Bike tested: 2013 Mahindra Pantero
Price Ex-Showroom Chennai: Rs. 44,190/- (T4 variant)
Mahindra’s 2-wheeler department is well known for value for money, feature-laden, efficient scooters. But people with sharp memory will remember that Mahindra also had an entry level commuter bike, the Stallio, a 110cc bike which was pulled backed by Mahindra due to technical glitches. Come July 2012, Mahindra inaugurated their R&D Center in Pune with a large amount of investment. It started developing engines from 110 cc to a large 300cc engine for the Mojo, which is being designed at this facility. Finally the finished product is out, the Mahindra Pantero! The company has also unveiled the Centuro, which is the same as the Pantero but with more features. A product which is a completely new and not a single thing is been shared with the old Stallio. The brakes, suspension, chassis, and the engine all are new and is developed in house at Mahindra’s R&D center. We take a quick spin and put the Mahindra Pantero through its paces to find out Mahindra’s first sole attempt in the competitive motorcycle segment.
Styling – The Pantero at first glance looks very substantial, the paint job is good and it has good road presence which will easily stand out in the crowd. The slim and angular headlight is carried over from the Stallio. The fuel tank has a muscular appearance to it and flowing lines continue on to the side panels and rear fender which gets a dose of a unique color graphic scheme, adding flare and accentuating the styling. At the rear, the huge LED tail light piece is the attention grabber. The turn indicators, the panels and everything else matches styling expect the RVMs which are circular and don’t particularly gel with the styling package. Overall, Mahindra’s attempt at making a distinct looking commuter has paid off.
Ergonomics – The seating position is upright and not very wide making it very comfortable. The foot pegs are placed for a comfortable ride for both the rider and the pillion. The RVMs do the job very well. Seat base is long and very comfortable but a bit narrow for big riders. There is enough space for inner thighs to breathe and the scoops on the tank serve their purpose well with good thigh support. Overall, long journeys are comfortable enough on the Pantero.
Instrument Cluster and Switch Gear – The circular three pod instrument cluster looks refreshing and seems to be borrowed from Mahindra’s scooter division. A segment first, includes a complete digital dash with tachometer, speedometer, a trip meter with mode and set button to adjust the clock and reset trip metre. Switch gear on the Pantero is seen on other bikes which are two segments above which include a pass button too.
Performance and Gearbox – The Pantero is powered by an all new single-cylinder, 4-stroke, 2-valves, over square layout 106 cc engine which produces 8.5 BHP of peak power at 7500 RPM and 8.5 Nm of torque at 5500 RPM. The engine is revv happy, smooth and has NVH levels which match Japanese its contenders. The engine has sufficient low end grunt but the mid and top-end grunt is good and the top speed is around 91 km/hr. The 4-speed gearbox is now butter smooth and despite the long abuse it wasn’t clunky at the end of the day. Gearing is a mixed bag, the second gear is tall and with the mediocre low end grunt will make the rider constantly shift down while overtaking in traffic. The engine cleanly revs up to 9000 RPM and this is where vibes are present, a common story with all bikes of this segment. Mahindra claims the Pantero will do the 0 – 60 km/hr sprint in 8.8 seconds.
Riding Dynamics – The Mahindra Pantero comes equipped with a rugged double cradle chassis, 5-step adjustable rear shocks which are backed by 18-inch wheels which have grippy MRF tyres slapped on to them. Combine these statics to a light kerb weight of 110 kgs and a short wheelbase of 1265 mm and you get a very agile motorcycle. It stays planted on the corners and gives you positive feedback. But pushing the Pantero harder will make one crave for a stiffer setup. A major credit goes to the tyres for the superb dynamics. Ride quality is fantastic, even the biggest bumps don’t upset the balance of the motorcycle or the rider. 130 mm drum brakes at the front are not that great and one expects to have disc brake as an option on this feature laden bike. All though rear brakes do the job well.
Miscellaneous – At 13.7-litres, this is the largest fuel tank in its class while competitors are offering not more than 10-litres. The fit and finish is excellent and there are two bolts below the seat to tie stuff. There is a storage compartment on the right side to carry edible stuff in complete comfort. Lot of kit comes as standard like LEDs at the front and rear, multi-function digital speedometer and one can choose from alloys to spoke wheels from digital to analog meters too. We are waiting for the disc brake variant to come in soon, because the bike which is this loaded deserves this option.
Verdict – There is no doubt, this 110 cc bike is the best in its class when compared to the competitors. With loads of features on offer and sensible variants have been chalked out for aggressive pricing, the Mahindra Pantero is bound to attract the customers to showrooms. But it’s the lack of after sales support which draws people back to the market leaders. If Mahindra succeeds at creating an excellent after sales network, then Mahindra could taste success of what they dreamed of while making these competent commuters.
* High quality
* Feature filled
What’s Not So Cool
* Disc brake
* Mahindra lack of service
Mahindra Pantero Specifications
* Engine: 106.7cc, Air-Cooled, 4-stroke engine, Mci-5
* Power: 8.5 PS @ 7500 RPM
* Torque: 8.5 Nm @ 5500 RPM
* Transmission: 4-speed manual
* Top Speed: 91 km/h
* Fuel Consumption: 60 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame Type: Double cradle steel tubular structure
* Suspension: Telescopic Fork (Front), Coiled 5-step adjustable (Rear)
* Tyres: 2.75/18 (Front), 3.0/18 (Rear)
* Brakes: 200 mm disc (Front), 110 mm drum (Rear)
* Headlamp: 12 V – 35W/35W
Mahindra Pantero Dimensions
* Wheelbase: 1265 mm
* Seat Height: 805 mm
* Ground Clearance: 165 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.7-litres
* Kerb weight: 110.5 kgs