2012 Mahindra Rodeo RZ Review
2012 Mahindra Rodeo RZ - Click above for picture gallery

Mahindra Rodeo RZ Review

Bike Tested: 2012 Mahindra Rodeo RZ

Price (OTR, Mumbai): Rs. 48,000/- (est.)

Mahindra 2 Wheelers has been an aggressive player in the scooter market ever since it launched the Duro and Rodeo in 2009. The Rodeo is one of the three power scooters in Mahindra’s portfolio and incorporates alot of technology from Taiwan based company SYM. Competition in the scooter segment is increasing day by day with manufacturers refreshing their products. Honda, the leader in this space recently updated the Dio, while Piaggio launched the Vespa and Suzuki brought in the Swish. Hero MotoCorp launched the Maestro and now Mahindra is here to challenge them all with the refreshed Rodeo RZ. We take the Mahindra Rodeo for a spin in Mumbai’s Filmcity to gauge the upgrades.

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Styling – The new Mahindra Rodeo RZ remains pretty much the same as the regular Rodeo when it comes to styling. Changes are minimal and the obvious ones are new graphics at the front and rear. The Rodeo is being introduced in all new colours like green, orange and purple, which will appeal to a larger audience (mostly females). The Mahindra Rodeo looks right with edgy lines and sharp slashes near the foot pegs. The Rodeo looks slim in profile. What I disliked the most is the design of the alloy wheels. It could have been much better. But overall, the Rode is a cute looking scooter.

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Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – The Instrument cluster has always been the party piece of the Rodeo. Seven different colours to choose the background of your digital speedometer, is in every way super cool! A side stand indicator with a buzzer helps you realise that the side stand is still engaged which is indeed very helpful. Unique and distinct feature list sets the Mahindra Rodeo apart from competitors. No one offers a digital speedometer with trip function, acceleration timer, over speed alarm, clock and the background colour option in the entire scooter market. The switchgear adds to the sporty appeal of the cockpit, all though the plastics used could have been better.

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The storage space has been drastically increased. Perhaps, it can fit in a full faced helmet, a school bag or a bag of grocery. The illuminated storage space area is a very thoughtful idea. The increased ground clearance by 24 mm to 154 mm helps the Mahindra Rodeo cross invisible/unmarked speed breakers with ease. The mobile charger function can turn helpful in case of emergencies. The fuel filler cap is in the front rather than the conventional under the seat location. This provides convenience to the drivers at the filling stations.

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Performance and Gearbox – Performance is best within the 8 BHP segment of scooters. Thanks to the new Z-Series engine, which produce 8.1 BHP of peak power at 7000 RPM and 9 Nm of torque, performance is good. The Rodeo goes from 0-60 km/h in 9.35 seconds and the power delivery is linear, which is a boon for new riders. Unlike the Suzuki Access, which has a very crisp throttle response because of more power and torque at lower RPM, the Mahindra Rodeo has enough pep to help you zip away from any situation in city traffic. The scooter has enough grunt to keep you going on the highway as well.

The gearbox is one of the best I have experienced. There is no CVT rubber band effect at lower RPM and this helps you maintain lower speeds. The rubber band effect cannot be completely eliminated, but you will hardly notice that because mid-range is terrific, you just open the throttle and you’re doing 60-65 km/h in no time thanks to the light kerb weight of 106 kgs. Surprisingly, the scooter went quite fast on inclines as well, which is something not seen in this segment.

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Ride, Handling and Braking – The dynamics of the new Rodeo RZ are quite exciting, it still being a scooter. The riding position is spot on. It provides both comfort and a sporty feel. The chassis being a monocoque is right and light. Tires at the front with the telescopic suspension offer good cornering. At the rear, the suspension is soft and rear tire could do with more width. It does a great job for hard and fast riding around the twisty roads. Tyre grip in both the wet and the dry conditions is good. Brakes are good but they could do better with more bite. The Rodeo soaks bumps, potholes, and rocky roads with utmost ease. The scooter is very balanced even in off-road conditions and does not toss. But, Suzuki Access still remains a bench mark with respect to stability.

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Conclusion – Listening to customer feedback has always helped companies to grow in the minds of the customer and in the market as well. Mahindra has been taking customer feedback very seriously and incorporated changes to the Rodeo. The company has given its best seller a good upgrade, which will make it more popular amongst the masses. The performance is now better and the practicality of the Rodeo has increased as well. With prices set to remain largely the same, the Rodeo RZ will continue to do Mahindra 2 Wheelers proud and attract customers.

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What’s Cool?

* Zippy and light scooter
* Loads of goodies at a VFM Price
* Good fuel economy figure for a scooter

What’s Not So Cool?

* Plastic quality
* Rear tire size