don’t recall seeing it on the Mojo.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      How bad is your fuel economy?

      Huh, the Mahindra guy told me they are Paioli, even many automotive websites said the same. But then again after this entire Kawasaki shitfest, can’t trust the manufacturer or their minion websites.

      In any case, they work well, both the front and rear suspension.

      • I get about 24 a litre in Bangalore, and a little over 30 on the highway. Funnily, before my first service, it returned between 34 a litre!

        • Akhil Kalsh

          Damn!

      • Maheshwaran AJ

        The so called WP shocks on your duke 390 is also made by endurance.

        • Akhil Kalsh

          Sure?

          • Maheshwaran AJ

            100%

  • Imam Jafer Ali

    Cornering in hills is very important ! Sad Mojo can’t do it.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Sad indeed. If I wanted to go straight without leaning, I would’ve got a car. Bikes are supposed to lean.

  • rakesh kumar

    The designers were so busy in designing the bike that they directly copied the instrument cluster of Benelli TNT 899.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Oh yeah, now that you mention it.

  • rishabh kaushik

    Brilliant read! Again…Why no RVMs on demo?

    • Akhil Kalsh

      The Mojo factory RVMs are useless, keep sliding down. The dealership had sent one of the mirrors back to Mahindra to get the shit sorted.

      • rishabh kaushik

        I now declare the review complete…… 🙂

  • Iron Holik

    YOU NAILED IT BRO !

    • Akhil Kalsh

      🙂

  • Rakesh Suryavardhan

    Honest review so far. You are correct, they tried to blend everything in to one bike and made a jack of all bike. Being a mojo owner Im happy about that aswell

    • Akhil Kalsh

      🙂 As long as you’re happy!